Today, every corner of the world is increasingly becoming communications-driven. Whether you’re connecting over email, chat, reports, presentations, etc. it’s important that you’re able to write clearly and concisely to get your message across.
The truth is, poor writing is a red flag; it negatively impacts your company’s image and also undermines its creditability.
Below are some useful tips that will not only help you communicate better at work but also become a better (and professional) business writer.
1. Know your Readers & Purpose
Don’t just jump into writing! Set your goals and what you’re attempting to achieve.
Pick a topic, narrow your focus and begin with a brainstorm. Know what and why you’re writing – picture the audience in your mind. What is your message and how it’s supposed to reach your readers? Are they familiar with the subject?
2. Keep it Short & Precise
Professional writing starts with being straight to the point. Focus on the key message. Who has the time to read lengthy paragraphs or wordy emails? Reduce the jargon (but don’t exclude any important information) and just be specific; use short sentences and short paragraphs to avoid creating confusion.
For example, why say “We are in the process of revamping our website” when you can simply say “We are revamping our website”?
Also, what are the chances that your reader wouldn’t know what ‘boil the ocean’ means (to attempt to do something that is impossible)?
3. Be Simple & Clear
So you want to send a document across to your client or colleague. Keep in mind ‘skim reading is the new normal’. That said, make sure it’s easy for your reader to choose whether to read the full file by first writing a clear subject line for your email.
- Use bold text for deadlines and important points
- Use subheadings to break up messages
- Use bullet points for lists
4. Write How you Speak
Remember that you’re writing to express, not impress. Writing in a conversational tone is always best (but of course avoid slang and idioms). You don’t want to intimidate and disgruntle your readers by being too formal and using bulky phrases. Remember to choose your words carefully and always aim to use general business words rather than outdated formal words.
Big, fancy words won’t make you sound smart.
Do all employees speak the same language?
5. Read it Out Loud
To ensure that what you wrote is clear and effective, read it aloud to yourself. The best way to double-check for spelling and grammar mistakes is to read as if you’re the reader.
It actually helps you get better at writing every time because when you proofread you’ll more likely catch typos, punctuation errors or omitted words.
6. Active vs. Passive Voice
In business communication, the key is to always be direct and concise. Try to use the active voice more often whenever possible. It immediately creates a clear image in the reader’s mind of what is being communicated.
There’s nothing wrong with the passive voice, but it should be used sparingly. Generally, it uses complex words which can be ambiguous and misleading to the reader. It’s best used when you’re forming rules and regulations, guidelines or legal writing for your business. See example below:
“Do not use the company property for personal use.” (Active)
“Using company property for personal use is prohibited.” (Passive)
7. Consult a Thesaurus
The thesaurus will always remain an essential retrieval tool that every good writer has in hand.
Building on your vocabulary is crucial in becoming a better writer and a thesaurus offers a collection of synonyms and antonyms that you could use to improve your vocabulary while writing.
We can help you become a better business writer! Get in touch now.