Steps to Improve Business Writing
Perhaps, you have never been good at preparing essays at school, and you may consider it to be your weak point. Still, in case your job responsibilities encompass business writing, you are to enhance this skill. Never argue its an unachievable goal for you since many office workers faced the same challenge and they managed to cope with it. So, what does the process of writing for business purposes include?
Step 1: Define Your Objective
You may have heard many times that good writers express their ideas clearly. It sounds coherent, but how to do it in practice? The most common mistake is to start typing a text without any particular goal. Before you put your fingers on a keyword, stop for a while to collect your thoughts. Think over what you are going to do and why.
Don’t confuse a task and an objective. Your task is to write a text — it may be a report, an email, a blog post, etc. But any business writing has its goal. Define what results you are going to achieve: perhaps, you need to keep your peers informed the client has changed the deadline; or maybe the aim is to increase the company’s budget and you want the orderer to sign the document.
Once you find out what you are writing for, you can develop your ideas without any prolonging for you know exactly what is the goal of each block of your document.
Step 2: Define a Targeted Audience
The second crucial step of business writing is defining a targeted audience. You’ve already discerned your objective, now think about your readers. If you want them to react to your text in a particular way, then you need to know who they are and what they are interested in. In some cases, it requires research.
Try to present your thoughts clearly, and your word choice depends much on readers’ knowledge related to an issue. Surely, plain English is preferable for a general audience, but for internal messaging between peers, it’s appropriate to use narrow vocabulary and terms.
Step 3: Make an Outline
So, you’ve conducted analysis and collected all relevant information. Step 3 is about making a plan. Sadly, most office workers skip drafts, which leads to preparing illogical and unstructured text that needs much editing.
Think over the structure of your paper: how many blocks it’s going to contain and what aim each of them is to achieve. Put the main statements of every part on paper. Make sure your thinking line is logical.
Take into consideration that business writing and an academic essay are not the same. College-leavers often find it challenging to create a successful business text because its structure is completely different from what they have written before as students. Business writing rules demand to put main ideas at the beginning. Most readers (if not to say all of them) never study texts carefully, they just scan it. And they won’t read to the end if they don’t see a reason. Mention benefits first so that it will be evident what’s the point of cooperating with you. In conclusion, you should call for action: tell readers what you expect them to do (sign, subscribe, click, etc.).
Step 4: Write a Text
After conducting an analysis and making a draft, you feel more confident to develop your business writing piece. Still, most common difficulties writers face are related to vocabulary and grammar. If these are not your strong points neither, here are some tips for you.
Do you remember a writer should convey ideas coherently? A logical structure is half a battle, you need to find appropriate words. Actually, it’s not such a difficult task as it seems to be.
Some writers try to impress a targeted audience using rich, complex vocabulary. In this way, they strive to sound smart. In fact, don’t copy such a manner unless your goal is to make an impression of a pretentious person. Get rid of long and rarely used words, you can always find a short synonym. Avoid 10$ words like ‘incongruous’ or ‘indiscriminately’. Want to sound smart — then offer readers a structured document with understandable lexis.
Generally, remove all unnecessary words. If you are interested in how one can recognize what words are needless, here’s a tip for you: if a word can be removed, then do it.
Be careful with adjectives, put them only at places where they are needed. Readers will get bored if your paper is full of words on the lines of ‘impactful’, ‘significant’, and ‘glorious’. Well, this approach might be quite acceptable, and even preferable for some types of academic essays. However, business writing calls for action, so focus your attention on verbs.
Strong verbs make your writing more dynamic. Use ‘seize’ instead of ‘catch’, ‘glitter’ instead of ‘shine’, ‘stride’ instead of ‘walk’. Do you feel the difference?
They say, to err is human. We all make grammar, stylistic, and even orthographic mistakes at times. But if you make several mistakes in each sentence and regularly receive feedbacks ‘improve your writing’, so, you do need to change a thing.
While word processors (like MS Word) offer a built-in function of correcting spelling, difficulties emerge when it comes to grammar. To begin with, start to use essay checker. It’s a tool worked out to check your papers for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Run your documents through this checker, and the program will highlight all found errors, explain the rule for each of them and suggest possible correct substitutions.
However, the tool shows potential mistakes, it’s unable to analyze context. It means you are supposed to learn rules. If school years made you feel sick of grammar books, then try some grammar games available on the Internet.
Step 5: Edit Your Work
Don’t skip this step, for even experienced authors spend about 30% of their time on editing. Even if you have noticed no mistakes, your document may need some changes anyway.
Remember that you know exactly what thoughts you are going to express for these thoughts are in your head, but readers get acquainted with them from your writing piece. Read the text carefully as if you were a representative of a targeted audience and saw it for the first time in your life. Do you get the idea? Doesn’t the text seem dull? Any incoherent sentences or blocks?
Feel free to ask peers for feedback. Yet, get ready to receive dozens of unnecessary tips in the lines of ‘Don’t end your sentences with a preposition’. To get useful feedback, put narrow questions. ‘What do you think about my grammar?’ ‘Have you noticed any stylistic mistakes?’ ‘Does the main idea sound clear?’
Improving business writing requires time and effort. Even if you are an experienced worker, don’t ignore this step. The skill is important for your career development, for correctly prepared documents, grant you more trust of your clients as well as your front offices.
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