"No one likes a show-off" might be bad advice for contestants on Dancing with the Stars, but it's good advice for technical writing! Have you ever read a procedure or report and noticed all the big, showy words? Maybe you found yourself re-reading sentences, trying to understand the author’s meaning. You might have tried to look up a couple words you didn’t recognize, but couldn’t find them in the dictionary. Maybe you thought “all these buzzwords are really annoying” or even stopped reading in frustration. Those documents were probably filled with showy words and vogue words.
Ever wondered whether readers can tell that you didn't use a professional editor? The answer is yes! Readers can tell, even if they aren't thinking "I doubt that a professional editor worked on this." Even if a technical document is free of spelling and grammar errors, if it hasn't been professionally edited, it probably contains usage mistakes, imprecise language, inconsistent formatting, and other problems that a pro would have corrected.
The details of public records laws are different from state to state, but one possibility for business owners is that their documents might be public records. And public records are open and accessible to the public. Any business document could become public, like when hacked emails are published, but I'm talking about something else. I'm talking about business documents that could be released in response to a public records request.
Last week, I listened to a radio program about distracted driving. One of the experts on the show said that in a recent poll, the majority of respondents said they no longer consider drunk driving “a serious threat.” Her point was that public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving seems to be waning, but I found myself thinking, “how did the respondents interpret the word ‘threat’ and how did that affect their answers?”