At heart, all good business comes down to communication. The ability to convey ideas correctly and convincingly is essential. As a result, an aspiring businessperson needs to be gifted in communication to expand a business. There are already plenty of manuals about how to handle a business meeting. However, are you as good in a business letter? Being a good business writer is so overlooked, yet billions of dollars are lost every year due to bad writing skills. Fear not though, with the simple tips below you too can become a strong business writer.
Business writing needs to be worked out in advance. When you set out to write a memo or email don’t just start writing. Think about what you mean to say and who you’re going to say it to. Make sure you cover the point of the document in the first paragraph. Work out the order of your thoughts. If you just put them down in the order you think of them it will seem meandering. For longer documents, consider sketching out an outline before you write it. The more preparation the better, you need to think hard about how people will read this.
Keep It Concise
In business, the more you write the less your audience will read. If possible keep any document to one page or less. If that’s not possible structure your thoughts with bullet points, creating short paragraphs that are easy to skim. Lists are always useful in this task. Always look for ways to cut words and clop sentences. Never write three words when one will do. This should not be an artistic flourish of creative writing on your part, but a communication of information to increase efficiency.
Avoid Jargon And Fat
There’s a bad habit in business today to use an endless amount of jargon, acronyms, and buzzwords. Certainly, some of these can be useful to explain complex ideas in a word. This type of writing style is meant for an academic setting when you have Homeworkneeded to be done. However, most business audiences today will see these as a way to show off and look smart. They do not make anyone look smart. They will instead make you look indecisive. Look smart by keeping it short and clear.
Take Your Time
Part of the benefit of sending a written communication is that you can think it out an say precisely what you mean. This advantage is lost if you rush it to send. No document is perfect in it’s first draft. Rereading it for errors is always essential. While you may skip over spelling and grammar errors out of habit, they will stand out to your reader. Moreover, take an opportunity to make sure that, now written, the document does everything it’s supposed to. Check it to make sure you followed tips one to three and change it if you didn’t. You only get to send each communication once. Take the time to make sure you got it right.
Practice, Practice, Practice
No one gets good at business writing overnight. Like all good things in life, you will only master this with time and effort. As a result, try to practice this sort of writing every day. If your job doesn’t give you the opportunities, write practice documents to articulate innovative ideas clearly. Also, remember to read communications sent to you critically. See how the senior members of your office do it and try to pick up their tricks. Practice editing your own letters. A little effort each day will pay dividends in time.
Business writing is often treated as a given. It’s thought Anyone who got through school and college should be able to write for business. However, like creative writing, business writing has its own style which is very different to academic writing. Still, business writing can be mastered. Following the tips above will set you on the path to becoming a master of such writing. Just remember, what you write is at least as important as what you say.