Business writing is a fundamental aspect of written communication in organizations. Schools and colleges are great to learn academic writing, but these institutes do not teach business writing skills. No matter whether you are a business student or not, you write emails, letters, and reports to communicate with work employees, customers, and investors. Hence, it is compulsory for a worker to have good business writing skills.
Good business writing skills are an asset that opens chances to promotions and is an ornament in your CV and resume so you are prone to opportunities for a better job. Business documentation writing skills can be improved with the tips and tricks that we are going to provide further in the article.
What are Best Business Writing Tips to Impress?
Tips are great for quick learning. In the business world, you can become a better writer by following these tips:
1. Identify your Audience
In a creative or ghostwritten article, writers write the creativity of their minds, and the audience enjoys that creativity. But in business writing, you write with a focus on the audience's needs. You concentrate on your audience's demands, preferences, and level of expertise in business writing.
Consider the fact that business proposals are written for the investors to invest in your business, hence a proposal intends to convince an investor. Similarly, an instruction guide is meant for workers/buyers, and this guide instructs the reader about the use of some equipment or tool.
As business writing is done with the reader’s perspective, it is recommended you identify who your audience is and what are their needs. Then shape your document’s objectives and goals with an emphasis on the audience’s requirements.
2. Think and Plan
Thinking and planning are crucial for any form of writing. Think about your goals and audience needs. Plan how you can market your words in both your and your customer’s favor.
Planning is beneficial and provides you with clear instructions to start writing. Planning also provides a pavement for how you can achieve your goals, make business communication effective, and bring you more trades. Because, after all, it is all about achieving milestones, thus good thinking and planning always lead a business to the path of success.
3. Prepare Drafts
A vague draft or blueprint provides a clear path to write. Prefer preparing drafts before writing a business document. This way, you can know what points to mention, what details to add to a business document.
Drafting is also referred to as outlining. An outline is the agenda or list of contents of a business document. Professional business writers always prepare drafts, outlines, and list their goals. Initial writing issues are solved by drafting and this directs your business document more towards goals.
Planning and drafting also help you to identify any extras you were previously thinking of writing, hence you get a polished and clear road map to work on a business document.
4. Map the concepts
Mapping the concepts is just the same as planning and drafting. Mapping just helps you put all the objectives, and goals into one single framework, and this way you are more focused on the plan. The use of this practice in business writing reflects professionalism and is considered an important aspect to master better business writing skills.
5. Decide Headings
Once you plan and map the targets, jump to the details. Pick one topic and decide the contents that will be discussed in that specific topic. Divide the topic into sections and sub-sections through headings and sub-headings. Choose professional heading names.
Once you use this tip while writing, you can notice your business document is put-together, your goals are clear, and things will become precise.
6. The Less is More
Avoiding unnecessary details increases the readability of writing. The document contents should be less, but compact.
We recommend you avoid the use of lengthy and vague sentences. Concision matters, so make sure your document does not contain any irrelevant details that a reader would not want to read.
Although writing is crucial for business communications, people tend to read less. So, know your audience, and write in accordance with that. Be direct in business writing and get straight to the point while writing.
7. Avoid Jargon
Jargons are highly technical complex words that are difficult for a reader to comprehend. In a writing, people tend to slide past the jargon without even catching its meaning. Difficult sentences with complex words in writing reduce the document's readability and the reader’s engagement.
If by any chance, jargon is unavoidable, define that jargon in the header or footer as per your format. But it is a professional tactic to use less tongue flipping words, so your writing is successful, and you achieve your goals.
8. Revise Double
Once you write, proofread your work. Mistakes indeed happen in writing. Sometimes there’s a typo, and sometimes a punctuation mistake. Your brain cannot catch these mistakes while you are writing. Proofreading helps catch these mistakes, the more you proofread the better your writing gets.
We recommend that you should rest your brain after you write and diverge your attention to some other task. Proofread your work after a while with a fresh brain. This practice helps you catch flaws and grammar errors in your writing, and the clarity improves.
9. Use Templates
Business writing templates save you formatting time. When you write an email, a report, or a project proposal, you will likely write the same document again in the future. You can make your personal templates. So, save that email, report, and project proposal, remove the specific information and outline the document to make a template. This way you can use the same template each time you have to write the same document again.
10. Use Professional Language
Business writing demands both professional and formal language. Formal language is not a mandatory case in business writing, but professionalism is. Formal tone and professional tone are two different terms, but not all business documents should be necessarily formal. It should also be kept in mind that; informal documents are not unprofessional documents.
