Saturday, February 12, 2005

Style, Part 1: Know Different Styles

It’s not enough to say someone’s style is assertive or wishy-washy, rude or courteous, rushed or focused, if we cannot point to the words in the document suggesting that style. In the examples below, the italicized words contribute to the indicated style.

Rushed: Attached.
Focused: The attached file outlines our project proposal for your East Coast initiative.

Verbose: The reason why I am writing to you is to inform you that we will meet tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. in Conference Room A.
Concise: We will meet tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. in Conference Room A.

Obsequious: I feel so deeply indebted to you that you have so graciously allotted some of your precious time to grant me the great opportunity to express my heartfelt opinion of the merger.
Gracious: Thank you for making the time to discuss the merger with me.

Egotistical: Thanks to my insight, the project succeeded.
Inclusive: Our collaborative efforts ensured a successful project.

Pompous: Indeed, we should repudiate any attempt at obfuscating comprehensible written communication.
Modest: We should correct unclear writing.

Next time someone asks your advice on the way he or she is coming across in a document, don't only speak your mind--point it out right on the page. This practice will help your partner much more.
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