First Writes

June 14th, 2007

lettersThere are many ways of getting content on your site but the simplest of all is to write it yourself.

By the age of 10 most of us think we have writing cracked. And by the age of 20, we’re generally convinced we could write a novel … if only we had the time.

Actually, most people get writing wrong. They lose sight of the reason for it: to convey information in the absence of speech. And it’s the speech bit that’s important. Generally, if you’re writing to someone it should be like you were talking to them. The worst offences are found in letters to companies or unknown third parties. When you’ve read a lot of these, you begin to realise just how stilted people become when they write it down; it’s all: “I refer to my letter of the third inst, etc.” and “I was proceeding in a westerly direction …”.

In a previous guise I was letter editor for a Sunday newspaper and it was plain to see how people just lost it when it came to putting their thoughts down on paper.

Better to think how you’d get your point across if the intended recipient were standing in front of you. Use everyday language, simple sentences. Break long paragraphs into handy bitesize chunks. And always read out what you’ve written to yourself: out loud if possible. You’ll be surprised how often you use words in print that you’d never dream of letting slip past your lips in the course of everday speech. Indeed some people seem to strain a gut to trot out words which are difficult, overly precise and often inappropriate. The best thing about written communication — and that includes online — is that (most times) you get a chance to edit what you say before you say it.

There are ways to show how “readable” things are: you’ll find a readbility analyser at this link. With the Flesch-Kincaid (English) scale a high score implies an easy text: comics typically score around 90 while legalese can get a score below 10. (Incidentally, this gets a score of 52, but I’m sure you’ll forgive the enormity of my verbosity.)

All this is very important when writing for those whom English is not a first language (and even for some who it is). For most, clean, clear, understandable english is not hard to write. It may even save you some effort and lots of trips to look up those long words in the dictionary.

What follows is an example of how to get it wrong. This letter was sent by an employee of a British multinational company to a potential customer. I print it exactly as it was sent, although names and other identifiable information has been disguised.

Dear Sir,

In regards to our conversation, to [REMOVED] Plan, This package has just been Launched. The [REMOVED] plan consists of bringing together all your products together,in the one package,to one bill,

Mr X, the [REMOVED] Plan s, Committed spend is £500 a year on this product, due to the spend all the products that you have threw [REMOVED], Lines, calls and Broadband go towards the committed spend of £500 (eg) You currently have all products threw [REMOVED], consists off bringing them together to the one bill.

Linerental – 1 Line – £41:15 a quarter (each line) £164 a year
Broadband – commiteed spend (eg) £30.00 a MNTH – £360 a year ( which your Making)
Calls – what ever your committed spend is on calls ( Landline calls)

As you can see Mr X, You are making the committed spend in the year , due to having this package we can place your call package at a great competive price.

Any Local or national calls that you make will be 2.6ppm after 2 mins on the call, it will call cap at 5p up to one Hour so you will not pay anything more than 5p for a Local or national call for 1 hour.

Any Mobile calls that you make from your landline will be placed at 10ppm after 2 mins on the call will be placed at a call cap at 25p up to 1 hour, so you will not pay more than 25p for a mobile call up to 1 hour anywhere in the UK to your 4 main networks ( 02,Vod,Orange.t-mbile)

Also all the International calls are also capped attachment above in more detail

Also at the end of the annual year you will recieve 5% Rebate back of all the the produts in the [REMOVED] Plan (Lines, Calls , Broadband 15%)

Also Place FREE CALL DIVERSION

Now due to are new Product The [REMOVED] Plan there will be a slit change to your account the only changes are, a better package for the calls that your currently on, and you will receive more discounts and beneifits and everything will be more easier in the One Bill. (2year contract)

So Mr X you currently have 1 line and Broadband threw [REMOVED], When you move your calls over today on the call capping Facility that gives you the best call capp in the UK at the moment. When moving your calls over today i would place all three off them products into the one package to the one bill with the calling capping Facility and more discounts and benefits that you are currently not receiving, NOW CAN YOU SEE THE MONEY THAT YOU LL SAVE

Also there has been an independent survey carried out by [REMOVED] showing that [REMOVED] are now up to 30% cheaper than other licensed operators.

If you wish to Have the [REMOVED] Plan email me Back and i ll do the rest for you , All the information i would need is your [REMOVED] Linerental Number and the Broadband Account Numner, all this is on the [REMOVED] Website

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Good heavens, that’s what spellcheck was invented for!



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