ProWritingAid Help 2020-10-14 00:00

5 Ways ProWritingAid Can Help Build Your Reputation as a Clear Communicator

hands holding microphones up to man in suit

Back in 1990, a psychology student at Stanford University named Elizabeth Newton proved that presenters overestimate how much listeners understand.

In her study titled "the tappers and the listeners," half of the participants were asked to pick a well-known song and tap out the melody on a table. The job of the other participants was to guess the song.

During the study, 120 famous songs were tapped out. The tappers estimated that half of the songs would be correctly identified. They were wrong. The listeners were only able to identify 2.5% of the songs.

This study shows that it is very important to communicate clearly, and to over-communicate when sharing new ideas. If you don’t communicate clearly, your audience won’t absorb as much as you expect. Since a lot of our communication is done digitally these days, it’s crucial to write clearly and intelligently.

That’s where ProWritingAid comes in. The writing assistant can help you become a better communicator. Here’s how.

  1. 1. Write Clearly and Concisely
  2. 2. Don’t Use Technical Language – Unless It’s Necessary
  3. 3. Stop Making Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
  4. 4. Use the Active Voice
  5. 5. Avoid Over-Writing
  6. Start Communicating Clearly with ProWritingAid

1. Write Clearly and Concisely

How ProWritingAid Can Help

ProWritingAid’s Sticky Sentence Report highlights sentences where you overuse glue words. Glue words stick your sentences together, but mean nothing on their own.

Take the following sentence:

  • For me, this time of day has always been the best to hold meetings.

If I run the report on this sentence, I get this suggestion:

sticky sentnence suggestions

I can remove For [me] and has always been to sharpen my meaning:

  • This time of day is the best time to hold meetings.

This is more persuasive, and will make your reader more likely to read on to find out why.

Some glue words are always necessary for your sentence to make sense. However, eliminating some of these words will help get to the meaning quicker.

Why It’s Important

Excellent communicators get to the point quickly. How fast can you say what you want to say?

Cut as many words as possible from your presentations, emails, marketing materials, and even Slack messages. But when you’re editing your content, make sure that your main message does not change. If it does, you’ve gone too far. If you can say the same thing in fewer words, you’ve already started to communicate clearly.

Fewer words are usually more effective, especially in a professional setting. If your newsletters and business materials are very long, people will not pay attention.

Reading lengthy documents can be boring, confusing, and overwhelming. Readers will also have a hard time understanding exactly what you’re trying to say. They have to hunt for the main points of your message.

When readers have to do unnecessary work, they end up being grumpy. Grumpy people may not be very receptive to what you are saying.

Whether you’re writing an email, marketing material, or a post on social media, be brief. You will grab and hold people’s attention. What you say may also be remembered and make a lasting impact.

2. Don’t Use Technical Language – Unless It’s Necessary

How ProWritingAid Can Help

ProWritingAid’s Business Writing Style setting enables the anti-jargon rule. This will highlight common business jargon in your writing so you can replace it with more reader-friendly language.

screenshot of jargon improvements in prowritingaid

Find out how to use the different writing styles.

Why It’s Important

Most professionals agree on one thing: good communication skills are crucial for effective leadership. However, most executives communicate so poorly that their writings and utterances are turned into corporate jokes.

Dilbert, the American comic strip, is well known for its satirical office humor. It frequently makes fun of corporate mission statements. Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway also gives annual awards for the worst types of business-speak.

Here are some previous winners:

  • Vox populi risk events (riots)
  • Value leakage (wasted money)
  • Orderly ramp down (sacking people)

Jargon is a big barrier to communication. It is alienating and polarizing.

According to a study published by the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, overly technical language doesn’t just muddy the waters for non-experts, it shuts them out of the conversation.

Don’t create unnecessary barriers with the words you choose. When people have a hard time understanding information, they ignore it. Jargon can be devastating for you, your team, and your customers. While it can be fun to tinker with language and show off your mastery of business-speak, the fastest way to get your point across is by using plain, straightforward language.

You should only use jargon when you’re writing to people in your industry who are well acquainted with the issues you’re discussing. Jargon becomes a problem when it confuses and obscures.

3. Stop Making Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

How ProWritingAid Can Help

ProWritingAid’s Realtime Check scans your documents, social media posts, emails and more to show you spelling, grammar and writing style errors as you write. Just click on a highlight, accept the given suggestion (or replace the error yourself) and you’re on your way to better writing.

