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Revising Your Message for Errors, Conciseness & Readability

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  • 0:01 Revising a Message
  • 0:47 Errors
  • 1:24 Conciseness
  • 2:47 Readability
  • 4:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
The three parts of producing a message are planning, writing, and completing. In the completing stage, it is crucial for business writers to examine their message for errors, conciseness, and readability.

Revising a Message

Most business people feel immediate relief when their first draft of a message is complete. Unfortunately, the path to a well-written and professional message does not end at that point. This lesson will cover how to revise your message for errors, conciseness, and readability.

The three parts of preparing a message consist of planning, writing, and completing. In the completing phase, revisions are needed to occur in order to create a focused, direct message. Angie completes business messages every day in her job as a sales representative for Crazi Toys. She sends texts and emails and prepares written reports. Let's examine how she checks her message for excellent clarity, content, and professionalism.

Errors

It is critical to revise your messages by eliminating errors, or mistakes in writing. Angie prefers to use three methods. She first asks her co-worker, Jean, to read over her work to look for any mistakes or suggestions for improvements. In addition, she also rereads her work a few times to search out any misspelled words, clarity issues, or sentence structure mistakes. Lastly, Angie runs her document through the spelling & review option and the thesaurus software that comes with Microsoft Word. This way, her communication is sent without any mistakes.

Conciseness

Your writing should be concise, or to the point, direct, and well organized. Angie suggests that you look to eliminate vagueness, avoid complicated words, and check that your paragraphs are well organized. For example, look to make sure that you have supporting paragraphs for your topic sentence. In addition, have a fellow employee read your message to see if they feel there is any confusion or vagueness in your communication. There are a few other examples Angie suggests to help with message conciseness:

  • Avoid long noun groupings. In order to keep your communication direct, it is best to avoid multiple strings of nouns. For example, Angie would not want the following to appear in a business message: 'The ball balloon magnetic block game is expected to exceed sales'. A better sentence would be 'The new block game made of magnets is very popular.'
  • Avoid dangling modifiers. It is also a good idea to avoid dangling modifiers, which describe or clarify a word not clearly stated in a sentence. For example, Angie would not want to write, 'Having finished the toy design, the computer was turned off.' A better way to write the sentence would be, 'Having finished the toy design, Angie turned off the computer.'

Readability

It is critical to proof your messages for readability, or the ability for others to read and comprehend your work communication. Angie uses two indexes to compare her work against in order to ensure that it is readable. The first index is called Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Index and ranks written documents by grade level achievement. For example, most business documents are written at an 8-11th grade level, while technical documents are scored between the 12-14th grade levels. Angie tries to write using vocabulary and sentence structure that would be written by someone with at least a high school education.

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