Less is more when building understanding

Kudos to communications guru Ann Wylie (happy birthday, Ann) for this nugget regarding how best to build understanding of complex concepts:

“The longer your sentences, the less your readers will understand, according to research by the American Press Institute. The study shows that:

  • When the average sentence length in a piece was fewer than eight words long, readers understood 100 percent of the story.
  • Even at 14 words, they could comprehend more than 90 percent of the information.
  • But move up to 43-word sentences, and comprehension dropped below 10 percent.

Bottom line: To improve understanding, break sentences up or condense them.”


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