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Public Communication: Writing Techniques

"Writing – the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye – is the great invention of the world."

Abraham Lincoln

To make your writing more engaging and appealing to readers there are many writing techniques and literary devices you can use.

When you're working on a public communication assessment you will need to learn how to write for such formats. You will already have writing techniques from doing academic writing, but for public communications you need to know how to engage with your audience. These writing techniques and literary devices will help you through your process. 

Techniques for stronger writing 

These will help strengthen your writing and help you achieve the highest possible grade.


Read! Yes, read. Reading teaches us grammar and punctuation, common writing techniques and increases our vocabulary. If you are writing in a certain format, such as an opinion piece, reading examples will teach you how to structure your own. You will also become familiar with the language being used.  

Create an outline. In any form of writing, you want to have an outline of what you wish to say. Know your main points and how you’re going to structure your work. The Format section of this guide goes into more detail about the unique structures of each type of Public Communication.  

Have a strong opening. An engaging introduction makes the reader more likely to continue reading. Your opening could include an intriguing fact/anecdote, or information about your connection to the topic. A useful technique can be writing the introduction last making it fit better with the overall style of the piece.  

Be concise. Public Communications aren’t usually lengthy; therefore, you want to be weary of your word count. Cut out any redundant language whilst making sure it still makes sense.  

Declutter your sentences by using less adjectives and adverbs. Sometimes they help clarify your points, but excessive use of them can distract your reader. Ask yourself if your point is clearer without them.  

Edit and proofread your work thoroughly before submission. When reading our own work, we are less likely to notice mistakes, so having a peer or course mate read it can be helpful. Reading it out aloud will also help you find mistakes.  

Literary Devices 

These devices can be used to make your writing more appealing:  


Try not to use this too often as it may become tedious, but it can help to emphasise a point. You might use a circular structure, therefore repeating your starting point in your conclusion.  

Example: I am repeating the word repeating to show how using the word repeating is  repetition. Curiouser and curiouser.  

The rule of three

The human brain is thought to process information in patterns, with three being the smallest number we remember as a set. The rule of three makes your writing engaging, more descriptive and memorable. It can also emphasise a point, like how miserable the weather truly is. 

Example: The weather is murky, dull and grey, great weather for reading a skills guide. 

Metaphors and similes

Help readers visualise a point and can help when describing a complex topic. Metaphors are direct comparisons between two things, whereas similes use “like” and “as” to differentiate between them.  

Metaphor: As I walked onto campus, I stepped into Wonderland. It was full of  intriguing, unique individuals and I was eager to explore.  
Simile: Walking on to campus was like being in Wonderland. I was surrounded by  intriguing and unique individuals, in a setting I wasn’t familiar with. Like Alice, I was  curious and eager to explore. 

Rhetorical questions

Starting a section, or your entire piece with this makes the reader involved and invites them to carry on reading. Ask a question the reader isn’t intended to answer, for your writing will answer for them.  

Example: Why is a university like a writing desk? What’s with all the Wonderland  references?  


Sometimes exaggerating your points will make your work more attractive but make your readers aware that you are exaggerating. Don’t mislead them and always reiterate the fact that these are your opinions.  

Example: Hull University, just like Wonderland is an amazing place! I’ll tell you why I think this is true.