Business writing isn’t hard, but when it comes to professional communication, many of us feel intimidated by the lack of experience in the field or feel we don’t have “the talent” for writing. The truth is, to write a quality piece of business content, you don’t have to be a gifted writer. All you have to do is learn the basic rules and tricks, and apply them to every copy you’re writing.
How to Master Business Writing as a Management Professional
Whether you’re writing a business email, report, proposal, call-to-action, or memorandum, you can apply the same rules. We’ve put together a list of 8 tips to help you master business writing as a management professional. If you’re curious to learn and improve your writing skills, just keep reading. Here’s what you need to do to become proficient in business writing.
1. Know the Main Point
You can’t start writing a business written copy if you’re not quite sure what you want to achieve with it. Your number one task is to sit down, think about the intention of what you’re planning to write and define it as precisely as possible.
For example, your intention could be:
- to schedule a team meeting
- to present the success of a project
- to propose a new business idea
- to write business policies procedures
Once you’re positive about the main point of the written copy, make sure your opening statement defines it. Start with the main point and build on from there.
Of course, you know who you’re addressing this written copy to. However, you should try and place yourself in their skin for just a couple of moments.
- What kind of a relationship do you have with them?
- Do you communicate often or rarely?
- Are you trying to help them, inform them, or ask something from them?
Keep in mind the circumstances and recipient of this copy, to ensure you tailor it exactly according to their needs, and your business relationship.
3. Choose the Right Style
The phrase business writing may sound a bit overly serious and heavy to the ear of an inexperienced writer. Just because something is a part of the professional world, it doesn’t mean you should sound like a walking encyclopedia. The truth is, your style of writing should be adjusted so as to make your point clear. You should not try sounding like you’ve used a thesaurus to put together every sentence.
To adjust your style of writing, follow these guidelines:
- use conversational language
Write in a manner your recipient will find easy to read. Use everyday language and make it readable and easy to understand.
- avoid jargon and slang
Naturally, you can’t go on using the language of the street and inappropriate phrases.
- simplify your vocabulary
Don’t try to complicate things in an attempt to sound more professional. Use “inform” instead of “enlighten” and “send” instead of “dispatch”.
In addition to making your main idea and message clearer, this type of writing will also show your self-confidence and professionalism.
4. Remove the Unnecessary
Once you write your initial draft (and yes, there needs to be more than one draft), you need to analyze it an search for things to remove.
Look for words which add no meaning or value to the copy:
Don’t simply add words to your business writing to make the copy longer. On the contrary, make sure that you:
- use contractions. won’t instead of will not
- use strong verbs. I think instead of I am of the opinion
- use action verbs. It reflected instead of It gave us the reflection
To put it simply, if you can use one word to make a point, don’t use three.
5. Be Direct
Keep in mind that you’re not writing a novel or a literary essay, it’s business writing.
There should be no:
- excess flowery words
- adjectives and adverbs with no point
- embellishment and poetic tone
Instead, keep things simple and move straight from one point to the other. Keep your course and make sure you keep the recipient on it as well.
6. Use Active Voice
Active voice has a much stronger impact on the recipient of an email, note, or memorandum. Although some people find passive to be more formal and ceremonial, you should avoid it when it comes to business writing.
Here’s an example:
- Passive: The decrease in sales is planned to be taken care of.
- Active: I will take care of the decrease in sales.
Active voice will leave a stronger impact o the recipient, making the whole thing much more believable and professional.
You should never be satisfied with the first copy that you’ve written. Every copy can be improved and made better through revision, so don’t settle for your first draft. Proofreading and editing is the essential part of business writing, and it’s a step you can’t skip.
The process of proofreading implies:
- eliminating spelling mistakes
- eliminating grammar mistakes
- reviewing sentence structures
- reviewing the vocabulary use
The process of editing implies:
- thinking about the main points
- reorganizing your ideas
- removing and adding certain parts
- looking for clarity
Only once you’ve performed both of the above-mentioned actions can you say that your copy is satisfactory and ready for the final step.
8. Read Out loud
Finally, there’s one last thing you should do to confirm your business written copy is ready to be sent to the intended recipient. You should check whether it sounds natural and flows easily.
The best way to do this is to read the entire copy out loud:
- find a quiet place
- prepare yourself to read the entire thing without being interrupted
- listen while you read
- if something sounds unnatural, mark it and edit it at the end
Reading out loud will help you make the final adjustment to your written copy, and ensure it’s properly written.
Management professionals know how important it is to make a good impression, whether it’s in person or in writing. Business writing allows you to show how professional you are and tells a lot about your personality. Therefore, you should use the advice above to ensure your business writing skills are at a desirable level. Start applying them to all your business communications today, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Angela Baker is a self-driven specialist who is currently working as a freelance writer at GrabMyEssay writing services and is trying to improve herself and her blogging career. She is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth and is convinced that it’s always important to broaden horizons. That’s why Angela develops and improves her skills throughout the writing process to help to inspire people. Feature image by www.samedaypapers.com.