When Writing at Work, Communicate Faster by Changing One Word

When Writing at Work, Communicate Faster by Changing One Word

(Originally published April 2017) Can changing just one word of your message get that message across faster when writing at work? I think so. Here’s why… I used to drive a stretch of freeway with a most annoying sign off to the west that irked me every time I passed it. The sign was a huge banner for a tree maintenance company and it read, “Are your trees safe?” I suspect the purpose of the sign was to generate business, but I don’t think their word choice was the best for doing so. However, that sign gives me an...
Monday’s Mistake for April 12, 2021: Did Legal Write This??

Monday’s Mistake for April 12, 2021: Did Legal Write This??

My samples for these Monday Mistakes practically fall from the sky. They show up in my email inbox, on food packaging, and in my mailbox. This week’s Monday’s Mistake is courtesy of a sales letter I received. Do you think the legal department wrote this? It has a mistake, which I’m sure you’ll see, but it is also convoluted—which is a mistake in my mind, because our goal is clear communication, especially when trying to sell something! Here it is: In the event of a covered accidental loss of life, this coverage, when combined with...
Monday’s Mistake for April 12, 2021: Did Legal Write This??

Monday’s Mistake for March 29, 2021: Too. Many. Words.

Let’s get straight to the point this week. What’s wrong with this paragraph? “In light of the major data breaches the world has been experiencing in recent years, the importance of cybersecurity can’t be reiterated enough. Even big brands are not exempt from becoming victims and facing repercussions like lawsuits and settlements.” It’s too wordy! I don’t see any mistakes, per se, but this is convoluted writing. And at BetterFasterWriter.com, we say “no” to clutter and “yes” to clarity. Look at all the clutter in these 39 words: “In...
Monday’s Mistake for April 12, 2021: Did Legal Write This??

Monday’s Mistake for March 22, 2021: Don’t Start a Sentence with a Number

Here’s this week’s pop quiz! What’s wrong with this sentence? “2020 has been like the tornado in The Wizard of Oz, ripping us all up from our familiar lives and depositing us in a strange new world.” The answer? You can’t start a sentence with a number. If the writer had said… “The year 2020 has been like the tornado in The Wizard of Oz, ripping us all up from our familiar lives and depositing us in a strange new world” …it would be correctly written. If you find you’ve started a sentence with a number, it...
This One Simple Trick Will Make You a Better Writer Fast

This One Simple Trick Will Make You a Better Writer Fast

(This business writing post was originally published June 2017) Have you ever hit Send only to find out later you had an egregious error in your message? I’m guessing yes, because it has happened to us all. We’re typing fast and probably thinking about the next task while trying to finish this one and boom, next thing you know, we’ve sent a messy message that implies we’re lazy and too busy to proofread. Dang! An Ounce of Prevention or a Pound of Cure? Whether you’re writing a quick Snapchat to a...