Business writing may be a breeze for some people.
For many others, putting words on a page (or screen) is a real struggle.
They encounter what we call “mental block” or the inability to remember or think of something that you want to write about. What’s more challenging is that in business writing, you need to be more organized, coherent, ethical and effective.
Know your purpose. To overcome your difficulties of conquering the written word, the first thing that you need to determine is your purpose. What do you want to accomplish with this piece of writing—be it a letter, a memo, a report, or a proposal. Without a clear purpose, writing an effective business message is impossible.
Organize your message. This includes visualizing your audience: who are the receivers of your message (report, e-mail, letter etc). How familiar are they with the topic at hand? A message that is organized well is one with clear subject and purpose, contains relevant information, ideas are grouped and presented logically and all necessary information are included. Be careful of your use of industry jargon and colloquialisms. Be sensitive to your multi-cultural audience.
Create effective sentences & clear paragraphs. Improve your English writing skills. Use simple sentences, but if you must use compound and complex sentences, choose the form that best fits the thought you want to express. Write using the “active voice” and use only “passive voice” to achieve specific effects. Vary the length of your sentence to avoid being monotonous. Aim for an average of 20 words per sentence. Ensure that your each paragraph contains a topic sentence, related sentences and transitional elements. Use illustrations, graphs, comparisons, cause and effect and other similar elements to help you explain your message. Mix paragraphs of different lengths but aim for an average of 100 words.
Take a break from writing. If you are writing about a complicated topic, or a very critical e-mail or report, take some time off by having a short break or going through another task. This time off allows you to return to your writing task with new perspectives and increased objectivity. You’ll see errors, information gaps and improvements when you’ve taken some time away. Take into consideration the deadline of your writing task, but go ahead and take a break. It’s good for you and your writing.
Always proofread. Proofreading is just as important as creating the message. This is the time for you to check your spelling, grammar and layout. A mistake that is silly or careless is even more embarrassing. Computer checks won’t pick up all your errors, so if possible, run through important documents with someone else, such as your mentor or colleague who is good in words to help you point out which parts you can improve on.
Improving your business writing skills need not be difficult. When deadlines hound you, do not panic and always keep things in perspective. Develop the habit of using the strategies mentioned in this article. Before you know it, your business writing skills allow you to communicate effectively to your intended audience.