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welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletter

Hello {name}! Welcome to the February edition of business writing ideas from Word Constructions!

What an eventful year it has been for Australia so far - so much of the country covered in water while other parts burn and many Queenslanders deal with cyclones. If you have been affected, I offer my sympathy and best wishes for the recovery process. If you are looking to help the flood victims, donation details are on the Queensland Government site.

Cyclone Yasi has also got me thinking about what in my business most needs protecting, physically. My computer files are backed up off site so if I was limited in what I could save, I could leave the computer and grab the hard copy materials I'd find hard to replace - things like stories I've written long hand, notes from writing and business lectures/seminars and my note books of ideas and research notes. I have also made a mental note to get more of those things backed up in some way, too.

What would you prioritise professionally if need be?

On a different level, I have made the most of January - a time when I get fewer client requests - to get some projects tidied away and some planning done. With schools going back this week, it feels like the real working year is beginning and I am prepared for it. Are you?


Recent blog posts you may find useful:

Important information comes first
Natural disasters
Forwarding emails
Writing office memos

P.S. To help you get 2011 off to a great start, I am offering a special only to my subscribers. During February, I will offer suggestions and edit up to 5 pages of your existing website for only $115 (this would usually be $140 plus so it is about 20% off). Simply reply to this email (including your name and URL) to book in your site.


The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success are concentration, discrimination, organization, innovation and communication.
~ Michael Faraday

latest article

Varied length
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

‘Variety is the spice of life’ so add some variety to your writing by using sentences of different lengths.

Using a lot of long sentences makes your writing harder to read – people have to concentrate to get through each sentence and there are fewer visual breaks in the document.

Compare a number of short sentences

The cat sat on the mat. The cat is black. Sam is the cat’s name. A rat ran past Sam. The cat chased the rat.

with a paragraph of mixed length sentences:

Sam, the black cat, sat on a mat as a rat ran past. Sam chased the rat.

The combined sentences are actually shorter in total and have less repetition, but overall it is more interesting to have the variety.

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don't forget the basics

Avoid clichés
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

While they do contain an element of truth and make a point clearly, clichés are best avoided in writing because

  • they show no creativity or effort on your part so don't build your credibility
  • people are used to them so don't read them properly - do you really want them skimming over your message?
  • they are not inspiring so generate less of a reaction in readers - and you want people to react by answering your call to action
  • they are not interesting so people are very unlikely to reread your message
  • they are impersonal - you don't let your personality and style show when you use clichés so there is less appeal and connection

If you find yourself writing a number of clichés, include them in your first draft so you aren't distracted but go back and find alternative words to use. It may be of value to read a variety of books, articles and ads to learn other ways of expressing ideas - even if you are not studying the material, the more you read the more you will learn about putting words together.

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poor examples

Sometimes, the easiest way to learn the correct way to do something is to see it done poorly so in this section of my newsletter, I show you some real-life examples of writing that need a little help.

Staying in touch with members is great in general, but the following inclusion in a member email was less impressive.


It is with great pleasure to announce that {name} annual report for 2007 is was lodged for mailing to members. I anticipate a turnaround of 2-5 days for members to receive. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Issues with this example:

I find this paragraph long winded and officious when it could be much simpler to still give the same message. Of course, I wonder why members are told they will get a letter in a few days but that’s just me!

As always, some proof reading would have fixed the other issues in this message; ‘is was’  doesn’t make sense and probably came from revisions to an earlier draft – a very easy way to make mistakes I might add – and ‘question’ instead of ‘questions’ is awkward.

‘with pleasure to announce’ is also awkward and would be better to include who/what is announcing something.

The middle sentence is incomplete; although we can assume members will receive the annual report, the sentence leaves it open.

An invitation for someone to contact you is often more effective if you immediately tell them how to do so, either by giving a number or address, or by referring to those details elsewhere. Make it easy for them and they are more likely to do what you want.

 An improved version would be: (without changing the meaning)

It is with great pleasure that I announce the {name} 2007 annual report has been mailed to members and should arrive in the next 2 – 5 days. If you have any questions, please contact me on xxxxxx.

You are welcome to pass this newsletter on to anyone you think will be interested, but please send it as is without changes.

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© 2011, Tash Hughes