The business case for clear writing

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Peter Drucker

Clear writing is clear thinking on paper.  It’s a style that’s conversational and friendly and focuses on the reader’s needs.  It uses plain English, everyday words, and doesn’t waste words.  It uses clear, crisp sentences, strong verbs and concrete nouns to the reader absorb its meaning quickly and effortlessly.  We call this style plain English.

All authorities on good writing recommend the plain English style.  But business, government agencies and academia still write most documents in an old-fashioned convoluted style.  If people realized how much poor writing costs in bad administration, customer frustration and lost sales, they would change.  Unfortunately, bad communication costs don’t appear on the balance sheet.

How much does it cost a company if you write a 500-word email?

I’ve asked this question on writing courses.  The usual answer is around $20.  But what if you send the email to every employee?  What is the cost to a company with 15,000 employees?  Let’s say the reading time is two minutes – that’s 500 working hours – the cost jumps from $20 to perhaps $20,000.  This is a real example.  The email was about the office car parks closing on the following Sunday to have the lines repainted.  No one works in the office on Sundays.   Why do you think people complain of getting too many emails?

Professor Joe Kimble has collected data on the savings of clear communication and published the findings in his recommended book, Writing for Dollars.  If you have to convince management that clear writing is good business, give them a copy of Professor Kimble’s book.

List of benefits of clear writing here:

Savings to Business that never appear on the bottom line

US Navy estimated clear writing (plain English) read by all Navy personnel, the savings would be $250 million to $350 million every year.

General Electric estimated one manual written in clear English would save between $22,000 to $375,000 in support calls for each business customer.

Federal Express estimated a new reorganized, plain English manual would save $400,000 in employee time in finding information.

US Judges and Lawyers – over 80 percent prefer the plain English to legalese.

Professor Joe Kimble author of Writing for Dollars:

“There is now compelling evidence that plain language saves money and pleases readers:

it is much more likely to be read and understood and heeded in much less time. It could even help to restore faith in public institutions.  Yet the torrent of words continues, driving everyone crazy who has to deal with official and legal documents.

But the trouble runs so deep – after centuries of poor models, bad habits, professionalitis, inadequate training, and general neglect that it will take a universal commitment to fix it.

It will take a cultural change, one that enshrines clarity and simplicity.”

Clear, concise and profitable writing

Using StyleWriter will not only help you and your organization improve your writing, but it will also help you to focus on what you are actually writing.

It will train you to reconsider the very reason for your writing and it’s purpose. Which will increase your own efficiencies.

The latest StyleWriter now checks your text for over a million issues.  It’s become the style guide for Microsoft Word users.

Download StyleWriter 4 now for a 14-day free trial

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The download contains a Tutor to StyleWriter 4. We recommend you watch the Tutor’s videos to understand the program’s features.


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