Really good, impactful writing has one major component: invisible words.
What are invisible words? In a nutshell, they make up writing that creates such a powerful image or message in your mind that you don’t notice the actual words that brought it all to life.
(You may now be thinking of a favourite writer, or book, or magazine article, or even a blog post on a hugely popular writing website!)
The principle of invisible words is the reason a lot of people dislike traditional corporate language. While this does a job of sorts, you tend to notice the words themselves rather than the message they’re trying to convey.
Take the following example from a corporate website, describing the company’s staff induction programme:
“Our comprehensive onboarding programme ensures a smooth process for new employees, ensuring they are fully conversant with our company’s unique way of working and that our world-renowned commitment to delivering outstanding customer satisfaction is fulfilled”
(Just for the record, as an ex-Head of HR I have to say that the word “onboarding” brings me out in a cold sweat – what was wrong with plain old “induction”, or even plainer “introduction”?)
In the case of our corporate website example above, my suggestion would be to swap it for something like this:
“We introduce new employees to our business in a friendly and knowledgeable way, so they’re ready and able to provide you with what we’re globally recognised for – the best customer service possible”
Far less wordy, far more friendly, and far easier to read – even if I do say so myself!
I’m willing to guess that when you read the second example, your mind didn’t trip up over the actual words but instead glided smoothly over them, leaving you free to concentrate on the actual message.
In short, that’s the power of invisible words.
If your words could do with an invisibility audit, why not contact me?