Effective business writing is rarely taught in school.
And yet, if you wish to advance your career, it’s one of the most useful skills you can acquire.
There are scores of things people get wrong when they write business documents. Here are five mistakes, in particular, you never want to make:
Failing to think about your readers
Two of the most basic rules of good writing are firstly, ‘identify your readers’ and secondly, ‘understand what makes them tick.’
Once you have this information, it becomes much easier to create effective business documents that connect with your audience.
Every time you start work on a new document, try to understand as much as you can about your audience. Then adapt your words to reflect their concerns, their interests and their priorities.
Using unnecessarily complicated language
When you’re drafting an important business document it’s only natural that you want it to sound important. As a result you may be tempted to use lots of long words and grand-sounding phrases.
But ask any professional writer and they’ll tell you that’s exactly the wrong approach.
Complicated language of any kind makes documents harder to follow and tends to drive readers away. If you want to hold your reader’s attention, always express yourself in simple, jargon-free language.
Not coming straight to the point
Modern readers are notoriously impatient and won’t take kindly to long, rambling introductions. This holds true for all kinds of documents including emails, letters, reports, proposals and business cases.
Resist the urge to begin a document with a long passage of scene setting or historical background. Instead use your opening paragraph to clarify what you’re writing about and try to give people a strong incentive to read on.
The most effective documents tend to be those that focus on one topic or idea, rather than several. Before you start to write a document be sure you understand where its main focus lies, then try to confine yourself to that single issue.
This principle also works for sentences. Limit yourself to one idea per sentence. Do this and your readers will find it much easier to follow what you’re saying.
Relying too heavily on abstractions
Many business writers tend to overuse abstract nouns. These are words like: implementation, integration, participation, consultation, facilitation, assessment, sustainability.
Lots of words like these, closely packed together, can squeeze the life out of your text, so keep them to a minimum and try to ration yourself to just one or two per sentence.
At Strawberry Training we run a significant number of business writing courses. Each one can be closely tailored to your needs.
Enrol in any of these and you’ll learn lots of tips for improving your writing. Among other things we’ll give you some simple tools to help you avoid making any of these five mistakes.
To learn more about our business writing courses, or to make a booking, call us on: 020 8773 4718.
Or email: email@example.com