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First name: Magnus
Last name: Hauman

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Intermediate

Do people read past your first sentence?

22/06/2014 14:20:06

Do people read past your first sentence?

Do people read past your first sentence?

How often do you receive emails, proposals or cover letters to a CV that is so bad, you don't even want to read past the first sentence?

How do you know that your own emails, proposals or cover letters don't have the same effect on someone else?

Personal Skills is one of the subjects of the MBA at USB. It only accounts for one out of 306 credits to complete your MBA, but oh boy, what an interesting journey it has been so far. The aim of the subject, among other things, is to give you guidelines on how to write better emails and cover letters, so your readers will read past the first sentence.

From a business perspective, effective communication does have an effect on the bottom line. A study done by Watson Wyatt Worldwide - a human capital consulting firm - launched its Communication ROI Study™ in April 2003. It showed that companies with effective communication programs has a lower employee turnover, and increased stock market value, compared to organizations that don't make an effort with communications.

In my own work environment, I have seen the impact of bad communication skills, or ineffective email writing. The result is unnecessary conflict situations, a stressful work atmosphere and an overall company culture that leaves a lot to be desired. Effective communication can have a profound effect.

Here are a few tips from the Personal Skills course on how to write better emails, proposals and cover letters:

- Sentences should be clear, short and simple.

- The key message must be in the first two lines.

- The subject line must be specific and contain part of the key message.

- Write in the active form, instead of passive.

- Use active verbs and strong adjectives.

- Introduce every paragraph with a topic sentence, so readers will know what the rest of the paragraph is all about.

- Check your grammar, syntax and spelling.

- Remember whom you're writing for. Tone is very important.

- Review your structure and layout. Leave enough white space for easy reading.

- Read your work before you send.

(Image: Flikr Creative Commons)

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