Once again, I have come across an online article containing a treasure trove of common writing problems. See what you spot in this paragraph.
A lot of the time, an employee who has recently been promoted to a supervisor role doesn’t always have the resources available to them to be a successful leader. By sending your employee through a supervisor training series, it will teach them the fundamental topics that any manager would need in order to lead in the most effective manner.
Pardon me while I go overboard in sharing what caught my eye as “teaching moments.” Here’s the opening sentence again: A lot of the time, an employee who has recently been promoted to a supervisor role doesn’t always have the resources available to them to be a successful leader (29 words).
1. “A lot of the time” is a lot of words to say “Often” or “Frequently.”
2. We don’t need “recently”; that’s implied.
3. I like “supervisory role” more than “supervisor role.” Picky, picky.
4. We don’t need “doesn’t always” because that’s pretty much the same thing as “A lot of the time.”
5. We can shorten “have the resources available to them” to simply “have the resources.” If you have them, they’re available.
6. Because “employee” is singular, “them” (plural) is wrong. We can avoid the somewhat clumsy “him or her” repair by changing “an employee” to “employees” and, of course, making the verbs agree.
7. I’d change “be a successful leader” to “become a successful leader.”
8. And last, I think a word like “help” sharpens the implication here. The right resources don’t guarantee success, but they sure help.
The opening sentence now reads something like this: Often, employees who have been promoted to a supervisory role don’t have the resources to help them become a successful leader (20 words).
By sending your employee through a supervisor training series, it will teach them the fundamental topics that any manager would need in order to lead in the most effective manner (30 words).
Because it’s spring break time, I’ll go easy on you and just offer what I hope is a marked improvement in syntax and brevity – without all the explanation: Sending new supervisors to a training series will give them the fundamentals they need to lead effectively (17 words).
1. Notice that I didn’t recast either sentence. They were reasonably sound in structure and clarity. But they lacked polish. The editing process is our opportunity to buff up our raw material.
2. Longer isn’t better. As readers we crave brevity, so why not strive to do that for our readers?
Now you can head to Cancun or Panama City or wherever spring breakers go these days.
In addition to presenting workshops on writing in the workplace, Norm Friedman is a writer, editor, and writing coach. His 100+ Instant Writing Tips is a brief “non-textbook” to help individuals overcome common writing errors and write with more finesse and impact. Learn more at http://www.normfriedman.com/index.shtml.