Times change. The rules change, and we need to change with them.
Hairstyles change, music changes, cars change, language changes, and business writing changes too.
Just because you learned your business writing techniques one way doesn’t mean that is still correct today. Some of the changes I like, some not as much, but we still need to keep up with the changes and change the way we are doing things as well regardless of how we personally feel about the changes.
If we always took the stubborn, “I’ll never change” approach, we would never update our clothing style (it’s not like you actually ever wear out your clothes, right?), our laws, or our technology. Are you still using an Underwood typewriter to create documents? Of course not.
In fact, if we want to live in the past, then we should all still be happy to bring the boss “his” coffee and pick up his dry cleaning.
Fortunately, times have changed. Are you keeping up with the changes?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”c31ul” via=”yes” ]Are you keeping up with the times? Thanks to @RhondaScharf my business writing is now up to date![/ctt]
Here are some of the changes that have happened to business writing. If you didn’t know that they’ve changed, this is a good time to update your business writing. If you did know these changes have occurred, then this is a good reminder that you are current.
– Indenting paragraphs is no longer necessary. I learned that we pressed the tab key with each new paragraph. Stop doing that now as it is a dated style.
– Right justification is no longer necessary. I find that square style of documents ugly as it takes so many extra spaces to make the left and right line up perfectly. I was glad to get rid of that.
– Only one space after a period.
– The Oxford Comma is back in style which basically means that within a list of three or more objects you place a comma between each item. For example, I like my sandwiches to have peanut butter, jam, and banana. Notice the comma before the and? That is the Oxford Comma.
– Punctuation goes inside the quotations when you use them. For example, “Are you sure Rhonda?”
– We no longer use the th or rd when writing a date. For example, January 1, 2018, instead of January 1st, 2018. The meeting is on January 1.
– We no longer need to put our initials on the bottom of a letter indicating we were the one who typed or transcribed it. For example /rs is no longer needed.
– Stop using outdated phrases such as “attached herewith please find enclosed.” If you wouldn’t actually speak like that, don’t write like that either.
Keeping up our skills is why we attend training courses, read newsletters such as this one, and pay attention to the world at large.
I’m glad we don’t speak Shakespearean English, we don’t smoke in the office, or wear tie-dye anymore. As a professional, it is important that we keep our skills current as well.
Article by, Rhonda Scharf, CSP, HoF