Posted by: Jack Henry | October 13, 2020

Editor’s Corner: Writing Tips

Good morning!

I read an article the other day called “30 Writing Tips to Make Writing Easier.” All the writing tips were good, but some of them were specific to writing email and professional documents. That’s right up our alley! So, I’m sharing six of the tips with you today.

Keep it brief.

Brevity is important in professional communication. Respect your colleagues’ time by knowing exactly what you need to communicate before you begin writing so you can keep your message concise.

Use active voice.

Writing in active voice animates your writing so that the subject is acting on its verb. An active voice reads as being more confident and self-assured; it’s also a great way to shave superfluous words from your writing. [dbb – As a reminder, active voice starts with a subject: “Your IT department can create a specfile” as opposed to “A specfile should be created.”]

Don’t neglect context.

Does the person you’re communicating with have the same information and frame of reference you do? If not, make sure you provide context. You don’t have to give the entire backstory, just fill in the missing pieces so your message will be clear. [dbb – This is one of the most frequent issues we editors run into—writers don’t fill in the blanks. Don’t assume other people know what you know. Provide the basic information!]

Format your email properly.

Use good email formatting structure. Write an enticing subject line so your recipient is compelled to open your email. Understand proper email salutations and closings.

Don’t email angry.

Yes, you might be irked at your colleague for dropping the ball on that project and making you look bad, but don’t send emails when you’re still fuming. If you must write when emotions are hot, do it offline. Walk away for at least twelve hours, then edit with a calm head. [dbb – I wish I could say I’ve always done this. It’s definitely something we

Here’s a tip: Don’t treat email as anything less than an extension of your professional persona. The way you communicate in professional settings reflects on you in a potentially lasting way.

Proofread thoroughly before you hit SEND.

Typos and grammar gaffes make you look bad. Scan your email and fix errors before you send it. You’ll look your best when your correspondence is mistake-free!

Thursday, I’ll give you more in-depth information about how to find the right tone when writing an email or professional correspondence.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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