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Business Writing: 5 ways to stay ‘positive,’ 3 tips to keep it clear

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in Career Management,Management Training,Office Communication

Which are you more likely to write: “Do not waste energy” or “Conserve energy”?

Too often, people express themselves negatively without even realizing it. If your writing contains a lot of “no’s” and “not’s,” it’s a signal of negative writing.

Using positive, self-assured, optimistic language is a better way to promote your ideas. In the above example, “Conserve energy” is more persuasive because it makes readers feel good rather than admonished.

Here are 5 examples of negative sentences turned positive:

1. We hope you will not be disappointed with the results.

Positive: We hope you’ll be as pleased with the results as we are.

2. Without proper planning, we will not be able to prevent overcrowding.

Positive: We’re planning thoroughly in advance to keep the crowd to a manageable size.

3. If you don’t like my suggestions, please contact me.

Positive: Please contact me if you have any other suggestions. I’d welcome hearing them.

4. Don’t ignore details; they’re important.

Positive: If you can implement the plan down to the smallest details, you’ll realize better results.

5. This project is going to be nearly impossible to do.

Positive: I want this project to be successful, and to make sure it is, I need your help working around two potential roadblocks. Does Your Writing Pass the Clarity Test?

Clear writing signals clear thinking. To tidy up your text:

Count words per sentence. After completing your first draft, count the number of words in each sentence and compute the average. If it’s between 15 and 20 words per sentence, you pass. But if you’re routinely writing long, convoluted sentences, you’re forcing readers to fight to figure out your point.

Example: In a letter asking customers to reply if they didn’t want their financial data sold to third parties, American Express sent a rambling missive with an average sentence length of 32 words. No wonder few customers responded.

Choose one adjective. Stringing synonyms together bores readers. Pick the best one and delete the rest.

Example: Replace “He had a tentative, uncertain, hesitant manner” with “He had a tentative manner.”

Make verbs stand alone. A lawyer might tell you to “cease and desist,” but it’s better to just write “stop.”

Also, look for phrases you can replace with verbs. Examples: Substitute “We’ll take into consideration” with “We’ll consider” and “I’m of the opinion that” with “I believe.”

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