Whenever I write a list in an email or a document I always begin by writing a sentence similar to this: “Here are three things…” and without a doubt the first thing to go through my mind is the fact that I’ll likely end up with more than that number.
It always happens. I’m writing my list and then I remember something I forgot and then I have to change the opening line to reflect the correct number. I’ve learned that the trick is to name my opening line something that doesn’t include that number. Something more generic. But that’s boring!
A list with 5 things is a lot more impressive than one with 6 or 7. Sheesh, I can’t remember the last time I read an important article and it began “Six things you can do…”
Or how about this: Just round your total number up by a few. If your list has only 8 items, say 10 instead. Or you could always make things up to fill out empty lines. Nobody reads lists anyways.
What would an article about lists be without a list?
Five things you can do to make your lists stand out:
- Write your list using words and numb3rs
- Place your most important items first to ensure prominence
- Don’t create meaningless lists, it just makes good lists work harder