Friday, 3 December 2010

Business Writing: How to write like a pro? -- Part 4

So we are back to our writing again on Friday.

So by now, I hope you are trying out the exercises I posted and are reading newspaper articles carefully to learn how other write. Today, I have 2 questions for you, one of which I have mentioned in Part 1 but haven't answered,

So now, it should be easy to see which one will sound more professional in terms of lexical density. But exactly,
how can we write using sentence structures that has higher lexical density?  does "higher lexical density" = "better writing" in ALL CASES? 

There are many situations when we will write with high lexical density, but other than trying to sound more professional and formal, money is also a concern, such as in,
  • newspaper articles on newspaper (because the printing price is high for each word)
  • news magazines, finance magazine ($$$$)
  • academic reports, essays (to sound more persuasive)
  • argumentative writing in secondary schools (to sound more persuasive)
  • emails to the superiors in business (bosses and bosses' bosses)
  • emails to business clients or partners (to sound respectful and pro)
  • emails to internal staff whom you are not close to (inter-department communication)
  • emails to someone you highly respect (your idol?)

However, high lexical density is not favoured in the following cases:
  • emails with friends (sounds too formal)
  • emails with internal staff whom you are close to (again too formal)
  • emails with internal staff whom work for you (too formal and they might not like it)
  • emails of instructions (you don't want them to ask you face to face, again and again)
  • emails of purchase or any kinds of money related matter (the simpler the better with money)

Homework 1: Think of more to add to these lists.

The other question is, is there any other easier way to calculate my lexical density? Well, of course there are! This one is pretty handy, called Text Content Analysis Tool. It has a few other funny functions such as Word Frequency Cloud, Hard Words, etc.

You are highly recommended to read this article for more online calculators. If you don't like to go onto the internet and try, you can just use your Microsoft Word to help you, here is the instruction page of how to find it. The most common test for readability in Microsoft Word is Flesch-Kincaid Index, you can click on the link to read up about it, as to why the formula is as mentioned in the page is beyond our discussions.

Do remember that softwares may still produce errors, particularly when you write using people's names and numbers, so do not fully rely on it. Use them with care.

Homework 2: Read the resources below and play with some of the software, then tell me what you think about the software.

Business Writing: How to write like a pro? -- Part 1

Formula for Lexical Density Test:

Flesch-Kincaid Index

Test Your Writing Quality With These 8 Readability Web Tools