We receive hundreds of emails from government departments and corporations. Many of them make a terrible first impression. Read this post to find out why everyone in business is a writer.
Writing Truths – Everyone In Business IS A Writer
These messages are neither clear nor simple. They are full of clichés and jargon, and empty of meaning. Some of them are complex and condescending. Some of them are unprofessional and riddled with errors.
Why do people write this way?
These are the comments that are at the heart of the problem.
- ‘I’m not a writer.’ Most employees think they are not employed as ‘writers’ and they believe it is not part of their job. This is wrong. All of us have become writers whether we like it or not. Emails, texts, and the Internet have forced us to communicate with customers and co-workers. We have to embrace this reality and make it clear to all staff members, from call centre technicians to board members that we expect them to care about their communication skills.
- ‘I know what I’m doing.’ Other senior employees believe they know how to write because of the position they have. They do not. Everyone around them is simply too polite to criticise them. Their complex convoluted sentences are the result of poor techniques. They do not realise that there is a relationship between stringing words together and getting results. Some of the worst writing comes from division heads who believe the problems lie with their staff and not themselves.
How do we fix this?
- Reading: We have to encourage our employees to read, preferably fiction in the language they use for business. Readers make better writers. Read this post: Learn How To Write In Any Language
- Writing: We must work hard to cultivate a simple writing style. Only 2% of all the people I meet know how to construct sentences properly. Only 5% know how to convey what they want to say in writing. Read this post: The One Essential Email Trick Every Business Writer Should Know.
- Grammar: We should put every staff member on a simple grammar refresher and email etiquette course. Putting money into training will make companies take these problems seriously. We must train employees to refrain from copying what has already been poorly written.
- Simplify: We need to educate people in positions of power who communicate. We need to make them realise that big words do not make them sound intelligent. Complicated sentences do not give them substance.
When we achieve this, we will be able to communicate effectively.
If you enjoyed this article, read these posts:
- The 12 Worst Mistakes People Make In Email Subject Lines
- The Top Seven Tips for Writing Emails
- How to Deflate those Inflated Phrases