Words to avoid

Desk side. Also deskside, desk-side. If you want to come to my office, just say so.
Impact. Overused in general, unacceptable when “verbed.”
Irregardless. Non-word combination of “irrespective” and “regardless.”
Literally, in the non-literal sense. “She literally exploded with excitement.”
Optics, unless you are an opthamologist.
X and myself, e.g. “My colleague and myself are delighted to be here.” “I” or “me” is nearly always correct instead.

Which words would you like to banish from business writing?

Bad email etiquette

These aren’t necessarily errors, but they’re bound to annoy recipients just the same.

  1. Misuse of subject line. Don’t leave this blank, and don’t waste it on vague descriptors like “Marketing team update.” Instead, include compelling details in the subject heading. “Three volunteers needed for tomorrow’s CNN interview,” not “We’re  going to be on CNN!”
  2. Slow lead-ins. These vary from the personal (“Hope the holidays are treating you well”) to the overly detailed (“Rachel and I were talking on the plane yesterday, and we realized that…”). Business emails should start with a clear statement of purpose.
  3. Missing pieces. Attach your attachments, and don’t forget to include email and telephone contact information.
  4. Unnecessary responses. Do you really need a whole new email to say “you’re welcome?” As for emoticons—just no.

No flowers, please

This blog will help you create clear, concise, professional communications. Whether you are writing a new business pitch, an important email or a memo to your department, our tips  can make it better.

Here’s tip No. 1: Avoid flowery prose.  In the world of business communication, less is more. Just as you wouldn’t dot your i’s with little hearts or sign your name in rainbow colors, stay away from flourishes that “personalize” your language.

Before sending a document, read it through one last time and delete your favorite sentences–the ones that drip with creativity. Unless you are planning to date them, your readers don’t need to know what makes you special.