Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz (Keep Your Readers Engaged)

Bryan A. Garner, editor of Black’s Law Dictionary, reminds us to “avoid alphabet soup”:

Readers find acronyms tiresome, especially ones they’re not familiar with. Use them judiciously. It may be convenient to refer to COGS instead of spelling out “cost of goods sold.” But if you also throw in acronyms such as ABC (“activity-based costing”), EBITDA (“earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization”), and VBM (“value-based management”), only the accountants in your audience will follow you — you’ll lose everyone else. Small wonder, too. People don’t want to master your arcane vocabulary to get what you’re saying.

Keep this advice in mind as you write papers and craft presentations while in the LMAS program. Some of your writing may be intended only for other accountants, but much of it will reach a wider audience. You should read the rest of Garner’s excellent blog post (“Don’t Anesthetize Your Colleagues With Bad Writing”)  here.

As a side note, I just bought his new book, HBR Guide to Better Business Writing. Expect a review from me here soon.

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