I often get email from managers around the world. They ask for ideas on how to become more proficient in business writing in English, a foreign language to them.
I am honored that they ask my advice, and I am pleased to share my best suggestion for writers of English as a second, third, or fourth language:
My best tip: Include only one idea per sentence.
Of the international messages I receive, nearly all contain sentences that go on and on. Such streaming sentences offer pitfalls for everyone, especially readers, who become lost or mesmerized. Here is a disguised example:
I am working as an executive in Jordan, the communication with our customers are in English, therefore I have to send e-mail, letters, etc., you know, but the problem is I want to learn more how to write, I feel that I am very bad in writing, so I need your help in this, how can I develop myself, I learn from your site but I need more if possible, thanks in advance for your help, I look forward to hearing from you.
With one idea in each clear, concise sentence, the message might read like this:
I work as an executive in Jordan. The communication with our customers–e-mail, letters, etc.–is in English. The problem is that I am very bad in writing. I want to learn how to write better, and I need your help in this. Although I learn from your site, I need more if possible. How can I develop myself?
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your help.
I did include more than one idea in two sentences so the message would not sound choppy. But they were closely related ideas.
If you are a native-English writer, here is a tip for you: Include only one idea per sentence. Yes, good business writing in English is the same all over the world!
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