Resources – Shirley’s Articles For Reprint
Words Have Power – Use Them Wisely
Do you think you’ll impress readers by using big words?
Do you use phrases like Please be informed? Kindly find attached?
When you put your fingers on the keyboard, do you think, “What should I write?”
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be making your business writing much more difficult than it should be. And more importantly, you’re making reading much more difficult for your reader.
The Key Is Plain English
Today’s busy readers want to read messages that are simple and clear. They want to understand messages quickly, and know exactly how to reply.
Plain English means easy to read, and easy to understand. It means using short, clear sentences. It means using everyday words, and no redundancies or jargon.
Tips for Writing In Plain English
- Get straight to the point. Delete any redundant phrases, like Please be informed, Kindly be advised, I am writing to inform you.
- Use everyday words. Instead of disseminate, write share or distribute. Instead of concur, write agree. Instead of kindly, write please.
- Focus on active verbs. Replace long phrases with a simple active verb. Instead of come to a conclusion, write conclude. Instead of make an improvement, write improve.
- Avoid jargon and buzzwords. Examples are think out of the box, moving forward, deep dive. Keep your sentences crisp and clear.
- Remove redundancies. There are so many words we don’t need, like in these phrases: 3am in the morning, advance notice, basic fundamentals, in accordance with. Using unnecessary or redundant words just makes your writing weaker.
- Use lists. Bullets and numbers will help you simplify your message and make the information scannable so it’s easier for your reader. It’s win-win!
Here’s a golden rule from tip #4:
Plain English Makes Sense.
When you get to grips with Plain English, your reader will understand what you’re saying, and know what to do. And that means you’ll get the right response!
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© Shirley Taylor.
Shirley is a high-energy, high-content speaker who is passionate about motivating individuals to make a real difference in our automated world. With inspiring stories and a fun style, she engages audiences quickly, and encourages them to embrace high-touch as well as high-tech so they can connect with heart.
Shirley has been a trusted member of the professional speaking and training community for many years, and has received several awards for her services in leadership. She served as Asia Professional Speakers Singapore President 2011-12 and as Global Speakers Federation President 2017-18. She has spoken in almost 20 countries all over the world.
Author of 12 books published by international publishers, Shirley has established herself as a leading authority in workplace communication, business writing, and email. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition has sold over half a million copies worldwide and been translated into 17 languages.
If you would like Shirley to speak at your next event, visit shirleytaylor.com.
** The website link to shirleytaylor.com must be clickable to receive permission to reprint the article.