I was reading a short piece from Geoffrey James on Inc.com today entitled “Rule No. 1: Get to the Point.” His main assertion was that people are busy, so you shouldn’t waste their time beating around the bush and using excessive business cliches and jargon. I agree with that statement, but I think there is something more important to consider when you look over whatever you are writing.
Not only are people busy, they are also savvy enough to see through any BS you try to hide in flowery language and officious sounding jargon. If you pack your writing with that junk, people will see through it, disregard everything you are saying and stop reading. Plus, you might lose yourself in that garbage and not realize that you aren’t actually telling a story worth telling.
So, when you finish your next piece of impressive business prose, put it aside for awhile. Maybe wait until the next day. Then pick it up and pretend someone else tossed it on your desk and that it’s trying to sell you on someone else’s product. Does it sound like BS? If so, simplify the whole thing to its essence and see what you’re actually trying to say. Build a clear, easy to follow piece around that. Don’t put in anything that people don’t care about. Then take the two pieces and look at them side by side and see which resonates more with you and maybe run them by someone else. Practice that for awhile and you’ll write better more impactful pieces over time.