…and Why are They Important?
In business, many types of documents and forms of communication are produced every single day including reports, emails, memorandums, leaflets, brochures, and white papers. The content used within these documents is known as business writing and it is used to allow communication within the business and with external customers. But what are business writing skills and how can you improve yours?
Mistakes are often made within business writing, and there are many reasons for this. For a start, many authors of these documents fail to recognise who their audience is, which can result in information that is inappropriate or unclear. The whole point of business writing is that the reader can understand it fully, even when it has been read quickly or even skimmed.
Business Writing Skills and Things to Remember
Business writing should follow a certain format, depending on who the recipient is. For example, the style of writing for a report would be entirely different to that used within an internal memo. Similarly, sending an internal email would not normally require the writer to be as formal as he or she would when sending an email to an external customer. It is important to bear in mind what message you are trying to convey to the reader while remembering who the reader is.
Business writing should be clear and concise. For the most part, it should contain simple language that is free from unnecessary adjectives. Avoid ambiguity and stick to the point. You should choose short, comprehensible words where possible and make sure you focus on facts at all times.
It is important to avoid giving opinions or viewpoints when writing for business. The reader does not want to know what you think of a certain subject – he or she will only be looking for the clear facts.
Formatting is also important in business writing as it can help to make the piece of information clearer and more concise. The use of paragraphs, bullet points and numbering will help draw the attention of the reader to the most important points of the text.
However, it is important to remember that formatting should not overshadow the point you are trying to get across. The use of formatting should not distract the reader from the message being conveyed.
One of the most important things to remember when trying to brush up on your business writing skills is the importance of proofreading. Before you send any communication, make sure you take the time to read over. This is to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes as the appearance of such can make your writing appear less professional at best and downright embarrassing at worst.
Why Are Business Writing Skills So Important?
It is helpful to understand why business writing skills are so important. One reason is that having clear and easy-to-read documents can help to save time. If your written communication is hard to understand, time will be wasted while the reader seeks further clarification of what you mean. This can lead to decreased production, which inevitably affects your profits.
Well-written communication saves time, and when it comes to external communication, it helps to create a positive image of your business. Poorly written content, on the other hand, can ultimately decrease your bottom line and reflect poorly on your company as a whole.
Business writing skills are also important when trying to create brand awareness. The use of leaflets and brochures, for example, can instantly bring your products and services to your target audience. Nevertheless, unless the content is well written, this can backfire. If the content within these advertising materials contains errors, it is unlikely that your target audience will take you seriously and you could find that you lose business as a result.
How to Improve Your Business Writing Skills
At this point you might be thinking whether it is possible to improve your own business writing skills. Fortunately, there are a number of online writing courses that could help you or one of your staff members to brush up on their own writing skills, which would of course benefit your business.
You could also consider outsourcing your content creation to another company (such as my business site Connotations) where it would be professionally written to get your message across – effectively, clearly, and concisely. It would also be proofread and edited, saving you the job of doing this yourself.
Remember that business writing skills are vital when it comes to improving communications between your internal and external audience.