writing concisely with an ink penTo speak faster than we read is a very true statement. And in the realm of general business writing, using fewer words can help get us to the point.

We miss the boat on writing concisely more times than not.

However, tweaking our written communication to fewer words just might help get rid of the imperfections weighing our writing down.

Tone of Choice

If you’ve ever been told your business writing comes across rude, snippy, or too corporate, one might automatically think it’s simply too brief.

Have you ever thought it might just be your tone? Yes, tone matters! We create a habit to write too many words when wanting to express warm tones. Believe it or not, it is possible to write warmly and conversationally with few words.

Here’s a bad example of someone trying to write an apology out to 100 employees:

“To those of you who experienced data loss due to the system crash today, we express regret that this happened in the middle of a busy day.”

Here’s a good example of a good corporate apology letter to the same number of employees:

“I am so sorry for the loss of your data due to our system crash today.”

Clear Meanings are Everything

Accurately expressing a particular meaning when writing is harder than you think. It could either be taken too literal or stir various emotions.

Think sneaky. When writing, “You are one sneaky person,” easily evokes deviant feelings and can be taken the wrong way.

To write clearly and concisely, you might try: “You had a fun and silly spirit when throwing the surprise party for the boss.”

Cut to the Chase and Get Rid of the Fluff

Write your thoughts down first, then go back to eliminate pointless words and phrases. They will do nothing but add redundancy, weak adjectives, and confusing nouns.

Get Rid of the Corporate Voice

If you can, and when appropriate, don’t write corporate. Content written in a corporate realm can sometimes feel like it’s written for those without feelings or emotions.

Why not use language filled with a little passion?

Try using editing tricks like writing with questions, as if you are striking up a conversation.

On a side note, if you have to write corporate, use MessagePath to scan for problematic language that may cause legal communication risks.

Or, review these outdated phrases in corporate writing.

Active Voices are Engaging

Instead of writing, They are enjoying the new computers, try writing, “They enjoy the new computers.

Non-Active Voice: The CEO made the decision to get rid of all files from 10 years ago.

Active Voice: The CEO decided to get rid of all files from 10 years ago.

Cut Out That, There Is and There Are

The Bad: “There are 5 topics we are discussing today.”

The Good: “We will discuss 5 topics today”

The Bad: “They decided that they will drive to Florida for the conference.””

The Good: “They decided to drive to Florida for the conference.”

Stay Away from Really

The word, “really” has a few buddies who are also not good influences on our writing:

  • Actually
  • Already
  • Fairly
  • Just
  • Quite
  • Totally
  • Very

Don’t Overthink It

Don’t let the rules of grammar get you down. At the end of the day, rules make you a better writer. When in doubt, use MessagePath to help you write better sales and marketing.

MessagePath is your copy editor for customer success and business teams needing help with press releases, emails, web copy, Zendesk tickets, marketing emails, and legal documents – among other things.