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🤔 Style

Suggestions in the Style category aim to improve clarity and credibility while making your communications easier and faster to understand at first reading. 

What does Witty highlight in the category "Style"?

Empty phrases and filler words are language clutter. They make messages more difficult to understand, especially for people whose first language isn’t English or German. Exaggerations let your audience question the credibility of your statements. And although common in business communications, abbreviations, acronyms, and anglicisms require more brain power to interpret. They’re tiring to read and more likely to be misunderstood. Witty alerts you to potential style issues, and its suggested alternatives help you keep communications clear, credible, and easy to understand. In German, Witty also suggests terms and phrases that make sentences easier to understand. 

🧊 A less formal tone makes you sound more accessible

Formal language is often used in a diplomatic context. It expresses respect between countries. In everyday business situations, however, it can seem odd. It can implicitly convey that an interlocutor is "something better." Formal expressions can kill emotionality and are not conducive to eye-to-eye cooperation. This is contrary to what we are trying to achieve: an inclusive culture where everyone can bring their perspective to the table and realize their full potential.

What can you do?
Try to write in a way that expresses the equality between you and the reader. It often helps to imagine that you are writing to a friend. 

🤔 Are you sure people know what this stands for?

Did you ever have a hard time to capture the meaning of a text because you were not familiar with an abbreviation or an acronym? And did that make you feel a bit at unease?

Think again.

The abbreviation or acronym you just used might prevent people to understand your message. This can be troublesome for:

  • new employees in your company as they cannot easily contribute to the discussion.
  • people who have a different educational background and thus they might feel inferior. Or perceive it as arrogant.

What can you do?
We recommend to spell out abbreviations, making everyone feel at ease and setting a discourse at eye level.

😮‍💨 Build trust by avoiding exaggerations

We have the tendency, when we want to emphasize something, to use exaggerating vocabulary that should booster the description. Everything is “great”, “awesome”, “excellent”. We think that this convinces our readers more. But when you read a text yourself that is peppered with such terms, do you like it? Unless the relation to the reader is really close, exaggerating terms can have two consequences:

  • Readers feel like they have to fit in and thus perceive such terms as pressure onto themselves to become that way too.
  • Readers feel that the communication is not authentic and this reduces credibility of the message.

What can you do?
Try to prevent such exaggerations. Rather reflect on what exactly you want to express and describe it in authentic and frank terms. 

😟 Complicates your message in a way that makes it harder to understand

These are words and word combinations that over-complicate language in a way that makes it harder for your audience to understand you. This also includes language that lacks authenticity or emotionality preventing you from connecting.

What can you do?
Avoid fillers, hollow words, confusing abbreviations, and complicated expressions to communicate your ideas with clarity and connect to all your readers.

🙄 Empty words distract from or undermine your message

When you read this expression somewhere, do you understand exactly what it means? Many words we use in business communication have lost their meaning through their "over"-use. They are confusing because they no longer mean anything. Some readers even find them derisive. 

What can you do?
Think again briefly about what exactly you would like to express and describe it more concretely - perhaps with a few more words - so that readers can truly understand.

😟 Filler words add words but no meaning

Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language? Do you remember how difficult it was in the beginning to differentiate between nouns, verbs, pronouns and to catch the meaning of the phrase? It takes time to understand the structure of a foreign language. Everything that is written in between the important word types is confusing. That’s why it is recommended to use as little filler words as possible. Without them capturing the meaning is easier.

What can you do?
It is advisable to use as few filler words as possible. This way, the meaning of the sentence can be grasped more quickly, by anyone.