Learning how to communicate effectively through writing is an essential skill for anyone looking to progress in today’s competitive business environment.
The words you write tell a lot about yourself to your colleagues, suppliers and customers.
Your words convey your knowledge and education, your skills and creativity. On a deeper level they convey your beliefs and personality too.
Some tips for better Business Writing
1. If you write positively you have the ability to motivate and influence others. Avoid using negative words.
‘Don’t forget to post that letter for me’ can be improved by writing ‘please remember to post that letter for me’.
- Avoid using a lot of jargon, clichés and slang, as you are likely to confuse your audience.
Knowing your audience is of particular importance when it comes to using jargon and/or industry abbreviations.
If for example you were selling solar heating systems to someone less technical than yourself or perhaps someone investing your type of products for the first time, then you would be wise to use simply everyday language when describing your product.
The following would be an example of what not to write
“Our AST unit is useful for heating pools that are larger than 40000 cubic liters and saves approximately 5000 kilowatts per year.”
This could be better stated as
“For a pool your size we recommend using our Advanced Solar Technology unit. This will save you approximately $750 per year in heating bills.”
3. Always ensure you write in a non-discriminatory way.
You should avoid describing people using stereotypes. A stereotype is when you assign qualities to a group of people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality etc.
An example would be to say, “that group XYZ is always slowing in paying their accounts”.
This type of generalization is discriminatory as it ignores that there can be diversity within that group and should therefore be avoided.
Also avoid using words that highlight people’s disabilities or social positions. For example instead of writing ‘poor families’ rather use ‘lower income families’. Describing some with a handicap as someone with ‘special needs’ is better and less insensitive than to perhaps call describe them as someone with some sort of ‘mental disability’.
Tune in again for more important business writing tips or consider joining one of our monthly Business writing classes that we offer in Chicago and Los Angeles.