More Tips for Excellent Business Writing
Posted by Anni M.
As I discussed yesterday, solid business writing is an invaluable skill. Effective communication relies on succinct grammatically correct sentences, solid organization, clear language, and persuasive argument. Writing is a complex skill that requires a great deal of time and energy to master. It takes consistent practice, a critical eye, and determination. It can be frustrating. Sloppy writing is embarrassing, but we all must be sloppy writers before we can excel. By following some straightforward guidelines, you can improve your writing reliably. For many people, the world of email has dulled perception—it’s easy to gloss over mistakes when our standards are low. Part of learning to write well is learning to see the problems. Before you begin working on your own writing, start paying close attention to the writing you encounter throughout your business day. Is it written in complete sentences? Are words spelled correctly? More importantly, does it convey a clear message? Do you understand what is being asked and why? Here are some additional guidelines for improving your writing.
Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) take some time to organize your thoughts. Write an outline. Try to distill the information you need to portray in just a few short sentences. The more direct and clear you can be, the better. Ask yourself as many questions as you can. Is the information easy to understand? Is the message powerful? \ Be brutally critical. The more clearly you can see your project at this stage the easier the writing process will be.
Business writing was easier before computers, when we were all expected to write more formally.
Analyze Your Audience
Just like with a presentation, you must tailor your writing to your audience. Think about your office dynamics. Are there any tensions surrounding your project? Do your coworkers share your opinions about the project or do they have reservations? You’ll need to address any audience-related issues in the text. You’ll also need to keep your audience’s personalities in mind. Maintaining a solid, professional tone will bypass many potential problems (often office communications are circulated among co-workers so be prepared for unknown people to read your work.)
Provide Background Information
Often, when I’ve been working on a project for a long time, I forget that my background information isn’t common knowledge. Make sure you provide plenty of context for your writing. If you don’t want to include background in the text itself (if you’re working on a large writing project) include it as an addendum. Once you’re finished, ask a co-worker who is unfamiliar with the project to give it a once-over. If it all seems clear to her, you’ve done a good job.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..