How is your organization's
"written image?" You know, the image of your organization
that your staff create every time they send out a letter, report or
proposal on company letterhead.
Does your company
come across as service-oriented and highly-motivated or does it convey
a vague, indecisive image?
So many companies
spend weeks working on mission statements and goals and then overlook
an essential tool that helps or hinders their delivery-the written communications
of the employees.
Whether it is a
letter, memo, report or proposal, poor writing-writing that is vague
or disorganized-can lose you valuable customers, clients and contracts.
What is the point
in spending hours preparing a proposal only to have it land on the potential
client's desk riddled with misused words, grammar and spelling errors!
What sort of an image does it built in the reader's mind with regard
to the writer's and his company's attention to detail and quality.
organizations assume a university education guarantees the ability to
write well. Wrong!
People who have
attended university have either ended up in courses that teach academic
writing (wrong for the business world) or in courses that involve fill-in-the
is that business writing is static. However, business writing is constantly
changing, and words and phrases appropriate several years ago are now
outdated and convey that image to the reader.
How can you tell
if your staff is using an up-to-date writing style? Take a look at some
of the material going out.
1. Do letters and
reports carry old-fashioned words such as, "ascertain," "as
per," or "pursuant to"?
2. Are these worn-out
clichés frequently used: "please find enclosed," "thanking
you in advance," "upon receipt of," or "If you have
any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact me"?
3. Are letters signed
off with "Yours truly" or carry a "c.c." at the
These are only a
few of the obvious examples of an outmoded writing style.
Also check documents
for tone and clarity. Ask yourself if you would want to be the recipient
of this document? Can you read the material quickly and know precisely
what the reader is to do next?
communications carry not only the intended message but also an subconscious
message about the professionalism of the writer and the organization.