It’s National Scrabble Day — Friday, April 13, 2018 — and an inspiration to improve your business writing, … for your website, collaterals, professional bios, or ordinary letters. The game was actually invented by an architect, not a wordsmith, and trademarked in 1948. Today, Scrabble buffs compete in tournaments, play in different languages, and celebrate with creative crafts and tile cookies.
Consider a few writing lessons learned from Scrabble …
1. An extensive vocabulary and impeccable spelling are vital in business, in Scrabble and in life.
While misspelled words may be challenged during actual Scrabble play, a typo (or grammar error) in your email to a colleague, your business proposal to collaborate with a new vendor, or even in your LinkedIn profile sends a strong message. Typos may convey that you are not detail-oriented, well-read, committed or smart. (In reality, it is extremely difficult to proofread our own writing, in part because of how our brains work.)
2. Everyday language builds relationships and connects you to your audience.
Although Scrabble experts may advise a strategy where players hold key letters in anticipation of high-point scores, we all know that short, basic words are the foundation of the game and deliver immediate gratification (and points). Likewise, in business writing, everyday language that is conversational in tone builds relationships with your audience, while industry jargon and complex terms may alienate them. Don’t forget to use active voice and action verbs, and avoid run-on sentences.
3. Powerful words boost engagement and action.
Top point-getters in Scrabble play are the letters Q and Z, used by word gurus to score big. Powerful words in our writing also send a big message; they may drive action, evoke emotion, or result in other kinds of engagement. Used subtly — so as not to be pretentious — powerful words communicate your ideas with clarity and sharpen your writing.
4. Whether on the Scrabble board or in your written communication, your first words set the tone.
On the board, a few multi-letter words open the game to a wide array of possibilities. In business writing, it’s critical to state your value proposition or most compelling point right from the start. Grab your readers’ attention and entice them to read more with use of the imperative voice, clever word-play or other critical headlines and introductory text.
Embrace the lexicon of words during the month of April to dynamically convey your most convincing messages, deepest feelings, relevant directives or boundless excitement. Like new words added to the official Scrabble dictionary by Miriam-Webster throughout the years — such as glamping, microfinance, bromance and life hack — add some new words to your business writing arsenal. Select a few favorite words in the news or from your day-to-day life and keep a post-it note with your favorites right at your desk.
From there, the possibilities for your Scrabble prowess and your business writing are endless. You may even become a wordie, a 2018 addition to the Miriam-Webster dictionary meaning “word lover” … like other words denoting enthusiasts such as foodie and groupie.
If you’re overwrought by writing, grappling with grammar, or just need an objective outlook, let me know how I can help. Contact Carolyn Lavin / Lavin Marketing here.