We commonly are reminded to use strong verbs, but some people associate “strong verbs” with storytelling, and they wonder if it’s possible in everyday business communication. Sure it is.

Convert forms of the verb be to something that contains more action or imagery, and your sentences will have more emphasis and punch.

Business writing is about problems, issues, and financial results important to the daily operation of the company, so the content tends to be “plain-vanilla,” factual information that is mundane, even bland. But even though you might not use the kind of colorful, descriptive words in daily messages that you would use in a feature story about an employee, there is still ample opportunity to energize the writing.

Don’t say, Several people were at the meeting, if you can say that several people attended the meeting. Forms of the verb be (am, is, are, was, were, being, been) do not contain any action; they merely convey existence (They are at the conference means they exist at the conference). Don’t say that revenue dropped; say revenue dipped or revenue plummeted.

Instead of saying I couldn’t take notes quickly enough, try writing, I couldn’t scribble quickly enough. The main verb, take, is a good verb, but scribble is stronger, and you save a word.

Why write that the committee declined to accept our offer, if you could write that the committee rejected the offer.