With so much of today's business communications conducted in writing, your writing skills affect not only your ability to do your job well, but also your image as a professional. A few improvements to your written business communications can benefit you in both areas.
Here are some effective business writing tips to consider
- Keep it simple. The best way to get a point across is to keep things focused and concise. Don't complicate your ideas by going off topic and opening the door for potential confusion.
- Get to the point. Politeness is always welcome in written business communications , but hedging your sentences with phrases like "If you could..." or "It appears that..." just wastes time.
- Cut the flab. Deleting phrases such as "it is" and "there are" energizes writing. "Five reports need to be filed," packs a stronger punch than "There are five reports that need to be filed."
- Avoid corporate-speak. Corporate jargon obscures real meaning and rings hollow to the reader. As much as possible, skip the jargon and state what you mean clearly and directly. Use "contact" instead of "reach out" and "improve" instead of "take it to the next level."
- Curb your enthusiasm. Too many superlatives, such as "extremely urgent" and "the most critical question," can have an unintended effect. A more neutral, factual tone helps ensure you're taken seriously.
- Watch your structure. Including nonparallel structures in a sentence jars readers. Aim to maintain the same patterns throughout your sentences. For example, in the sentence "Dave oversees market research, strategy formulation, and building the brand," the last term should be "brand building" to stay in line with the other nouns.
- Check grammar. It's easy to bungle grammar and come off looking careless, especially when you're pressed for time. Be particularly careful to avoid dangling modifiers. For example, "After months in decline, Deborah brought our sales back up," which suggests Deborah was in decline rather than the sales.
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