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Real Words that Work

By Patricia Davies, President, Patricia Davies Communications
 
Find your inside editor
 
“Turn on the editor side of your brain,” I tell workshop participants as they struggle to figure out how to improve their writing. An editor is the first reader, standing in for all other readers, and examining your own writing from that perspective helps untangle the knots. Ask yourself:  Is the sentence clear on first reading? Does it say what it needs to say in as few words as possible? Are those words the best choices for the task? Is any information missing? Is it pompous instead of informative? 
 
Try your editor brain on these examples. They’re all real, even the last one. (Don’t let your eyes stray to the “Fix” section yet.)
 
1. Our needs are to train our management staff.
 
2. We are of the view that these estimates will likely be surpassed.
 
3. In terms of what could happen next, it’s far too early to know for certain.
 
4. If you can be of assistance, it would be greatly appreciated.
 
5. Our company provides fluid transfer solutions. 
 
Fix:
1. We need to train our managers.
 
2. These estimates are low.
 
3. We can’t predict what will happen next.
 
4. I appreciate any assistance you can give. 
 
5. Our company sells hoses.
 
Patricia Davies www.patriciadavies.com is an award-winning writer and editor, an Endorsed Education Provider (EEP) with IIBA®, and a regular panelist on the IIBA “Being a BA: Effective Communication” webinar. Do you have a writing question? Please email to IIBAnewsletter@IIBA.org and we’ll try to address it in a future column or webinar.