With everyone from CEO’s to filing staff expected to provide almost instantaneous responses via email these days, the importance of writing clear and concise text is becoming increasingly important.
How many times have you had to write several follow up emails to explain the original email, when one could, and should, have sufficed? Never fear, we’re here to help!!
1) Use clean, concise sentences which are easily understandable. Try to avoid making more than 2 points in a sentence, so the reader does not become confused, and avoid ambiguity.
The objective in editing a document is to ensure it flows smoothly, so the recipient can read and understand it from start to finish without having to pause to review the sentence again. If you have to stop to re-read a point, then consider re-phrasing the sentence to further clarify it.
For more tips on concise writing, please refer to our earlier article titled “10 common writing mistakes and how to correct them”.
2) Avoid using jargon, or unnecessarily complicated wording (which has usually been sourced from a thesaurus!) in your writing, when a simpler word will suffice.
Remember that your clients are intelligent individuals, but they may not specialise in your field of expertise, and English may not be their first language. Therefore, make it easy for them to communicate efficiently with you and vice versa. 3) A useful starting point to bear in mind when composing an email is to know your objective for drafting the letter i.e. what would you like the recipient to do on receiving the letter?
Regardless of whether you are making a request, a threat, or an order etc., it should be clearly stated in the first paragraph of the email, so the recipient instantly knows why the letter has been sent.
4) Be specific about the point you are trying to pass on to your counterpart, and always use plain English rather than economic or scientific wording, or complicated jargon.
For example, instead of referring to “situations and scenarios that occurred in 1997”, explain clearly that “during the Asian financial crisis in 1997… and as a consequence, SEC regulations have become more stringent to avoid the reoccurrence of these illegal activities”.
5) Always sign off your letter by using a business or professional greeting (unless you’re really good friends with the recipient). Always opt for “Best regards”, or “Yours sincerely” or even “Best”, and try to avoid borderline sign offs such as “Very truly yours” to avoid any embarrassing misinterpretations.
As for “xoxoxoxoxo”, it’s probably best to save these warm, enthusiastic greetings for next year’s Valentine card!
Remember clarity is key! If you have to read a sentence three times before you can understand it, then the chances are your client will have to read it at least 6 times before they can work it out!
As busy business executives, your clients are more likely to respond by writing an email to you to request for clarification of these illegible points, and thus the email merry-go-round continues!! How can UKproedits can help? UKproedits offers a wide array of editing and translation services. We can offer monthly or annual packages which are tailor-made to fit your requirements and budget.
We have the expertise to handle all your business correspondence to ensure the tone and level of professionalism is commensurate with your company’s image. We can also assist with all your company’s other essential documentation, from presentations to reports.
We fully respect the confidentiality of your correspondence and data, and guarantee it will never be divulged to any third parties. Why not save yourself unnecessary trouble and inconvenience – UKproedits can help you get it right the first time!