Ohio, the 1970s:
Copywriter Gary Halbert has found a surefire way to test if an ad he wrote will be a winner or lose money.
Here's what he'd do: He would walk into his favorite bar, called Mike's, sit down for a beer, and simply read his ad out loud.
If the audience complimented him on his writing skills, he'd crumble up the piece of paper and start over.
Wait, what? Yeah, you read that right. Not the reaction he wanted.
What he wanted to hear was: "Wow, Gary, this [product] sounds great. Where can I get it?"
Then he knew he had a winner.
How come? You see, writing should be invisible to the reader. It should feel like the air that surrounds us.
You want your reader to "get" the message, to be moved by the words, to feel something.
And they can't do that if they're occupied figuring out what you're trying to say with big words and intricate sentence structures.
So, how do you make your writing invisible? Quite simple.
Stop trying so hard to impress and stick to everyday English (or any other language you're writing in). Use words your audience knows and pack them into short sentences and paragraphs.
You want to aim for an 8th-grade reading level or lower, even if your audience has PhDs. By the way, you can easily check the readability of your piece with apps like Grammarly or Hemingway.
That's how you make sure that you get your message across.