After a recent blog entry about exclamation points, fellow writer Tony Perona shared his own personal frustration – people who present their messages with an abundance of capital letters. They generally do it either because they think what they’re saying is REALLY IMPORTANT or because they think it ADDS EMPHASIS. They rank right up there with people who overuse boldface or underlining.

Using ALL CAPS, boldface, or underlining in print is the same as raising your voice to make a point. If you were speaking and wanted to make sure that your audience recognized that something was really important, you’d probably only stress the word “really.”  If you stressed every word, you’d end up sounding like a raving maniac.

When you use ALL CAPS, boldface, or underlining, do it sparingly, and only where it really matters. If you aren’t sure how much to use, read what you’ve written aloud, and raise your voice by a few decibels each time you hit an emphasized work or phrase. If it sounds like you’re yelling too much or just ranting, you’ve used too much.

Reading copy aloud is a simple technique – but it’s surprisingly effective. Master copywriters rely on it. You should, too.