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Having worked in office environments for many years, I’ve received and sent numerous emails and correspondence. Some better than others!

David Ogilvy

Effective communication is jargon free, so I was gently amused when I stumbled across an internal memo written by David Oglivy to his staff, entitled “How to Write”.

I was most humoured by point 4,

“Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgementally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.” David Ogilvy

Glean some priceless wisdom from a legendary business icon’s no-nonsense tips to effective writing:

1. Read the Roman – Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.

2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.

3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgementally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.

6. Check your quotations.

7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.

8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

Your thoughts

Which of the tips did you find most helpful? What do you need to apply to your writing? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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