Ten Tips to Simplify Your Business CorrespondenceWritten by Linda Elizabeth Alexander
You write to express, not to use every word in dictionary. Here are ten tips for using those words to make your writing clearer.
1. Simplify language Avoid using big or vague words. Use fewer words, but make them count.
2. Shorten sentences Business people don't have time to read 10-page letters. Cut out run-on sentences. Eliminate extra words as long as it doesn't change meaning. You can also combine a short and a longer sentence into one to remove extra words.
3. Use active voice Instead of, "A good time was had by all," say, "We had a good time." This changes subject from "good time" to "we." It also puts emphasis on verb, making statement stronger.
4. Use present tense Stick to present tense wherever you can. Also make sure you don't switch tenses in middle of a sentence.
5. Use bullets where appropriate Since people have little time to read, put important points in a numbered or bulleted list. This makes it easier to scan so your readers get meaning without reading every word.
6. Never use exclamation points in business writing! Unless you're writing an advertisement or an excited letter to a friend, skip wow factor! It doesn't belong in a memo, report, letter, or other serious-toned business writing!
Business Writing Skills I: What Do You Want To Say?Written by Linda Elizabeth Alexander
Many web entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with business writing. In truth, concise writing will build your business because you will better connect with customers and prospects. In this five-part series, author will teach you how to make your web communications, and all business correspondence, clearer, understandable, and more direct.
Business Writing Skills I: What Do You Want to Say? By Linda Elizabeth Alexander
Whether you hate writing or love it, it always helps to plan what you want to say. One method that has always helped me is rhetorical square -- a mnemonic device designed to help you figure out what to say before you say it. I've seen other words used, but one I remember best is "P.A.W.S."
Paws stands for "purpose, audience, writer, subject." P.A.W.S. is most helpful when establishing goals of piece you are writing and can be as formal and lengthy or informal and brief as you like. Ask yourself these questions next time you sit down to write.
Purpose. What do you want to accomplish through your writing? Every composition has its purpose, even it it's just to finish an assignment. For example, you may write a letter to convey information, to sell something, or to say hi to an old friend. You might write a brochure to inform customers of a new product, explain your company's mission to them, or to serve as an advertisement for your services.
Audience. The most important thing you need to know in order to communicate clearly through writing is whom you are writing for. Who will read your writing? Your mother? Your client base? Your boss? Every audience has a different level of experience and education. For example, when writing a report to your boss, you may share company jargon that average Joe doesn't understand - because average Joe won't be reading report. Similarly, you will communicate differently to your employees and your customers.