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10 Tips for Better Business Writing

If one of your job duties is to write with some degree of regularity, it is important that you do write in the most appropriate manner possible to achieve the goals of your business enterprise and to advance yourself on a strong professional course. You will be presented in this article with ten tips for better business writing. These pointers are the culmination of the experiences of individuals who have spent a great part of their own lives involved in writing for business.


I. Be Direct & Concise

In spite of all the marvellous technological advances that have been made in the twenty-first century, the typical individual is over scheduled and over taxed when it comes to work. Indeed, many would argue that it is because of all of the technological advances of the past two decades – particularly in the realm of communications that people have found themselves nearly overwhelmed when it comes to their business or professional lives. With this in mind, if you are charged with the task of writing something related to your business or professional duties, you need to keep in mind the importance of being concise.

As mentioned, the typical individual in the workaday world today barely has time to take a lunch let alone to wade through an impossibly long memorandum or some other document. Therefore, as you go about the task of writing and creating a business related document, you need to understand the power of “economy of words.” Rather than spend two hundred words addressing a minor point, deal with it in twenty-five words or less. If one word will do, do not write down five.


II. Don't Be Clever

One of the more common mistakes associated with business writing occurs when a scribe attempts to be “clever” or even “cute” in the manner in which he or she writes about an issue in a document. While levity actually does have its place in the workplace (at appropriate times and within reason), generally speaking a memorandum or some other type of written material is not the suitable forum for light-heartedness.

Unless you are writing a memo pertaining to the annual company picnic, you need to maintain a sense of decorum and a professional tone when you are involved in creating a business document. You will have ample opportunity to showcase your humour at the company picnic or in the dining hall. You simply should not make a memorandum to your superiors an occasion for jest.


III. Avoid Being Overly Informal

Another mistake that is being made with ever increasing frequency when it comes to business communications is found in the fact that many writers are becoming markedly informal in the manner in which they approach business writing. Of course, there are instances in which a more formal approach to business writing can be most appropriate. However, more often than not, it behoves you to err on the side of being a bit more formal in your business writing efforts.


IV. Know Your Facts (Inside & Out)

If you are including something within a document or memorandum that you are writing for business purposes, make absolutely certain that this information is 100% factual correct. Of course, there are many instances in which you are called upon to speculate within a document or memorandum. If that is the case, you need to make very certain that you clearly are delineating what is included in this manner as not being an absolute fact.


V. Outline Before You Write

Another tip that you would be wise in following when it comes to business writing is to outline before you begin the actual process of working on the memorandum or document itself. By taking the time to thoroughly outline your project you will create for yourself a vital road map that will ensure that you end up developing the most readable and logically ordered document or memorandum possible.


VI. Pay Attention to Formatting Standards

Each and every business enterprise or other organization has its own style for documents, memorandums and other materials. Before you begin writing, you need to make certain that you are completely familiar with the specific standards and formatting requirements that are utilized in your business, firm or organization.


VII. Clarify Your Questions

Do not be afraid to ask questions. As you begin the process of outlining and preparing to write a document or memorandum, you likely will find that you have some additional questions that have not yet been addressed. Therefore, you absolutely need to appropriately obtain answers to these questions. Do not guess as to what these answers might be – such a step can have dire consequences. Simply, if there is an issue you have questions about or a matter that requires clarificati0on, ask questions and obtain the supplemental information that you require.


VIII. Cite Source Materials

In addition, if you are including factual information within your business communication, you need to cite the relevant source material from which you garnered this information. This will make your overall presentation appear more authoritative. Moreover, if something that is stated as a fact is later determined to be incorrect or untrue, you end up off the hook for providing false information because you did undertake your own due diligence in the first instance.


IX. Budget Your Time Wisely

One of the worst steps that you can take when it comes to business writing is “rushing.” By this it is meant that you absolutely must allocate an appropriate amount of time in your schedule to research, outline and write any business related document, materials or memorandum that you are being called upon to prepare.

If you do not allocate an appropriate amount of time to undertake the task in a thorough and thoughtful manner, the final product will not be of the quality that is demanded in a professional setting.


X. Edit, Edit & Edit Again

Finally, in regard to important tips for business writing, always remember to leave time to edit your work. Editing is of paramount importance when it comes to writing for business. Indeed, beyond editing your work yourself, if it is appropriate in your particular professional setting (and it normally is more than appropriate) to have someone else look over your work before “you turn it in.” In the end, having another set of eyes take a look at what you have written can be an invaluable step towards ensuring that you have the best written document possible. That's why we offer a business editing and proofreading service for companies, to help you ensure your documents are professional.