Many people ask Tarzan how he become successful business writer. Let Tarzan tell you: It take more than good looks. Tarzan hone business writing skills over many years while delivering variety of optimized solutions for major Fortune 500 companies — and Tarzan have metrics to prove it!
Cornerstone of lean, effective business writing what called elliptical or telegram style. Elliptical style cut fat, get straight to point. Work especially well for bullet points and reports.
But Tarzan say, why not use for all business writing? Time money! Elliptical style deliver information in most usable form. Follow handy tips below and soon manager say, “This report is just swell, Ted, now how about a nice back massage,” not “This breve tastes funny. Are you sure you got soy?”
Embrace imperative mood
Tarzan know, Tarzan know: “Mood? Me want to write like Warren Buffett. Mood — that for house DJ or Al Green.”
But mood also describe how to communicate. Unlike indicative mood, imperative mood express command or request. Take charge! Tell reader what matter. You man! (Or Jane.)
When using imperative mood, subject usually implied and only base form of verb used. Rather than write, “We recommend reducing our labor costs in order to meet Q4 projections,” simply say, “Reduce workforce to satisfy shareholder demand.”
Easy squeezy! Remember: Must make friend of imperative mood. If not, imperative mood enemy to fear.
Sure, “the” most-used word in English language, but you maverick. You don’t follow trends, you make!
“The,” “a,” and “an” vampires — steal life energy from words! For powerful copy, keep simple, stupid.
For example, if report say, “The leveraging of synergies and a customer-focused culture will lead to an optimized value proposition,” message lose impact.
Now try without articles: “Leverage synergies and customer focus to optimize value proposition.”
See? Much clearer. Now copy strong and smart — like Tarzan.
Sometime pronouns necessary, but do not let become crutch. Since subject assumed when using imperative mood, “you,” “we,” or “they” superfluous.
Wrong: “Our studies indicate that the core competencies of their microwave division are actionably scalable.”
Right: “Core competencies of microwave division are actionably scalable.”
Know, right? So much better.
How come verb with so many forms — “is,” “are,” “am,” “were,” “been,” “being” — so useless? Don’t believe hype. Only use when necessary. “Be” thing of past — practically vestigial tail of English language.
Instead of run-on text like, “Quarterly sales have been steadily increasing and are projected to meet our baseline estimates for the next biennium,” why not just say, “Increasing quarterly sales on target for next biennium”?
Without useless filler, sentence become music to reader’s ear — mellifluous.
Avoid adjectives and adverbs
When Tarzan angry at Cheeta, he not say, “Stop throwing your disgusting feces, you damn dirty ape!” “Disgusting” implied — let feces speak for self!
Similarly, unnecessary adjectives and adverbs weaken persuasive copy. Make Tarzan mad. (Like Hulk.)
With elliptical style, sky limit.
Warning: Tips above not panacea — no substitute for hard work. But when utilized with basic grammar rules and best practices, can facilitate game-changing copy that take business writing to next level.