While email, text, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter facilitate communication and the sharing of information on both a business and personal level, they also highlight skills deficiencies in their users.
Poor writing – no matter what the medium – is unacceptable and reflects poorly not only on you but also, in the case of business communication, on your employer. Read on and find out how you can improve your business writing skills and your personal brand.
Improve your Business Writing skills – Bad writing shows a lack of professionalism
In a business environment, employees, clients, business partners and competitors will judge an organisation by its quality of writing, whether on social media, the corporate website or through a more formal, conventional documents such as a proposal or press release.
Whether you are writing a business proposal, in charge of your organisation’s social media or just looking to improve your writing, here are ten ways to improve your business writing skills.
1. Define your key message
What is the main point of your article or document? Does it come across clearly? Do you need to spell it out or do you want your audience to discover it through your writing?
2. Identify your audience
Will the audience be confused with the use of buzzwords, slang or acronyms that are not well understood?
Are they a niche audience with expertise in the subject matter you are writing about or are they a general audience that may be on a learning curve? Do they speak English as their mother tongue? Will the audience be confused with the use of buzzwords, slang or acronyms that are not well understood?
This stage is critical as it gives you precious indications about the direction you should take to get the best piece of writing.
3. Get organised
Most authors find it useful to develop an outline or to capture key bullet points before developing their material. This helps the author to make their points methodically without missing important information. It also helps authors to deliver their message in a logical way.
Most authors find it useful to develop an outline or to capture key bullet points prior to developing their material
4. Set a tone
Once you define your audience, set a tone that matches their expectations. Your tone may be instructional, chatty, or academic. It may be active or passive. It may be thought provoking or it may simply deliver facts and statistics. It may be entertaining or serious.
5. Create a first draft
Many writers believe it is good to write a first draft quickly so that their thoughts are initially captured in a natural way. This creates the basis of a good document that can then be fine-tuned.
Your rough draft should be edited to check for grammar, spelling and syntax errors. It should also be reviewed for style and content inconsistencies. It should also have a clear beginning, middle and end that flows well and is easy to read.
7. Edit again when you can see things freshly
It can be difficult to spot basic mistakes when the author is too close to their work. Leaving it for a short period and then editing the material several hours later or perhaps the next day makes it easier to edit as it looks fresh again.
8. Have someone else read your edited work
If at all possible, have someone you know and trust read through your material and offer constructive criticism and positive feedback.
9. Keep it simple
Try to use fewer, shorter words wherever possible. This is especially important if your audience is multicultural or speaks multiple languages. Some authors also like to write in a style where they must explain something to someone who has no knowledge of the topic.
Try to use fewer, shorter words wherever possible
10. Review to ensure your key message has been delivered
Go back to the beginning by looking at your original outline. Remember your audience. Did you get your key message across?
The final piece of advice to improve your writing skills may take longer than ten minutes but is worth the investment: practise your writing. Keeping the above points in mind, it does get easier, as does any worthwhile skill.
The final piece of advice to improve your business writing skills may take longer than ten minutes but is worth the investment: practise your writing