How to prevent your boss from mangling your copy

Do your top honchos savage your clean, clear writing with jargon and run-on sentences? Try these tactics to spare yourself—and your readers—from their maundering.

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Having worked as an editor in the communications department of a large investment bank, I empathize completely. There’s nothing worse than some verbose exec “improving” your finely crafted copy by inserting references to “delivering key learnings,” “driving employee integration strategies,” and “interfacing holistically with clients.”

There are two aspects to successfully managing your clients: getting the process right and knowing how to navigate the politics. Here, I offer my tips on the first of the two P’s—process.

1. Don’t ask for “feedback.”

“Feedback” is a broad concept meaning different things to different people. One editor might check for grammar and spelling. Another might be concerned with how “on-brand” the story is. Yet another will want to rephrase your writing to incorporate words like “solutions,” “impacted on,” and “going forward,” simply because your original wasn’t “corporate enough.”

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