Effective business writing demands strategic thinking and mastery of the mechanics before starting. We will explore the success defining business writing rules below.
- Write for a Purpose.
- Establish the objective early and get to the point quickly.
- Write for the reader.
- What is the subject matter?
- Message for the reader?
- Action expectation on the reader?
- Write to be understood. Seek to express and not to impress.
- Observe writing mechanics
- Be clear, simple and concise in your language style
- Seek to be consistent and concrete in language style, syntax and structure e.g. 2 km away instead of “nearly there”
- Use 20 words or less per sentence for simplicity in structure and syntax
- Further enhance syntax by keeping no more than 8 words between nouns and verbs
- Employ conversational and polite tone in writing style, without being too familiar.
- Use a friendly and positive writing tone and style
- Employ simple language, avoid jargon and unnecessary words
- Make use of nouns and verbs in the active form and not the passive form
- Use strong, bold action verbs for impact
- Employ explicit connectors for flow and concord e.g. however, therefore, as a result, ultimately etc.
- Use resonant characters for nouns. Nouns that are familiar to readers e.g. Manager, employees, etc when writing for companies. Customers instead of people when writing for sales team.
- Write from the familiar to the new, from old to new. E.g. Our current technology has been giving problems lately resulting in a lot of down time. We urgently need to find a lasting solution. We therefore request the procurement department to source quotations for a replacement system.
- Write from the Problem-Solution-Action Framework (as in the above example)
- Read aloud to ensure you capture the sentiments adequately
- Proofread and edit, or better still allow someone else to proofread your work in case you are “too close to the forest to see the tree!”
Importance of Business Writing Skills
- Important business decisions are based on what we write day in and day out. What we write may save time and money, it may evade costly errors and mistakes.
- How we write impacts our corporate and personal image and brand. Serious reputation risk is at stake
- How we write has a bearing on our competencies as good or better communicators, which impacts our career mobility prospects and compensation
The importance of communication skills cannot be overstated! Definitely something worthwhile pursuing excellence in it!