3 Confounding Things You Need To Stop Typing Immediately

Easy ways to improve written communication.

“If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” Moms everywhere LOVE that question. When we were asked, we quickly answered “No.” Because jumping off a cliff is stupid.

I have a similar question, tailored to fit your status as a bonafide adult.

If all your friends wrote the same thing, would you?

I like words. I write them in exchange for money and, most importantly, affirmation. My mentors taught me to ruthlessly kill the stuff that make people tune out. Hacking and slashing words and syllables eliminates clichés, confusion, and wasted time.

Now I pass what I’ve learned to you. But before I begin the list, here’s the key takeaway: Mindlessly doing something because everyone else does it is not a good idea. Never write a phrase simply because it’s universally accepted. Pause for a beat and ask yourself if there’s a better way to communicate what you’re trying to say. If there is, write that instead.

1. Attached, please find [document name].

Why it’s no good:
From the moment I first saw it, “please find” made no sense. The phrase is a big middle finger to my belief that we should write like we talk. Thus, it offends me.

“Attached, please find” is typed by just about everyone who emails a client. It’s a buttoned-up way to say, “Yo. Here’s a PDF you should look at.”

What to say instead:
“[document name] is attached.” The most important detail is communicated first. It’s more conversational. We even save a syllable in the process.

2. Innovative Solutions

Why it’s no good:
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve emailed a business owner and asked what their company does, then gotten the classic autopilot reply: “We provide innovative solutions to our customers’ problems.”

Okay. But again, WHAT DO YOU DO?

What to say instead:
Tell people what your product actually does for them. I know, right?

3. Opinions are my own.

Why it’s no good:
Countless professionals with a Twitter account use these 20 characters as the wrap-up to their bio. Ironically, they rarely gift their followers with an actual opinion.

Let’s say you tweet about how much you hate gypsies. Turns out the CFO’s grandparents were gypsies. OOPS. After you’re fired, do you think shouting “OPINIONS ARE MY OWN!” functions like a Get Out Of Jail Free card?

It does not.

Of course your opinions are your own. That’s how opinions work. Every one of those 20 characters is redundant and needs to be killed.

What to say instead:
Something unique and interesting about yourself. Coming up blank? Here are some options. MAN, I’m helpful.

  • Waffle connoisseur.
  • Can’t poop at work.
  • [your skill here] ninja.
  • Tea trumps coffee.
  • Attached, please find.

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Do you have “Opinions are my own” in your bio and now you’re all mad at me?
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