Commo‎ > ‎

Passive Voice


As I saw it as a U.S. Army Command & General Staff College instructor and training director, there are certain improvements we try to make through our professional communications curricula that actually make the average professional's speaking and writing worse. The top three are:
  • avoiding passive voice, 
  • consciously crafting transitions,
  • and limiting your gestures and body movements in public speaking.
In the vast majority of cases, whenever we told a mid-career officer to pay strict attention to any of the above, we created something of a monster. Their writing and oral presentations got more mechanical, artificial, distracting and tedious, i.e., we made things worse with no prospect for long-term improveement..

The worst kind of professional writing, hands down, is bureaucratese. And we see the nascence of bureaucratese in college students' attempts to write like they think business professionals write.