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Remote Work Special: The Secret of 23


The last month has witnessed some unprecedented changes. One of the biggest is how and where we work. Working remotely has become the new normal and a trend that looks set to continue into the year. One specific skill-set which will be needed is strong written communication skills. In the next few posts we will focus on this topic.

For the sports fans out there 23 is a popular shirt number. Think Micheal Jordan (basketball), David Beckham (football) or Lebron James (basketball).

The number 23 also has meaning for communication and specifically business writing.  This “23 rule” will support you in structuring + breaking up content, providing white space and also assistance in writing short simple sentences. So…what does it actually mean? 20 words per sentence and no more than 3 paragraphs per email.

Let’s look at a real example to see how it works.

Using the 23 rule it would change to;

Notice how the original e-mail has been broken up into sentences of 20 words or less, with 3 paragraphs (23). But there’s more!

For those of you who have been reading or listening to our previous articles, you will notice that we can go one step further . We can use the business writing A.D.R.C tool and ensure that “our aim” or “to do” is in the first sentence. The result would look something like this:

Notice how the “aim” or “to do” is clear from the beginning (second sentence). Finally when using the 23 rule it is a good idea to look out for sentence joining words such as;


These can easily turn a 20 word sentence into 50 words. The use of these sentence joining words is not just limited to written communication. We also need to watch out for them in our oral communication too.

The above tip is content from our online business writing skills program. This program is proven to reduce written communication problems, enhance productivity and ensure business writing gets acted on.

Click here to access Advance Digital to try and sample this product for free. Note: You will need to create your own account and password to see the free preview- will take less than 15 seconds.