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Wisconsin State Council SHRM Developing Professionals - Serving the HR Profession

Suggestions on Writing Style

  1. Write clearly and concisely. Use simple language; make your point in as few words as possible.

  2. Use the active voice, not the passive voice. For example, writing "it was decided" leaves questions in the readers' minds. (Who decided?) Writing "Mr. Henry decided" is stronger and more informative.

  3. Define terms that may not be well-known. Avoid jargon and clichés that may confuse readers or send them running for the dictionary. On first mention, spell out abbreviations or acronyms. If in doubt, define.

  4. Make sure all direct quotes are accurate and are clearly attributed to a source. Be aware of what constitutes libel.

  5. Use subheads. Subheads can help you organize an article and can facilitate transitions from one idea to another.

  6. Avoid writing in a formal or academic-style. Write as though you were talking to the reader.

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