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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why is Business Writing So Awful? | Jason Fried, Inc.com

If you could taste words, most corporate websites, brochures, and sales materials would remind you of stale, soggy rice cakes: nearly calorie free, devoid of nutrition, and completely unsatisfying.
So begins Jason Fried in his Get Real column.

He asks:
Would you go to a dinner party and just repeat what the person to the right of you is saying all night long? Would that be interesting to anybody?
In other words, Fried writes, when your business writing sounds like that of everyone else, you're telling potential customers and clients, "Our products are like everyone else's, too."

Dumb, huh? But that's what happens, Fried writes, when lawyers, executives and HR departments dilute the words of creative writers, turning "powerful, descriptive sentence into an empty vessel optimized for buzzwords, jargon, and vapid expressions."

He gives examples of fresh, tasty writing by talented company chefs. Here's one that puts an idea-catching spin on much-too-common-and-corporate language:
All of our products are fully warranted against all defects in materials and workmanship for 100 years. If you or one of your descendants should have a problem, send it back to me or one of my descendants and we'll repair or replace it for free or we'll give you a credit on the website (be sure to mention the warranty in your will).
Stay strong against the corporate, bureaucratic sleep machine.

For more help on getting creative and staying that way, check out Garbl's Creativity Resources Online. It's an annotated directory of websites that provide advice for increasing creativity and innovation in your writing, in your personal life, on the job, in school, in the arts and elsewhere. Many of the sites have links to other resources on creativity.

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