The recent tempest in a pasta pot that erupted after the owner of a Montreal restaurant was told by the “language police” to translate into French the word “pasta” on his menu to comply with French language requirements in Quebec got me thinking about the language offences committed by people in their business communication. In spite of the absurdity of this “Pastagate” incident, as pointed out by French language journalists, maybe we do need a language police force to keep in check and improve business communication skills.
If you ever had doubts about the power of language and the impact of your words, take a look at the amount of time wasted and the profits lost due to poorly written emails, reports and so on. Research shows that the 58% of Canadian workers who spend two to four hours per workday reading written communication, believe the following to be the costs of poor writing in those communications:
• 70 % identified loss in productivity
• 85% identified wasted time
• 63% described errors
Estimates suggest that writing deficiencies cost companies $3.1 billion annually. That’s a lot of money! So you might want to consider avoiding going to ‘language jail’ and improve your own business communication. After all, if someone reads a poorly written email or report that you or your company has generated, it will have a lasting impact on the perception of your work, on productivity and on profit. So here are three tips to help you.
How to avoid the business “language police”
1. Practice these quick steps to help you write effectively:
-Plan first what you want to write, i.e. determine your goal/objective for the communication
-Know your audience; then write specifically for that audience
-Edit, edit some more and proofread carefully for errors
-Have someone you trust read your work before sending it out, especially if it contains sensitive information
2. Explore the Language Lab’s blog archives for a wealth of tips on how to write effectively:
3. Take an online business communication course; we’re here to help you clarify your business communication needs and to improve upon them.
For more information about the Language Lab’s online learning courses, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.