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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Plain Language is the Antidote to Grandiosity | Rod Sweet, ThoughtLeaders

After defining grandiose (from the headline), Sweet's article notes a mystery of writing in marketing and public relations:
For some reason, businesses that sell to other businesses are more prone to grandiosity in their written content. Businesses that sell to end users, like Google, Facebook, Netflix and big online retailers, make sure what they write connects. Even their corporate news releases are easy to understand.
Grandiose, BTW, means affected, extravagant, highfalutin, ostentatious, pretentious. And Sweet adds: “fatal for reader connection.”

He continues by describing a "cure for grandiosity." Simply: "stop transmitting and start communicating." Instead of writing to please themselves and their institutional egos, successful companies learn how to communicate with their customers. 

Sweet's column then provides useful advice on connecting with customers. He concludes:
It takes many expensive minutes to write and get approval for a press release. If it’s a dud, it’s a waste of expensive minutes, and there is also the opportunity cost of a missed connection.
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This article is featured today (Oct. 27) in Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs--available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription. (Please note that the article is headlined there as "How Speaking Plainly Improves Your Communications.")

For more advice on plain language, visit Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It describes these seven steps to clear, concise communication:
  • Focusing on your reader and purpose
  • Organizing your ideas
  • Writing clear, effective paragraphs
  • Writing clear, simple sentences
  • Using suitable words
  • Creating an enticing design
  • Testing for clarity.

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