Shirley's Articles / Business Writing

Don’t Write Like A Robot. Make A Human Difference.

In the past few decades, our whole world has changed in so many different ways. But there’s still one major area of our lives where many people are stuck in the past. And because of this, it’s wasting time, lowering productivity, losing trust, and ruining reputations.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve helped a lot of individuals and organisations with this challenge. And the great thing is, some simple changes can really make a huge difference.

So what is this one major area where many people are stuck in the past? Well, it happens every day when we put our fingers on our keyboards… to write emails.

But with so many advances in technology over the years, how much has our writing changed? Let’s compare two emails.

Email 1: Robot: The language here is very similar to what our ancestors typed on manual typewriters in the first half of the 20th century! This could be written by a robot that’s programmed to perfection! Sadly, this is typical of much of the writing being used in many organisations today. It’s cold, formal and distant.

Email 2: Human: This email is clearly written by a human. It’s warm, friendly, and there’s a real connection. We can hear the human voice, and we can feel the human touch.

Today, readers want to read messages that are simple, clear and understandable. Readers need to know exactly what to do and how to reply. Writers need to use plain language that’s easy to write, easy to read, and easy to understand. This involves using short, clear sentences and everyday words, in active voice, with no redundancies or jargon.

Good writing can make a huge difference. One company produced a clearer bill in plain English and they saw customer enquiries fall by 25% every quarter. When another organisation rewrote one letter in plain English, they received 11,000 fewer phone calls than in the previous year.

Don’t be a robot. Make a human difference

I would love to work with you and your organisation to bring back the human touch to all your communications. Let’s encourage all our teams to make a human difference. Check out my popular signature business writing programme here. I can customise this training specially for you and do this as half-day, one-day or two-day. Just let us know what works for you.

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© Shirley Taylor.
Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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