If you are the boss or you strive to be the boss, you have to sound like the boss. Do you sound on the page or screen like an authority in your profession?
Have you heard the phrase “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have”? The same goes for your writing. Whether you’re writing a report, a proposal, an email to your team, a blog, or an ebook for your clients, your writing style reflects how seriously your reader takes you.
It’s easy to take your writing from soft to impactful with these straightforward editing steps.
- Skip the preambles.
Don’t say “I believe it is”, “Some say it is”, “It is often said that it is”, “It can be argued that it is”, “I suggest that it is” and the like. You can also shave off things like “therefore”, “obviously”, and “in conclusion”. (Your reader can tell it’s the conclusion. It’s at the end.) These openers just soften your message and make you sound wishy-washy. It is. Period. This gives you a tone of gravitas that a reader finds it hard to second guess. It shows you have the courage of your convictions.
- Keep it in the present tense.
Many people slip into the future or conditional tense without noticing. A fact is a fact now, has always been a fact, and always will be a fact. “This will be important because…” doesn’t have as much punch as, “This is important because”. “People who do this can be successful” doesn’t strike the same chime as, “People who do this are successful”. This is how it is. Boom.
- Reverse the passive voice.
“Passive voice” is also called “indirect language”. You can tell by the name that it’s not a good thing if you want to sound like the boss you are. This is a sentence structure issue that is very easy to fix.
So, instead of “That email was sent by Emily to the client,” you say “Emily sent that email to the client”. Hear the difference? One is overly cluttered with little words and makes it sound like the email is in charge because it comes first. It circles around the point instead of getting right to it. The other is direct and makes Emily the subject of the sentence. Nothing should be done BY something else.
- Make sure you’re not repeating yourself.
When you’re in the process of writing, you’re also working out what you’re trying to say in your head. This often leads people to say the same thing three sentences in a row with different wording. When you go back and read what you’ve written, be on the lookout for this. Then pick the best phrasing and delete the others.
- Stick the landing.
The end of the sentence is just as important as the beginning. There’s no point in a strong opening if the end rambles. Avoid “etc.”; it’s never really necessary. “As well”, “in essence”, and other unnecessary hangers-on also drag down the pop of a nice, strong noun or verb before the period. This also has to do with sentences that are unnecessarily long. If a sentence is going on to a third line, it should most likely be divided into two succinct ones.
Striking a tone of certainty doesn’t make you sound like a dictator who will accept no truth but your own. This isn’t about managerial style – it’s about how you project your role upon your team. You are clear, confident, and commanding. A leader. If that’s the way you present yourself, that will contribute to making it your reality.