The best advice I was ever given was by my boss when I worked in telecoms. The office was like a library that morning — everyone was beavering away and the hush was palpable…until, that is, my boss came flying out of his office, shattering the silence with, “What have you done? You’ve weed all over this document!”
Now, I should pause for effect at this point so, like me, you could let the potential meaning of this statement percolate. No, he couldn’t smell wacky backy. No, the pages weren’t damp. His shock was at my overuse of the word ‘we’, which meant I hadn’t put the customer at the heart of my writing.
I’ve never forgotten that advice (how could I?) and now always check for two things when writing:
1. That the piece identifies with the readers and their needs
2. Whether writing in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person, that I don’t overuse words like ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘we’
Sometimes it helps to read the piece out loud — you’ll soon find out if you’ve weed all over it!
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