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Choose Your Words Wisely

May 3, 2012
Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.   –Buddha
     When a single tweet can travel around the world thousands of times within seconds, it’s worth taking a few minutes to contemplate this quote by the Buddha.
     So much of our personal and business communication is now done via the written word –emails, text messages, and online media – that misinterpretation has become a common occurrence. How many times have you read an email from a client and thought, “What does he mean by that?” or, “Is she serious or joking?”
     If you had the client on the phone, you could probably tell by the tone of his or her voice, or the way the message was phrased. But with written communication, a misunderstanding can lead to frustration and time wasted with clarification.
     And now, the ability to instantly communicate via our mobile devices can make it all too easy to send an email riddled with errors (AutoCorrect anyone?), or post a tweet to the wrong account that could get you fired.
Here are a few tips to help you communicate effectively via the written word:

-Consider your reader. What information is the most important to him or her?
-Think about what you want to say. If you were talking to someone face-to-face, how would you deliver your message?
-Slow down. Take time to craft messages that are clear, concise, and simple so the reader doesn’t have to question what you’re trying to convey.
-Read your message again.  Make sure your spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct.
-If it’s important, have someone else take a look at your message before you hit ‘Send.’ A second set of eyes can catch an error that you’ve missed.
What other tips do you have for effective written communication? Tell us in the comments below.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Meyer Baron permalink
    May 8, 2012 7:32 am

    The path to delighting your audience begins with the first re-write. When time allows, put your words aside until the next day. What seems brilliant one moment may have you scratching your head after a good night’s sleep. When deadlines demand that your work be started and completed the same day, put your completed draft aside and focus on something else for at least a few minutes. Then, return to your writing with fresh eyes. Both you and your audience will be glad you did.

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