In the Oct. 21 edition of The Boston Globe last week, the presidential candidates were evaluated on how they speak, using a common algorithm known as the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. The test evaluates a combination of word choices and sentence structures to determine the grade level of comprehension to which each of the candidates directs his or her speeches.
Rating the lowest of all the presidential candidates was Republican candidate Donald Trump whose short sound bites, simple sentence structure and frequent use of superlatives ranks his messaging at a 4th grade level. Also ranking at the lower end of the scale was Republican Ben Carson, whose speeches come across at just below a 6th grade level. Conversely, on the higher end of the scale – at a 10th grade level – were Republican candidates Jim Gilmore and Mike Huckabee.
On the Democratic side, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ communications also rated at a 10th grade level, followed by Lincoln Chaffee at eight grade, and Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley just below the 8th grade level in speeches.
As you can see by the way the candidates come across, one’s choice of wording has the power to reach as wide or as targeted an audience as you desire.
Frequently, I review trusted advisors’ websites and messaging to diagnose whether they are effective, and what I often find is that their messaging is either too vague and watered down or it is too technical and wordy. In both cases, the message is ineffective in accomplishing its goals.
Given that there are 100’s of mistakes that an inexperienced writer can make, why would someone want to try to “do it themselves?” If one’s goal is simply to save money, consider that an ineffective message is as good as no messaging at all.
Next time you go to write your blogs or articles, consider hiring a professional writer (not a website marketing person – there’s a difference!) to collaborate with you on getting your messaging “right.” After all, you only get one opportunity to make a “first impression.”
Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer is a former news journalist with over 25 years’ experience in writing marketing/PR materials for clients across a wide range of industries. For more information, please go to: www.writerpatkramer.com.