Nearly every company relies on the written word to woo customers. So why is most business writing so numbingly banal?
While we like to emphasize the positive—the good effects of good communication strategies—occasionally it can be valuable to examine more cautionary tales of bad communication in business.
On November 6,cargo vessel Claude A. Desgagnes needed to slow down as it approached a lock in the Saint Lawrence Seaway, between the U. Before long, it was too late: Standard operating procedures SOPs are critical for organizations; however, they must be well-written, understandable, and usable.
And everyone in the organization must have access to them and receive training on how to use them. But the cars were not recalled until In the meantime, 13 people died in accidents caused by the ignition-switch problem. Precise, accurate, honest wording in a workplace document can sometimes be a matter of life and death.
A post-mortem of the mission discovered that Lockheed-Martin, which helped develop and build the Orbiter, had given it commands in English measurements like miles and pounds.
But NASA, which was controlling the mission, was using metric measurements meters, kilograms. Communication between and among cooperating organizations or departments within organizations should be coordinated by editors or other experts bad business writing look to create consistency of terminology, measurements, and graphics, among other things.
Those instructions were wrong: Of the three groups of students who took the test, two were not allowed to use calculators. The third group, whose teacher knew the proper rules, did use calculators. The school district ended up scrambling to find ways to avoid penalizing both the misinformed students and the schools whose students took the test at a disadvantage.
Lots of lessons here, but the simplest and most obvious is this: Before you distribute a document, check and re-check with knowledgeable sources to ensure the information in it is correct.
Residents complained that the documents they had to fill out to get aid for rebuilding their homes were confusingly written and sometimes contradictory, and that the written rules about which homes were eligible for aid were constantly changing.
I say this because aside from my day job, Internet startup, and new son, I also teach a section of business writing at my alma mater, Drew University in New Jersey. A bad business email is one that is too long, too vague or contains impolite or abusive language. Marketing emails that focus on the sender rather than the receiver's needs also typically do . Our content writers are experts at creating blog content that boosts SEO value, Premium Service · Rapid Turnaround Delivery · High Quality Content · Satisfaction Guaranteed.
Later, the federal government asked for its money back. Good documents are clear, in language suitable for their audiences, and are consistent, both within each document and across document sets.
There was only one problem: Always have someone else proofread your documents for grammar and spelling. Otherwise, your mistakes may end up on public display, set in bronze. When plus-size women noticed the difference in wording, Target found itself swimming in dangerous PR waters.
Again, one lesson here is that documents within a company and across company departments should be checked for consistent terminology.
Because inconsistent terminology can confuse readers. And an even more important lesson is this: Thoughtless wording can hurt feelings and cost your company customers and sales. Soon Qiuhua began receiving notices from her insurance company warning her that it was not receiving her payments.
The notices were in English. Qiuhua speaks Mandarin Chinese and understands little English.
She ignored the notices. After a while, her insurance coverage was canceled, leaving her uninsured until the next sign-up period.
It turns out that Covered California and most of its insurance companies send notices primarily in English and Spanish, even when customers have asked for documents in other languages. Covered California has promised to try to expand its list of used languages. That means those documents should be written in language their customers understand, whether that is the language of a nationality or of a technology.
For many customers, documents whose language is too technical might as well be in a foreign tongue. To make his point, Shreateh took more drastic measures:In other words, bad writing is found even in the most noble of professions.
Here is a single sentence from a business report that explains a supply chain disaster from A bad business email is one that is too long, too vague or contains impolite or abusive language.
Marketing emails that focus on the sender rather than the receiver's needs also typically do . Bad Business Writing is no Laughing Matter Poor communication in business is so common that it’s become a comic staple.
Workplace sitcoms involve bumbling managers who hit “Reply All” on vague or inappropriate memos. National's Bad and Good Business Writing This week I received an email from National Car Rental.
The email's subject, "Lynn, we've updated our terms and conditions" caught my attention, as did the heading "IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR EMERALD CLUB MEMBERSHIP.". In business writing, a bad-news message is a letter, memo, or email that conveys negative or unpleasant information—information that is likely to disappoint, upset, or even anger a reader.
Also called an indirect message or a negative message. This white paper discusses examples of bad business writing and other scenarios we’re calling “communication shipwrecks” in the corporate, government, and academic worlds, along with a lesson to be learned from each.