Using Words Effectively What are you going to say in a business letter?
The boss’s advice….. <ul><li>“ Choose words that sound ‘conversational,’ </li></ul><ul><li>words you’d expect the reader t...
The 8 Rules <ul><li>Adopt a conversational tone </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on reader’s vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate...
Adopt a conversational tone <ul><li>The message must be clear & direct </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid the impulse to use big word...
For example, if you know the client well, you might write….. <ul><li>Dear Marisa: </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks for sending me ...
If you don’t know the client well, you might write…. <ul><li>Dear Ms. Stein: </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you for sending us th...
<ul><li>The difference in style in obvious. </li></ul><ul><li>How well you know the client will determine how conversation...
Reader’s Vocabulary <ul><li>Not necessary to use the biggest or rarest words possible. </li></ul><ul><li>It is never appro...
Check this out…. <ul><li>A dichotomy in the opinions of the members </li></ul><ul><li>present was evident:  Four members f...
What did he say? <ul><li>The members present were split in their opinions: </li></ul><ul><li>Four preferred increasing our...
Eliminate unnecessary words. <ul><li>Many times, less is more. </li></ul><ul><li>Be direct & to the point </li></ul><ul><l...
Use specific Nouns <ul><li>Identify people, places, processes, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure pronoun references are cle...
<ul><li>One person claimed that these computer tables </li></ul><ul><li>are difficult to assemble. (Who is that “one perso...
<ul><li>One of the keys to success, we have found, is to </li></ul><ul><li>conduct regular performance appraisals & to </l...
Here are a couple more…. <ul><li>One department  is especially concerned that…. </li></ul><ul><li>(Which “department”?) </...
Does this get to the heart of the matter? <ul><li>We surveyed all our customers to find out their </li></ul><ul><li>attitu...
Avoid cliches, regionalisms, & slang <ul><li>Cliches  are overused expressions that show no originality, creativity, or im...
<ul><li>Some cliches to avoid </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The bottom line </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A tough road ahead </li></u...
Replace negative with positive <ul><li>Try to write from a positive perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid having your reader...
<ul><li>Your  complaint  concerning….becomes…..Your  letter  concerning </li></ul><ul><li>You  claim  that….becomes….In yo...
Use bias-free terms <ul><li>The workforce consists of men & women & our language must reflect this reality. </li></ul><ul>...
<ul><li>Fireman  becomes  firefighter </li></ul><ul><li>Mailman  becomes  mail carrier </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance man  be...
Use synonyms <ul><li>Word variety contributes to successful writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Colorless words and overused words ...
How exciting or interesting is this? <ul><li>To introduce your new products, Ms. Robertson, </li></ul><ul><li>we plan to d...
How about….. <ul><li>Unique  or  extraordinary  campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Eye-catching ,  spellbinding , or  viewer-orien...
Check these out…. <ul><li>A  bad  forecast….becomes….an  inaccurate  or  misleading  forecast </li></ul><ul><li>A  good  s...
Substitute a more precise adjective for the overworked “little” below. <ul><li>A little town 6. a little portion </li></ul...
Change the negative statement to a positive one. <ul><li>Do not forget the sales meeting at the end of the month. </li></u...
<ul><li>7. We cannot act on your request at this time. </li></ul><ul><li>8. We will not forget your special request. </li>...
Rewrite the following sentences to eliminate outdated or unpleasant expressions <ul><li>Kindly favor us with a note if we ...
<ul><li>6. Please be so kind as to find a photocopy of my canceled check. </li></ul><ul><li>7. We are forwarding the book ...
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Using Words Effectively

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Using Words Effectively

  1. 1. Using Words Effectively What are you going to say in a business letter?
