If writing for a mission-critical audience makes you squirm, this is for you.

Your best bet? Spend a few bucks to hire a professional. But if you can’t (or prefer to hone your talent), it may be time to try A.T.O.M.

A is for action. Choose words and phrases that bring action and purpose and results to mind. Avoid soft words like help, teach, become, make and try. Think powerful: build, boost, construct, captain, conduct, direct, lead and design.

T is for timing. A well-crafted piece—even a simple email—builds interest as you read. It mixes short bursts with longer, thoughtful sentences. It’s like telling a story—there’s a beginning, middle and end. Make it compelling.

O is for omit. After you’ve written a first draft, review it with your delete key at the ready. Remember, you want clarity (and her sister, brevity). Have you kept your piece to 1 key theme? Take out the detours that soften your message. Then ask yourself: what’s in it for your reader?

M is for mouth feel. A good business writer learns to make his sentences crackle and sizzle. He sprinkles his posts with words that paint pictures: kindle, spawn, animate, spur, hatch and spark. He searches for the right (proper, perfect, appropriate, suitable) word to convey nuance.

Next time your hand is hovering over the ‘SEND’ button… give A.T.O.M. a shot (jab, pop, stab, go).

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