One Simple Tip For Writing Clearer, Better Emails
Over the past 4 years I’ve coached hundreds of different Korean professionals in a wide variety of industries. Each client has been unique, but the more people I work with the more I notice certain trends that are true for a vast majority Korean English speakers.
When it comes to professional writing (business emails/messages, resumes, cover letters etc.), I’ve definitely noticed a trend that is true for almost everyone. The trend is this:
The longer and more complex your sentences are the harder they are to understand.
I know why people write this way. They want to sound well-spoken and professional, so they include many advanced words and phrases into their sentences. However, this unfortunately has the opposite effect 99% of the time. When you create long, complex sentences using many advanced words, you’re much more likely to make mistakes and be hard to understand. Then, instead of creating the professional impression you hoped for, your reader will just be confused, not fully understand your message, and think that you don’t really know what you’re talking about.
So, what I strongly recommend is to focus on sounding clear and efficient in your emails and messages rather than sounding smart/professional. Write in an organized fashion using simple, easy to understand sentences.
Let’s look at two examples of the same email. The first uses much longer sentences and more complex vocabulary, but it’s difficult to understand and contains several errors. The second is simpler, but is MUCH more clear and efficient.
After the lengthy evaluations and several discussions in detail with many of the senior managers including CEO, we as a group have reached the crucial decision which is to continue to pursue our work from home situation for the indefinite future of next year.
This decision has been confirmed for numbers of reasons, such as the cost-benefit analysis results from the previous quarter has been saving us much money because there is a significant reduce in our fixed costs of operation. And our overall team satisfaction has been experiencing the increase, including the sales team, finance team, HR team, and marketing team. Also, we need to eliminate the possibility of dangers from the COVID-19 spreading around our office, so we will continue this plan of remote working and if anyone has any questions about this current circumstance or other business topics related to the remote working you can communication with your various team leaders.
After meeting with our senior managers, we’ve decided that everyone will continue working from home through next year. We reached this decision for these reasons:
We’ve been saving money by reducing operating costs
Every team has reported increased job satisfaction while working from home
COVID-19 is still dangerous and we want to keep everyone safe.
If anyone has any questions, you are welcome to message your team leader.
Hopefully you can see that message two is much more efficient and easier to understand. Message one, despite containing more advanced vocabulary, sounds confusing, unorganized, and unprofessional.
I totally understand that people care about making good, professional impressions in the workplace. You want to be seen as a professional and a good communicator. However, the mark of a good communicator is not writing very complex sentences that use a million different words and idioms. The mark of a good communicator is the ability to explain things in a clear, efficient way that everyone can easily understand. Do that, and you’ll make the professional impression you were hoping for.
Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of your day.
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