As the world adopts the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also more commonly known as the digital revolution, our workplace has also become more globalized, thus allowing us to overcome the geographical challenge to work with people from different continents.
Today, most of us are required to write, more so than our parents 20 or 30 years ago, whether for social or business purposes.
This is why written communication has now become one of the most important communication tools in the workplace. Our writing skills may not be on par with renowned authors like J.K. Rowling, but simple business correspondence such as writing email shouldn’t be that difficult, right?
One of the biggest challenge most of us face in the workplace is not the inability to write, but the inability to write effectively.Effective business writing is one of the most valuable skillsets any business organisation would appreciate and this could also help you in moving up the career ladder.
You can have all the great ideas in the world and if you can’t communicate it effectively, nobody will ever hear them.
Here are seven common mistakes that I have spotted in today’s business writing. I will share more in my upcoming training sessions.
Are you guilty of making these seven mistakes in your business communications?
#1. Revert: The word ‘revert’ is quite possibly one of the most common mistakes people make in their daily business communications. Revert simply means ‘to go back to its previous state’. It is NOT a synonym to ‘reply’ or ‘get back to me’ as used by many.
#2. So-called: This phrase is only to be used when you are skeptical about something, either in the case of an imposter or if you believe that a title is undeserved. Use it only when something appears to be but is not. Remember that so-called is not the same as called so. E.g. This so-called charity has robbed thousands of poor people.
#3. Extraordinary: The word “extraordinary” isn’t the opposite of “extra ordinary.” “An extra ordinary day” is just a very ordinary day — a “super ordinary” day. “An extraordinary day” is a special or unusual day that’s nothing like any other ordinary day. “Extraordinary” means very unusual or remarkable.
#4. Alright: The form “alright” is a one-word spelling of the phrase “all right”. Alright is commonly used in written dialogue and informal writing, but all right is the only acceptable form in business writing. Basically, it is not all right to use alright in standard English.
#5. Irregardless: There are numerous debates on whether irregardless is a word. Because of the complexities of this word, you are better off using regardless instead. Even at the time of typing this in MS Word, a red curvy line is shown in my document – indicating a spelling error.
#6. Uninterested vs Disinterested: An uninterested person is someone who is bored or unconcerned ; a disinterested person is someone who is impartial and unbiased. If you’re on trial, you would want a disinterested judge.
#7. With all due respect: Using this word suggests that you are about to say something less than respectful. If you feel like you need to preface something with “with all due respect,” you might want to reconsider saying it at all, especially in business writing.How To Write Effectively?
You can write effectively simply by following the four C’s. The four Cs are clear, concise, complete, and correct. All four steps are essential if you want to ensure your email, letters, memos, reports, meeting minutes, proposals or newsletters are well-written:
#1. Be Clear – This ensures your reader understands your communication without any difficulty. This simply means you don’t use vague or unnecessary words that he or she must look up or where the meaning or context is unclear or dubious. You should also ensure that there is a logical flow to the communication.
#2. Be Concise – Conciseness is using as few words as possible to get the message across to the reader. In other words, keep your sentences short, simple and to the point.
#3. Be Complete – Completeness is ensuring the reader has all the information they need to understand the message, and to make an informed decision. If you leave something out, the reader might make an incorrect decision.
#4. Be Correct – Correctness is essential as you do not want to confuse or mislead your reader with information that is incorrect or outdated, or text that has grammatical or spelling errors. Reread your message before you send it, whether it is an e-mail message, letter, report, proposal, or any other document. Ensure that the information sent it correct as it can otherwise be costly to you and/or your organization.How to further improve your writing?
#1. You must read. If the only writing you ever read is your own, you will have no standards to judge your writing against. Read like a spectator, if you must, but try to read like an apprentice.
#2. You must write. No matter how many rules you know, it takes practice to write well. Your tenth letter to a disgruntled client will be easier to write than the first one, and believe it or not, the tenth report will be easier to write too.
#3. You should want to write. Find personal reasons for wanting to write well and for wanting to communicate with others. Then, turn off the language cop that’s slowing you down and get writing.
#4. You need a feedback system to tell you how you’re doing. You need to know if your writing works. People don’t learn to write well from being corrected; they learn not to write. Look at feedback as an opportunity to find better solutions, not as an opportunity to correct errors.
I hope these tips were beneficial. In my next segment, I will discuss other common errors and styles of writing that is not acceptable in today’s writing. Till then and good luck with your writing!
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What other words do you think is commonly misused in business writing today? Send them to us and Davidson will debunk them for you!