Writing to senior execs? Avoid this! [infographic: reading grade level]

How tough reading grade levels can limit your career

A high (hard) reading grade level puts off time-poor senior executives

I was training a group from a big-4 bank when a guy (bravely) shared a vital lesson he learned about reading grade level:

I worked hard on a report for a senior manager. I dug deep, adding research, statistics and sound logic. After many hours at work and late at night, I sent it to him, certain it was excellent.

So it was an unpleasant surprise when he replied with:

‘Could you have another go? I couldn’t crack the code.’

Ouch!

‘Cracking the code’ means tough to follow. Hard to understand.

Blind spots like these are incredibly common, even among ‘pro’ communicators.

A simple test is your reading grade level—how many years of school someone needs to easily understand your message.

Writing at grade-10 level is too hard for 80% of people.

Think you’re fine? Run a little test: What’s the reading grade level of your LinkedIn profile? Try it now:

  1. Copy and paste your LinkedIn profile into https://team.credosity.com/
  2. Click Readability
  3. Click Readability Stats to see your Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.

Are you game to comment below with your result? (It’s a measure of bravery!)

‘But I’m writing to smart people. They can read tougher text.’

And there, my friend, is the rub: They CAN read higher reading-grade-level text, but do they WANT to?

When people are time-poor (as senior execs are), they ruthlessly avoid doing unnecessary work. Which means they’ll favour messages that are easier to read.

If yours is tough to read, they’ll skip or skim it. They’ll miss your main points, you’ll get a ‘no,’ and be left wondering why.

This infographic sums it up—stay out of the Dead Zone at bottom left!

Infographic: Use reading grade level to boost reading motivation

Download the PDF of this infographic.

Useful? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Paul

Paul & the Magneto/Credosity Crew

 

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