What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
There is as much poor writing in business as in schools. Writing for teacher-as-examiner is replaced by writing for boss-as-examiner, often a boss who habitually plugs in the hackneyed business/legalese phrases we expect: pursuant to, enclosed please find, with respect to and the aforementioned. Business writing is often characterized by density, circuitousness, voicelessness, overuse of passive voice and non-standard English, punctuation and spelling.
Before the internet in the late 1980s, no communication went out without being vetted by a manager. And any manager of distinction had his own secretary. Properly trained secretaries had been trained to write reports, letters and memos and were adept at correcting sloppy English or unclear sentences. Second and third drafts were also proofread and carefully considered before being faxed or posted. Are you noticing what’s missing? Yes, nowadays anyone can click send and off hurtles an unchecked possible ‘letter bomb’ to a customer (or perhaps a former customer). You cannot afford to be taking the risk of untrained staff sending email that impacts your bottom line. Let’s take Key Steps this week to…
1.An email is not an sms. When sending email, grammar, punctuation, spelling and professional language rules still apply. We might write more conversationally these days (thank goodness the hackneyed phrases have been left behind) but that does not permit slang, jargon, abbreviations or sloppy sentences and sms language. Your email could be the first impression a potential customer gets of your business. Does your email say, “Do business with us, we are a professional, ‘on-the-ball’ organisation”? Or does it say, “Quality, respect and basic courtesies don’t matter”?
2.Think before you click! We don’t have a safety net (the manager or PA who checked your letter) anymore, so it is essential that EVERYONE take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for each and EVERY email before clicking send. Make sure that the spell and grammar check is set-up to automatically check outgoing emails. Always answer all questions you were asked and ensure that all attachments are attached before sending. In addition make sure you have received some lessons on modern business writing skills and net-etiquette so you can..