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Learn to ‘write tight’

Secrets to sharpen your business writing

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in Workplace Communication

Do you suffer from scriptophobia? If you’re afraid to write a memo, gain confidence by adopting these rules:

Choose lively verbs. After your first draft, circle the action words in each sentence. Scan the page to ensure you aren’t lapsing into lazy verbs like get or has been. Replace boring or overused words with more compelling, descriptive verbs like capture and shine.

Number your points. In listing a string of facts, examples or reasons that spur the reader to act, don’t write a dense paragraph. Break it up into numbered items. This lets readers follow along more easily and increases your persuasive punch.

Change topics gracefully. Flow from point to point with linking words, such as in the same way or however. Review your rough draft for abrupt or confusing transitions. Insert clarifying words or subheadings if necessary.

Chop and prune. Beware of over-explaining or repeating. Look over your draft with an editor’s eye, cutting weak words such as very or redundant phrases such as on the subject of.

Vary sentence length. Don’t feel you must pack reams of information into long, rambling sentences. Two short, simple sentences work better.

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