Choose Your Words Carefully - Crafting Professional Business Communications
Mark Twain sagely noted that â€œThe difference between the right word and the almost
right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.â€
Choosing the right words is essential for crafting professional business communications.
Would you be satisfied with almost closing a sale or almost getting a promotion?
Do your marketing materials urge customers to almost contact you? Then why settle
for the almost right words?
Your writing will be most effective if you select words that express your ideas
exactly. Strive for precision. Edit to ensure that every word does necessary work
and that you have chosen words for their sound and feel as much as their meaning.
Improve your next newsletter, corporate report or promotional brochure by choosing
words that are bright, brief and bold.
Be Bright Choose words with clear meaning. Don't say stentorian when you can
say loud. Don't say perspicacious when you can say keen. Use words to communicate
with your readers, not to impress or confound them.
Resist the allure of corporate jargon, which is trendy and often confusing. A colleague
once thanked me for â€œflexing during our interface and taking it offline.â€ To this
day Iâ€™m not sure what that means, but it made me feel like a computer!
Edit your writing for corporate-speak like competencies, achievable and value-add.
Your reader will understand skills, goals and benefits just fine, and your writing
will be stronger and more professional.
Be Brief Unless your circumstance requires a formal, academic writing style, choose
the shortest word that can do the work. Donâ€™t acquire when you can buy. Donâ€™t investigate
what you can check. Whenever possible, use your staff instead of utilizing your
personnel. Brevity keeps your writing fresh and appealing to your reader.
How can you make your writing brief but not under-written? Pay attention to the
goal and context of your writing. Consider your readers, your position relative
to them, and what you want to accomplish with your writing. Are you offering sales
training tips or a medical opinion? Are you writing a press release or summarizing
a clinical trial? Be brief within the context of your communication.
Promotional writing, in particular, must be both brief and specific in order to
motivate consumer action. For example,
â€œOur sales training workshops are superior.â€
Brief but not specific. Tell me what makes them superior.
â€œOur sales training workshops are innovative, relevant, interactive, motivational,
challenging, memorable, progressive, funâ€, etc.
Brief and specific. Now Iâ€™m interested in your workshops.
Be Bold Writing boldly means never having to say you're â€œveryâ€. Instantly become
a better writer by treating â€œveryâ€ as a virus that weakens and sucks the life out
of your words.
Very interesting, very important, very well-supported. Edit ruthlessly and replace
every â€œveryâ€ with a word that can stand on its own. Riveting, seminal, airtight...
these are words that your reader will feel and remember.
Precision is habit-forming. As you choose your words more carefully you will become
more attuned to the nuances of language, and your writing will be clear and powerful.
Choose wisely and you will achieve more with less: less words, less time and less
demand on your reader.
For Further Reading