Is Your Business Writing Clear, Logical, and Accurate?

A lot has been said about not using an outdated writing style, or being too formal or informal, in business writing.

However, perhaps more important than that, your writing should convey details clearly, accurately, and with a logical flow.

Here’s a scenario. Tammy’s boss has asked her to assess the feasibility of using the office conference room to hold a meeting with some people from CyberWay Pte Ltd, an important client.

After doing the research, these are Tammy’s findings:

  • If everyone shows up (from both sides), there will be 12 persons. The conference room can only take up to 10 persons comfortably.
  • The conference room was recently renovated, but the audio-visual equipment will only be installed on the morning of the meeting. It is a new brand which the company has not used before. Tammy’s boss will need this equipment for a presentation during the meeting.
  • About S$150 will be needed for snacks and drinks for the meeting.

This is the email Tammy wrote to her boss:

____________________________________________________________________

Hi Peter,

Here are my findings on the conference room for the meeting with CyberWay.

Our conference room has recently been renovated and the audio-visual equipment will only be installed on that morning.  We will not have time to test it and it is a brand that we have not used before.  The room is not big enough to accommodate 12 pax and will not be conducive enough to hold this meeting.  We will also need to spend about $150 for snacks and drinks.

Regards,

Tammy

____________________________________________________________________

What do you think of the message? Was it clear? Was the logical flow apparent?

Here are our suggested revisions (in red):

_____________________________________________________________________

Hi Peter,

For the meeting with CyberWay Pte Ltd on 19 Aug, here are my findings on the feasibility of using our conference room.

Our conference room has recently been renovated, and the audio-visual equipment will only be installed on that morning. As such, we will not have time to test it. To compound this, it is a brand that we have not used before. 

On top of that, the room will not be big enough to accommodate 12 pax comfortably (should everyone turn up). The room can only accommodate 10 pax.

We will need to spend about $150 for snacks and drinks.

Please let me know if you want me to book the conference room or make other venue arrangements.

Regards,

Tammy

____________________________________________________________________

These are factors to consider in ensuring a clear, logical, and accurate message:

(1) Ensure Logical Flow in Your Message

In the original message, the writer simply assumed that the reader would be able to follow the logical flow. However, the reader can only read the message, not the writer’s mind.

As such, create logical flow in the message by using appropriate linking words or phrases.

Are you:

  • Describing a cause-and-effect scenario? (as such, because of that, consequently, etc.)
  • Adding on details? (additionally, moreover, on top of that, etc.)
  • Describing additional concerns or problems? (to compound that, to make matters worse, more critically, etc.)
  • Showing contrast? (however, but, in spite of that, etc.)

Another way to create logical flow, simple but commonly overlooked, is the effective use of paragraphs. Use one paragraph for each key point. It makes it easier for the reader to follow the logical flow.

The reader should not be left struggling to connect the dots.

(2) Include Vital Details

Do not omit details that can increase understanding.

Example:

The room is not big enough to accommodate 12 pax and will not be conducive enough to hold this meeting.

(Has everyone confirmed their attendance, or has the writer assumed a maximum-attendance scenario? How many persons can the room accommodate?)

Revised:

The room will not be big enough to accommodate 12 pax comfortably (should everyone turn up). The room can only accommodate 10 pax.

(3) Include an Action or Expectation for the Reader

In this case, it would be easier for the reader to respond if the writer had included an action step:

Example:

Please let me know if you want me to book the conference room or make other venue arrangements.

____________________________________________________________________

Business writing should be about the reader. The objective should always be readability and clarity for the reader.

To sum it up, business writing should be clear, logical, and accurate.

 

 

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