Business writing is a great vocation; I know this from experience. The ability to communicate something in writing takes time to master. In business, you must learn how to be an effective communicator through writing. It goes beyond just writing business and finance articles as I do. It spans other areas such as emails, letters, memos, presentations, plans, proposals, reports, speeches, and resumes, amongst others. In this article, I shall be sharing tips on how to be an effective business writer. Remember, it is likely that your reader will be someone with limited time. Thus whatever you write ought to be sweet and short i.e. precise and concise.
Write Like You Are Talking
Writing does not have to be rocket science. Try to strike synch between how you generally speak with how you write. This will enable you to be authentic and natural in articulating what you want to say. There is a method I have used that you can use too to write like you are talking. Write something on a particular subject then afterwards record yourself speaking out what you have written. If it feels unnatural then that is a sign that you are not necessarily writing like you are talking. That is how you can practise writing like you are talking.
Structurally Organize Your Work
There must be structure and order in how you write. Endeavour to have a title, an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion or summary. Do not just have one paragraph containing everything as one unit. Personally, I am turned off before reading if something is presented to me like that. It takes practice; start from simple things such as your messages or posts on social media. Many people struggle with business writing because they are used to poor writing habits in their personal lives.
Make your writing progressive such that the reader glides along. One sentence should build up into the next one and so on. ‘Short’ is the keyword here. Your paragraphs should be short. Your sentences as well should be short. This also follows that you should use short words as much as possible. A paragraph should cover a talking point and it is wise to hint at it in the first sentence. The recipe is straightforward: short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.
Use Adjectives And Adverbs
Incorporate descriptive words in your writing. Desist from using superlatives! By superlatives, I am referring to words like ‘very’ and ‘awfully’, for example. You can say for instance, ‘the instructions were very confusing.’ A better way to say that, given what I have said, would be ‘they were baffling instructions.’ It has a richer tone. You will notice most of the times that superlatives are useless words that inflate your word count.
Be Simple – Avoid Jargon!
There is a general temptation to use big words. People tend to think it expresses the quality of being knowledgeable. However, in writing you want the reader to comprehend. Using jargon or big words defeats that whole purpose. If it is inevitable to use jargon ensure you make its meaning clear. The goal is to write as if you are writing to a child who has not yet reached their teens.
Use Specifics – Do Not Generalize!
Most people are likely to use generalizations in their writing. Let us suppose you are writing giving feedback on a recently held meeting. Someone could simply say, ‘the meeting was a great success – that is a generalization. The goal is to use specifics that will be more emphatic. For example, you would rather say, ‘Out of the 50 people invited, 48 attended.’ Using specifics helps answer a reader’s questions without even asking. When you use specifics you also get rid of the annoying aspects of being vague or beating about the bush.
Revise Your Work
I always make it a point to go through what I have written at least thrice. The aim is to check if there are any typological errors, misspellings, or inaccuracies. You will also be checking for any wrong words used or grammatical errors. ‘It’s my line of work’ is wrong, it should be ‘It’s’ there. Better still, you must cultivate using full words e.g. ‘it is’ instead of ‘it’s’. Other things to look out for are using ‘principle’ instead of ‘principal’ or vice versa. These are just some examples, but be diligent in revising your work. Work that is ridden with all sorts of errors can even be considered unauthentic.
It turns out that those English lessons in school were not child’s play. The world we live in now is ruled by effective communicators. If you are not you will struggle in literally every human endeavour you embark on. Writing is an irreplaceable part of our lives in every way; moreover now when content is king. In business you especially have to nurture your writing skills; I am confident this article will help you in that.