Hello, scanning reader!

Interested, focused, thorough.

That’s how you want people to read your text.

But do they?

Unfortunately, not always.

Most people want to quickly unravel the essence of a text, so they can see if it’s relevant for them.

That’s why many readers are scanning readers.

Not just people looking for a cheap toaster online, but also people who read project proposals, policy plans and scientific papers.

So it’s often smart to write scannable.

How to do that?

Let’s take a look at an example.

A scanning reader first reads the headline (number 1). That’s what’s most important.

Next, a scanning reader looks at the subheadings (numbers 2).

Finally, a scanning reader looks at the first sentence of every paragraph (numbers 3). I’ve made these bold in the example, so you can quickly identify them.

All other sentences have a low status in the scanning reader’s brain. He only reads it if he wants to know more about the subject.

So, to make your text scannable, put your most important messages in the most important places: in the headline, in the subheadings and in the first sentences of your paragraphs. This way you can be sure your reader notices it.

By the way, I didn’t write this email as scannable, but in conversational style.