Efficiency is the aim for most people, is it not? Even if you’re not aware of it and don’t rate it as top of your agenda you’d far rather get something finished (unless it’s a holiday!) as quickly and accurately as possible, wouldn’t you?

So the same should apply to your business writing.

Would you rather read:

It is incumbent upon management to display appropriate behaviour and verbalise what is consistent with the messages that are being conveyed via your business communication methodologies. (when did you stop reading?!)

or this:

As a manager, you should always demonstrate the communication methods of your business.

It is easy to get so rapt in what you’re writing that you end up not making your message clear. So concerned in showing off your excellent vocabulary, you turn your reader off. The pace of communications has stepped up in just a couple of years, with Facebook and social networking status updates allowing just a small box to write in; Twitter have even gone as far as to limit it to 140 characters! Should we consider limiting many of our communications to 140 characters?

However, keeping one’s message clear is not a new thing. Read any newspaper and you’ll find that the main story is found in the first two sentences. Subsequent information (names, places, quotations from witnesses or experts) is found in the following paragraphs.

This is called inverted pyramid writing and it originated during the American Civil War when Northern reporters on the frontline had to get information to their editors in New York across wires that were both in heavy demand and under constant threat of being destroyed: most important information went first, and the details followed if there was still a wire to use.

So when you’re writing your next communication, whatever form it takes, consider what the most important information is and how to write it concisely (and politely!).

Further reading: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/


Proofreader, copy-writer and copy-editor

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