Business communication writing skills benefit from training in originality and media-based marketing

Business communication writing skills benefit from training in originality and media-based marketing

An unearthly howl was heard from the ceiling. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.”

~anonymous high school essay

Congratulations. Thank you for providing me with another example of analogies collected by high school English teachers. I do it because the language we all share is a treasure trove of words that, in the odd combination, can make us smile, laugh, even laugh out loud. And like Larry the cat — whose house we share and whose antics are just plain wacky — the best humor is unintentional humor.

Anyway, the gaffe above is the result of a sincere, if immature, effort to be original and emotional. Good for him or her, I say. At least the brain is on. But what about the way we adults fall into superficial ‘copying’ when we communicate in professional settings? And how does it affect you and your business communications when you mindlessly insert these phrases into your website text or emails? Do you really want to sound like a faceless bureaucrat with no imagination when it comes to writing skills?

Here are some introductory entries in my Language Hall of Shame:

o Negative impact, as in “Our failure to produce even one paperclip that actually holds two sheets of paper together is having a negative impact on our sales performance.” First, “impact” only became a verb about 30 years ago, although the verbs “ affect’ or ‘influence’ did the job quite well. But now that it’s here, why compound the damage by adding an awkward adverb (fellow Mainer Stephen King said in his book on writing, “The adverb is not your friend.”)? Why not instead rely on unambiguous, active, space-saving standbys such as “harm” or “injury?”

o Core Competencies, as in “Our core competencies include a flexible approach to quality control and a collective tendency to extend our lunch hour beyond normal parameters because we adhere to the principle of conserving personal energy.” Does anyone realize that by using the adjective “core ‘ to define ‘competencies’, are you implying that you have other ‘competencies’ which may not be so ‘core’? And that a careful reader might conclude that these other competencies might actually be aligning, or at the very least pedestrian? Here’s a solution, in plain English: “What we do best is…” or “Our reputation is built on the way we…” or “We’re known for…”

I bring this up because I have no doubt that your readers are critical thinkers (at least that’s what I tell my writing seminar students to expect), which means they’ll view phrases like “core competencies” as lazy, unproductive thinking.

o Skill sets, as in “Our employees can bring the most unique set of skill sets to solve your problem, which is why we are considered a high-end firm that can justify overcharging you for our services. ” First, you cannot be the “most unique” because “unique” means one of a kind. I used to think stupidity was confined to sports broadcast booths, but now I see it on websites, which was probably inevitable.

Anyway, I ask you: What’s wrong with just using “skills?” How can the addition of “multiples” add anything beyond the useless appendage of another four-letter word? If you use “skill sets,” ask yourself, “Why? What have I gained beyond the obvious tendency to copy others mindlessly?”

The news media…not always curious stakeholders

“Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism is that which will be understood at once.”

— Cyril Connolly, English writer

Learning to deal constructively with the press does not have to be limited to traditional definitions of news. Some realistic role playing in a media learning environment can actually help you shape and sharpen your message for commercial purposes. I can be useful there. As a former newspaper and magazine reporter, I like to know how things work and what makes them different. I then try to convey what I have learned in short prose, as Connolly noted.

Let me describe the type of training I do. A few years ago, a clever nurse in Maine came up with a blend of four aromatic oils that she says relieves nausea from first-trimester pregnancy, chemotherapy and motion sickness. To help with the marketing, I asked her questions that a reporter from the business section of a newspaper or magazine might ask. Then I wrote an article about her “aromatherapy” which we discussed at length about lessons learned.

The result? She and her marketing and investment associates came away from the exercise with a much clearer idea of ​​how the public would perceive their unusual product. The questions I asked were born of healthy skepticism, and she said she planned to adjust her height accordingly.

#Business #communication #writing #skills #benefit #training #originality #mediabased #marketing

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