The ‘communication thing’ I hate the most. Do you?

24th January 2023

Prior to the commencement of my creating this weekly communication for you, it suddenly dawned on me that every one of my previous messages utilised non-complex wording and abbreviated sentences and that made me ask myself whether – in order to impress and inspire you – I ought to make use of more complicated, lengthier, ‘professional’ phrasing and more intricate sentence structures.

Ok, let’s stop there. I HATE that first paragraph. I’m going to re-write it, so it sounds more like me…

Before writing today’s Tip, I realised all previous ones use simple words and short sentences. I wondered whether, to impress you, I should use longer ones.

Both paragraphs say the same thing.

But I know which one you preferred reading! The second one. Because it:

  1. Uses normal language, not ‘corporate’
  2. Uses simple phrases. Example: replacing ‘prior to the commencement of’ with ‘before’; ‘in order to’ with ‘to’
  3. Is much shorter – 26 words compared to 60
  4. Has two short sentences, not one long one
  5. Sounds good if you read it out loud (the first one sounds weird if you hear it)
  6. Etc

But, even though we all prefer the second version, we often read things that look more like the first. Especially in ‘formal’ documents and/or ones where the reader is keen to impress.

Which all leads to a weird observation:

  1. Most of us think we don’t write like the top paragraph
  2. Yet we’ve all read lots of stuff that’s written exactly like the top paragraph…

… the only way both these can be true is if some of us write like the top paragraph – even though we didn’t know we do.

Eek! What if it’s me doing it?!

Or you?

Let’s make sure it isn’t you or me, by doing this week’s…

…Action Point

  1. Find it – Find your most recent written communication. Ideally, one that was ‘formal’ and/or where you wanted to impress the reader
  2. Review it – is it more like the top paragraph or the re-written version?
  3. Read it – read it out loud to yourself … when nobody can hear you (!) Does it sound like a human or a robot? More importantly, does it sound like you?

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