All of us are taught with the basic reading and writing skills in childhood. But those writing skills are much different from what is required in the corporate world. At the workplace one is required to write E-mails, Memorandums, Notices, Proposals, Reports, and Warnings etc. to interact with internal or external audiences. Business writing is a kind of professional communication correspondingly termed as business communication and professional writing.
Business Writing should be understood flawlessly when read hastily. The message should be well structured, humble, flawless, and straightforward. Remember your business writing can serve as an influential proof of your proficiency, personality, and management smartness. As a manager or being on a senior level, you need to write on various occasions to your superiors, subordinates and peers group. This is where you need to explain or justify the policies to be implemented or already implemented, convey information, share a good or bad news, or even guide an action plan. All this requires a business writing skills of supreme level.
According to Bob Wootton, Director of Media & Advertising, ISBA, “Clarity, brevity, narrative and pace are axiomatic to creative writing, yet are seldom applied to business writing – to its great cost”
Note down the four words from the above statement, Clarity, Brevity, Narrative and Pace. We might have a fair idea about what to write, whom to write and when to write but what troubles is how to write?
Here are 6 tips that can help you in improving Business Writing Skills:
1. Understand Who Are You Writing To
You can be at any level of management in an organization viz. top, middle or lower level but you have to be in touch with each of these levels of management people. In an organization oral communication is considered as informal communication. The only formal way to communicate is to write. Before you set to write any formal letter, it is important to know to whom are you writing it to. You must understand the mindset and efficiency of your readers. For example; a notice written in thorough English cannot be understood by the employees working on machines in a manufacturing unit, therefore you need to write those notices in a language known by them. On the other hand, you cannot demand anything from your superiors that are a wrong way to ask. Use a requesting tone when writing to superiors. To sum up,
To sum up, use the right tone, language, and vocabulary in accordance with the readers and circumstances while writing your business letters.
2. Emphasize On Content And Flow
Another important tip to be learned. Business writing has to be concise. Your readers don’t have the capability to look through numerous report pages to get the info they are looking for. Ensure that the content of your letter/report should be easily understood and the readers can access significant information effortlessly. Use easy language, by avoiding the use of adjectives, active voice and short forms. The sentences should be straight, well-organized, and logical. Make sure the reader can distinguish between what is fact and what is your opinion as this is the only way to avoid any misinterpretation. Also remember, it should serve a purpose at a time. For example; if you are writing an email for the business proposal, don’t write regarding any other issue in it. To sum up, watch the content that should focus towards one goal with the right flow while writing a business letter.
To sum up, watch the content that should focus towards one goal with the right flow while writing a business letter.
3. Format/Edit Intelligently
You are blessed with MS-Word where formatting, editing, and reviewing is as simple as breathing. Every piece of writing, when appropriately formatted, enhances its effectiveness. Be smart to make use of headlines, sub-topics, bullet points, numbering and other formatting features like bold, italics, different colors, underlining to confirm the reader can flick through and scan with easiness through your text. But don’t do it every now and then! Numerous diverting visual elements take the attention off your message. This relates to all kinds of writing. Be it is an e-mail, a memo, a report, or a notice, a presentation; right formatting makes your writing flawless and reader-friendly. If applicable, backup your text with pictorial presentations, illustrations or graphs.
If applicable, backup your text with pictorial presentations, illustrations or graphs.
4. Don’t Use Jargons and Slangs
Jargon is the common terminology used by particular professionals or group of individuals in that profession whereas slang consists of words, expressions, or the distinctive use of language, used in informal speech. Unless you describe or clarify a jargon, do not use it in any communications outside your professional peer groups: reports to senior administration, commendations to the board, letters to clienteles, websites, marketing packages, annual reports, news sheets, grant offers, user handbooks, etc. Ask yourself, does your readers would be able to get what do you mean by using it.
Never use a jargon in the title or subject field, if your readers don’t get what you have written in the beginning, they won’t read it till the end.
5. Proofread Carefully, Revise Cruelly
Sit back and relax before you start writing. Do not write in a hurry. Don’t try to make the first draft as your final piece. Particularly if you are talking about a business proposal or project report, it’s essential that you evaluate and edit it many times until you’ve formed a well-thought-of version. Business writings should be completed with exhaustive proofreading. Make sure you go through syntactical, grammatical and typographical errors. Sometimes you may find it difficult to re-read your work, better ask someone else to proofread it for you. You can also take help from the internet of spell check tool from MS-Word to avoid silly mistakes.
To sum up, it is better to read, read and re-read your work before submitting so as to avoid any embarrassment.
6. Keep An Eye On Approach And Perception
This is a hardly highlighted feature of business writing. Knowing your audience and what they want from you is just not enough. It’s vital that you also understand the diverse meanings your writing expresses. Word choice, sentence formation, perspectives and terminologies all disclose more than you think about your approach and perception on what you’re writing about. Remember, you are not writing it for yourself rather you are writing it for others. Adopt the style and approach your targeted readers carry. In most of the cases, readers don’t catch what has been written, they catch what they want your writing should have.
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There can be many tips to improve business writing; the best of them are mentioned here. I would request the readers to share their tips in the comment box so that every reader of the article gets more than 6 tips.