Learning to write good business English works on the same principles as leadership.
Leadership is not measured through the leader – how tall, dark and handsome he/she is? Or, how erudite, how experienced, how successful, how full of guts etc. The only measure is – how well it got the followers to deliver better. The measurement metrics must lie at the level of the follower. That is why concepts like Situational Leadership have take root while the ‘Great man theory’ (Traits approach) has long been debunked. Some even claim that the term ‘leadership’ should give way to ‘followership’!
The same principles apply to good business writing. The measure of effectiveness is how well the reader understood it. Your literary accomplishments, your command over vocabulary, your ability to use Latin, matters little if the reader is not clear as to what you meant.
Clarity is the bedrock of good business writing. Mostly, it comes from brevity. The airlines pilot who announces ‘ We are presently anticipating experiencing considerable precipitation’ may impress his co-pilot but does not come through well to the passengers. They would have been happier if he had said ‘It may rain’.
But brevity must not be at the cost of clarity. ‘Reading is hard; writing is harder’ uses less words than ‘ Reading is difficult; writing is more difficult than reading’. But, is it clearer? If the reader is someone from another country ( a common phenomenon in today’s global businesses), he may not know that you used ‘hard’ in metaphorical sense of ‘being difficult’. Not everyone would get it. Once again, the test is – how well he got it?
The importance of brevity and clarity having been established, the question that arises is – Is this a learnable skill? Of course, it is.
Look up the ‘English WriteBetter‘ course at www.solutolearning.com. You’ll find a web enabled e-learn course, that you can use in your privacy, your own time. Just log-in and start your learning. Learn the strategies, see illustrations and then practice. Online practice sessions have never been so scientifically designed. The power of the world’s best VLE ( Virtual Learning Environment ), Moodle, permits practice exercises to be so designed that the learner is gently nudged towards the solution, before it is bared to him. That is a great teaching strategy.
The virtual learning space ( www.solutolearning.com ) also has a free sampler for this course. Go get it.