What most BKBK members lack the most is connection and time. We don’t have enough time to do the things we want and often are pressured by deadlines to hit send before we want to or should. Harvard University’s Director of the Writing Center Jane Rosenweig offers the following guidelines to improve your communication capabilities.
The first line of an email or any correspondence should state the reason for the email. When you lead with the main point of the correspondence, you are telling the reader exactly what they need to do or expect. You save time and add connection. Determine the background information that supports your message and don’t insert additional copy.
Don’t do this:
Budgeting for new kitchen is generally complicated and difficult to pin down because of the number of decisions that need to be made. We understand that most homeowners don’t have unlimited budgets most of the time, and there are always compromises and concessions. We encourage our clients to think strategically about what is most important for their new kitchen projects. Consider the pros and cons of upping your budget the best return on investment.
We recommend that homeowners capitalize on the experience and expertise of professional designers to develop a realistic budget and schedule for their new dream kitchen.
Rosenweig advises transforming descriptive topic sentences into topic sentences that make claims.
Descriptive Topic Statement
I met with the Mr. and Mrs. Jones today to discuss the renovation timetable.
Claim Topic Sentence
After meeting with Mr. and Mrs. Jones on Tuesday to discuss the renovation schedule, we need to revise our budget to ensure realistic expectations.
The claim sentence is a call to action because something occurred at that meeting that requires a response or additional action.
When you begin an email with a claim, you tell the reader what to expect and focus the rest of the email on what needs to happen and why. Make a habit of writing claim- based topic sentences to reduce editing time.
Identify the people who should be acting when you communicate.
Consider the following two sentences:
We decided to shut the showroom in light of the global pandemic even though we can be considered an essential business.
Jane Doe, president of Doe Designs, decided to shut the management in light of the global pandemic even though we can be considered an essential business.
In the first sentence, “We” are not identified, while in the second sentence, the company’s president decided to close the business. Closing business is a big deal. Determine if you want to identify the person who made the decision or if you want to keep the decision-maker anonymous.
Try these strategies to get in the habit of using concise and clear writing that helps you achieve your desired outcomes.