business writing ideas from Word Constructions
 
  welcome to the Word Constructions business ideas newsletter
 
 

Welcome to the October edition of Business writing ideas.

This month’s newsletter is a bit shorter than normal as it’s been a tough month for me personally – we had some serious health concerns for our daughter (which included many medical appointments) and then my father-in-law died a couple of weeks ago. Thus, I am caring for myself a little by having a break and writing a shorter newsletter.

Last week, I attended a seminar on communicating changes in the superannuation industry to members. One speaker was very interesting and I liked his philosophies. One idea he had was to start a civil movement to make sure everyone has the chance to understand important documents. He spoke in the context of people with lower literacy and numeracy skills struggling to understand super documents, but the concept is broader than that.

He said there are two ways for us to do this. One, make sure our documents are as simple to understand as possible (so avoid jargon and unnecessary complexity). The other is to insist on getting clear documents. If you receive a document that is hard to understand, maybe from your super fund, your bank, your doctor or a lawyer, instead of just throwing it away, tell the provider it was difficult. Start teaching people to make clear documents and it will help everyone.

I’m likely to expand this into a blog post or two, but what do you think? Can we teach businesses and professionals to communicate more clearly? Do you ever tell a professional or other than you can’t understand their documents?

Use your words wisely,

Tash

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Recent blog posts you may find useful:

What do you know about blogging?
Communications can win or lose votes
How to use important points…
A rose by any other name

 

Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.
—Sivananda


 
  don't forget the basics of good writing and communications
 

Quick proof reading questions
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Each time you write something (at least, each time you write something of substance or importance!), it is important to read over it and check it is giving your intended message. Your message can easily be off track if you misspell a word, use poor grammar, make sentences overly complex or get the flow wrong.
So for a quick check of your writing, ask yourself these questions as you check your work…

  1. Are any sentences too long? Can you make them more concise?
  2. Did spell check agree with your spelling? This is not conclusive but a good start!
  3. Can you read from start to finish without hesitating over a sentence or transition to a new paragraph?
  4. Does it sound ok when you read it out loud? This is a good one for checking singular/plural verbs and nouns match and for the overall flow.
  5. Is it clear what every pronoun is referring to?
  6. Is the style and voice suitable for the use of your writing?
  7. Is the punctuation correct, including apostrophes?
 
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  poor writing examples
 

Theory has its place, but an example often makes learning something much easier. In many areas, an example of a mistake or poor quality is an even more effective teacher than examples of the correct technique so here is such an example to learn from…

Example:

A while ago, I received an email with the subject

“Hi Tash, Turn your boring resumes into powerful documents that gets jobs!”

It didn’t impress me but I read the start of the email as well:

“Hi Tash, Turn your boring resumes into powerful documents that gets jobs! We can give it a Complete Overhaul. Using our skills and experience we enhance your resume…”

Issues:

The most obvious issue is repeating the subject as the opening lines of the email. Why bother? Apart from the fact that it is boring the read exactly the same sentence twice, it is a waste of time as you need to keep things moving to retain people’s attention.

The job of an email subject is to catch attention to entice people to read your email. Once they are actually reading the email, you need to give them reason to keep reading – the same piece of text can’t be used in both situations. If the subject is about taking a boring résumé and making it powerful, start the email with something about what a powerful résumé can do or how easy it is to be boring unintentionally in a résumé.

There are also grammatical issues in the subject and email. For instance ‘documents that gets jobs’ should be ‘documents that get jobs’ and capital letters are not necessary for Turn, Complete and Overhaul. It would also be better to write ‘we can enhance you résumé’ or ‘we will enhance’ and add a comma after ‘using our skills and experience’.

I would also raise the question of how many résumés do they think I have? They refer to my boring résumés becoming powerful documents but having one resume seems like a more reasonable assumption to me. True, you can have variants of a résumé to suit any particular job application, but you generally have one master résumé. It seems to me they are focussing on their point of view (ie lots of résumés) rather than thinking about how their potential clients see things.

.Better:

Subject: How about a powerful résumé that gets you jobs, Tash?

Body: Hi Tash,

Did you know many people have a boring résumé despite their best efforts?

Your resume could be much more powerful and effective. Using our skills and experience, we can review and improve your résumé and …


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