Business Writing Tip #28 – Using Lists

At work it seems like each day there is more to read. There are more emails, more journals, more articles, more reports.

Each day we are faced with hundreds, even thousands, of words.

But you write as well. You are part of the challenge. You are creating words that others have to read.

And you want people to read your words, otherwise you wouldn’t write them.

In this tip we will look at lists and how to use them to help make your writing easy to read. You see, lists are very easy for people to scan quickly.

There are two kinds of lists:

  1. Ordered lists
  2. Unordered lists

Ordered Lists

In ordered lists we use numbering. This numbering implies an order or sequence.

A numbered list can also be used, as I have done, when you want to emphasise the number of items. There are two kinds of lists, there are three possible solutions, there are ten members on the team. Or you might want to tell people to follow a sequence of actions, in order.

So if you need to put things in order, or if you want to emphasis the number of points, use a numbered list.

Bulleted Lists

  • Bulleted lists are the lists to use when you just want to list a number of things, without implying a sequence or specific order
  • These use a graphic symbol to introduce each point
  • Usually it’s a ‘bullet’, but it could be a check mark or finger pointing (often used in presentation materials).

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