Smart call. For the vast majority of business professionals, effective writing plays a crucial role in successfully completing daily tasks, from writing emails to preparing proposals. Effective writing can help you win over customers, motivate employees, earn a job or promotion, and resolve conflict. Alternatively, weak writing can undermine your professional image and credibility.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a formally trained poet to write clear, succinct, and precise business writing that impresses and captivates. Check out our six tips for highly effective business writing below.
1. Keep it short.
As busy professionals themselves, your readers aren’t interested in struggling through lengthy paragraphs full of complex turns of phrase. Keep your writing succinct, favoring declarative sentences and cutting words wherever possible. Choose short words over florid language—for instance, why write “offer assistance to” when “help” is much more straightforward?
2. Avoid clichés, buzzwords, and business jargon.
Tired, overused, and often just plain cheesy clichés aren’t going to convey your message or win over your audience. Avoid them whenever possible, and try instead to be specific. For example, rather than “We need to take it to the next level,” try “We need to increase sales by at least 20 percent this quarter.”
3. Be professional.
Generally, you should keep your business writing free of emojis and abbreviations, personal comments, inappropriate jokes, and cutesy signoffs. Use exclamation points sparingly, and favor professional closing statements such as “Regards” and “All the best.”
4. Stick to the active voice.
Using the active voice is a quick and easy way to strengthen your writing. Instead of “Goals were achieved by the marketing department,” try “The marketing department achieved its goals.”
5. Cut down on prepositions.
Excessive preposition use makes your writing weaker and wordier, especially when prepositions follow a verb. Try changing “the report about our financials for 2014” to “the 2014 financial report,” or “figure out” to “determine.”
Don’t rely too heavily on spellcheckers, which often miss grammatical and content errors. Before submitting, printing, or sending off any written work, proofread it closely. Whenever possible, get a second set of eyes to review your work, since someone else is much more likely to spot errors that you’ve overlooked—or not even considered.
To improve your writing, consider our custom business writing training seminars. Contact us today, and one of our team members will be in touch promptly!