Shirley's Articles / Business Writing

Writing 101: 7 Deadly Sins Of Business Writing

When it comes to writing, there are always going to be DOs and DONTs – but some are more, shall we say, fatal than others.

Read These Questions And Answer Them Truthfully With A Simple YES or NO:

  1. Do you use unnecessary and redundant expressions in your writing, like ‘Please be informed’, ‘Kindly be advised’, ‘I am writing to inform you’, or ‘Please note that’?
  2. Do you use expressions that you would not use if you were speaking to the other person, such as ‘As spoken’,’As per our telecon’, ‘Appreciate if you would’, or ‘Please revert to me soonest’?
  3. Do you like to use long words in your writing (such as disseminate, assistance, accomplish, utilise) because you think they will impress your reader and make them think more highly of you?
  4. Do you use passive expressions in your writing rather than active? For example, ‘Your prompt attention is appreciated’, ‘Your co-operation is needed’, or ‘The project was discussed by the managers’?
  5. Do you use old-fashioned words and expressions that were made up by our great-grandfathers many decades ago? This includes expressions like ‘Please be reminded’, ‘Please find attached’, ‘above-mentioned’, ‘herewith’, ‘at your soonest’, ‘Kindly’, or ‘for your reference and perusal’.
  6. Do your sentences ramble on and on, sometimes more than 20 words, so that the reader has to go back to the beginning to try to understand them?
  7. Do you finish messages with ‘Regards’, ‘Warm regards’, ‘Thanks and Regards’, or even worse ‘Tnks & Rgds’, or ‘BRgs’?

If you can answer YES to two or more of these questions, you need help in bringing your writing style up-to-date. You’ve come to the right place. Check back often for advice on how to improve your communication skills – both orally and in writing!

What’s your pet peeve in writing? Add a comment to let me know what really drives you mad! Or if you need some advice, just ask me a question. I’ll do my best to answer it.

Give yourself an edge in this very competitive world by getting to grips with effective writing now!

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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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