In today’s Business Talk, we’ve highlighted the sixth and final Business Daily article in the miniseries on how to write professionally.
Therefore, we conclude with the remaining three core principles: avoid childish words, proofreading, and consistency.
Avoid childish words
Now please make an important decision for your life. Would you like to gain notoriety and notoriety from the following two options: a hip cultural icon or an expert professional in your field?
In the likely scenario where you have decided on the choice of a second life, please leave your personal opinions out of your professional writings.
Certainly, we all know that each of us retains prejudices and our own view of the world. Nevertheless, professional writing must appear objective.
Also, remove childish words from your professional writing: feel, think, love, just, really, among others. As a professional, readers generally don’t care what you feel, what you think, or what you like.
Only famous actors, musicians, or other celebrities with a cult of personality appreciate the public’s obsession with their personal preferences. The rest of us mere mortals have to get their way by presenting facts or excellent arguments.
So avoid “I feel like the marketing strategy is a good idea”. Instead, the author’s verbiage such as: “Empirical evidence from the company’s own customer surveys suggests that the appropriate course of action for a new marketing strategy involves the following….”
This last sentence appears purely objective, free from bias and likely to win the support of colleagues.
State your reasons and evidence concisely instead of using childish, emotion-based words about what you believe, think, feel, or like.
Other childish handwriting traits involve overemphasizing single words: really or very. Example: “the recording artist sings exceptionally well” is better than “the recording artist sings really well”.
When people write, their brain thinks faster than their hands can type.
So often gaps or errors appear in the writing where the brain puts forward the strategy brilliantly, but the hands simultaneously fail to capture the complete thought with grammatical accuracy.
Therefore, before sending any written communication, you must check the completeness of the document, whether large or small.
One gets tired easily when writing for professional purposes. Once the author reaches the end of the communication, he or she often feels so relieved that they just press send on the computer and the document is gone.
However, you never want your reader to detect easy mistakes that a simple proofreading would have solved. Otherwise, the reader instantly thinks of the writer as a low-level, careless, dead-end professional.
Unfortunately, we often focus on quantity over quality when writing professionally. So don’t let skilled professionals look down on your surprisingly simple grammar and formatting errors.
Luckily for us, the easiest solution is to simply proofread our documents one more time. During a simple regular proofreading, one will probably notice between one and three corrections per paragraph.
Every proofreading fix saves a writer from embarrassment.
Continuing with a theme of consistency, other contradictions exist and writers should strive to avoid errors in tense, font, periods, and alignment.
Have you ever noticed an article written in Times New Roman 12 point font that then changes to Calibri 11 point font? Worse still, the same article could alternate between present, past, and future while incorporating periods (periods) after some pointed statements and not others.
Many human resources professionals immediately discard drafted resumes and cover letters that contain such discrepancies.
Another red flag for an unprofessional writer: some paragraphs align text to the left and others are justified equally right and left. So proceed with caution.
There’s really no right or wrong between using Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial fonts, or even embedding full stops/periods (“.”) in a list.
Rather, the importance lies in its ability to impart sweeping consistency to your entire document. Remember the following helpful tip for future use: “Consistency in your word choices slows down your career.
Conversely, the consistency of your formatting ensures your survival”. In short, while the words you use should vary widely to stay interesting, your formatting and document structure should stay the same throughout.
In conclusion, many readers have written asking for more commitment to the subject of professional writing.
Inasmuch, USIU-Africa will host a free virtual session for Business Daily readers to engage more deeply in professional writing at 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 8.
Write to the email below to get the Zoom link.