by Jennifer Tribe, Juiced Consulting
When you think of writing, what springs to mind? If you’re like most people, you think of things like books, essays, stories, and e-mails. These are all types of writing that are typically meant to be read. They are written for the eye. Writing for the ear, on the other hand, means creating words that people will listen to.
Writing for the ear is different than writing for the eye. Listeners can’t stop to re-read a sentence to clarify its meaning. The message has just one shot to get through before the narrative continues and the thought is left behind. In order to be grasped quickly, an audio script has to be crystal clear and very simple.
Audio scriptwriting is not a skill we’re commonly taught, but whether you are creating tape sets, audio newsletters or a recorded welcome message for your web site, it pays to know a few scriptwriting tricks.
Listen to the way people talk in everyday conversation. We rarely talk as formally as we write. We tend to talk in short sentences, even sentence fragments. We use contractions and simple words. Use this style in your writing, even though it may contradict what you’ve been taught about ‘proper’ writing. Remember, it doesn’t matter what it looks like on paper as long as it’s easy for a listener to understand.
Build a connection. Audio products are a chance to create a bond with people as they listen to the sound of your voice. Invite them into your world by using inclusive language such as ‘we’ and ‘our.’
Keep it short. Convey ideas in short, self-contained chunks. Use short sentences so that listeners can easily follow the thread of your words. A good rule of thumb is to keep sentences under 25 words.
Pay attention to rhythm. Be careful about running together too many sentences that are all the same length. A bit of variety will hold a listener’s attention longer.