Professional writing: Minding your audience and every crucial detailWednesday November 09 2022
Today, Business Talk embarks on its fifth installment in the professional writing miniseries. The Business Daily thanks the numerous readers who have written in with their own professional writing challenges, questions, and ideas.
Full word capitalisation
Starting the first writing tip for the week, in addition to last week, let us look into another common capitalisation. Young people and recent graduates around the world and right here in Kenya frequently become the most recurrent offenders by including full word capitalisation in their writing.
The before mentioned writers often believe that placing a particular word in all capital, or upper case, letters makes the word more powerful for emphasis in the sentence.
However, full word capitalisation seems childish to professional readers. Avoid it: “the inventory specialists found the new batch of raw materials SPOILED due to leakage”. Instead, let the power of your sentence structure exist as the only emphasis you need. Do not capitalise a full word.
Too many pronouns
When writing a piece of professional communication, strive for clarity about your subject focal point.
As an example, if you desire to discuss interactions between the CEO, COO, and CFO, do not write: “The CEO, CFO, and COO held a meeting whereby the subject of his conversation revolved around the Company’s dwindling sales. While he spoke to them, he interrupted with opposing viewpoints.”
Upon reading through the above two sentences, the reader remains unclear about who spoke to whom: the CEO, CFO, or COO. The sentence overly utilised different types of pronouns: he, his, and them.
The use of pronouns exists an easy way to reference someone (he, she, they, etc.) or something (it) without the bother of writing the full proper noun. Writers often abuse the privilege and overwrite using pronouns.
Instead, try mixing sentences with alternative word choices. Writing “the CEO said” repeatedly gets boring while using the pronoun “he”, “she”, or “they”, too often confuses and also turns off your reader.
So, interchange between someone’s title (such as CEO), name (Peter Ndegwa, Rebecca Miano, or James Mwangi, etc.), and the pronoun (he, she, they, etc.) in different sentences.
Please view the following made-up example: “The head of Equity Bank acknowledged previous revenue successes that met with minor difficulties. Mr Mwangi cited challenges in retaining chief financial officers. Therefore, he put forth a plan to enhance financial talent and promote from within the organisation.”
Notice the rotating usage of the title, name, and pronoun to refer to the same individual. Such alternating word choices keep your readers more engaged.
A seasoned professional writer always remembers his or her audience. One must write differently when communicating with teenagers versus fellow church members versus political party loyalists versus professional colleagues versus professional clients. Writing to different audiences should possess different styles.
As an example, when writing here in the Business Daily, I often utilise “we, us, you” due to the newspaper nature of the Business Daily as a publication.
However, when authoring reports or journal articles, I never feature such before mentioned words. Instead, I only include “third person” writing: “one noticed” or “the Company noticed” rather than “we noticed”. In summary, write to your audience.
Please ensure that information matches throughout a document. One easily notices a higher likelihood of mismatched data in some organisational cultures than others. Often, professionals frequently concentrate on quantity rather than quality.
Inasmuch, one notices inconsistencies when reading organisational press releases, annual reports, and strategies whereby the sales figure for a fiscal year quoted at the beginning may not match the sales number utilised toward the end of the same document.
So, when writing, grammar and word choice both prove important, but so does consistency of your content itself.
Stay tuned in Business Talk for details about a free live USIU-Africa Zoom session for Business Daily readers to engage deeper about professional writing at 3:00pm on Thursday, December 8th.