Achieving Clarity in Writing:
Writing is an integral tool in corporate work and communication can be made more effective when writing is clear and concise. In a fast-paced global work environment, time and efficiency is of the essence. Hence, less is more. Phrasing your points with shorter sentences may work towards the advantage of communication within your work team and when your team is communicating with superiors or clients.
However, one of the pitfalls of using shorter sentences is that we do not communicate details sufficiently, or it may pass off as sounding impolite. Thus, it is mindful to avoid using imperatives in your writing. For instance, ‘Write the debrief report’, in which the sentence begins with the imperative verb ‘write’. It is, thus, important to couch the tone with a question such as,
“Could you please write the debrief report?“
If there are several details to highlight to your reader, it would be wiser to split them into multiple bullet points for easier reading and referencing. The clarity would also minimise the chances of miscommunication as well.
To use short forms, creative writing or not?
Another point to note in written communication is the usage of short forms or acronyms. Unless you are sure your readers understand them, it would be less ideal to use them. Acronyms and short forms are employed more by Singaporeans in our culture, but not so much by international speakers of English. For example, it would appear more professional to spell out ‘Wednesday’ instead of ‘Wed’ in your reports or emails when working with an international counterpart.
In some instances, some creative writing and metaphors can be used, if the purpose is to build rapport with your clients or team mates. Thus, it is important to know what your reader is looking out for and angle your writing piece towards your goal.
Vetting Your Writing:
After your writing is completed, a good practice would be to re-read what you have written and be mindful of ambiguous sentences. An example of an ambiguous sentence would be
“John said he would pass us the report on Monday.’’
Did John make the statement on Monday, or did he mean the report would be passed to us on coming Monday? When sentences are not constructed clearly, it may confuse the reader and impact your business outcomes. Where possible, it would be a good idea to ask a colleague for help with vetting. Two pairs of eyes are better than one.
If you are considering a career progression in the global industry where English writing is fundamental, you may wish to consider the TOEIC English Proficiency program as an assessment tool for your own growth.