Phil’s Faves on Workplace Writing

If I had to condense my workplace writing feature articles down to one page … here’s what that could look like:

Workplace Writing Best Practices

1. Everything you write at work should be on purpose and for a purpose.

2.  Workplace writing is simply people talking to people on paper or a screen. Make sure it sounds like how you want to be perceived by your readers. It should be effective, efficient and engaging.

3. No one should see your first draft of important messages. Everyone will see your final draft.

4. Err on the side of over-communicating important messages to increase your probability of success.

5. Go beyond the ‘first word you can think of’ or the ‘word you usually think of’ to the ‘best word you can think of’ to accomplish your intended outcome with your reader or audience.

6. Avoid vague words or references. Otherwise, you leave it up to your readers to define what you mean. And they may come up with a different definition than you would have.

7. Whenever a short, simple, familiar word is just as clear or clearer as a longer word, use the shorter word. The extra syllables don’t add anything to your meaning and may detract from your image as a real, down-to-earth person.

8. Same goes for a short, simple or  familiar phrase that’s just as clear or clearer as the longer phrase. Always use the shorter version. Less is more here.

9. The process of creating effective workplace messages is essentially the same. The variable is the medium you choose to transmit those messages.

10. Edit important documents and emails carefully on three levels – for content accuracy, tone of words and use of white space.

Do let me know if this quick review helps you take away some of your pain with workplace writing.