Planning your Business Documents


Hurley Write, Professional Writing Courses, Business Document writing

All types of professional writing, whether technical manuscripts , grants , or SOPs , are reader-focused and serve a specific purpose; however, according to Joshua Cook, author of “ Business and Professional Writing: Four Fundamental Elements ,” “Business writing is a deeper process than other types of writing because your job may depend on this one thing you have written, be it a raise, promotion, or just the image your managers have of you.”

Because of the importance of business writing to your career, taking the time to plan can go a long way toward helping you write a document that reflects your professionalism.

Why am I writing?  

Defining your purpose , or what you hope to accomplish, is the first step. To better emphasize your main points throughout the document, consider writing a purpose statement. A purpose statement will help guide you as you write, will help you stay on target, and may help in terms of getting to the point. In other words, if you know what you’re writing about and why, you’re more likely to get to the point quickly. Cook writes, “If you are writing for business purposes, there is one key rule that I hear over and over again: ‘Get to the point.’”

Who are my readers?

After considering your main purpose, consider your readers . Because readers differ why they read, analyzing your audience will help you in the writing process. To ensure that your audience will understand your writing, Cook says, “You have to be able to effectively communicate with your audience, and speak their language.” In addition, understanding how your readers will read the document (will they skim it or read it in its entirely) can help you create a document that meets your readers’ needs.

How will I build my message?

Now that you’ve taken the time to plan your purpose and analyze your readers, the next step is to use this knowledge to build your message. Because many readers are executives or others with busy schedules, ensuring that your message is presented well is vital. Many time-tested and proven strategies and techniques are available to help you build that message, including formatting, using bullet points (and knowing when not to use them!), and creating structured sentences and paragraphs that emphasize and de-emphasize appropriately.


Making the extra effort to plan will better ensure that your workplace documents show that you’re detailed, organized, and ready for that promotion ! For more information about proven writing strategies that will enhance your professional writing skills, contact Hurley Write, Inc. !