• Jonathan Bullock

George Orwell's '6 rules for writing' to guide your presentation!

Writing doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Yet for your presentation, you will need to not only write but write well. Slides do not have a lot of room for a lot of text and nor should they. The slides should not contain all the information you are going to convey but at least cover the main points.

Famous and well-regarded writer George Orwell had some rules for writing which are just as applicable when writing a presentation.

Rule 1: Never use a metaphor, simile, or another figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print.

Rule 2: Never use a long word where a short one will do.

Rule 3: If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Rule 4: Never use a passive where you can use the active.

Rule 5: Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Rule 6: Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright stupid.

The priority of George Orwell’s rules is to create writing that is accessible and concise. Writing to appeal to a broad audience maximizes the possibility of people from broad backgrounds understanding your content.

Rule 6 is one of the most important. In the end, writing in a way that is simple, clear, and understandable should not be to the detriment of the message you are trying to convey. Getting the balance right is the sweet spot of a quality presentation.

Applying George Orwell’s rules for writing should guide you in creating a more effective presentation. Improving the quality of your message can only increase your chances of success.


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