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12 Tips for Better Business Writing

Better business writing, guaranteed.

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Business writing tips guaranteed to help you write better.

1. Less is more.
2. Avoid jargon.

Business Writing Tip 2: Business Writing Tip 3: Business Writing Tip 4: Do More With Less! Business Writing Tip 5: Instead think about your reader: What does your reader want to know? It helps to imagine a conversation with your reader. For example, if you are writing to announce a meeting, imagine telling someone face-to-face about the meeting. That person would ask:. List all the questions your reader may have.

Then consider the order in which your reader would ask them. Just edit, proofread, and send. Child-rearing books advise readers to communicate positive messages to children. Also, if we say what children can do, they see options rather than roadblocks, and they are apt to respond positively. Adults are grown-up children. They need positive messages too. If you want to get an affirmative response from your readers, try these tips for focusing on the positive.

State what to do—not what to avoid. Always process orders within two days. Never take more than two days to process an order. We can meet first thing Monday morning. It has to wait until Monday morning. Use neutral rather than blaming language. Let me clarify what I meant. You misunderstood what I said. Use words that create a positive feeling.

At this company we value natural resources. Take every opportunity to communicate positively. Thank you for your letter. We have received your letter. Is this fault serious? For instance, we are told to change:.

This change makes sense. Readers need precise instructions. This is another fine suggestion. When we make these changes, we are replacing wordy, vague phrases with concise, direct words. Her car was stolen twice. Someone stole her car twice. The boards are pre-cut.

A worker pre-cuts the boards. When we want to avoid blaming someone. The drawings were lost. Andy lost the drawings. When we want to soften a directive. This paragraph could be shortened.

Passive verbs are perfect in these four instances. Our grammar checker just flagged the previous sentence, but we know the passive verb there suits our purpose and sounds just right!

Many of these tips come directly from our award winning online business writing courses. My hope is these tips help you enjoy writing, better communicate at work, get ahead in your career, and grow your business! This is a huge list with 87 of the best business writing tips.

Use these links to jump to a section:. Know Your Audience Business writing is all about your reader. Your reader is your focus point, not what you know. Before you write anything, ask yourself these two questions: Think First Business writing is just as much about thinking as it is about writing.

Plan First, Then Draft Accept that you want to draft more than you want to plan a document or email. Drafting gives us a sometimes false sense of accomplishment. And, drafting is easier than planning. If you are an analytical thinker, which many business writers are, this is natural for you, but accept that sometimes it makes your brain hurt as your mind has to figure out all the interconnections.

Concept Maps are Essential for Business Writers Mapping the structure of a complex document will make both planning and drafting much easier. Develop Headings When you plan your documents, write a heading for each main section of your document. The first sentence is often the hardest sentence to write.

Instead, look at your document headings and write the section that is easiest or most interesting for you. Once you begin writing, the interconnectivity of thoughts will ignite, and the rest of the document will be easier to write. To maximize your efficiency, refer to the map or outline you created, decide which section you can tackle in the time you have and start drafting.

Having a map and headings will prevent you from having to re-engage your thinking all over again each time you exit and enter the document.

When you get stuck, back up! Hire a Coach Hire a business writing coach and receive personalized feedback. One-on-one sessions will help you gain confidence in your writing. Paragraphs Seven Lines or Less Online. Any longer than that and readability studies show that your readers just see a big block of text and jump over it.

Instead, write out the actual words - his or her. Headings Will Allow Your Readers to Scan Easily Using headings in email to highlight the organization will allow readers to scan the email more efficiently.

Use Format to Indicate Hierarchy Indent paragraphs to visually indicate it is a subset of the information above. Write to Express, Not to Impress In business writing, your goal is to easily transmit ideas and information, not to flaunt a big vocabulary.