Professional business documents add value to the contents and build customers’ trust in you. Avoid personal opinions, and gossip talks in business documents. Provide the details only with facts and avoid such content that you as a reader would not want to read.
11. Be Direct
Business writing is to the point writing. The message you wish to convey should be written in the starting section. This way, you can not only save readers' time but also develop a hint of your concept in their minds which you can prove later with facts and supporting arguments.
The first paragraph of a business document develops or destroys the reader’s interest. So, it’s recommended to write your intentions and goals in the first paragraph. Don't forget to state what’s in it for the reader, and how it can be beneficial for both parties.
12. Cut Out any Extras
Once you have completed the first draft, proofread it again and cut out any extra information that is not serving any purpose but to lengthen the document. Remove any content that is repetitive and vague. Write with a focus on the audience’s expertise and not just on your goals.
Reword any wordy and lengthy sentences. Un-necessarily lengthening a document becomes verbose and verbosity affects the reader’s engagement. Avoid writing a 5-word sentence that can be written with just 3 words.
Technical writing demands compact and precise writing without any extras. For example, you can simply write ‘to’, instead of ‘in order to’.
Better word choice and short paragraphs result in good sentence structure, thus you can achieve business documents’ goals faster.
13. Avoid Dangling Expressions and Exclamation Marks
Some writers believe that the use of complex wordy sentences in writing indicates intelligence and professionalism while this case is not true. Readability and user experience come first. Business writing demands no dangling or spun content.
The use of exclamation marks in business writing is a strong indicator of informality and unprofessionalism. Hence, it is advised for you not to use too many exclamation points or any emojis at all. This way you can improve your business writing and make it more effective to serve its purpose.
14. Practice Often
Writing is a skill that is mastered with experience and practice. If you are looking to master any skill, then you should practice it more often. The same is the case with business writing.
Practicing will lead to fewer mistakes and better command over business writing. Practice also leads to better editing and proofreading skills.
15. Pay Attention to Workers’ Names, Genders, and Job Titles
Writing a business processing document requires you to mention the workers’ names, their roles for a specific operation. If you are not sure about a worker’s name and gender, it can be embarrassing for you to miswrite it.
Before narrating such sensitive information, It is recommended to consult with HR or an employee who has the complete list of workers along with their job duties and titles. Gender pronouns like he/she and his/her should also be avoided, instead they/there is an acceptable gender pronoun in such cases.
16. Avoid Passive Voice
Business documents should be written with an active voice tone and the use of passive voice in a professional business document should be avoided. No doubt passive voice sentences are correct, this practice reduces the clarity and engagement of business documents.
Another disadvantage of passive voice is that passive sentences are verbose. Passive voice changes the object to a subject and makes it less readable for the readers. So, it is a great practice to avoid the use of passive voice as much as possible.
The sentences written in an active voice tone are less wordy and direct, thus this trick results in generating professional business content.
All these technical writing tips are used and well-recommended by business professionals and experts. If you don’t have the time to register for a business writing class, memorize these skills on your fingerprints so you can learn effective writing.
How can I Improve my Business Writing?
Writing is a skill, and skills are only mastered by practicing if you know the rules and principles. Business writing is not a simple writing process but requires proper training and insight into business writing rules. Practicing these rules and principles can improve your business writing.
Dedicate at least one hour from your daily routine and research the business writing methods and literature. This practice will increase your knowledge about technical writing, and you will have a strong grip on your words the next time you write.
Practicing doesn’t mean writing complete business memos, proposals, and other technical documents. But practice means you should focus on the business document outline, research the ways how you can make your work better, and tips to improve your writing skills.
Professional and effective communication carries the business on the road to success and effective business communication is only achieved with good writing skills.
If you are a beginner looking to improve your skillset of writing, go through the provided tips to impress your audience. Avoid jargon, too many exclamation points, passive voice, wordy sentences, and verbose writing.
Adopt a professional writing tone, talk with facts and figures instead of your personal opinion. Be direct and stay to the point. Proofread your work once you are done and revise it to catch grammar mistakes and typos.
Drafting a sketch and outline of your document can help you identify your goals, and thus your writing can be more focused. Don’t forget to mention what the audience wants to read. Follow these tips to master technical writing skills.
If you are new to business writing and are looking to break in, 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.