Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

You thought plain English was the goal? It's actually a very low standard - the minimum these days. Start with what you would say to your readers, in the context you imagine they'll read it, and you're almost there.

So what's the next level?

Three suggestions to help you achieve more clarity in less time

Be direct - appropriately direct

Say what you mean and say it early so they know why they are reading your report, email, or letter. Could you put your recommendations up front? They'll read them first anyway.

Be direct in paragraphs too. Give each paragraph a topic sentence, followed by supporting information. We call it 'state and expand'.

Use the active voice

'I have assessed the risks', not 'The risks have been assessed'. Write, 'Graph 1 summarises the results' not 'The results are summarised in Graph 1'.

Add humans (It's active's cousin)

'We need to reply to the allegation', not, 'The allegation must be replied to'. Focus on people and action, not just things. It's the easy way to create interesting, natural sentences. Your readers probably won't notice your writing style, but they will read it - all of it.



Interested in a workshop on business writing for your team? Contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'll put you in touch with a trainer, not a salesperson.


About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are positive psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books, six e-books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph lives in rural Canterbury. He is a JP and marriage celebrant and enjoys travelling to French-speaking countries.

Interested in training in business writing?

A business writing workshop will give your team far more than just plain English. They’ll be achieving more clarity in less time. Through their emails and letters, they’ll be building cooperative relationships with their colleagues, customers and community.

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Interested in training to develop your teams’ resilience?

Discover what top achievers do when the going gets tough.

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