Business professionals send emails, write reports, and compose proposals. These communication channels serve far better and more effectively when one has mastered business writing skills.
A business writing document is a resolute piece of information that you use to deliver information to the reader concisely and effectively. Good business writing is a fundamental aspect of clear and effective communication in a business.
Moreover, effective communication leads to self-realization and enhances the brand voice. You can express who you are, and what are your best practices through good business writing skills.
In this article, we will provide details of business writing skills and methods to improve them. Let’s dive in.
What are Good Business Writing Skills in 2022?
One cannot deny the need for communication in a business. Meanwhile, business communications are constructive if business writers have good writing skills.
Here are some skills that a great business writer adapts for productive writing that you also can practice:
1. Clear Purpose
In the business world, every communication has a purpose. That’s why it is a fundamental requirement to identify your purpose in writing.
Before drafting business docs, find out your purpose of writing. Get answers to questions like what document you are writing, and why you are writing it.
Once you identify the purpose, state it clearly. Make it readable for the readers so that they know the intentions of the document, and thus communication stays clear.
If your document is presenting different points instead of focusing on one, divide your writings. If it is an email, send two instead of one.
It is a good practice to have a sole purpose than to have multiple purposes in a document. This practice just complexifies the document goal. So, avoid cluttered thinking. State the purpose of each document or email separately so that the audience visualizes it.
2. Audience Identification
Different business docs target different audiences. Thus, it is a dire requirement to identify the target audience before composing a file.
Once you identify the readers and their level of expertise, write the document’s content keeping in view the gathered data for audiences.
Write in a tone that’s easy to comprehend for the readers. You can achieve potent business writing if you understand your audience and connect the content with their interests.
Choose a writing style based on the audience’s readability level. Vocabulary should be simple most of the time.
Take an example for your understanding. If you are writing a newsletter for your customer. Use friendly and plain language to target your goals. While, if you are writing a business proposal, use a professional and persuasive writing tone.
3. Concise Language
The use of clear and simpler words is concise language. Conciseness is a top priority for an effective business document in the writing process.
In addition to that, readers should be able to quickly develop an idea of a document if they vaguely scroll through it before properly reading it. They should be able to extract the important information they need from an email or a report.
The use of concise phrases leads to enhanced readability and better target of goals.
4. Organization of Ideas
Content organization and sequence are as important as the content is. Good organization results when you put the subject of business document in the first, objectives next to it, and relevant information at the end.
Ideas can only be effective if they are conveyed effectively. State your reason for writing the document in clear and plain language. Avoid complex words to improve your business writing.
In addition to that, make sure that your main idea is conveyed to the audience, they know what you are up to and what benefit they can enjoy from your proposal.
So, good organization means the clear transmission of ideas. As a result, you can know that audience is aware of your intentions and understand the ideas.
5. Use of Active Voice
Active voice is a sentence in which the subject is at the start of the sentence and performs the action. Such sentences are less wordy and are easy to understand in comparison to passive voice text.
Active voice means lesser use of words. Lesser words are compact and more precise. Thus, in business writing, an active voice is preferred.
To elaborate the meaning, consider this example when you receive a proposal or request from an investor. You must respond. It is professional to say that “Our team will review your proposal” than to say, “Your proposal will be reviewed by our team”.
Notice how the lesser words are used in active voice, and the tone appears professional in comparison to active voice.
6. Use of Facts
In business writing, it is customary to avoid saying personal opinions. But if it is necessary to list one, assure that the audience knows it’s a personal perspective and not a fact.
Good business writers use facts instead of any personal perspectives. It is a good practice to propose the query along with verified data and statistics.
This means you have a strong point in the discussion and are in a stronger position to present your ideas.
Fact is a statement that is evident and proved as false or wrong. While an opinion can be false as well as wrong as it’s a personal perspective. Thus, you cannot support your opinion through data or numbers.
So, we can sum up the statement with the recommendation to avoid any personal opinions but talk with facts along with statistics and data.
7. Display Confidence
A confident writing tone is crucial in professional writing for effective communication. There is no ambiguity that you want the reader to respond in your favor. So, good writing still is to uses a confident writing tone to present your great ideas.
This way, you are putting credibility in your context, and sort of convincing the user through your knowledge.
