All business writers need specific reminders of how they’re likely to go wrong. Tracy Zampaglione, public information officer for Orange County Corrections in Florida and Bailey Jacobs, director, communications and marketing for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Washington, D.C., have compiled this concise list of business writing sins to help you keep your prose clean, honest and to the point.

  1. You don’t follow the three C’s.
    Compelling. Concise. Content (that’s worthwhile).
  2. You’re not real.
    Authenticity in writing is everything.
  3. You don’t tailor your writing for your audience.
    Writing needs to fit the tone, format, style and grammar of your intended audience, not the other way around.
  4. You’re sloppy with style.
    Style matters. Always. Choose a style guide (“AP Style Book,” “The Chicago Manual of Style,” your own house style) and make sure everyone on your team sticks to it consistently.
  5. You think you’re proofing perfect.
    Spoiler alert: Even the best writers need a proofing buddy.
  6. You’re not a writing leader.
    Fostering a culture of strong writing makes an entire organization stronger.
  7. You think writing is a natural talent.
    Writing is a skill—and one that can always be improved.

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