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GEN BUS 360: Workplace Writing and Communication (Spring 2022)

Concision

Eliminate Meaningless Words

Instead of this

Write this

Employees who are driving to work should be encouraged to take mass transit.

Employees should be encouraged to take mass transit.

In the interests of better meeting the needs of our customers, we have implemented an

online ordering system.

To meet customer needs, we have implemented an online ordering system.

There are a lot of members of our team who would like to move to short standing meetings.

Many members of our team would like to move to short standing meetings.

 

Replace Awkward Phrases with a Single Word

Instead of this

Write this

It would be appreciated if you would approve the contract by May 1.

Please approve the contract by May 1.

Due to the fact that the CEO has called for more diversity in hiring, we will need to rethink our strategies for recruiting and hiring.

Because the CEO has called for more diversity in hiring, we need to rethink our recruiting and hiring strategies.

 

Take Out Intensifiers

Instead of this

Write this

I am really sorry about missing last week’s vital staff meeting.

I apologize for missing last week’s staff meeting.

Very detailed-oriented and extremely productive staff have earned amazingly high

bonuses this year.

Detail-oriented and productive staff earned high bonuses this year.

 

Take Out Passive Voice

Instead of this

Write this

The report was written by Zelda.

Zelda wrote the report.

Taxes should be submitted by April 15.

Submit taxes by April 15.

Exception: When is passive voice appropriate? When you want to avoid assigning blame, and when you can create better flow within a paragraph by reordering a sentence to put the object before the subject.

 

Avoid Nominalizations

Nominalizations, or nouns derived from a verb or adjective, force you add another verb to create a complete sentence.  Eliminating nominalizations can help with concision.

Instead of this

Write this

The building services committee raised an

objection to the plan to eliminate greenspace to allow for more parking.

The building services committee objected to

the plan to eliminate greenspace to allow for more parking.

Once you have created documentation for the situation, we will make a decision about next steps.

Once you have documented the situation, we will decide next steps.

 

Eliminate Metadiscourse

Writing about your own writing or thought process can almost always be deleted.

Instead of this

Write this

I would like to point out that it has become clear that we need to analyze this situation more fully in order to understand it.

The situation requires further analysis.

I would like to thank you for…

Thank you for…

Through our research we were able to find…

We found…

 

Avoid Stuffy Business Clichés

Instead of this

Write this

Per your request,…

As you requested,…

Please be advised that the procedure for leave reports has changed.

We have changed the procedure for leave reports.

Attached please find…

I have attached…

The attachments include…

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Thank you for [something specific that you appreciate]

Content Credit

Content on this page was created by the Business Communication team at the Wisconsin School of Business.