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

Welcome to the summer edition of Business writing ideas.

How has your summer been so far? I hope you’ve had a chance to enjoy the warmth and get a bit of time for yourself. We had time away but it was during the heat wave so we didn’t do much – which actually made it a great holiday!

This is a big year for my family with children starting new schools and facing new challenges. So I have been working at getting more organised to make more time available as required. Mostly I’ve adjusted little things like getting my bookkeeper to raise invoices as well as record expenses and outsourcing some formatting tasks for blog posts (at Word Constructions and Love Santa).

What have you managed to reorganise in your business to make this year a bit easier than 2013? Or maybe a lot easier! Depending on what ideas I’m sent, I may share them in my next newsletter or a blog post (with full credit of course!)

I think it is important to review those so-called little things we do so we can be efficient and spend more time on the important things. And let’s face it, running a business or a family often means lots of little tasks with only about 10% being visible to the outside world.

Use your words wisely,

Tash

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Recent blog posts you may find useful:

Writing annual reports and attachments as one
Answering complaints

Answer customer questions
Less haste, less waste


 

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.
Ernest Hemingway


 
  business communications article by Tash Hughes
 
 

Avoid saying too much
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

As Hemingway said, good writing is about knowing what to exclude as well as being able to write it clearly.

All too often people with a passion for their business try to share their expertise and knowledge with their market. Done with the best of intentions, this leads to an overwhelming amount of information that most people don’t need – and frankly, often don’t care about.

So here are some ways to avoid that trap:

  1. What do people want to know first when they visit your website? That’s probably all your home page needs. If you can’t figure out the important questions, ask friends and customers what they want to know.
     
  2. Put technical detail on a separate web page – it’s still available but doesn’t clutter your marketing pages.
     
  3. Keep asking ‘so what?’ If you can’t give a reasonable answer, the information is probably too detailed and obscure for your audience, too. For instance, our widgets are made of stainless steel – so what? That means our widgets don’t rust – so what? That means our widgets can be used outside for years – so what? That means you only need to buy widgets once every ten years, saving you time and effort. So it’s not so much what they’re made of but the fact they last that will sell your widgets.
     
  4. People are busy and want answers fast so make your writing easy to read. Avoid long fancy words that really don’t add any value as they just slow down the reader – compare ‘we sell widgets that last’ with ‘our company offers widgets with a superior longevity’

Just after Australia Day, it seems appropriate to acknowledge my website is hosted Down Under!
 
  don't forget the basics of good writing and communications
 

Variety is the spice of life!
By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Make your writing more interesting by adding some variety…

  1. Use a mix of short and long sentences and paragraphs
     
  2. Start paragraphs with different words (especially sequential paragraphs)
     
  3. Avoid repeating adjective and adverbs – especially in the same or sequential sentences, but avoid overuse in the entire piece of writing, too
     
  4. If adding images, put some at the top or bottom, some on the left and some on the right and so forth
     
  5. Use different examples and case studies
 
booktopia.com.au - Australia's #1 online bookstore
I used Booktopia for novels and text books for school this year plus one or two books for me!
 
 
  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.

The following example is from an email I received from a supplier to one of my clients. Unfortunately, this is not the first poor writing example I’ve read from this supplier – I very much have the impression that they care about the skill they are good at and forget that clear communications and customer service are also important aspects to a successful business.

Example:

However we will ensure that all your existing clients with the redundant field already switched on to ‘Yes’ is checked in the yet to be renamed Health field setting “Has private patient hospital cover”. This will prevent any intervention on your part to make any manual updates after the change.

Issues:

The first sentence in its simplest form is ‘we will make all your clients checked in the new field’ which clearly is badly written. By adding so many details to the sentence, they have confused the subject and made the sentence hard to understand.

The start and end of a sentence must be about the same subject for the sentence to make sense. So ‘the manager reports to the CEO’ works even if it is more detailed like ‘the manager on the fifth floor reports to the parent company’s CEO’ because the essential subject and action work together. Compare this to ‘the manager of the fifth floor in in the relocation project team reporting to the CEO’.

Better version:

However, the new hospital cover field will be checked for any existing clients with a ‘yes’ in the redundant field. This means you don’t have to manually update the database as part of this change.

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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