How to Effectively Improve Your Team’s Business Writing


The importance of effective communication in the workplace is vital to a well-run business. While verbal communication and body language are important, written communication is even more crucial because it’s a reflection of your company. Whether your team needs to write better customer emails, in-office memos, or proposals, these tips can help them improve their business writing skills. 

Aim for an Active Voice

In passive writing, an object is acted upon, but in active writing, the subject performs the action. A passive sentence reads, “The lab was blown up.” An active sentence with greater force reads, “I blew up the lab.” If you can add "by zombies" to the end of the sentence and the sentence makes sense, you've used passive voice. Passive and active both have a role in writing, but readability studies tell us that active is easier to read and understand.

Avoid Interpretive Words

“The very low quantity” and “the small amount of time” leave room for misinterpretation, as "very," "low," and "small" are interpretive; that is, they can be defined differently, depending on the reader. If the word can't be quantified, or if everyone doesn't agree about what it means, leave it out. Using interpretive words can cloud your meaning. 

Clarify a Call to Action

Why are you writing? That is, what action is the reader supposed to take after reading the document? Keep in mind that action doesn't have to be physical; it can be psychological, as in the reader believing that you did a thorough job. Ensure that the action is clear. 

Answer the Five Ws

Sometimes the action that the reader is supposed to take must be stated specifically. Telling the reader who should act, what they should do, and where, when, and why they should do it may make the message clearer. In some cases, explaining who benefits from the action and what could happen if the reader doesn’t act may be warranted.

For help developing your team's business writing skills, contact Hurley Write, Inc . Our online and onsite workshops are specifically designed to teach your team how to improve their business writing skills.