Friday, February 20, 2009

Too many looks spoil the prose

Letting too many people comment on the style and substance of a document you have written is a surefire way to slow down progress. It also hampers communication.

The reason is simple. People who review the document feel compelled to change a word, add a phrase or leave some other imprint, even if the copy is well written. Unfortunately, some people equate wordiness with effective writing. Some even insist on imposing out-of-date grammar and writing styles. And let's be honest. Some people simply cannot write.

If you've ever faced this problem, there is a solution: Restrict comments on style to only one or two colleagues who are skilled enough to make such comments. From the others, insist that they read only for substance and accuracy. Always make the case for simple and concise writing, and stick to your guns.

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