Maybe it’s because the term “business writing” sounds so formal, but many management professionals are intimidated by it. The fact is that most of the time, they are overthinking it. Business writing is down to a series of fundamental rules. If you follow them strictly, you’ll be writing excellent business documents in no time.
Bear in mind that the quality of your writing will more often than not be the thing that gets your company more customers, sales, fresh leads, and new investors. It could also be what kills your business.
According to Maggie Hanna, Head of QA Department at a professional writing service review company, Online Writers Rating, “proper business writing is a representation of a company’s soul.” There is no better way to say it.
Learning how to write excellent and impactful business documents is an essential skill. We’ve outlined several business writing tips, tricks, and rules that will show you how to write professionally.
# Be Very Clear on Messaging
Reasons abound why a business document is required. You want to call for an emergency meeting of the management team. You need to explain a confusing company policy for your staff. You want to inspire your customers to try out a new company product line.
It could be any of these reasons and more. Only when you fully understand why you’re writing the document can you proceed and not a second before that. Remember to clarify your business writing. Don’t bury your message, it will only confuse others.
A message that is aimed at everyone appeals to no one. You need to be specific about the audience your are writing to, so the people that are going to read your document, read your document.
Learn about your subject. Find out if your readers will be receptive to your message or not. You’ll need to understand the demographic factors that define them. It helps to create a mental persona of your target audience.
Maybe your reader is a 55-year-old executive in a digital media firm in Washington. Or perhaps he is a 24-year-old Engineering student doing his Masters program in New Brunswick.
This profiling makes the picture of your reader much clearer and helps you answer the most important question they’ll have: “what’s in it for me?”
# Keep it Concise
It’s funny that as business writing grows in importance, people are losing the interest to read. This trend is reason enough to make any business document concise.
Business writing is not the place to show your mastery of the English language. Concision is the keyword here. Stay away from long sentences, prose-like writing, and unnecessary word choices. Use contractions as often as possible. Make your point with the fewest possible words and be done with it.
# Stay Away From Jargon and Slang–Keep It Professional, But Not Formal
Avoid business buzzwords and phrases. Have you ever come across ambiguous phrases like “strategic synergies,” “impactful collaborations,” “core competencies,” in a business document? Never use such expressions.
They are non-content words and do not carry any intrinsic meaning that is of relevance in your writing. Slangs are in this category as well. They are more suited for speech than writing.
Also, avoid unnecessary anecdotes, off-color jokes, gossip, or personal comments. While you should try not to use a formal tone, your writing should maintain an air of professionalism.
It is always counterproductive to edit as you write. Not only does it break up your flow, but it also makes for both substandard writing and editing. Do not distract yourself while your ideas are flowing.
If you notice a typo, grammar error, or wrong tone usage while writing, ignore the temptation to go back and edit it. You can read your document and check for errors after you have written down everything,
After the first edit, give yourself time away from your work. Engage in other activities and come back later. You will be able to see the document with fresh eyes and catch issues that you missed the first time. It also helps to read your work out loud and listen to the way it sounds. This exercise can also turn up errors missed by grammar tools.
# Use Concept Maps and Headings
Some business documents are more complex than others. If you ever have to write such a document, use concept maps and headings to make your work easier.
Think of concept maps as a flow chart for your business writing, while the headings are the labels of each event field. Sketching a concept map helps you understand the structure and flow of the document. Headings will remind you about the focus of each section of the document. This tactic will help to ensure your document contains all the information it needs to and is not confusing to read.
As one who works in a management capacity, it is unlikely that your job affords you time to sit down and write for long periods during the day. As a result, learning to write in mini sessions is a real gift.
Whenever you have a small window, decide which section of your document you can complete in the time you have and focus on that. This practice is more comfortable if you’ve already prepared a concept map and headings sketch to guide you.
# Don’t Force the Writing
Any experienced writer knows never to force the writing process. If, while writing, you find that an idea is unclear, don’t try to force it out onto the document. Give your thoughts time to form so that the concept is clearer.
If this means you’ll have to step away from your writing for a while, so be it. Better a well-written document submitted a little late than a murky one delivered on time.
# Work With A Template
You should always save a version of your best-written documents as templates — memos, emails, letters, proposals, policies, procedures, and more. A business writer’s work never ends. You can be called upon again to produce a similar document in the future.
In such a situation, you can just bring up the relevant template and fill in the specifics of the current assignment, and you’re done. Using templates will save you a lot of time and stress.
# Include a Call to Action
Most business writings exist to achieve a particular purpose. You should include a clear call to action in your document that directs the reader on exactly what you want them to do.
Do not leave it up to them. Without a clear instruction, most people won’t bother to take any action at all and those who do will likely get something wrong along the way. You do not want that mess on your hands.
Business writing can be rewarding if you know what you’re doing. These tips will help you to polish your writing so that you can get the best out of your business.
Another solid tip for you: search for quality business writings wherever you can — study as many as you can find and keep working on your writing. You should notice a marked improvement with all these tips.If all else fails, hire a professional business writer. There’s no shame in that. You will never be caught with a poorly written business document that will threaten your company’s reputation and success. And that is all that matters.
This article was written by Ana Mayer, a project manager with 3+ years of experience. While projects can do without her participation (which means almost never), she likes to read and create expert academic materials for the Best Writers Online review website. Such work gives her the opportunity to write articles on the most relevant topics of today.