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Executive Writing 101 - Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Writing 101

Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Writing 101

As a busy Executive, you most likely have a staff member assigned to creating your professional communications to constituents and clients, such as Messages from the President and official notifications to staff. However, every once in awhile there will be an important letter or email that requires your personal touch and that you prefer to compose yourself from beginning to end. While you may have a clear idea about what message you would like to convey, it may not always be apparent how you can best articulate it. Follow these 4 simple tips to help you turn your barebones idea into a winning communication:

  • 1. Write to Your Audience – Tone and diction are crucial to composing a letter that will captivate your audience. Ask yourself who will receive this communication and select everything from your style to your word choice accordingly. For example, if you are targeting a group of highly specialized experts, feel free to pepper your letter with industry terminology and references to the latest research and breakthroughs. If, however, you will also be including those who may be unfamiliar with the industry jargon and most current advances, be sure to provide context and use more common terms to express your message.

  • 2. Be Concise – In our fast-paced modern world, for good or ill, attention spans have greatly decreased. While you may be attempting to communicate the most revolutionary idea in the world through your President’s Message, you will lose majority of your audience if you drone on for dozens of pages. Keep your letter short: if you are emailing, restrict yourself to just a few solid paragraphs; if you are sending a printed letter, try to limit yourself to one page.

  • 3. Be Personal, Yet Professional – Let your personality shine but avoid excessive informality. Remember that while you wish to convey your sense of style and add that special personal touch, you are still producing material that will be associated both with your organization and with you. Avoid multiple exclamation marks (“!!!”) and the dreaded “?!” that plagues all communications specialists. Instead of using informal and emotive phrases like “I loved your speech!” or “I can’t wait to talk to you!” use more professional phrases like “I was greatly impressed by your speech” or “I look forward to connecting with you.”

  • 4. Request a Second Pair of Eyes – Ask your in-house communications professional to review your writing for grammar, content, and verbosity. She or he can recommend edits that will strengthen your work and help you send out a polished final draft.

With these tips in hand, you will be well on your way to penning your masterpiece. And remember: when in doubt err on the side of professionalism.


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