In the last few blog posts I’ve explained to you why I’m writing this book on business writing. I’m now turning my attention to why you should be interested in it. Why exactly does writing well matter?
Some wonder why this question needs to be answered. “Rules are rules,” they tell us – “They’re meant to be obeyed”. I don’t subscribe to this view. Just because rules exist it doesn’t mean we have to follow them. Personally I always need to see a clear, logical reason why I should do something, and I’m assuming you’re the same.
If you’re not, if you prefer to keep your life simple and follow rules just because they’re there, then you can skip this chapter. Lucky you -you can spend more time focusing on how to get it right. If though you are like me and need first to understand why you should get it right, here are seven reasons why I believe good business writing matters.
1) Bad writing is rude to your readers
I might not believe in rules but I do believe in good manners, and asking someone to read badly written text is just plain rude.
If you fail to use the correct punctuation you make it hard for the reader to know when sentences end and finish, what is speech and what not, where one idea ends and another begins, and so on. It’s the equivalent of someone asking you directions and you mumbling something about it being “up there, somewhere a bit further on”. It’s not very helpful.
Poor structure and clunky flow means the reader has to stop, re-read, and try to put your thoughts into a logical order. You shouldn’t be asking them to do that; you should be polite enough to do it for them.
Perhaps the worst of all is forcing your readers to wade through a morass of jargon, management-speak, vague words and generic phrases. We all know how that feels: it’s mind-numbingly dull. Your mind wanders, you have to fight to pay attention, and you constantly feel that perhaps it’s you, the reader, who is just too stupid to understand this complex, dense text.
If they have the option they’ll probably stop reading, but if they don’t then you’ve condemned them to spend time being bored. What could be ruder than that?
Number two follows tomorrow….