  2. 2. The boss’s advice….. <ul><li>“ Choose words that sound ‘conversational,’ </li></ul><ul><li>words you’d expect the reader to know. </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate needless words, and beware of </li></ul><ul><li>cliches! Negative words & sexist terms are </li></ul><ul><li>losers—they can destroy communications. </li></ul><ul><li>And last, make a game to find synonyms </li></ul><ul><li>that your readers will find interesting.” </li></ul>
  3. 3. The 8 Rules <ul><li>Adopt a conversational tone </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on reader’s vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate unnecessary words </li></ul><ul><li>Use specific nouns </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid cliches, regionalisms, & slang </li></ul><ul><li>Replace negative words </li></ul><ul><li>Use bias-free terms </li></ul><ul><li>Use synonyms </li></ul>
  4. 4. Adopt a conversational tone <ul><li>The message must be clear & direct </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid the impulse to use big words to try & impress the reader </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize tone (sound of the letter) </li></ul><ul><li>How well you know the reader will dictate your tone </li></ul>
  5. 5. For example, if you know the client well, you might write….. <ul><li>Dear Marisa: </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks for sending me the purchase order for the </li></ul><ul><li>additional brochures you requested. Since you </li></ul><ul><li>called me quickly, I was able to change the </li></ul><ul><li>printing quantity before the job reached the </li></ul><ul><li>Production Department. I can tell you that you will </li></ul><ul><li>have all 25,000 brochures by Friday, June 6. </li></ul>
  6. 6. If you don’t know the client well, you might write…. <ul><li>Dear Ms. Stein: </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you for sending us the revised purchase </li></ul><ul><li>order for 25,000 of your full-color sales </li></ul><ul><li>brochures. As you originally requested, all the </li></ul><ul><li>brochures will be delivered to you on Friday, </li></ul><ul><li>June 6. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>The difference in style in obvious. </li></ul><ul><li>How well you know the client will determine how conversational your letter will be. </li></ul><ul><li>It takes practice to develop the right conversational tone & degree of formality that are appropriate for any type of letter. </li></ul><ul><li>Now let’s go over some terms that you might want to avoid. See the hand out. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Reader’s Vocabulary <ul><li>Not necessary to use the biggest or rarest words possible. </li></ul><ul><li>It is never appropriate to use words outside the reader’s vocabulary. </li></ul><ul><li>This goes along with jargon as well as abbreviations or acronyms. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Check this out…. <ul><li>A dichotomy in the opinions of the members </li></ul><ul><li>present was evident: Four members favored </li></ul><ul><li>increasing our advertising budget, while the </li></ul><ul><li>remainder sanctioned a diminution of spending in </li></ul><ul><li>this particular promotional area. </li></ul><ul><li>HUH? </li></ul>
  10. 10. What did he say? <ul><li>The members present were split in their opinions: </li></ul><ul><li>Four preferred increasing our advertising budget; </li></ul><ul><li>all other members favored reducing our </li></ul><ul><li>advertising budget. </li></ul><ul><li>Much clearer in meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Use words that are appropriate for a reader or </li></ul><ul><li>listener. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Eliminate unnecessary words. <ul><li>Many times, less is more. </li></ul><ul><li>Be direct & to the point </li></ul><ul><li>Watch </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check in the amount of $5--$5 check </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At this point in time—now </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for—Thank you for…. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At all times—always </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For the period of a year—annually </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Use specific Nouns <ul><li>Identify people, places, processes, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure pronoun references are clear & relate to antecedent nouns. </li></ul><ul><li>Pinpoint the heart of the problem or situation. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s look at some examples….. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>One person claimed that these computer tables </li></ul><ul><li>are difficult to assemble. (Who is that “one person”?) </li></ul><ul><li>A customer claimed that these computer tables </li></ul><ul><li>are difficult to assemble. (Better: More specific </li></ul><ul><li>than “one person.”) </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Wilson claimed that these computer tables </li></ul><ul><li>are difficult to assemble. (Better yet: More </li></ul><ul><li>specific than “a customer.”) </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>One of the keys to success, we have found, is to </li></ul><ul><li>conduct regular performance appraisals & to </li></ul><ul><li>share the result of each appraisal with the </li></ul><ul><li>employee. It has certainly helped improve morale </li></ul><ul><li>among our employees, as proved by our last </li></ul><ul><li>survey. (What does “it” refer to? Not clear.) </li></ul><ul><li>Change to…. </li></ul><ul><li>Our performance appraisal system has certainly </li></ul><ul><li>helped improve…. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Here are a couple more…. <ul><li>One department is especially concerned that…. </li></ul><ul><li>(Which “department”?) </li></ul><ul><li>The Public Relations Department is especially </li></ul><ul><li>concerned that….(Better: “The Public Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Department” is specific.) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Does this get to the heart of the matter? <ul><li>We surveyed all our customers to find out their </li></ul><ul><li>attitudes toward recent price increases, because </li></ul><ul><li>this is becoming more and more of an issue in </li></ul><ul><li>our industry….(What does this refer to? It is not </li></ul><ul><li>clear in the context.) </li></ul><ul><li>…because price increases are becoming more </li></ul><ul><li>and more of an issue in our industry. (Specific. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear.) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Avoid cliches, regionalisms, & slang <ul><li>Cliches are overused expressions that show no originality, creativity, or imagination. </li></ul><ul><li>Using cliches shows laziness or sloppiness on the part of the writer. </li></ul><ul><li>Regionalisms are expressions that are particular to a specific geographical location. </li></ul><ul><li>While colorful, they are misunderstood by people from another area. </li></ul><ul><li>Slang consists of expressions that are particular to age groups or time periods. