Business Writing Skills Part III: Avoiding Sexist LanguageWritten by Linda Elizabeth Alexander
Many businesspeople are unfamiliar with business writing. Concise writing will build your business because you will better connect with customers and prospects. In this four-part series, I will teach you how to make your writing and other business correspondence clearer, understandable, and more direct.
Avoiding Sexist Language in Writing By Linda Elizabeth Alexander
Why avoid sexist language in your business writing? Biased language can alienate any potential reader. If you alienate your readers, you lose credibility. Without their faith in your words, you have lost your audience and cannot make your argument. Therefore, avoiding sexism in your writing benefits everyone.
Here are some tips for avoiding common mistakes regarding sexist language.
The use of a masculine pronoun to refer to both genders is offensive to many people. Also, using terms such as "man" to define people can often be confusing - are you referring only to "men" or to "all people"? The easiest and best way to get around this is to rewrite sentence in plural, or avoid using a pronoun altogether.
Example: The executive cannot do his job properly until he understands how. Correct to: Executives cannot do their jobs properly until they understand how.
You could also say "The executive cannot do his or her job properly until he or she understands how." However, this tends to be clumsy, especially after being used repeatedly.
Ten Steps to a Power-Packed, Persuasive ProposalWritten by Linda Elizabeth Alexander
Writing proposals is a skill no businessperson should be without. Often clients will put out a request for proposal from three or more companies at same time. In order to get their business, yours has to be most convincing one -- one that demonstrates most value for clients' dollars. Here are ten steps to constructing compelling proposals that ensure your success.
1. As with any writing project, you first have to understand purpose of your proposal and people reading it. Usually with a proposal it is to get business, while they find right vendor to solve a problem.
2.Understand your readers. Learn all you can about their needs. Ask lots of questions. The more needs of theirs that you address, better your chance of getting sale.
3. Underpromise and over deliver. Do NOT overpromise just to close deal. For example, by pricing yourself too low, you will lose profit. Offering an unrealistic deadline will put your reputation at risk when you are unable to deliver on time.
4. Do your homework. Ask lots of questions during course of your research. Make sure to fully understand your client's needs, and how your product will meet their needs. What are their expectations? How will they use your product or service? Also, learn their views on pricing and quality - are they willing to pay a premium for quality, or would they rather get a sloppy job for cheap? Also find out: * What problem are they trying to solve? * What would their ideal solution be? * What is most important aspect of this project to them: price, quality, timing? * Who is final decision maker? Will you have to deal with a large committee of decision makers? This might pose problems for you if you receive conflicting feedback.