Australia's written communication crisis: 5 warning signs

19 June 2018

If Australia is to prosper in the global knowledge economy, the ability to write clearly and concisely is essential. Yet many staff struggle to write clear, concise and grammatically correct communications.

Poorly written communication discourages compliance and contributes to lost productivity. Communications full of grammatical errors and typos can lead to misunderstanding as well as reputational damage.

To help you determine whether your team’s writing is up to standard, be alert for these critical warning signs.

Warning 1. Misuse of punctuation

  • Using a comma in the place of a full stop
  • Not using commas at all
  • Using punctuation incorrectly
  • Not using question marks
  • Overuse of exclamation marks

Level: basic

Learning priority: very high

Warning 2. Grammatical errors

  • Using apostrophes incorrectly
  • Structuring sentences incorrectly
  • Misusing tense
  • Incorrectly mixing singulars and plurals (subject-verb agreement)
  • Using the wrong word for the context

Level: basic

Learning priority: very high

Warning 3. Wordiness

  • Frequent use of sentences over 30 words
  • Use of unnecessary padding phrases
  • Use of buzzwords
  • Overuse of passive voice
  • Complex sentence structure

Level: intermediate

Learning priority: very high

Warning 4. Lack of structure

  • Lack of understanding the reader’s needs
  • Absence of a logical progression of ideas
  • Unclear purpose of communication
  • Key points buried in the text

Level: intermediate

Learning priority: high (all staff); very high (supervisors and managers)

Warning 5. Sloppy style

  • Frequent typographical errors
  • Overuse of shortcut symbols (such as & and /)
  • Inconsistent spelling
  • Misuse of initial capital letters
  • Misuse or overuse of acronyms

Level: intermediate

Learning priority: high

At Concise Writing Consultancy, we provide plain English writing, editing and training services to meet all your written communication needs. We can develop a customised writing skills workshop and conduct it onsite at your premises. We also offer one-on-one support to individual team members.

For a free assessment of your organisation’s written communications, contact us today on 02 9238 6638.

Or download our free ebook Australia’s Written Communication Crisis: 5 Warning Signs Managers Can’t Afford to Ignore.

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