Tips for Effective Business Writing
Writing skills are not only for professional writers and students. Modern communication demands everyone in business, especially entrepreneurs, know how to write well. Business writing includes everything from emails to sales material, depending on the industry. Having a good command of language will show that you are intelligent and an effective communicator, which can only help you.
Sounding intelligent does not require SAT vocabulary words. In business writing it’s best to be clear and concise so it doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard. Although business writing requires a more serious tone, it should still come across as a conversation – just an eloquent one. Read through your writing a few times and edit yourself carefully. Cut words you don’t need and read it out loud to check how it sounds. This means cutting out unnecessary business jargon if a regular word will do.
Beyond using spell-check to correct spelling and grammatical errors, it is a good idea to brush up on grammar rules that software often does not catch. For example, when should you use the word “that” and when do you use “which?” When do you use effect and affect? These are seemingly small differences, but getting it right sends a much better, clearer message in business writing.
When composing a business email, don’t bury the lead. Remember that your writing here is direct and to the point so you want to put your main idea in the first paragraph. This is simpler if you first define the goal of the email for yourself. What is the purpose of the email, and what are you trying to get this person to do? Setting clear intentions will help you shape your email content structure.
There are many times to let your emotions show through writing and punctuation, but this may not be one of them. Reserve using exclamation points, which would come across as over enthusiastic and even juvenile. It’s wonderful to be excited about new opportunities or developing projects, but a period will suffice. Greetings and closings should also be reserved. A great way to close a business email is with “Regards,” instead of more cordial ways like “See you,” or “Ciao.”
Mastering business writing and grammar rules can be difficult, but there are many resources. Business schools and community colleges alike offer business writing classes to people not otherwise enrolled in college – as do professional and industry organizations.