The Art of Business Writing
Business Writing can be the trap for young players unless we have some background in writing – and this, folks, includes spelling, grammar and syntax. I hear you groan…I feel your pain…
Business writing is not the same as writing a novel, a memoir, a short story or an article for a magazine. When composing your writing for business, remember that it should be:
- Logical and
- It should only contain essential and relevant information.
Let’s go through the list:
- Have you ever received a letter or an email where your name has been incorrectly spelt? (Or should that be spelled? No, although not incorrect, it’s usually only used in countries where they use the American English form of spelling.) How does that make you feel? It probably gives you the impression that the author is not that interested in you or your business. Is the document written in a polite and accommodating tone? If it’s not, and you detect a tone of condescension, aggression, or – perish the thought – any of the ‘isms’, this is not going to achieve the author’s ambition.
- Does the author digress? Is the message clear? Are only the relevant facts included?
- Does the message clearly get through to you? If you are in the slightest bit confused then the author needs to have another look at his or her writing style and skill.
- Does the document flow from start, through the middle, right through to the conclusion in an easy-to-follow format?
- Is the document logical? If the arguments contained in it are illogical you are less likely to want to pursue this relationship. (Think about the emails we receive advising us that we are the beneficiary or $6M left to us by a lost great uncle somewhere in Nigeria!)
- Finally, does it contain only the information needed to convey the message and to win you over. You are, after all, a busy person and don’t want or need to be bothered by irrelevant information.
There are, of course, certain conventions and forms we need to be aware of when writing business documents (e.g. formal invitations, the layout and structure of reports) and with the assistance of someone with a sound background in the field you too can produce great business documents.