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Some cliches to avoid </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The bottom line </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A tough road ahead </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s “no contest” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As good as gold </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs no introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It speaks for itself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing to sneeze at </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At a loss for words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As easy as pie </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kill two birds with one stone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At the end of the day </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most unique </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Replace negative with positive <ul><li>Try to write from a positive perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid having your reader become angry or defensive </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid words like blame, delay, fault, careless, dissatisfied, inferior, complaint, error, mistake, defective, failure, negligence . </li></ul><ul><li>Here are some phrases that can be avoided & some substitutions that sound better. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Your complaint concerning….becomes…..Your letter concerning </li></ul><ul><li>You claim that….becomes….In your letter you mentioned that…. </li></ul><ul><li>Your failure to….becomes…. Because we did not have your check before us , we were not able to…. </li></ul><ul><li>Your criticism of…. becomes….Your comments regarding …. </li></ul><ul><li>We are sorry that our error ….becomes…. We apologize for delivering your order to your business address instead of your home address </li></ul>
  21. 21. Use bias-free terms <ul><li>The workforce consists of men & women & our language must reflect this reality. </li></ul><ul><li>We must also realize that the workforce consists of many different ethnic groups & people who’s beliefs about life will be different from our own. </li></ul><ul><li>Gone are the days when only men were businessmen & salesmen </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Fireman becomes firefighter </li></ul><ul><li>Mailman becomes mail carrier </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance man becomes insurance agent </li></ul><ul><li>Foreman becomes supervisor </li></ul><ul><li>Stewardess is now flight attendant </li></ul><ul><li>Policeman or policewoman is police officer </li></ul><ul><li>Businessman should be businessperson , business worker </li></ul><ul><li>Businessmen is businesspeople , business workers </li></ul><ul><li>Salesman can be sales representative , salesperson , or salesclerk </li></ul>
  23. 23. Use synonyms <ul><li>Word variety contributes to successful writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Colorless words and overused words are about as interesting as the tenth rerun or of a mediocre TV series. </li></ul><ul><li>Overused words include good , awful , little , big , think , fix , fantastic , bad , fine , know , lovely , say come , go , great , super . </li></ul><ul><li>Overused doesn’t mean wrong though; it just means tired & overused. </li></ul>
  24. 24. How exciting or interesting is this? <ul><li>To introduce your new products, Ms. Robertson, </li></ul><ul><li>we plan to develop a good television-advertising </li></ul><ul><li>campaign. We will begin the campaign with great </li></ul><ul><li>commercials aired during prime time. Our fine </li></ul><ul><li>artists will develop fantastic graphics that will do </li></ul><ul><li>a really good job of attracting viewers’ attention. </li></ul>
  25. 25. How about….. <ul><li>Unique or extraordinary campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Eye-catching , spellbinding , or viewer-oriented commercials </li></ul><ul><li>Talented , creative , & experienced artists will develop startling computer-age graphics </li></ul><ul><li>Will do an especially effective job </li></ul>
  26. 26. Check these out…. <ul><li>A bad forecast….becomes….an inaccurate or misleading forecast </li></ul><ul><li>A good show….becomes….a compelling performance or a dramatic re-enactment </li></ul><ul><li>A nice supervisor….becomes….a considerate , a well-respected , or a well-liked supervisor </li></ul><ul><li>An awful record….becomes….a deplorable or an inconsistent record </li></ul><ul><li>Clean offices….becomes… spotless offices. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Substitute a more precise adjective for the overworked “little” below. <ul><li>A little town 6. a little portion </li></ul><ul><li>A little locomotive 7. a little wire </li></ul><ul><li>A little mind 8. a little build </li></ul><ul><li>A little kitten 9. a little computer </li></ul><ul><li>A little matter 10. a little issue </li></ul>
  28. 28. Change the negative statement to a positive one. <ul><li>Do not forget the sales meeting at the end of the month. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t fail to ship this order by airfrieght. </li></ul><ul><li>You forgot to provide a delivery date. </li></ul><ul><li>We cannot deliver your order because our plant is closed until July 15. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not lower the product’s quality. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t anger customers by being late for an appointment </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>7. We cannot act on your request at this time. </li></ul><ul><li>8. We will not forget your special request. </li></ul><ul><li>9. We won’t know our prices until April 1. </li></ul><ul><li>10. Never forget a customer’s preferences. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Rewrite the following sentences to eliminate outdated or unpleasant expressions <ul><li>Kindly favor us with a note if we can help. </li></ul><ul><li>We are in receipt of your order of May 5, and we thank you for same. </li></ul><ul><li>Your shipping department’s blunder caused us unbelievable trouble. </li></ul><ul><li>As per our recent discussion, attached hereto is our latest price list. </li></ul><ul><li>I have your letter under date of August 27. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>6. Please be so kind as to find a photocopy of my canceled check. </li></ul><ul><li>7. We are forwarding the book you ordered under separate cover. </li></ul><ul><li>8. The order will arrive late due to the fact that the railroad is on strike. </li></ul><ul><li>9. This is to acknowledge the receipt of your reservation. </li></ul><ul><li>10. We are crediting your account as per your wishes. </li></ul>

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