Forget The Fluff. Tips On How To Write Professionally

Everyone reading this I am sure has had numerous 10+ page essays due in their life. It is quite rare in an English class where your essay is just 500 words or less, when in reality, writing a concise, 500 word essay is probably harder than writing that 10+ page essay. One thing that is a bit overlooked in our English classes is the emphasis on being concise and being concise is key to writing professionally. Professionals simply do not have the time to read 10 page memo’s. In order to be successful with writing reports and memos for your boss you need to be able to condense a ton of information into a page or less.

I had a bit of a rude awakening when I started my internship with CampusLIVE. I was handed an assignment where I needed to explain the importance of establishing a blog on a popular website. As the self proclaimed king of “fluff” I wrote up a solid one page memo in my attempt to be concise. With a smile of satisfaction on my face I emailed the memo to my boss and asked him to proofread it. About 10 minutes later I was called over by my boss and was sat down. He told me “Kareem, the memo you sent me was very well written but the only reason why I read it was because I know you worked hard on this. This is much too long for everyone to read. Shorten it into 3 bullets and send it back to me”. 3 bullets??? I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was being concise with a 1 page memo and then being told to reduce it to 3 bullets blew my mind. After reading through my memo over and over again I realized how much “fluff” I had in there just to make the memo sound nice. After slashing away and removing a ton of things I sent the revised memo and was told that this is how I should write everything while at work.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. The style of writing we learn in English class and the style of writing necessary in the fast paced business world is completely different. No 5 paragraph format or any of that. No need to even make the writing sound eloquent. Just get STRAIGHT to the point and make it as informative as possible without it becoming wordy. All of us at one point or another have written “fluff” to either make an essay sound better or make it longer. Once you graduate it’s time to ditch the “fluff” and learn how to write to make everyone around you more productive