If you frequently send important emails or represent yourself or your business on social media daily, Realtime can be a lifesaver.

prowritingaid in facebook

With our browser extensions, Realtime highlights will appear anywhere you write online.

Why It’s Important

Nothing is more off-putting than reading the first line of an email, blog article, or a social media post and then bam! you find a misspelt word.

It’s no secret that the spelling and grammar standards of the English language are on the decline. And while many people blame the deteriorating standards on technology, it’s only partly to blame. Yes, spellcheck has simplified grammar and spelling, but we still come across emails with spelling mistakes and documents that have words missing.

This is why.

Computer systems are not human, they read anything you write on the screen as code and are not 100% accurate. However, the people you’re writing to fully understand the English language and even the nuances of English grammar. That’s why they won’t dismiss a typo or a grammatical error in your content.

And it’s understandable.

There’s no room for mistakes when you’re trying to win prospects over or trying to establish your expertise in your industry. That’s why you need ProWritingAid. Our editing software integrates with a variety of websites and applications, including Facebook, WordPress, Microsoft Office, and Gmail.

How you write matters a lot, because it determines how other people perceive your business. If your newsletters, marketing materials, and other business documents have bad grammar or typos, this is what they say about you:

  • You lack good communication skills
  • You’re unprofessional and sloppy
  • You don’t pay attention to details
  • You’re an amateur

Nobody wants to give their hard-earned money to a person who doesn’t care enough to spell check their content. If you were applying for a job, would you misspell the name of the company you want to work for? Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid grammar and spelling mistakes.

4. Use the Active Voice

How ProWritingAid Can Help

The ProWritingAid Realtime Report will also flag where you’ve used passive voice in your writing. Passive voice isn’t always wrong, but it you’re writing for customers or colleagues, it can make your writing dull to read.

Use the passive voice suggestions to re-word your sentences. Identify your subject, and move them to the front of your sentence.

Passive voice suggestion in ProWritingAid

Why It’s Important

When you use the active voice, the subject comes first and performs the action the rest of the sentence describes. But with passive voice, the word order is reversed and the object and action come first.

Here are two examples:

Passive voice: Directions will be given to you by the manager

Active voice: The manager will give you directions

Active voice adds impact to your writing in three ways:

  • It makes for easier writing and engaging reading
  • It cleans up sentences and helps prevent grammatical errors
  • You don’t use many words, so the material is more concise and efficient

You should always try to use the active voice. Passive voice sentences are usually hard to understand, awkward, and vague. They also have more words than active voice sentences, so readers have to work harder to understand the meaning. And because it’s not immediately clear who is performing the action, the sentence structure can seem unwieldy.

When you use the passive voice in an email, a customer may think you don’t want to take responsibility for a mistake that was done. Don’t write, “A mistake was made that led to an overcharge on your credit card. It has now been rectified.”

Instead write, “Our cashier made a mistake and overcharged your credit card, but he corrected the entry.”

5. Avoid Over-Writing

How ProWritingAid Can Help

While adverbs and adjectives can help you to get your point across more clearly, some people use adverbs to modify weak verbs. ProWritingAid can help you to steer clear of over-writing. The Writing Style Check report highlights passive and hidden verbs, overused adverbs, repeated sentence starts, and much more.

Why It’s Important

The Oxford English Dictionary describes over-writing as writing too elaborately or ornately.

You simply get carried away and make your material too flowery. As a result, your writing style draws attention. You may ask, “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t my writing style supposed to draw attention?” Yes, if you’re writing a heart-wrenching romance novel or literary fiction.

But in the business world, the norm is to say what you want to say in simple terms, without ornamentation.

Too much of a good thing is bad.

Sure, descriptions can be graphic, fun, and even beautiful. And if you’re a good writer, they can give you the opportunity to show off your writing style. However, when writing business material, it’s wise to avoid redundant phrases, unnecessary adverbs, and distracting adjectives.

Start Communicating Clearly with ProWritingAid

These days, everything has moved online. Emails have replaced letters and voicemail is now a thing of the past. And while communication has become more frequent, everything we write presents an opportunity for misunderstanding.

Effective communication is difficult and requires skill and effort. ProWritingAid can ensure you say exactly what you want to say. You’ll be able to express all your ideas clearly and effectively. In an increasingly polarizing world, our app helps increase connection through clear communication. It empowers you to communicate confidently, concisely, and effectively.

Great communication goes beyond easy-to-read messages. You have to understand your readers and put yourself in their shoes. When you know the people you’re communicating with, it becomes easy.

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