Four Writing Tips for Better Business Communications

Tired of reading long-winded, wordy articles? Guilty of writing them? If you’re deliberately using fancy terms to impress your reader, stop. Too much padding makes your ideas seem shallow. When writing for business, the best writing is clear and easy to understand.

The mistake junior writers make most often is using buzz words for effect. You know the words I’m talking about – “unprecedented, colossal, epic, irrefutable!” Usually, these glitzy words only obscure the message. During revision, most writers check to make sure they’ve included all the necessary information but great writers check to see what they can leave out.

So how can you tell if your article is guilty? One tool you could try is the Gunning Fog Index. The Fog Index is a readability formula that assigns a score on how simple the writing is to read.

If you’d like to test your own content, you can try it here:  Be aware, the index has its limitations like classifying three syllable words as being complex. Potato, for example.

After playing with the index, you’ll have an idea if your material could use a rewrite. I took a few reading examples and plugged them into the index to see what kind of scores they’d generate. Have a peak at the results.

Ideally, you want your business writing to fall somewhere between 8-14, depending on your audience.

In the meantime, here are four of InkPlot’s best tips you can use for more concise business writing right now:

Avoid Jargon
Jargon is industry specific language. You might be a doctor but chances are your reader isn’t. He or she is likely just interested in health. Plain English is always better. Instead of “He has a malignant growth.” try, “He has cancer.”

Get Rid of Redundancies
Hearing the same thing twice is annoying. In writing, we do it in sneaky ways like typing true fact or close proximity. Consider applying a rule of Twitter to your article; don’t waste a second character on what’s already been said.

Eliminate Inflated Phrases
Inflated phrases often show up in our introductions or as a connecter between thoughts.  Don’t write by virtue of the fact when you really mean because or in the event that… when if will suffice. Do you see what I mean? Blown up phrases don’t add value to the message, they make it longer.

Stay Away from Pretentious Language
Thinking about describing something as mere? As in mere mortals, for example? Don’t do it. Inserting utilize when you clearly mean use? Sigh. If you write with clarity, your audience will respect you because they understand you, not because you’re showing how verbose (wordy) you can be.

Tightening up your sentences and toning down your language makes your writing lean and a pleasure for everyone to read. If you’d like a health assessment of your content with more depth than the Gunning Fog, call or write Full Blast Creative for more information!

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About the Author

Crystal DeCnodder

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Crystal DeCnodder is a keynote speaker, social media, and digital marketing expert and is a partner at Full Blast Creative, a creative digital marketing and web design agency in Calgary, Alberta. When Crystal is AFK, she enjoys skateboarding, guitar, travel, and time with family and friends.

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