Poor writing and communication cost millions each year in wasted time and lost business opportunities.
- In the USA, an estimated 30% of all business writing is produced to clarify or seek clarification of something already written.
- A study by the Royal Mail in the UK estimated that British businesses lose up to £5 billion a year because of pretentious, inappropriate or error-ridden writing.
It is estimated that poor communications account for as much as 40% of the total costs of managing all business transactions.
Organisations spend a lot of money on websites and emails with information that many people simply cannot understand.
Companies regularly produce documents that are hard to read or even indecipherable, but good communication can lead to big savings:
- Merely by redrafting manuals into plain English, General Electric saved $275,000 in one year.
- The US Navy estimated that good English could save it up to $300 million every year.
- By using plain English, British Telecom cut customer queries by 25%.
- The Plain English Campaign has saved the British government an estimated £500 million in the last 20 years.
- A professional editor rewrote a sales letter for a bank. The redrafted letter brought in an extra $11 million of new business.
(Source: Plain English Campaign)
Poor communication and poor writing in particular must cost billions globally each year. Yet little thought is given to the quality of writing. For example, there are excellent workshops for start-up companies that cover just about everything, such as setting up a website. But there’s nearly always a glaring omission: the importance of getting the words right.
A website designed to dazzle may look impressive, but if the copy on it is poor, the website is next to useless. A brochure may look good, but what if the words on it are confusing, riddled with errors, lack punch, or omit essential details?
In the business world, the bottom line is not just about getting your finances right; it’s also about getting your words right.