The five most outdated phrases in business writing and how to avoid them

"Per our conversation, enclosed please find our latest catalogue". Would you ever say this to a customer? Most certainly not! It would sound very silly. But you have probably received – and maybe even written – letters that sound like this. According to the San Francisco Examiner, executives estimate that 14 percent of each working week is lost as a result of bad communication. This amounts tosome seven weeks a year for each manager!

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We live in a high-tech world, but all too often we still hide behind tired, over-formalphrases when we write business letters. But your letter creates an image of your company in your reader's mind. A good letter should be easy to read and understand and should make you want to read more. A rule of thumb is: if you wouldn't say it to the person personally, you probably shouldn't say it in a letter.

Here are the top five outdated phrases:

  1. Enclosed please find …
  2. Please be advised that …
  3. at your earliest convenience
  4. If you should have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  5. In the meantime, we remain

And here are some up-to-date alternatives:

1. I'm sending you some information about our product line.

There is no need to say 'please'’. You are not requesting anything, but sending something.

2. We have shipped your goods and you should receive them within the next five days.
This gets straight to the point. Instead of telling your reader you are going to tell them something, just go ahead and tell them.

3. Please let us know when it would be most convenient.

Please suggest a date. This is much more direct than the very stuffy 'your convenience', which nobody today even really understands.

4. If you need any more information, please call me.
This is much more direct and personal.

5. Nothing!
This phrase is completely redundant. Leave it out.

Use these phrases and be on the forefront of the current, more direct style of business writing.

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