Have you ever struggled with improving your business writing? For instance, drafted an email or report and then worried about grammar? Did you wonder if you made yourself clear? Or, did you hit send too soon?
Not trained in business writing?
If so, you’ll know that business writing can be difficult because, let’s face it, you may not have had training in business communications. You have your own job to do.
You can improve your business writing skills quickly, step by step
Since today’s world is based on communication, how do you handle the challenge of improving your business writing expertise as quickly as you can? Many people have found success using online editing software, blogs tips, or business writing handbooks. There are many out there. One resource I highly recommend for every professional is the Purdue Owl Business Writing page which clearly organizes and addresses every topic from grammar to audience analysis.
But before you dive into business writing details, try using these simple steps first. Then progress to your favorite resources. I predict you will see immediately improvement. For an investment of less than ten minutes each time you write.
A Checklist: Before You Hit Send . . .
1. Write once. Check twice. Read it aloud.
Put it aside. Read it aloud to someone across the desk. Imaginary if necessary.
This is the holy grail of all tips. Why? Because the brain misses errors it just made. You will be shocked and amazed at what you will catch and how quickly your writing will improve!
2. Think and write for your reader.
Directly address him: “You will receive the report,” rather than “We will be sending the report.” Now, imagine that you are your reader working at his desk and he just received your email. Will he grasp the central message of your communication and understand what action he should take next?
3. Less is more. What can you cut?
“I want to thank you for organizing . . .”
4. Avoid jargon.
“Collaborative synergy,” no. “Working together,” yes.
5. Spellcheck. Again.
6. Check links, attachments to make sure they work.
7. Check for accuracy.
Review subject, to, and reply fields. Check names, titles.
8. Save templates.
When you write a good document, save it for future use.
9. Hire a freelancer.
I know, this isn’t a writing tip, but it can save you and your company time and frustration. Freelancers aren’t just for marketing. A good one writes, edits, and produces blog posts, internal letters, manuals, press releases – a full range of materials – a boon for any business.
Now that you have a place to start, you’re ready to rewrite your documents without that sense of frustration.
What is your favorite set of tips for improving your business writing?