02 9238 6638

‘Phone becomes so slowly because no enough space. Try this app to clean unnecessary junk files and shut down background apps. Make phone runs faster.’ (Unsolicited marketing email.)

I understood the message in this email. Yet, with so many grammatical errors, I could not take this company seriously. Was it a scam?

Business communications full of grammatical and typographical errors can lead to frustration and reputational damage. Poor written communication discourages compliance and contributes to reduced productivity and lost income. At the extreme, unclear workplace communications can lead to accidents and even death.

Does your team make the grade?

Grammatical errors, wordiness and lack of structure are three important warning signs that a team member’s writing may not be up to standard.

Warning 1. Grammatical errors. Grammatical errors and misuse of punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence as well as give the impression of a poorly educated writer. Misuse of the apostrophe and comma is common, along with misspellings (despite spell check) and choosing the wrong word for the context (such as ‘compliment’ instead of ‘complement’).

Warning 2. Wordiness. Long sentences full of unnecessary padding phrases and buzz words hide the meaning of the communication. Overuse of passive voice and complex sentence structure also gives an ‘old school’ tone to the writing. Such communications are difficult to understand and run a high risk of losing the reader.

Warning 3. Lack of structure. Poorly structured emails and reports make finding relevant information difficult or impossible for the reader. Key points and recommendations may be buried in lengthy paragraphs which few people will take the time to read.

If Australia is to compete in a global knowledge economy, we need high-quality written communications. Clear, concise writing focused on the needs of the reader conveys the message quickly, accurately and efficiently. Grammatically correct sentences give a polished and professional finish.

Training in the fundamentals of clear business writing is essential. If written communication is a critical element of the job, you could also consider pre-employment testing or outsourcing some of your writing tasks to a professional writer or editor.

For help increasing readability of your organisation’s written communications, contact Concise Writing Consultancy on +61 2 9238 6638.