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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
Guideline: 
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.

Fix: 
  • 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 www.patriciadavies.com 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 IIBAnewsletter@IIBA.org and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.