COMMON MISTAKES IN WRITTEN BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
After introducing some of the fundamental characteristics of business style in the article “Business communication – 6 steps to successful correspondence“, we bring you a few tips on what should be avoided when writing and sending messages in business communication.
Long and Complex Sentences – Excessive Embellishment
A sentence that is too long and composed of too many parts easily becomes very tedious to read. Shorter sentences are easier to read and their content is easier to remember.
Long Incomprehensible and Complicated Expressions
We always try to leave a good impression on the person we are talking to. This is why in these moments we often tend to use words that are not typical for our everyday communication. On the other hand, we tend to underestimate the recipient of the message and give extensive explanations by using long and complicated expressions.
However, do not let this discourage you from using specialized terminology if you are certain that the recipient of the message will be able to understand you. There is no need for a turbine to be described as a power machine with a continuous flow of operating fluid through a system of stator and rotor blades which transforms potential or thermal energy of fluid flow into kinetic energy and with further rotor rotation into mechanical work…
Jargon or Excessive Use of Abbreviations
If we avoid using lengthy words, a new risk to effective communication will appear: in an effort not to make our message too long, we use abbreviations or jargon that is understandable only to us. We advise paying attention to the language standard and widely known specialized terminology.
Politeness Does not Imply Begging
Polite communication encompasses the use of certain words and expressions, such as “please” and “thank you” in appropriate places. Nevertheless, excessive use of such expressions in some languages can produce an undesirable effect.
So, instead of coming across as a reliable interlocutor, we end up sounding desperate, which is something we want to avoid at all costs. Moreover, politeness does not exclusively mean to politely address the recipient.
To be polite also means to acknowledge one’s mistake, to offer someone an apology, as well as to make sure to give praise and credit where it is due.
The tone of a message in business communication is, ideally, neutral. It does not communicate any personal information or feelings because it is objective. We can use a positive tone if we are praising someone. It should never be negative, not even when the content of the message may include a complaint.
Written business communication should be efficient, which is precisely why it does not tolerate unnecessary repetition of the same meaning, as in the expression “a complimentary glass of wine as a gift”. The meaning of the word complimentary already implies that a customer will get a present in the form of a glass of wine so there is no need to repeat the same meaning with the expression as a gift.
Bear in mind that these are not all the mistakes which even the best of us can make, and some of them are particularly hard to spot and recognize.
One such mistake is the influence of the English language to which we are exposed in our everyday as well as business communication. In the next post of the series, you can read more on this and how to avoid those influences.
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