Jenna (Britton) Arak reports:
"[W]hile perfect prose may not be of the utmost importance in every office or industry, there’s likely someone—a colleague, a client, or your boss—who is noticing your writing and, even worse, making a judgment of your professionalism based on it. So, before you draft another email, take note of the most common workplace writing mistakes, and follow this guide to avoid them...[I]t’s best to be more formal than frivolous in your professional writing. While that obviously means bypassing abbreviations and slang, it also means writing in complete sentences, using correct spelling, and avoiding nicknames. There may come a time when you’re comfortable enough to speak more casually with the recipient of your message, but in business, it’s always better to play it safe (and professional) than sorry...Passive voice—that is, when the receiver of an action is the subject of the sentence (in this case, the document)—is not grammatically incorrect. But sentences that are phrased passively often seem awkward or unnecessarily vague. Active voice—when the one taking action is the subject of the sentence—is typically more direct and clear. It also sounds more authoritative, and can be a better way to show ownership or responsibility for what you’ve done...It can be easy to misconstrue the tone or emotion behind an email if not for very obvious displays of temperament, and people often pepper their writing with exclamation points in an effort to show that they’re being friendly. But the truth is, it’s simply not professional—and worse, it can come across as juvenile...Remember that exclamation points are meant to show emphasis, and they tend to lose their meaning when overused. Use them sparingly, and, when in doubt, not at all...The subject of your email should be a quick summary of what’s in the body. This is a very simple concept that, surprisingly, has still not been grasped by a large majority of the working world. But, when most of us receive upwards of 200 emails a day and often need to scan through a jam-packed inbox for the topics we’re looking for, it can be an especially infuriating business writing mistake to leave your subject lines vague. With all professional communication, your goal is to provide clarity as quickly as possible—and in email, that starts with your subject line...While you might think that using industry or company buzzwords makes you sound professional and in-the-know, it defeats your purpose if no one can understand what you’re saying. Remember, even if you think your direct recipient will know what you’re talking about, your message could be passed along to others, both within and outside of your organization. The best email or notice is one that makes your point (or your request or your reply) readily apparent, and jargon unnecessarily obscures that purpose...[I]n general, your best bet is to play it safe, stay professional, and review your work to keep these common blunders out of your written communications."
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