Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Make your writing simple, informal and direct. Become passionate about lapses in those simple principles. Ban them from all your writing.

A few examples...

'I am writing to you regarding your email' (not simple and too formal) 'Thank you for your email.'

'...ascertain the location of...' (not simple) 'find'

'a number of...' (not direct - almost meaningless) Try 'eight'. If you really want to say it's a small number, but can't be exact, maybe 'several'.

'when and if..' (not simple) Make a choice: 'when' or 'if'.

'as far as we are concerned' (not simple) Maybe, 'we believe', or just state it.

'we would like to apologise' (not simple or direct) 'we apologise'

'exact opposite (not simple) 'opposite'

'please find attached' (not simple and too formal) Maybe, 'I have attached' or better, 'The attachment summarises/outlines/describes/will show you...'

'...enclosed for your perusal' (perusal is a formal, pointless word. We are not sending a document so they can light a fire.)

'...for your consideration' or '...for your convenience' ( too formal and not simple - more pointless words)

'to conduct an investigation...' (not simple) 'to investigate'

A suggestion

Once your passion for simple, informal, direct language grows, resist the urge to share it with the world. We'll know it's a big issue, but most people will just think you should get out more.


Interested in a workshop on business writing for your team?

About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder and managing director. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph enjoys trips to France. He lives in rural Canterbury.

Interested in training in business writing?

A business writing workshop will give your team far more than just plain English. They’ll be achieving more clarity in less time. Through their emails and letters, they’ll be building cooperative relationships with their colleagues, customers and community.

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