The Power of the Paragraph

 Nov 04, 2015

Have you ever been frustrated trying to read an email or document because it doesn’t have a logical flow?

In most cases, the cause can be found in the very structure of the paragraphs so here are some useful tips to ensure you engage your reader and achieve your desired outcome.

  1. Your paragraphs should have a beginning, middle, and end. You introduce the topic, develop it, and conclude it, perhaps by providing a transition to the next paragraph.

  2. For business writing, use the “inverted pyramid” approach which begins with a topic sentence followed by supporting sentences. For readers who have limited time, they should be able to pick up the general theme in the first sentence of each paragraph through scan-reading. Those requiring more detail can choose to read the supporting sentences.

  3. Ideally, write each paragraph around one idea.

  4. Ensure your supporting sentences flow logically. For example, you may choose a chronological flow or order of importance.

  5. Separate your paragraphs if you are writing about a complex topic or discussing a number of ideas so it is easier for your reader to follow and understand.

  6. Vary the length of your sentences to create interest. The average sentence length is around seventeen words.

  7. Try to keep your paragraphs short but this may depend on your content. An average length of nine lines makes reading a lot easier for your reader and provides a visual break through use of white space.

For more information, have a look at New Horizons' Write it Right training course.

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About the Author:

Trish Dobe  

Trish has over 20 years of experience in organisational development, change management, and corporate learning & development both within Australia and overseas. As one of New Horizons' Professional Development trainers, Trish’s main focus is the delivery of solutions which enable organisations to measurably improve their performance. Trish specialises in the delivery of training programs in the areas of performance management, leadership, process improvement, sales and customer service. From a practical standpoint, she has held a number of roles varying from front-line through to senior management within a variety of commercial environments. With this, Trish brings her practical experience into the classroom and gives her the ability to engage professionals from junior to senior levels.

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