Because your writing reflects your credibility, you want to craft your messages as effectively as possible. You can immediately improve it by applying these five points.
1. Make your opening sentence compelling.
It starts with knowing your reader—a boss, a coworker, a customer. Rambling thoughts about the weather won’t interest them. Stick to directly addressing issues your recipients care about so they keep on reading.
2. Think through your message thoroughly before writing the first word.
Warm up by completing an outline that details answers to these questions: Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How. This will help you think through all aspects of your message and make it easier and faster to write. By taking this outline method to heart, you’ve already done the hard work before you write the first word.
3. Use “you” in your messages to make them more personal.
Successful salespeople use “you” more than “I” and so should you. Scan your message for variations of the word “I” before sending it and rework every “I,” “my,” and “me” to emphasize “you,” “your,” and “you’re.”
Instead of: When I create my schedule, I set up time with myself. Write: When you create your schedule, you set up time with yourself.
4. Don’t make your reader work hard to understand your message.
That means eliminating run-on sentences and overwritten (wordy) paragraphs. How? Remove select words (e.g., some, really, much) and see it the sentence still makes sense. Limit the number to 21 words per sentence—no more. Fewer words get the job done better!
Instead of: If you have some coworkers who are well-organized, their productivity levels can really go through the roof when they work remotely. Write: Well-organized coworkers can be more productive by working remotely. (See! You’ve turned a 21-word sentence into a 9-word sentence without changing the meaning.)
5. Write correctly so readers don’t get tripped up on your intended meaning.
How often do you see or hear words used incorrectly? A lot! But your reputation suffers if you don’t get them right.
For example: “Everyday” means common or normal while “every day” means today, tomorrow, next day, etc. Or “stationary” (something that stands still) versus “stationery” (something you write on). I call these Word Trippers because they keep tripping us up! Want a quick reference so you can be correct every time? Go to www.wordtrippers.com/odi
Why? Because your credibility is at stake.
Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist them, she has created Word Trippers Tips to quickly find the right word when it matters most. It allows you to improve your writing through excellent resources arriving weekly in your inbox.
Word Trippers Tips, includes a webinar, crossword puzzles, and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout by using the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi.