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Writing for Business: 11 Tips to Improve Business Writing Skills

Published on: October 12, 2022

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To be effective in the business world, you will need to understand what business writing is and how to do it well. Business writing is a unique writing style used in business settings. While it can be friendly and somewhat casual, it always carries an air of professionalism. If you are ready to level up your skills to write for the business world, this guide can help.

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Importance of Strong Business Writing

A successful business requires effective communication, and much of that communication comes in the form of written communication. If you are going to be effective in the business world, you must be able to persuade people or convey information with a strong, professional tone. This requires strong business writing skills. 

Types of Business Writing

How you write in a business setting will depend primarily on the motivation for the writing. There are four main types of business writing:

Persuasive

Persuasive business writing focuses on making someone change their behavior, including inviting someone to make a purchase or become a client. It may refer to pushing for change internally by communicating new policies or encouraging new behavior. Sales fliers and advertisements are examples of persuasive writing used in business settings.

Instructional

Instructional business writing aims to instruct the reader about a particular action, including providing instructions on how to use a product, training employees on how to do their job or sending instructions to customers on how to best navigate an event or sale. An email sent to a team you manage would be an example of instructional writing.

Informational

Informational writing delivers factual information to the reader. It is straightforward writing that gives the reader the information they need to either make an informed decision or better understand something related to your business. The goal is not to convince the reader to take any particular action but simply to provide information. Press releases and memos are typical examples of informational business writing. 

Transactional

Transactional business writing is the formal writing used in things like contracts and agreements. It rarely contains contractions or conversational language and conveys the terms of the deal. It may also be legally binding, so transactional language must contain specific terminology to match the laws of the city or state where the contract is taking place.

11 Business Writing Tips

Do you want to level up your business writing? While additional training can help, these tips will also provide guidance.

1. Understand Your Audience

Business writing must be tailored to your particular audience. You must understand your audience, their knowledge and needs and their pain points to craft effective writing for them. For example, if you are writing a memo to your peers, you can use a bit of jargon and terminology unique to your industry. Using this kind of language would be confusing if you were writing to a new potential client.

2. Upfront Planning

Business writing requires you to be upfront with your planning. Whether that looks like an outline for the piece, studying the structure of the type of item you are writing or planning the vocabulary you will use, you must be intentional and create a plan for your written piece. By being intentional in this way, you will be able to craft professional, easy-to-read pieces for your business needs. 

3. Be Authentic

Business writing may be more formal than other types of writing, but you should still weave some authenticity into your communication. Don't be afraid to add a personal touch to the items you write for business. In addition, make sure business writing fits with your organization's branding. Keeping your branding authentic will ensure the reader is not confused by what you say. 

4. Proofread Multiple Times

Business writing must be professional, so you need to ensure it has no typos or grammatical mistakes. In addition, you need to check it for clarity. Proofread each piece multiple times and use tools like Grammarly to assist with checking the grammar. Ask someone else to proofread your written words because it's easy to overlook mistakes you make in your own writing.

5. Be Impartial

Use impartial language when communicating in business, including using unbiased language free from group and gender stereotypes. It also means showing respect in your word choice. Neutral language is free from offensive communication that can detract from your message. Being impartial does not mean you can't be passionate about what you are saying. It means communicating in a way that does not alienate the different people you are trying to reach.

6. Cross-Check and Reference Facts

Business writing needs to be factual. People need to know they can trust what you say in your writing. Not only do you need to check your facts, but you should also reference them directly to build credibility. You can often add an attachment or addendum to the piece you write to provide the substantiating facts you need.

7. Be Accessible

Concise sentences, headings and paragraphs are crucial in business writing. If you can say "because" instead of "as a result," use the shorter one-word phrase. Keep each sentence to just one idea. Remember, few people in the business world have a lot of time to spend reading memos and letters. Keep your writing easy to read and digest.

8. Include a Strong Call to Action

A call to action tells the reader what they need to do with the information presented in a piece of writing. This may look like encouraging the reader to sign up for an upcoming seminar, reach out for more information about a product you have for sale or change behavior due to a new company policy.

9. Don't Include Fluff

Say things as concisely as possible and avoid adding words to your work that do not add value. Make sure every word has a purpose and conveys part of your message. If it doesn't, then it is what writers call "fluff." Remember, there aren't any awards for long-winded writing in the business world. 

10. Be Careful with Buzzwords

Jargon and buzzwords are words specific to your industry or niche that the average reader may not understand, or they are words that are over-used in business writing to the point that they have lost all meaning. For example, someone in the healthcare field may use complex medical words in their business writing, which could be classified as jargon. Buzzwords in business include words or phrases like funnel, automation, value proposition and similar terms that do not add much value to your writing or have little meaning to the reader. Avoid both of these. Ensure your writing is impactful and has significant meaning with each word or statement.

11. Be Professional

Above all, make sure your writing is professional. Some types of business writing lend themselves to a less formal tone, but it should always have an air of professionalism. Avoid slang and contractions and stay on topic. Keep in mind, though, that professionalism does not necessarily mean formal. Say things in a friendly way that comes across with a tone that lacks negative connotations or biases, and you will be professional.

Learn More About Writing and Business with Husson

If you want to learn more tips and strategies to improve your writing skills to communicate better as a business professional, consider a degree in professional communications. Husson University has an online Bachelor of Science in Professional Communications that can help you learn to write and speak professionally. Apply today to join this flexible degree program. 

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Sources

50 Trending Business Buzzwords in 2022 You Must Know - Digicrusader Digital Business Coach

Business Writing: 9 Ways to Improve Your Business Writing Skills (writer.com)

 

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