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Why Impact is More Important than Effect

This is a quirk in my writing which may be useful for others to understand. In business communications, I usually use the word “impact” instead of the word “effect”. Why?

I use “impact” as a reminder to discipline my thinking. The word “effect” is more about the incidental results of an event. However, the word “impact” is more about the effect ON SOMETHING. “Impact” reminds me to think more about what was changed, rather than focusing on the event itself. For example, “lack of sales due to the hurricane negatively impacted our Southeast region sales by 5 percent.”

“Impact” sounds slightly more active. Active voice is good in writing. Also, “impact” reminds me to think about not only what happened, but how it changed or altered something else. If something happened that didn’t really change or alter something else related to your business, it is of lesser importance in that context. It probably doesn’t merit much focus or resource.

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