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Real Words that Work - When, oh when, will this sentence begin?

By Patricia Davies, President, Patricia Davies Communications

When, oh when, will this sentence begin?

“Does it serve the needs of the reader?” is the best standard a BA can use to assess a piece of their writing, whether it is an email or an overview of requirements.

Readers need clear and direct information they can quickly grasp.

Sometimes I find myself holding my breath when I’m reading a sentence that doesn’t really start until about six words in. Here are two examples:
  • “A common pitfall is the all-too-common mistake of restricting the search for new hires to those with industry experience.” Recruiting company newsletter
  • “One battle communicators are always facing is trying to convince senior leaders that the function makes a real difference to their organization.” International communications journal
Don’t backpedal into your topic; breath-holding is not the reaction you want from readers. Most of the time you can remove the first flabby words and launch with the main noun and an energetic verb.

  • Many companies mistakenly demand specific industry experience when searching for new people.
  • Communicators constantly battle the perception that they are only adding fluff.

Patricia Davies is an award-winning writer and editor, an Endorsed Education Provider with IIBA, and a regular panelist on the IIBA Communications Webinar (first Tuesday of every month). Have you got a writing question? Please email to and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.