This question has been popping up in my head everytime I read a company profile.
Whoever develops the copy for business documentation suffers from a serious sense of misguidance as far as their target or captive audience is concerned. Take as an example these lines from the website of a business organisation based here in Durban:
“…aspires to be a thought leader in the area of efficient, holistically aligned business and investment vibrancy.. creating a thriving and inclusive economy through leveraging the organisational capacity of the private and public sector..”
I can’t begin to imagine who wrote this, and even less who it is written for. What does it say to the first time reader of business documentation? Instead of that first line would it not be easier to instead say: “We are middle-men for investors wanting to invest and business owners seeking investment”. The idea is to write in words that humans can understand because the objective is for humans to read it, understand it and act on it. How then will we get people to act on something that can’t comprehend?
So the question to ask ourselves is whether “business English” really work in business, or whether it is more a burden than a benefit. Are we really communicating when we verbally regurgitate dictionaries at people in the hope they will be impressed enough to want to do business with us because we appear smart?
Do we absolutely have to say “Mr. Anderson” when all we really have to say is “Neo”?