December 30, 2020
By Shaun Mendonsa, PhD
Follow this guide on how to improve your business writing skills in six easy steps. Business writing is all about influencing people. With this approach, you will certainly stand out as a leader among your peers.
There are two main objectives we look to achieve when we write at work. Firstly, to convey information. But more importantly, to influence someone on an important decision. Let's learn how to write persuasively to achieve the latter.
Use small, clear sentences. Present one point per sentence. Separate out broader topics in short paragraphs. Two to four sentences per paragraph. People will understand your logic easily. And will be influenced more readily.
Don't use heavy jargon to appear smart. Complex language neither makes you come across as intelligent, nor does it make your writing persuasive. It makes you sound pompous and self-interested. It will also distract your audience from your main message.
If you find simple, everyday words that succinctly convey the same meaning, use them instead of longer phrases. Always pick the simplest way to say something. For example, don’t say “all of us,” when you can just say “we.” The best business writers are concise.
Carefully draft your first two or three sentences in the introduction. Spend extra time and effort here. That’s where you will anchor your readers. How you do this depends on what you are writing about.
Always put the object before the action in business writing. Readers will find this form of sentence structuring easier to follow. Saying, "Six customer support tickets were completed in a day," is preferred to, "In a day, completed six customer support tickets."
Fifth grader language is all you need to play with. Don’t reach for fancy words. They actually blunt the effectiveness of your business writing skills. If you waste your reader’s adulation on your intelligent-sounding words, you will lose out on your main message.
These 6 steps will take you to at least 80% proficiency.
Pick up writing styles from other talented writers in your organization.
Use persuasive techniques in your writing and keep it simple.