Tag Archives: techniques to write clearly

Effective Professional Writing: Clarity of Message


By David Rose – Director, LACS Training Brussels

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Unclear or straightforward text?

Question: What is the primary flaw with a significant quantity of professional texts, whether briefings, position papers, reports, emails or otherwise?

Answer: A lack of consistent clarity – the messages they outline don’t always come across to their target audience(s) in the way the writer actually intended

As I’m sure you already know, clear and audience-focused messages form the cornerstone of effective communication.

But what really happens if your key points are not consistently crystal clear for your intended audience?

Results of lack of consistent clarity

Perhaps at this stage you’re thinking “Yes, but I already know this…” – acknowledged. However, there is very often a significant gap between theoretical awareness and its consistent application in practice…

…which explains why two common problems with clarity keep regularly appearing in the government, institutional and corporate documents, I work with:

1) ‘Buried gold’

2) ‘Sentence breakdown’

So, let’s get straight down to business – by having a look both at concrete examples of these problems and the techniques you can employ to avoid them… Continue reading

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Effective Professional Writing: How to Be Concise (in 6 steps)


By David Rose, Director LACS Training Brussels

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Definition of Conciseness in writing

Is the quote above from the latest best-selling book on effective professional writing skills?

Perhaps surprisingly, no.

It’s actually from a memo a British Prime Minister sent his cabinet of ministers about 70 years ago.

This quote serves to clearly illustrate one crucial point: conciseness or economy of words is – and has for a long time been – a central feature of professionally effective written English.

A longer, more ‘wordy’ construction is not more formal or professional.

It is, unfortunately, simply clumsy and often unclear: counterproductive to clearly communicating your intended messages and with little or no impact.

“Ah” you might say, “I work in an international environment where most of my audience is made up of capable but non-native speakers of English. Isn’t that quote only relevant to exclusively English native-speaking audiences?”

In a nutshell, no.

Bearing in mind the majority of your audience might well have English as a second (or perhaps third?) language… it is even more important your text communicates your intended messages as clearly as possible, while of course still respecting the required level of formality and diplomacy.

You have to avoid unnecessarily overcomplicated or overloaded phrases that need to be re-read to be fully understood.

Equally – and self-evidently – if your text is representing your organisation to an external audience, it’s also essential it projects a suitably positive, professional image.

On its own, however, this ‘what and why of conciseness’ doesn’t actually help you in practical terms to be more concise in your writing, does it?

You also need the ‘how’.

Recognising English favours a more concise style, how can you achieve an improved level of conciseness in your writing?

Well, here are six practical principles you can apply to help you produce consistently more concise – and consequently clear and influential – text: Continue reading

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Effective Professional Writing in English – Practical Principles and Tools to Raise Your Game (Part 1 of 2)


Effective Professional Writing in English – Practical Principles and Tools to Raise Your Game (Part 1 of 2)

By David Rose

If you’re reading this, it’s likely to be because your everyday work involves writing any given combination of the diverse range of common professional documents: reports, position papers, press releases, marketing materials, meeting minutes or any of the others out there. What’s the one thing you probably all have in common? More than likely, it’s that achieving a consistently clear and effective writing style under time pressure in your second (or perhaps third?) language is challenging at the best of times. Continue reading

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