Write in English, not ‘Corporate’

10th November 2015

Which do you prefer?

Prior to the commencement of my preparation for this week’s Tuesday Tip, I sat down in my office – as I always do – and asked myself “which of my tips are the most interesting, useful, simple and quick for people to incorporate into their daily lives and, in doing so, transform how they communicate – the end result being that they achieve more in less time?”


To prepare this week’s Tip, I thought “What will people find most useful? What will help them achieve more in less time?”


“Want to achieve more in less time? This week’s Tip shows you three easy ways to do so.”

Which of the three do you prefer? Let me guess – absolutely, definitely not #1!

But have you noticed how people often write like #1? So, although they speak in English, they write in ‘Corporate’. An entirely different language.

Do you do this?

Here’s an easy way to check: find something you’ve recently written, and read it out loud. In other words, listen to what it sounds like when you hear it.

In my experience, you could well find that it sounds more Corporate than English. For example, you might notice that you:

  • have to take a breath in the middle of some sentences. This means they’re too long. Look again: you’re probably using joining words  like ‘and’ and ‘but’  instead of a full stop
  • think certain parts sound cumbersome. That means you’re probably using Corporate phrases (“prior to the commencement of”), rather than English (“before”)
  • feel like you’re labouring a point too much. In which case, your paragraphs might be too long (a useful general rule: four lines max). Maybe it just needs better wordsmithing
  • find yourself becoming bored. This means you should edit more aggressively, and/or use more visuals

And, as a result of everything you’ve read, in order to improve (actually, let’s just use this heading instead…)

Action point

Two easy ways to incorporate today’s Tip…

For your next written communication, either:

  • create it in the usual way. Then read it out loud. Make changes to improve how it sounds; or
  • don’t write anything. Instead, start by saying out loud what you want to write. Edit it verbally. And then jot down your finished version.

And here are loads more examples – in English, not Corporate – where you can hear my tips instead of having to read them.

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