In his recent article, “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: 20 Ways to Write Like a Tool”, Jay Shepherd laid bare lawyers’ various writing offences. I saw too much of myself in his list and also saw examples of errors commonly made by employers when communicating in writing with employees.
Even with all the technology at our disposal, the written word is still our primary mode of communication. It is important for us all – employers included – to write in a way that gets our message across without confusing or offending readers.
Like lawyers, I see employers commit writing offences time after time. As we start off the new year, perhaps one way for employers to work on improving their employee relations is to assess, and refine, their writing style.
Shepherd’s number one example of how lawyers tend to “write like a tool” is their use of the phrase “pursuant to”. He says, and I agree, that “no real person would ever say ‘pursuant to’ in conversation.”