October 18th, 2006 by Bob Bly
A few months ago, I was teaching a class in business writing to a group of managers and engineers at a large manufacturing company.
I was talking about how good business writing is conversational, and how you should avoid jargon, overly formal language, corporate-speak, and the like.
This angered a gray-haired fellow who I judged to be in his 60s.
“I was taught to write in a proper, formal style, and that’s how I’m going to keep on writing,” he said.
“But modern writing is conversational,” I replied.
“Oh, yeah?” he challenged me. “Prove it!”
What would you have done in this situation if you were the instructor?
I mean, I’ve been a professional writer for a quarter of a century, with hundreds of published articles and 70 published books.
But actually PROVE to a skeptic that good writing is conversational writing?
Let me ask you….
Do you agree with me that good writing is conversational writing?
And if so, what proof is there that conversational writing is more effective than the old-school stiff, stilted, formal business writing that was popular half a century ago?
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