You may be a whiz at writing witty posts or thought-provoking passages, but creative writing is different from business writing.
Your offbeat personality might work well when you are writing a review or blog content, but it has no place in business writing. Business writing is all about business. Your readers are busy people, so you want to put your quirkiness and idiomatic expressions on hold. Here are some tips for improving your business writing skills.
Business Writing Tip #1: Do your research
Before you do anything, make sure you have your facts straight. Address the reader appropriately using their proper titles, get designations and other business information right, and confirm you are working with updated data. This can save you embarrassment later on when your reader points out your errors.
Business Writing Tip #2: Go straight to the point
Think about what you want to say before you write down one word. Distill it to one sentence and take it from there.
For example, if you want to introduce your company to potential clients, tell them how they can benefit from connecting with you. Avoid diluting it with a lengthy opening. Say something like “We are the leading distributor of so-and-so products, and we can offer you the best prices.” The reader will immediately know who you are, what you can offer, and how you can help them in their own business.
You can add a few more sentences to explain further, or you could simply give them contact information. Make it clickable, if possible, and give the reader several options to get in touch. Ideally, a business letter should be no more than five sentences, especially if it is in email form. It allows the recipient to read it easily even on a mobile gadget.
Business Writing Tip #3: Aim for active
Most text editors will flag passive sentences, primarily because it uses more words than an active voice to express something. You can express this passive sentence “The product was designed by top engineers” better using “Top engineers designed the product.”
Business Writing Tip #4: Format appropriately
Business writing is formal, so you should follow standard formats for your letter or report.
A poorly constructed missive is more likely to meet the trashcan than approval, and it denotes a lack of professionalism that reflect poorly on you and the company you represent. MS Word has templates for all kinds of business letters, reports, even resumes.
You can also use a professional writing service such as BestEssays to help you properly format your report, proposal, or white paper. Make no mistake; first impressions count. The look of your work will determine its credibility, so make sure it looks professional.
Business Writing Tip #5: Do not use exclamation points
The function of the exclamation point is to denote emotion, and business writing is essentially emotionless.
You want to come across as informative and objective, so there is no place for exclamation points in business writing. Using them makes your content look sales pitchy, and even if you are selling something, you do not want readers to get the impression that it is a hard sell.
Besides, it looks out of place in a business letter.
Business Writing Tip #6: Avoid shortcuts
People use phrases and contractions, i.e. don’t, you’re, it’s, all the time in verbal communications, and that is perfectly acceptable even in formal discourse.
However, the rules are different for written communications. Use complete sentences, spell out all words, and avoid contractions. You can use acronyms as long as you explain what they mean the first time you mention it.
Business Writing Tip #7: Use simple words
Your purpose for writing is to communicate, so you want to choose words that are as simple as possible.
It is acceptable to use technical terms or jargon if you know that your reader will be able to understand you, or there is no other way to say what you mean. However, you should keep it to a minimum so that even a layperson can understand what you wrote.
You should also avoid using “big” words such as “obfuscating” instead of “confusing.” It may make you sound smarter, but most people look unfavorably on grandstanding.
Business Writing Tip #8: Avoid wordiness
You should avoid using more words than needed to say what you mean. If you can cut out some words in a sentence and it does not change its meaning, then cut it out.
You can often cut out prepositions, for example. You can write “The party on June 1 about the product launch” better this way: “The June 1 product launch party.”
Business Writing Tip #9: Consider your tone
Business writing is emotionless, but it is not toneless.
The way you arrange your words and sentences connotes a certain tone or attitude. The problem with the written word is there are no clues to help convey the message you want. The reader cannot see your expression, interpret your body language, or hear your tone of voice.
You need to put all that color and attitude in the words, so you have to be sensitive to the nuances of the language. For example, some words such as “cheap” connote a tone. “Affordable” is a more neutral word.
Business writing requires a completely different set of skills from the typical creative or blog writer. You need to hone these skills to parlay it to career and professional advancement. If you take these tips to heart, you should be able to create a clear, concise, and effective business document.
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