People use the term “Business Writing.” Is there really such a thing? Isn’t it just writing?
Yes, there is such a thing as “Business Writing.” Certainly, it’s different from Academic Writing (what we learned in school). In fact, Academic Writing isn’t very welcome in the business world. Long, cascading sentences are difficult to read and require extra time and attention to understand. High-level vocabulary slows communication also.
Sometimes, writing e-mails, reports, and other documents can cause great difficulty. It’s a terrific challenge to communicate clearly and efficiently with others.
Does your writing cause confusion? Do the words you choose mislead your readers? Does your writing cause people to say, “What?” instead of, “I understand”?
In today’s competitive business environment, it’s vital to write and speak in a way that shows others that you are organized, clear and concise. Other benefits or being clear and concise include: a greater level of productivity, increased job satisfaction, potential for advancement, and more internal and external customer satisfaction.
Some experts estimate that the US economy wastes $75 billion annually because of poor English speaking skills. Others say that80 percent of corporate waste can be tied directly to ineffective communications. In written and spoken communications, the goal is to reduce waste and contribute to making a more positive workplace.
Poor communication at work causes: absenteeism, turnover, conflict, tension, low productivity, complaints, wasted time, and low morale. Proper communication positively impacts every part of the organization: leadership, sales, external customer service, and the day-to-day interactions of all internal customers. By addressing and resolving communication problems now, you and your business are moving toward building a more pleasant workplace environment and saving money at the same time.
Correct (or incorrect) writing has a significant impact on you and your reader. Consider these statements:
- Good writing means credibility and shows respect for the audience.
- People judge you if you (don’t) know how to use the English language correctly (among many other things).Leaders in business who know how to write well pay attention to sloppy mistakes.
- People who make fewer mistakes in writing usually perform better on other tasks.
Being an Effective Business Writer means that you are empowered to:
- Gain greater awareness of your audience and how to communicate ideas more effectively;
- Organize your writing, following guidelines for correct sentence structure, writing style, and agreement;
- Know and apply the rules of punctuation, spelling, and mechanics; and
- Edit your own writing with confidence.
CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE BUSINESS WRITING
- Is organized, clear and to the point (definite purpose).
- Uses familiar language.
- Has short and understandable sentences (≤ 20 words) and paragraphs (3-6 sentences).
- Respects audience’s wants.
- Supports claim with details / reasons.
- Employs correct spelling, mechanics, and punctuation.
- Follows standard English grammar and usage.
“Brevity is the soul of wit.”
From Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 1602