Write for Business
Writing is not only alive and well in the business world, but writing whose style reflects flair, eloquence and a confident sense of self can springboard employees forward in their careers.
You don’t have to be a great writer to be successful. However you must be able to clearly and succinctly explain your thoughts and ideas in writing. Strive to be simple, clear, and brief. Like any skill, “good writing” requires practice, feedback, and on-going improvement.
Ensure your business writing pass the 5 Cs test:
Concise – to the point and professionally presented
Clear -all the necessary information is included
Complete – format, headings and layout logical
Correct – suits requirements of the primary reader
Corrected – well edited and proof read
Who is the audience? – know the readers needs and expectations. Be sure you understand “what they want to know?”
Write for your reader – Use language and tone of voice that your reader will feel comfortable with. Your writing is a reflection on you and the company you represent.“The writer’s aim is not to wow people with big words. Instead, the accomplished writer uses ordinary words to achieve extraordinary results.” James Michener
KISS: keep it short and simple – use clear, simple words and sentences. Language should be on the level of your audience. Avoid jargon and complicated vocabulary.
Use plain, up-to-date language – eliminate out-dated words like “herewith,” “henceforth,” “aforementioned” and similar words dressed in tuxedos. Create the mood of a one-on-one friendly conversation.
Set the right tone – tone is the quality in your writing showing your attitude toward the topic and reader. It comes from your choice of words, the structure of your sentences, and the order of the information presented.
Control the tone of your writing to achieve the results intended. An inappropriate tone can cause a reader to ignore, delete, or overreact to your message.
Be polite – it is important to use friendly language, descriptive adjectives and carefully chosen words.
Use short paragraphs – give “rest stops” for readers. You can have paragraphs that contain just one sentence when you want to spotlight a phrase, slogan or benefit.
Check presentation, grammar and spelling – poor punctuation, misspelled words or written in lower case emails and letters shows lack of respect to the reader and portrays a poor image of yourself and the organisation you represent.
The 24-hour rule – if you receive an email or letter that is upsetting close it and wait 24 hours before you respond. Calm down and take time to word your reply carefully. Once the “volley of email hand grenades” begins, the original intention or problem will become lost and the personal anger and sniping will become the focus.
Be certain that the final draft is a “mailable copy” – carefully proof-read, correctly worded with no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.
Remember too, a business document is only acceptable if it can be read quickly and easily by the reader.