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Not so fast with a spell-checker

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

As any writer can tell you, a first draft is seldom perfect. The best writers put their words through rigorous rewrites and revisions before they even bother to run the spell-checker.

Doing the same for memos, e-mail correspondence and letters could take your business writing to a whole new level.

Here’s how to massage your text like a best-selling writer:

Read your letter from the reader’s point of view. Is it easy to locate the main message? Is it near the beginning, or does the reader need to wade through several paragraphs before learning what the letter is about? Make it easy.

Check your tone.
Is it too stilted, chatty or bureaucratic? Choose words that can’t be misinterpreted to sound any way other than what you intend.

Listen for the logical flow of ideas. Read the letter with fresh eyes, as if you know nothing about the subject. Do the ideas flow from one paragraph to the next in a way that anyone would understand?

Eliminate lazy writing.
Replace several weak words with a single strong word that nails the idea you’re trying to convey. Replace clichés with creative turns of phrase.

Check your grammar.
Don’t rely on a spell-checker. The function won’t tell you, for example, that you’ve written “your” when you should have written “you’re.”

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