Regardless of industry, communication within business is essential. Unfortunately, business’ top performers are rarely great writers, their expertise lying elsewhere. Business degrees failing to focus on the importance of writing and consequently, the number of business graduates with competent writing skills has decreased. Whether producing reports, emails, copy or more, writing for business incorporates a particular set of rules as outlined by Lifehack’s Dustin Wax.
Less is more: As with money, economize. Why say in 8 words what you can say in 4? Get to the point.
Cut Once, Measure Twice: …Or ‘Write Once, Check Twice’ as it pertains here. Avoid the embarrassment of an otherwise perfect document by writing ‘pubic’ instead of ‘public’ by separating the writing and editing process. Revisiting your piece prior to submission or asking a colleague to review ensures that such errors are spotted before it is too late.
Mr & Mrs Dr CEO: Pay special attention to names, genders and titles. Double check the spelling of names and ensure your language is gender neutral, should you be unsure of either these facts.
Professional doesn’t mean formal: Save your formal language for legal documents where you are hoping to obscure the meaning. Saying that, informal doesn’t mean unprofessional. Remember that legally, your company needs to keep records of all correspondence so save the dirty jokes and lewd comments from circulation.
Call to Action: Most communications are distributed for a purpose; therefore, remember to let you reader know what they are to do with the information you have provided. Don’t leave them to decipher a code- they won’t.
Anticipate their questions: Every communication should answer ‘Who? What? Where? Why? How?’ Don’t allow the reader to question the purpose of your writing. Also include a benefit. Telling your readers how your information can make their lives easier is a sure way to engage.
Finally, when in doubt, hire a freelancer. If writing isn’t your specialty, get someone who writes for a living. No doubt you are very good at your job so let someone else be very good at theirs. Business writing is an important skill within the workplace. Ensure that your communication remains informative, educational and entertaining while maintain the high level of professionalism that got you where you are today.