business writing ideas from Word Constructions      



welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletter

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

Have you heard that 2012 is the National year of Reading? I am passionate about reading and encourage it in children so it is certainly a year I can support!

As part of this, I am going to be writing a number of book reviews during the year - any business related books I will review in my blog but fiction (or other non-fiction topics) I will publish elsewhere so that my blog remains with the business communications theme. In particular, I am also participating in the Australian Women Writers' Challenge which is inspiring me to find some new authors to read.

Are you participating in National year of Reading at all?

I have been reading up on Pinterest this week. It is a new social media platform based on images rather than text and is proving popular, especially with young women. My creative mind has thought of many ways some businesses could use it (coaches putting up images of goals, restaurants showing their food and happy diners, travel agents showing great destinations, etc) but I have two major hesitations about the platform. One is the time required to make use of another platform (well worth it for visual businesses but to be seen how valuable it is for less visual businesses) and the other is the issue of copyright (if you pin a photo I took that is a breach of my copyright - in many case, this would be acceptable as advertising but a big problem for other situations).

I think Twitter and blogs will remain my main social media options for the time being.

Until next time, use your words wisely,



Recent blog posts you may find useful:Word Constructions eBooks

Review of Breadwinner - autobiography plus!
Social media choice
Getting responses
Procedures and opportunities (including links to where I was quoted in Forbes last week!)
Making legalese clear to read
Poor spelling impacts on your content and message

Good writing results from good, disciplined thinking. To work on your writing is to improve your analytical skills
~ Bryan A Garner (from The Mad, Mad World of legal Writing)

business communications article by Tash Hughes

Communicating boundaries
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

In business it is important to set some boundaries to keep things professional and retain a balance within the business and for the work-life mix.

Boundaries can include giving suppliers or employees clear deadlines for drafts and projects, setting working hours, scheduling routine meetings, always using style guides, stating editing limits in quotes/contracts and having a blog policy for acceptable comments.

Creating boundaries that you are comfortable with is one thing, but to be truly effective you need to let people know what your boundaries are. In general, the best approach is to have your boundaries written down and available before needed; if you have to explain your boundaries when they are being pushed it is harder to stay calm and assertive. For example, if you only accept certain things in blog comments state that somewhere on your blog so if someone complains about the rejection of their comment you can point out the rules, likewise if your quote states 'this price includes two rounds of editing - further editing will be charged at ...' your client has been warned.

You can of course adjust boundaries in specific situations, but if people around you are aware of the boundaries this will be necessary less often and they may well appreciate your flexibility.

The Nile -Australia's Largest Online Bookstore
I have bought a number of books from The Nile, including business and school text books - with free delivery, one book at a time is feasible too

don't forget the basics

Email subjects
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

If you are sending out a marketing email, the subject may seem like a small part of the whole so not much effort is required. However, the subject in an email can make the difference between your email being read - or not.

Think about how many emails you receive in a day and remember that many of your customers get just as many or more. Everyone therefore has to prioritise what they will read and most people will decide to read an email based on the sender (reading every email from a boss or spouse for instance) or the subject.

So when writing an email subject, think about these tips:

  1. keep it short - the end of a long subject won't be visible in the inbox anyway
  2. make it interesting and engaging
  3. relate it to the reader - use words like 'you' and 'get help' rather than 'we' and 'our services'
  4. include an enticement or call to action if possible
  5. consider personalising it (ie including names) but make sure this works as a mistake is worse than not personalising (I've had emails with a subject like 'special offer for {add name}' which I won't read)
  6. be honest and relevant - don't entice people with lies or misleading promises
  7. stand out by being different where possible and avoiding hype and trendy words
  8. avoid spam words completely - some words in teh content may get through a spam filter but don't risk it in a subject

Kobo Books
If you prefer reading electronic books, an offer of a free eBook is hard to resist! Happy reading...

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. It may just show you how easy it is to make mistakes, too.

I found today's example on in the description of a holiday rental home - it has the potential to cause real problems as client expectations could be totally wrong based on this description.


There are 4 spacious bedrooms in the house and another three bedrooms are upstairs. The main open plan fully equipped kitchen with gourmet cooking appliances, dishwasher and coffee machine.

Issues with this example:

The key issue here is confusion over the number of bedrooms - are there four or seven rooms? Four plus three upstairs certainly indicates a total of seven rooms; '4 spacious bedrooms in the house', however, makes me think they really mean there are four rooms, one downstairs and three upstairs. Imagine what happens if someone hires the house for seven rooms and turns up to find only four rooms...

Moving on, the second sentence is incomplete. Removing the adjectives leaves us with the base sentence of 'The kitchen with appliances' which needs a verb for completeness- 'the kitchen has appliances', 'the kitchen with appliances is downstairs' and 'the kitchen with appliances makes family meals easy' are complete sentences.

So many adjectives is confusing, especially without any commas in between. 'The orange, fast, sleek, new car came into view' is the correct way to list adjectives but the long list is clumsy and it is hard to retain all those words at once. It is more interesting to read 'The new car came into view and surprised us with its vivid orange paintwork. As expected, it was sleek and obviously able to move quickly.'

However, what is the word 'main' doing in this sentence? Is there a main kitchen and a less significant kitchen? Or is there a missing phrase like 'the main living area includes a kitchen' or even 'the main area is open plan and includes a kitchen'? I get the impression that this description was written and rewritten a few times without anyone carefully reading the final version to ensure the combined changes made sense.

For consistency, this description needs numbers as digits or words, not both. Common practice is to use words for all words under ten and at the start of a sentence, but certainly it is '4 rooms and 3 rooms' or 'four rooms and three rooms'.

An improved version would be: (based on my assumption of four bedrooms and open plan living space)

There are four spacious bedrooms; three upstairs and the master overlooking the back garden. The main living area is open plan, including a fully-equipped kitchen with gourmet cooking appliances, dishwasher and coffee machine.

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2012, Tash Hughes