Today, Business Talk begins its fifth installment in the professional writing miniseries. The business daily thanks the many readers who have written with their own challenges, questions, and ideas for professional writing.
Full word capitalization
Starting with the first writing tip of the week, in addition to last week, let’s look at another common capitalization. Young people and recent graduates around the world and right here in Kenya often become the most recurrent offenders of including capital letters in their writing.
The authors mentioned above often believe that placing a particular word in all capital or uppercase letters makes the word more powerful for emphasis in the sentence.
However, full capitalization of words seems childish to professional readers. Avoid it: “Inventory specialists found new batch of raw materials LOST due to leak”. Instead, let the power of your sentence structure exist as the only emphasis you need. Do not capitalize an entire word.
too many pronouns
When you write a professional communication, try to be clear about the central point of your subject.
For example, if you want to discuss the interactions between the CEO, COO, and CFO, don’t write: “The CEO, CFO, and COO held a meeting where the topic of their conversation revolved around the company’s declining sales.While he was talking to them, he interrupted them with opposing views.
Reading the above two sentences, the reader still doesn’t know who spoke to whom: the CEO, the CFO or the COO. The sentence overused different types of pronouns: he, his, and them.
Using pronouns is an easy way to refer to someone (he, she, they, etc.) or something (that) without having to write the full proper name. Writers often abuse privilege and overwrite using pronouns.
Instead, try mixing phrases with alternative word choices. Writing “CEO said” repeatedly gets boring while using the pronoun “he”, “she” or “they” too often confuses and also turns off your reader.
So, swap between someone’s title (like CEO), name (Peter Ndegwa, Rebecca Miano, or James Mwangi, etc.), and pronoun (he, she, they, etc.) in different sentences.
Please see the following invented example: “The Head of Equity Bank acknowledged previous revenue successes that encountered minor difficulties. Mr. Mwangi cited difficulties in retaining CFOs. Therefore, he proposed a plan to improve financial talent and promote within the organization.
Notice the rotating use of title, surname, and pronoun to refer to the same person. These alternate word choices keep your readers more engaged.
A seasoned professional writer always remembers his audience. Write differently when communicating with teenagers than with other church members, political party loyalists, business colleagues, or business clients. Writing to different audiences should have different styles.
For example, writing here in the business dailyI often use “we, us, you” because of the journalistic nature of the Business Daily as a publication.
However, when writing reports or journal articles, I never introduce the above mentioned words. Instead, I only include the “third person” writing: “it was noticed” or “the company noticed” rather than “we noticed”. In summary, write to your audience.
Please ensure that the information matches throughout a document. One easily notices a higher probability of inconsistent data in some organizational cultures than in others. Often, professionals often focus on quantity over quality.
To the extent that one notices inconsistencies when reading organizational press releases, annual reports and strategies that the turnover for a fiscal year quoted at the beginning may not correspond to the turnover used towards the end of the same document.
So when writing, grammar and word choice both prove important, but so does the consistency of your content itself.
Stay tuned to Business Talk for details on a free live USIU-Africa Zoom session for Business Daily readers to engage more deeply in professional writing at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 8.