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Quotes are often followed by an executive’s lengthy title, sometimes more than one, but that level of specificity just slows the reader.

Attribution is important, but there is no need to be excessive. The bank news release quote ended with  … said Pam Sears, CFA, managing director and head of digital partnerships, content and social media at the bank, and president and CEO of Women & Co., the bank’s personal finance resource for women.

An exceedingly long title, or multiple titles in this case, are rarely necessary. They don’t add useful detail; they only slow the pace of the reading. One title is enough to show that the person is an authoritative source, or you can include two titles when they are short, such as vice president and partner. When a title is long, find a shortcut to simplify it. Instead of executive director of district sales and marketing for the Pacific Coast region might just be referred to as a sales and marketing executive for the company. The goal is to make the writing fluid, so that the reader breezes along.

Corporate writers often fear receiving a phone call from a snarly executive with the bruised ego who is wondering what happened to the rest of the title, but most executives have better things to do.

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Ken O’Quinn is a professional writing coach and former Associated Press writer who conducts corporate workshops on business writing, persuasive writing, and corporate communications writing. He is the author of Perfect Phrases for Business Letters (McGraw-Hill), which is available at here at Amazon.com.

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One Response to “Don’t Slow Down Your Reader with this Mistake”

  1. Isela Graells

    I am writer, and I have to admit that, although I am a good story teller, my grammar is quite poor. I am truly grateful for your web page, and your devotion to helping others. My first novel is coming out soon, and although I had help with the editing, I still wonder how many mistakes I will find once it is bound. But, I just couldn’t re-read it anymore. Thank you, once again.

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