What are the driving principles behind good professional communication? Dive into this week’s article brought to you by our guest writer Anita, and learn how to effectively communicate in business English and minimise the white noise in the communication channel.
Good business and professional writing is clear, concise, concrete, complete, courteous, coherent and constructive.
A sentence which is not complete will also be less clear, coherent and courteous.
Clear writing avoids jargon and technical words, is concrete and specific, uses active rather than passive verbs, avoids long strings of prepositional phrases (or word salads), makes pronoun references crystal clear and avoids dangling and misplaced modifiers.
Concise writing uses active verbs, avoids the verb “to be” and similar constructions, avoids nominalisations, avoids long strings of prepositions and avoids repetition and redundancy.
Concrete and specific writing uses concrete terms that appeal to the senses and limits and defines terms by using specific words.
Complete writing answers all reasonable questions including who, what, where, when, why and how.
Courteous writing is gender neutral, puts the audience first (“you” rather than “we” or “I”), is tactful, follows the traditional forms of courtesy and uses a reader-friendly format.
Coherent writing constructs paragraphs carefully around one topic, has sentences with one main idea, uses transitional words to link sentences and paragraphs into a logical and coherent whole, is consistent in formatting numbers and spelling and makes list items parallel in grammatical structure.
Constructive writing emphasizes the positive, states what you can do (as opposed to what you can’t do), avoids negative words such as “unfortunately”, focuses on how to improve when delivering criticism, and apologizes when necessary.
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