English Drafting Skills & Drafting Guide
If you work in a Government organisation, learning English drafting skills can make your life much easier. It can be an intimidating process, considering that you are actually writing on somebody else’s behalf. However, if you follow this step by step procedure, you’ll be drafting communications in no time at all. Here are the steps you should follow:
English Drafting Skills Step 1: Identify With the Sender
You know that you are creating a draft on somebody else’s behalf, normally, an officer senior to you. So, it is critical that you make writing from his perspective a part of your English drafting skills. To do this, make sure you have some basic information about the sender, before you actually begin writing anything.
This information includes such things as the name, designation, telephone number and complete and accurate postal address. Having this information readily available with you will make it easier when you have to transcribe it on the draft and also help you get into the mind-set of the sender.
English Drafting Skills Step 2: Decide Upon the Form
There is a different form of communication prescribed by the Government for every different occasion and purpose. The different forms of communications have clearly defined formats and which one you use will depend on the following factors:
- Where and to whom is the communications being sent?: Government/Non-Government employee.
- What is the level of formality?
- Is it meant for a wide audience? Or a single individual?
Thinking about these questions in advance will help you choose the right format for what you are trying to convey. This in turn will ensure that even if there are changes in the actual content of the draft, you will not have to change the format. English drafting skills like this one will save time and effort for you and the officer on whose behalf you are drafting.
English Drafting Skills Step 3: Know the Purpose
It is important to know why you are drafting the particular communication. Knowing your purpose will help you use the right language, tone and details.
- Is the draft meant to gather more information? In that case state your query clearly with subparts (if any).
- Is it meant to convey orders? In that case you state by whose sanction the order is being passed.
- Is it meant for dispersing information? In that case state for whom is the information relevant.
English Drafting Skills Step 4: Tips on Language
You can actually start the process of drafting now that you have done the background work. While you are writing it is essential that you keep in mind these tips to enhance the impact and efficiency of your drafting skills in english:
Be Clear and Consistent
Remember, at this stage all that the recipient needs to know is the actual decision, query or order. There is no need to mention all that is already contained in the noting. The noting is a recording of the internal deciding process.
A draft should just clearly state the final decision or order. Even if there were any contentions and deliberations in the decision making process, they should remain on the noting only, and not reflect in the draft. The draft conveys the final decision or order, clearly and without any ambiguity.
Avoid Redundancy and Verbosity
One of the most critical English drafting skills is the ability to prevent irrelevant words from creeping into your draft. At the same time you also need to find simpler and more direct way to say something even if it means using more words.
Tackling redundancy and verbosity can be a judgment call sometimes. For example. if you want to say “Do not use more words than are necessary” you can rephrase it as “avoid verbosity”.
If you do this you would be using two, instead of seven words. However, you should use that seven worded phrase, since it is easier to understand.
A simple rule of thumb to master drafting skills in English is this, never compromise on meaning. Make sure you convey your message clearly even if it means using a few more words. Also, make sure that each and every word and sentence that you use fulfils a purpose.
At this stage, don’t think too much about your draft being perfect, if there are changes made to something you drafted, don’t be disheartened. Noting and drafting in English is a skill that improves overtime. The more you practice, the more you will improve your English drafting skills.