Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

State and expand. It's not only the easy way to write, but a great service to your readers.

State your point in your first sentence, then tell them more about it. If you are tempted to write anything that doesn't support your first sentence, consider whether you really need to include it. If it's worth writing, but a new point, start another paragraph.

Why is it the easy way to write?

Because state and expand makes it easier to organise your thoughts. Start with a list of your key points and turn them into your first sentences. Keep asking yourself: Is this a key point, or a supporting idea?

Why is it a great service to your readers?

They'll know where you are going with each paragraph. If they are refreshing their memory by reading your report again, your first sentences will tell them most of what they need to know.

Think of your first sentences as headlines for your paragraphs. The rest of the text gives them detail, evidence or examples.

Think of state and expand as your default setting. Make sure there's a good reason to change. In a short email or letter you may have one-sentence paragraphs so state and expand won't work for you, but why would you write reports and longer letters any other way?

About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder and managing director. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph's enjoys trips to France. He lives in rural Canterbury.

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