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Monday, 3 June 2013

How to write for business – five simple secrets

By Liz Coyle-Camp

Good business writing takes practice and the best writers are short, sharp and to the point. I've seen many talented writers enter the corporate world and lose their ability to write and communicate clearly and intelligibly.  This is because they get ‘jargonised’ and sucked into a corporate vortex of company management speak – that ‘linguistic gunge’ of uncommon and pretentious vocabulary, convoluted syntax and vague, meaningless words.

Here are a few examples:

  • “We need to maximize our earnings potential and ensure high ROI with best-in-class scalability levels.” Plain English: We need to grow the business and make more money.
  • “With this collaborative agreement, our companies have a great opportunity to utilise partnering synergies.”  Plain English:  By working together we can make a better product.

So, the next time you’re asked to pen a memo, write a speech, scribble-off some marketing literature or submit a monthly report, here are a few tips to keep your audience engaged if not riveted!

  1. Write the way you normally speak 
  2. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  3. Don’t use jargon – ever! It’s pompous, alienating and irritating!
  4. Don’t write more than two pages on any subject.
  5. Write as if you were the reader