The Ultimate Writing Tips to Make Your Work Writing Instantly Better
Your business relies on communication for everything it does. Internally, good communication facilitates collaboration and productivity. Externally, good communication is how customers and clients find out about and decide to do business with you. Indeed, it’s often business writing – in marketing and sales materials, in emails and brochures, in proposals and presentations, in technical documents and analytical reports – that makes or breaks a company’s ability to be successful.
This is why we call poor writing a “triple revenue killer.” Without strong writing and communication skills, companies will struggle to:
- Gain new customers and get new business
- Retain existing customers
- Work effectively internally or with third-party peers and colleagues
Conversely, better communication will strengthen your business and its brand.
So what can your team do to improve their business communication? Fortunately, we’ve got a ton of easily-implemented, high-impact writing tips.
What Are the Writing Tips?
1: Think of the documents you produce as a client deliverable.
When a prospective customer or client opens a brochure, proposal, or presentation, it’s the writing within that answers questions, addresses objections, and sells the offering. The writing your team produces is how customers find your business, why they decide to become a customer, and how they know how to best use your products and services. In short, the documents and writing your teams produces are a customer deliverable and understanding them in this way will enable them to craft more effective documents.
2: Give revisions their proper due.
We always say that revisions and editing are where the real writing happens. Far too many writers fall for the “first draft equals last draft” trap. It’s understandable: most people who produce business documents are harried, rushed for time, and writing is probably not their core job function. But the first draft is never going to be the best draft.
It gets worse: even when individual writers and whole teams do go through a structured editing process, they often short-change it. One “State of Business Writing” survey found that businesspeople only devote 19% of their writing time to rewrites. And then, they have a bad habit of concentrating on the wrong things when editing. Finally, intraorganizational feedback and editing processes often leave a lot to be desired. For help with that, read our article, “Creating a better feedback and editing process.” In the end, the best writing tip may actually be to improve the editing and revision process.
3: Good communication is about problem-solving and critical-thinking.
Grammar is, frankly, the least important element of good writing. To produce exceptional documents, writers must put on their critical-thinking, problem-solving, strategic-planning hats. Remember, every document has a function to fulfill. If it fails in this function, the page might as well be blank. The question is how to craft a document that can do its job. This requires business writers to fundamentally think critically about not just the document but the larger circumstance in which the writing is being produced and will be used. In the end, critical thinking and problem-solving are the soft skills that underlie virtually all other writing-related skills.
Writing as problem-solving:
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4: Know your audience.
One of the most common business communication mistakes is writing to oneself or to a peer, which is an excellent way to reduce the effectiveness of the written material. Imagine you’re writing about a technical topic to a layperson customer. If you use jargon and short-hand, the customer may have no idea what you’re talking about. Or imagine you’re writing a proposal. You know what you care about in your offering, but do you know – and are you addressing – what the reader cares about? If not, your proposal is likely to go nowhere. Start any writing project by researching your readers. You might even develop an audience rubric to help you stay on track during writing projects.
5: Get to the heart of the matter.
This writing tip has two dimensions. First, get to the point quickly. Don’t make your reader wade through overlong introductions and contextual information they probably don’t need. The longer and more meandering your work, the more readers you’ll lose before you get to the point.
Second, leverage the power of emotion in your writing. Good writers know that making logical arguments can sometimes actually compromise a document’s effectiveness, particularly if those arguments come at the expense of pulling the reader’s heartstrings. This can seem unprofessional, especially when the writing project is technical or scientifically-oriented. But we don’t mean turning every document into a sob story. We mean that it’s important to make the reader care.
To do this, you must understand your audience and what they care about to craft a document that addresses those concerns.
6: Tell a story
One of the best ways to implement Writing Tip #5 is to turn the data or information you’re writing about into a story. Data alone won’t influence decision-makers. Instead, creating a narrative around the data will help readers – whether they’re executives in a boardroom or consumers – understand what the information means, why it’s important, and what they should do with that information.
7: Develop the right skills in the right way.
All of these writing tips are much easier to put into practice if the business writer has strong writing skills. Don’t think about writing as a talent. As American inventor Thomas Edison famously said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
That means anyone can become a better writer and business communicator with the right skills development. But this requires the right training program.
- First, look for training programs that possess these six characteristics.
- Make sure you understand different training formats so you can make the best selection.
- Then, if you’ll be using a remote training program, take steps to optimize your own experience.
Is virtual training right for your team?
- 4 Ways Bad Writing Erodes Productivity and Costs U.S. Companies Billions. Writing that falls short of the 7 Cs has real-world costs. Understand how bad writing can backfire on unprepared businesses. Read about the productivity and cost impacts of bad writing today.
- 10 Quick Tips to Improve Your Writing. For even more writing tips, see our white paper.
Writing effective documents is difficult, but our expert tactics make it easy.
Your team can learn how to write succinct business documents in less time.