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Tips for Better Writing

Today, I was preparing the review forms for the team. I was writing based on the input from them. What they have achieved for the first half year of 2007.

However, I was not too excited to see most people are not writing very well for their own reviews. I hope they do not write their resume in the same manner. :)

So, I have to send these tips to them and try to reinforce the importance of good writings. I learned these from different sources and I have seen its effectiveness in communication.

Happy reading.....

1. Use active instead of passive voice.

Old: Expectations for the new module have been achieved.
Improved: Have achieved the expectations for the new module.

2. Use short sentences.
(Break long sentences into shorter one. Usually, a sentence should not have any comma).

Old: We encountered a minor defect in the library, which caused the PO to be rejected by the system.
Improved: We encountered a minor defect in the library. This caused the PO to be rejected by the system.

3. Put the most important point first . NO STORY WRITING (except if you are really writing a story book)

Old: I have a meeting with management last Tuesday. We run through issues that we think have impact on the company cost. The things we can do are to reduce the printing and also make sure we switch off everything when we leave the office. Most importantly, we need to flush the toilet more infrequently to reduce the water bills. (this is fake story, obviously ....hehe)

Improved: We need to start FLUSHING the toilet more infrequently now. We brought up this during the recent management meeting. Objective is to save cost. We also need to reduce the printing and make sure we switch off everything when we leave the office.

4. Focus on your accomplishments in your appraisal form (or even resume). You can include your behaviours that caused it also but put ur accomplishment first.

Old: The challenges of this task is the complexities of the requirements. -> this is not an accomplishments . It is just a statement.:)
Improved: Overcame challenge of the complexities of the requirements.

Old: Have been able to meet deadlines -> You are saying you have been able to meet the deadlines, but may not actually met the deadline..a bit catchy here. Thus is not an accomplishment, more like you are saying you are capable of something. See the next tip.
Improved: Have met the deadlines for this project.

Old: Have worked hard, communicated with different parties, provided updates to management and team to deliver the project on time. -> Focus on the result first and be more specific . Working hard is actually not a specific behavior.
Improved: Have delivered the project on time by working 12 hours a day for the past 3 months, communicated with different parties, provided weekly updates to management and teams.

5. Avoid redundancy

Old: (you are sending an email or letter) I am writing to thank you for your help last weekend. -> Everyone know you are writing, else we wont be able to see it. So it is redundant.
Old: I would like to thank you for your help last weekend -> I would like only, but i am not actually thanking you. !!!!! See that?

Improved: Thank you for your help last weekend.

Old: I am writing to tell you that my cat had died yesterday and I am very sad. -> double redundancy - yes, you are writing and you are telling me something!!!!!
Improved: My cat had died yesterday and I am very sad.

Imagine this, I am calling the candidate up to offer her a job.

Me: I would like to offer you the job.
Candidate: Oh, thank you!! (very happy)

The next day, I call the candidate again.

Me: I think I am not going to offer you the job. I have a better candidate.
Candidate: But you said you offered me the job yesterday.
Me: I said I would like only , but I am not actually offering you a job yesterday.
Candidate: (Speechless)!!!!!


Blog Boy said…
Nice and useful post..
keep up the good work!!!!

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