Business Writing Essentials

Compelling Edits

When someone at work finishes reading something you wrote, and they feel clear-headed and informed, you have done your job. Otherwise, not so much.

If you write something important at work, and you figure you are okay with the first version you completed, you are selling yourself short and probably missing opportunities to compel your reader to keep reading from beginning to end. Small changes in wording and style can produce significant improvements in how readers respond to what you write.

Make it easy for them: replace official-sounding words with simple words.

request → ask

furnish → give

concerning → about

subsequently → later

Make it comfortable for them: replace cerebral words with visceral words.

for → because

reply → answer

learn → find out

complete → finish

Make it enjoyable for them: use more fun words than serious words.

Serious: buy, sell, cost, less, order, difficult, decision, failure

Fun: new, free, sale, save, proven, guarantee, discover, results

Make it solve their problems: restate claims as present realities.

You will save X. → Our clients save X.

We have helped clients Y. → We help clients Y.

Z will give you results. → Z gives you results.

Make it show them as successful: restate hypotheticals as facts.

If you have X. → When you have X.

Suppose you are Y. → You are Y.

What if you could Z? → You can Z.

Lesson: Compelling Edits
Module: Influence
Course: Business Writing Essentials