Whether in an email, tweet, post, letter or business doc, words matter. In fact, likely more than in verbal communication.
It’s often said that communication is a two-way street. But, many times, we write only thinking of what we want to convey and don’t consider the parsing of words that takes place when someone receives static written communication.
Recently, I’ve found myself trying to simplify my communication to words and phrases that don’t have to be interpreted…or worse…looked up because I parroted some other author with a great command of language.
A colleague that I only recently started working with commented that my emails were always clear and thorough, but concise. Not sure I can make much pride in that though since he’s one of our lawyers! But I doubt that he would have said the same even six months ago.
How did I start to make the change? Well, since I deal with multiple people every day for which English is not their first language, I try to write as if the recipient is new to reading English.
Maybe this seems obvious, and a small thing. But I’ll leave the final point to one of my favorite authors…
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. – Mark Twain