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Declutter and simplify your writing

by on
in Career Management,Workplace Communication

If there’s one technique that can instantly improve your business writing, it’s this: Trim and simplify.

It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true: It takes more effort to write something short—and concise—than something long.

When writing in a hurry, it’s easy to include unnecessary words or cram too much into a single sentence. Result: Business writing easily becomes cluttered or “grandiose” sounding. Trimming can eliminate redundancies, while simplifying can make sentences easier to understand.

Look out for:

• Redundant phrases. Read what you’ve written and ask yourself, “Is every word necessary?” Specifically scan for common redundancies, such as exclude out, revert back, first began, continue on, and cooperate together, resume again, past experience, unexpected surprise, free gift, advance warning, brief summary, later in time.

• Run-on sentences. You’ve seen them dozens of time: A business writer crams two sentences into one run-on sentence, with only a comma to separate the two.

Remedy the problem by adding a comma before a conjunction (such as “and”), inserting a semicolon or creating two sentences.

Wrong:

You’ll find a document attached that shows results from the past quarter, we hope that suffices.

Right:

You’ll find a document attached that shows results from the past quarter. We hope that suffices.

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