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Consistency matters in business writing: developing an Individual Style Guide

Consistency is one of the most important principles in business writing.

As I said in another blog, not Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘foolish consistency … the hobgoblin of little minds’, but sensible, pragmatic consistency which avoids upsetting sticklers and distracting non-sticklers among your audience.

Consistency of structure (format) is essential to the impact and effectiveness of business writing; yet is often overlooked. You need to find a way to remind you what formatting elements to use for different types of content, delivering flawless consistency along the way.

Not to mention traditional elements of style, word choices, or problems of any description where you need help remembering the solution.

One of the best ways to achieve these things – and embed a consistent approach to style and formatting in all your business writing – is to develop an Individual Style Guide.

Style Corner: List Punctuation

A message I try to hammer home to my students is the need for consistency in business writing.

Not ‘foolish consistency… the hobgoblin of little minds’ as Ralph Waldo Emerson had it, but sensible, pragmatic consistency which avoids annoying or disengaging your reader to the point where they ‘swipe left’ on your content.

This applies to layout as much as – or more than – any other aspect of business writing.

One area where writers are often guilty of layout inconsistency is the punctuation of lists; across different lists in the same piece, or sometimes even within a single list.

It’s unnecessary, messy and unprofessional.

BOEPrism

Risk & Regulation Round-up October to December 2017

This is the latest round-up in the series covering key announcements and developments in UK financial risk and regulation.

As usual I adopt a summarised and simplified approach to the main stories. Links to underlying source stories or documents are contained in individual articles in this blog.

Substantive guidance is now starting to emerge from the regulators on Brexit; in particular the need for some firms to apply for relevant authorisations to do business in the UK post-Brexit, irrespective of the likely implementation period and temporary permissions regime. See section 1 below.

A major regulatory announcement came in December from the Basel Committee: the final set of revisions to the Basel III capital rules. These included confirmation of the new capital floor, delays to the implementation timeline and other changes. See section 2 below.

*** Note: The articles in this blog do not constitute advice, but please contact Prism-Clarity for further information, including where to get the best advice. ***

Finding the Story Part 3: The Power of Tweet And Other Tips

The first two blogs in this series looked at why the idea of story is so appealing and why it is such a useful tool in business writing – because it conveys the hook, the core – which is our key meaning and purpose in business writing.

In all business writing the common element is impact. You are looking to make an impact, and the core message or story will help determine whether you have one and what it will be.

This final blog in the series takes a practical view, focusing first on the power that Twitter has to make you condense your story into very few characters; and then offering some further touchstones on summarising effectively, to help you really get to the story.