Content in business has become more important than ever before. A massive amount of that content is written content, and it can mean a whole variety of things to different people. For some, business writing will mean creating written content to help promote your business or keep your business fresh. For others, it could be as simple as finding the right way to put a request in an email to HR.
Whatever it is, written word is of pivotal importance. The speed with which we can now communicate, and the convenience of items like smartphones have meant that face-to-face conversations are at a premium, whilst instant messages, emails and social media interactions for business are all way up. Feeling a bit rusty? Not feeling understood particularly well? Let’s take a look at some tips for improving all of your business writing skills today.
Know Exactly What You’re Trying To Say
There’s a counterintuitive tip here, which is that, in spite of modern business moving faster and faster every year, more time needs to be taken over these sorts of simple interactions than ever before. “With a thousand different emails and messages swirling around in your head, you have to pause before every piece of writing and focus. What you’re focusing on is what you are trying to communicate. With that information at the forefront of your mind, you can’t really go wrong”, suggests Phoebe Schultz, startup blogger at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting. You have to have that focus and ability to clear the space around your intended message, regardless as to whether you’re writing newsletter content or a text to your marketing lead. Take the extra time that you need.
Don’t Use Long Words
There have been studies done that demonstrate that, if you want to look less intelligent, then you should crack open the thesaurus and get started. Long words seem as if they indicate a higher quality of education or a better knowledge of language. In fact, the opposite is true. The real skill in business writing is communicating your point or your question with the utmost concision, clarity and polite, professional tone. Long words create the opposite effect. They are also a sign of insecurity, that subtly sets the receiver of the message against its sender.
The second reason to avoid resorting to big words is that, a shockingly large proportion of the time, the writer doesn’t use them correctly. When you don’t use a word in common parlance it can be difficult to get it right. There’s nothing worse than having someone trying to seem smart who comes off far less intelligent than if they’d never bothered at all.
Edit, Edit, Edit
Miscommunication, unintended meanings, confusing instructions are all nightmare situations in client-facing and internal business writing. Editing is a valuable tool. It is often viewed as frustrating and time-consuming, but could really save your bacon, particularly if you are writing something that potential clients will read. “Editing isn’t really an art, it’s a vital, technical skill that good writing, which is an art, demands. So often, something you’ve written seems smart and clear within the insular confines of your head, but proves to be confusing and frustrating to other people’s eyes”, explains Darrel Clyne, business writer at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK. Always have someone who you can rely on to pass their eyes over your work for you, to be safe.
Business has changed a lot over the last 20 years. Many of its customs and overly fastidious attitudes having shifted towards a more user-friendly approach. But there are still many different traditions you have to abide by for quality’s sake. Formatting correctly means working effectively within your chosen written medium. A blogpost or newsletter can’t be a continuous block paragraph. The text shouldn’t run to the length of an email, and email should be laid out properly etc. It all amounts to enhancing the efficiency and impact of your business writing.
Overall, business writing is a vital area in which to develop your skills. Hopefully, these few crucial tips will help you improve your game a bit. Take your time, focus on meaning and format your words for maximum readability!