Business writing is an essential ability to have if you want to be able to communicate professionally and get your ideas across. Doing it effectively requires mastering a number of key skills.
- Be clear and to the point. Particularly in business writing, the ability to be concise is incredibly important. Say what you mean with as few words as possible and you will be much more effective as a result.
- Who are you writing for? It’s essential to bear in mind your audience when you’re business writing. This will affect everything from the tone and detail to the language you use. You can also personalise what you’re creating by tailoring it to the individuals or demographic you’re aiming at.
- Learn how to structure your writing. If the document you’re producing is unstructured and unwieldy you may find that people struggle to get to the end. Bear in mind that a good structure will help a reader to absorb the information in the piece – and also that many people will make a judgment about whether to read on based solely on the first paragraph.
- Set yourself a goal. Crucially, before you start writing whatever it is you’re producing, make sure you know why you’re doing it. What’s the reason for the writing you’re about to begin and what are you hoping to achieve with it?
- Steer clear of an overly formal tone. Business writing needs to be professional but also accessible. It’s very easy to slip into formal writing that can be dull and mean that people switch off. A conversational tone ensures that a reader can engage with, and enjoy, what you’re writing and won’t be put off by too formal an approach.
- Use the right language. Most important is to use accessible vocabulary that is easy to understand – jargon and trending terms don’t usually add much.
- Switch from the passive voice to the active voice. Your writing will be more powerful if it’s framed in active terms e.g. switch from “if you want to know more we can be reached at” to “if you want to know more call me on this number.”
- Write for the appropriate channel or platform. Business writing for a blog is very different to writing web content or producing a report or white paper. Take the time to appreciate what the differences are between each and to tailor what you produce accordingly.
- Stick to the facts. The more facts, statistics and hard data your writing contains the more credible it will be. If you want to integrate opinions use facts to support them and avoid including those that don’t have a factual basis.
- Check everything you write – twice. Bad grammar, spelling mistakes and missing punctuation can detract from the point that you’re trying to make.
Great business writing takes a combination of focus, detail and understanding who you’re writing for. Nurturing these key skills will help you to considerably improve what you produce.
Find out more by booking your place on our Professional Writing Skills course