For professionals and business owners, mastering business writing is important to be able to communicate professionally and to build up a strong and reputable brand.
In this day and age, the business world has become information-driven. Whether you communicate by email, chat, blogging, or presentation, your business writing skills must be sharp. The main reason for improving your writing skills is for it to represent your personal brand or professionalism as accurately and as well as possible.
If you’re looking to polish up your business writing skills, simply follow these 7 tips to get you started on the right track.
- Think before you write.
Before you begin writing, stop and carefully think about what you need and want to say first.
To make it simple, just follow the “5 W’s + H” that all writers and journalists use when writing content:
- WHO is my target audience?
- WHAT sort of content/information do they need to know?
- WHEN does my content apply? WHEN did it happen? WHEN do they need to know it by?
- WHERE does it take place?
- WHY do they need this information?
- HOW should they use the information?
In addition to these, ask yourself, “Do I really have to blog about this?” or “Do I really need to send out this email?”
Professionals, no matter their industry or niche, are bombarded with emails on a daily basis, many of which are unnecessary. Save yourself and your clients/readers precious time by making sure that the email (or any type of written piece for that matter) you send is relevant and necessary on the part of the recipient.
- Watch your grammar.
A written piece that’s riddled with grammatical errors makes a quick bad impression, making you or your business look sloppy.
With poor grammar, you look like you don’t care about the recipients of your message, and that you’re not paying too much attention to your communications. As a professional or business owner, this is definitely not true! So make sure it won’t leave that kind of impression to your readers.
With this in mind, you need to work on your grammar to ensure your written communications are clear and well-polished. Even if you write in your native language, pay close attention to your grammar to make sure you’re not taking any shortcuts that would cause any misunderstandings with your writing.
- Avoid fluff / jargon.
A lot of folks believe that using technical or career-specific jargon on their emails or written works can easily be understood by readers. Sadly, that’s not always the case. The reader won’t always be able to comprehend the message out of a business email or letter if it’s full of jargon or shorthand terms.
You may think that using such terms makes one seem sophisticated but that’s a misconception. It’s always better to use simple, straight-to-the-point words so that your readers could easily understand what’s written. This way, you can avoid any misunderstanding or confusion.
- Take advantage of business writing tools and services.
The Internet is a treasure trove, and you’re spoiled for choice with tools and services to help improve your business writing skills. Take advantage of these and use them whenever necessary.
For example, you can use Grammarly to help you craft better and clearer emails and business presentations that are also free of grammatical mistakes. If you want to master the art of writing business emails, you will greatly benefit from Email Excellence.
On the other hand, if business writing really isn’t your forte but time calls for you to master this skill, you can rely on one of the popular writing help services out there. You can simply provide instructions and their writers will do the work for you, based on your directions and deadline.
- Keep it professional.
There are times when it’s tempting to throw in a joke or office gossip in a business email. But oftentimes these don’t add value to your message and can, in fact, have a negative effect on your reputation – not to mention they can easily be misunderstood.
It’s true that it’s good to be authentic and to let your true voice shine through, but it pays to always be professional.
One great way to check the appropriateness of your work is to ask yourself, “Would I be fine with this if I see it on the frontpage of a newspaper?” If it makes you uncomfortable, then it’s probably better to do some editing.
- Make proofreading a habit.
As mentioned earlier grammar (and spelling) mistakes are not just embarrassing, they can also hurt your credibility. While it’s good to have grammar and spell check tools in-hand, they sometimes don’t catch all the errors, especially words that are used out of context.
Once you’re done writing, make sure to proofread it immediately. And if possible, put it away and give it some time (a few hours or days later) before reading it again. Who knows, by giving yourself some distance from your written work, you’ll be able to spot some mistakes you might have missed from your initial read-through.
- Write – and write some more!
Last but definitely not the least when it comes to improving your business writing skills, is to keep writing!
Practice makes perfect so the more you practice, the better you’ll get. The result will definitely be worth it, especially when you start to see just how much you’ve improved and when your skills begin to make a real difference for your brand or business.
Business writing is not rocket science – it’s a skill that anyone can learn. All it takes is some practice (and patience). By following the tips above, you’ll be able to communicate your ideas without trouble, no matter how you use your writing skills in the workplace.
About the writer: Carol Duke is very keen on teaching students new, effective ways of learning. When not freelancing and blogging on education-related matters, Carol enjoys traveling, taking immense pleasure from visiting new countries. You can follow her on Twitter.