Blaise Pasqual stated, "I apologize for the length of my letter. I did not have time to make it shorter. In his book, The Miracle of Language , Lederer sings the praises of the short word: When you speak and write, there is no law that says you have to use big words. Short words are as good as long ones, and short, old words— like sun and grass and home—are best of all. A lot of small words, more than you might think, can meet your needs with a strength, grace, and charm that large words do not have.

Two tips on clarity I always highlight in business writing courses: A break in varied syllable length has the same effect on reading a document that staccato notes have when listening to music.

The short, staccato words subconsciously alert your reader that something has shifted, causing them to pay more attention. The famous strong verb example by Julius Caesar: I was in attendance, and I conducted a review of the situation and culture, and I made recommendations for acquisition.

Business writers tend to muddle verbs because imprecise verb use is so common in business writing that it sounds normal to our ears. For example, the verb decide is nominalized into the noun decision. These nominalized verbs require helping words around them that smother their impact, muddle the clarity of a sentence, and increase sentence length.

None of the smothering words have any value. Unsmothering verbs is a very powerful clarity technique. If take is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. If give is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. Let me give consideration to your muddled writing.

Let me consider your muddled writing. If have is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. I have a suspicion some of your verbs are smothered. I suspect some of your verbs are smothered. If make is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. We promise to make an adjustment to your account by tomorrow. We promise to adjust your account by tomorrow. If conduct is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered.

Two smothered verbs corrected. If come is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. We came to the conclusion that prices had to increase. We concluded that prices had to increase. If -ion or -ment is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is likely smothered. Are we i n agreement that clarity matters? Do we agree that clarity matters? Extend an invitation to Karen and Sunita. Invite Karen and Sunita.

Avoid Wimpy Verbs Avoid wimpy verbs that need a helping word to enable the verb to do its job in the sentence. Avoid Redundancy Avoid redundant verb modifiers. Damian shouted loudly at Clarrisa after she missed the deadline. Damian shouted at Clarrisa after she missed the deadline. Shouting, by definition, is loud, so no modifier is needed. Don't Start Sentences with "There is" or "There are.

Find the real subject and start there. There was a strong disagreement between the divisions about the reorganization structure. The two sides strongly disagreed about the reorganization structure. Active Voice is Better than Passive Voice Active voice is more dynamic and lively than passive voice, typically. Use Reader-Focused Wording To increase reader engagement, shift appropriately from writer-focused wording to reader-focused writing.

An entire document written with reader-focus wording can feel smarmy or too much like a marketing pitch. We have decided to upgrade the features of our training course.

You will automatically receive updated features in your training course. Everything we write at work has a larger echo. This echo is both a worry and an opportunity to advance your career. For example, you may have to deny a funding request to present research at a conference, but the larger echo requirement is maintaining the drive to innovate and research at your company.

Don't win a battle and lose the war. How to Dodge Awkward His or Her Dilemma To dodge the awkward his or her dilemma, shift the subject to plural when possible:


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Hence, there is a need to prevent grammatical errors and inappropriate writing in business communication. On words, phrases, and sentences. The book “Effective Business Communication,” by Ronnie Bouing, suggests that complex and general nouns and wordy lines should be avoided.

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My hope is these tips help you enjoy writing, better communicate at work, get ahead in your career, and grow your business! Jump to a section This is a huge list with 87 of the best business writing tips.

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Effective business writing skills can help you win that million dollar contract, earn a promotion, resolve a dispute, or generate a significant increase in new business leads. Poor business writing, on the other hand, can never be undone; it can cause you to lose business to your competition and could even cost you your job. You’d think business writing is always carefully crafted, but the truth is that it’s often error-ridden with misspellings, misused words and grammatical inaccuracies. The good news is that you can easily improve your business writing in a few easy steps.

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Apr 29,  · see photosiStockClick for full photo gallery: 10 Tips For Better Business Writing The ubiquity of e-mail means that everyone in business, from lords of finance to programmers who dream in code. Business writing is full of industry-specific buzzwords and acronyms. And while these terms are sometimes unavoidable and can occasionally be helpful as shorthand, they often indicate lazy or.