Although the writing tones are decided based on the target audience, majorly all business documents should be written in a confident tone. This means, an audience can buy a product you want to sell, or even an investor can invest in your industry through confident writing.
A business document should be formatted with a simpler and easy style. Normally, businesses have their formatting guides if you are communicating internally.
But for external communication, it is advised to use simple formatting. Use multiple headings and sub-headings in the text with a good sentence structure. Similarly, use bullet points. This way, you can categorize the information. Your document becomes easily scannable.
Formatting also means including any flowcharts or infographics in your text. Categorize the huge chunks of text with the help of flowcharts and graphics. Keep the sentences short and make short paragraphs.
Present the document's purpose and objective on the first page in the first paragraph.
Good formatting is appealing as well as manageable to read.
9. Writing Tone
In business writing, you must know when to use professional, confident, persuasive, and conversational writing tones. Although business writing types determine writing tone, analyzing your text to identify writing tone is a good tactic.
For example, a professional tone is for presenting business ideas to investors and a conversational tone is for customers to purchase your products.
A good writing tone means your word choice is unbiased and appropriate for audiences of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
All business documents are not the same, and an appropriate writing tone should be adapted for effective writing.
10. Punctuation and Grammar
Good punctuation and grammar are two of the most basic business writing skills. Any sort of grammatical error means unprofessional work, and thus increases the ambiguity of content.
A human can make an error, there’s no doubt. Proofreading and revising reduce the common mistakes. Good writing skills demand continuous revisions to correct grammatical and punctuation errors.
Thus, we recommend you work on your editing and proofreading skills to overcome this basic hurdle of errors.
Above we have mentioned some business writing skills that you can practice improving your business documents. Other than these skills, it is good practice to familiarize yourself with your organization’s voice, style, and grammar rules.
We advise you to practice these skills and memorize them at your fingertips. Update yourself with the evolving business writing rules. In addition to that, focus on the fact that reading improves writing. Thus, spare some time and explore business writing literature to enhance your skills.
What are Tips to Improve Business Writing Skills?
Getting to know writing skills is one thing. Improving and working on them is another. Here are important points to improve business writing skills:
- Practice more. The very basic but important tip is to practice the skills more and more. In your free time, work on a draft and try to deploy all these skills in your writing. The more your try and practice, the better your writing skills will get.
- Read to improve. Reading is a good habit to improve your writing. If you want to enhance your vocabulary, read more. Through reading, you will not only gain more knowledge but will also learn newer ways of writing and have a vast vocabulary.
- Update your knowledge. The word is changing and evolving day by day. Some data is also getting replaced and updated. There are evolutions in all eras, so it is necessary to update your knowledge.
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes feedback says, “you need to improve”. But improve where? You must work to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Become your judge. Focus on your weaknesses and research on the ways to improve them.
Writing is a procedure that one keeps on learning and updating. One can be an expert writer, but there can be thousands of things to learn more about. As a business writer, you should focus on improving your communication skills and writing skills with time.
In business, we write to communicate. Written communication includes writing emails, reports, social media posts, and business proposals. Good business writing skills mean better targeting of goals and fruitful business communications. Remember that business writing is not academic writing.
For clear and successful communication, identify your own writing purpose. Know what you’re writing, and why you’re writing. Then identify the audience. Know whether you’re writing a report to senior managers, or a persuasive proposal for investors. Adjust your writing tone accordingly. Use a professional writing tone for business investors, a persuasive and conversational tone for customers.
Clarity matters the most. Stay clear and concise to communicate. Properly structure the content so that it is easily scannable for the readers. Organize the content through multiple headings and sub-headings.
Avoid passive voice and wordiness. Revise and edit the content to eradicate any grammatical and punctuation errors to become a better writer. Use a grammar checker to improve your business writing.
Write in a confident tone to convince the reader. Format the document according to the organization’s structure and brand voice.
Practice these skills to enhance your writing and communication skills. Read business literature and update yourself to resonate your writing with present writing standards.
If you are new to business writing and are looking to learn more, we recommend taking one of our Technical Writing Certification Courses, where you will learn the fundamentals and advanced skills of business writing.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He had his first job in technical writing for a video editing software company in 2014. Since then, he has written several books on software documentation, personal branding, and computer hacking. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.