By Sally Bacchetta
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
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.
Sally Bacchetta is a dynamic sales trainer and freelance
writer, offering customized sales training workshops and writing
services. She publishes in the areas of Sales Training and Motivation,
Medical/Pharmaceutical, RFID, Parenting, Corporate Communications
and Freelance Assignments. Sally Bacchetta may be contacted