Business Writing as a Second Language

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Business Writing as a Second Language

Writing skills are fast disappearing in the business world of the 21st Century. Poor high school and university preparation coupled with the lazy habits of the e-world have produced generations of poor writers. Here are six quick tips you can use to improve writing in your organization:
1. Stamp out Email language shortcuts. Require all company Emails to conform to 'business letter standards'.
2. Review all outgoing documents, correspondence and Emails until you are sure the writer is communicating in clear and concise English.
3. Don't hesitate to conduct training on how you want your organization's business correspondence and documents to appear. You do training on personnel, IT, and technical issues - why not writing?
4. Don't get too hung up on writing style issues. For example, some people like to start sentences with prepositional phrases, some don't. Academics frown on it all of the time but it can still be an effective tool. Remember, ten editors reviewing a single paragraph will give you ten new paragraphs.
5. Readability is the only measure of effectiveness for successful business writing. If the prose makes the reader fall asleep while reading, it's the writer's fault, not the subject.
6. Have writing contests for knotty problems. When faced with a writing situation that is difficult, assign the problem to a group of your staff and award a prize to the best response. You might be surprised at what you get.

These tips are just a few of the many techniques available to get your company on the road to higher sales and profits through good writing. A wise mentor once told me: "Write so that your reader understands you whether he wants to or not."



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Jolyn Wells-Moran