For every business executive, there comes a moment when you realize that your polices, your procedures—even your memos and reports—have a fundamental flaw; a deep-rooted problem that invariably ends in:
· Audit findings
· Poor compliance and adherence
· Personnel and training troubles
· Constant rework
· Endless meetings
· Loss of time, effort and money.
The crux of the issue? Poor writing. Not the poor writing you’d find in an amateur’s first novel or a teenager’s angst-ridden love poem, but writing that lacks three specific characteristics:
In Writing To Learn —a collection of essays covering different writing types (technical writing, corporate reports, scientific methods, etc.)—William Zinsser advises: “the reader should be given only as much information as he needs and not one word more” (p. 34).
Think about the polices, the procedures, the reports you’ve seen. Was every word, every sentence really necessary? Was accuracy counterbalanced with brevity?
Suggest Zinsser’s Writing To Learn to your staff.