Memos to the boss, proposals for clients, and a near-constant flow of emails to colleagues—writing is something that almost all of us do on the job on a daily basis. But how do you ensure your writing is as effective and clear as possible? Is there a way of making your communications stand out?
While overworked managers may consider improving their writing skills a tedious, pointless exercise, there’s a reason why blue-chip businesses are spending billions of dollars on remedial writing training. In the modern workplace, where employees are required to write reports, send daily emails to important clients, and present at meetings, can you really afford to have poor writing skills?
If business writing skills are not your strong suit, there’s no need to worry. Fortunately, it’s not a skill that you have to be born with. It’s one that can be cultivated with a little work and practice.
The following are three simple ways to improve your business writing skills.
Avoid $10 Words and Unnecessary Jargon
Business writing is inundated with industry-specific acronyms and buzzwords. While these terms can sometimes help as shorthand, and are even unavoidable in some cases, they’re mostly unnecessary and indicate cluttered or lazy thinking.
Put in a few too many, and your reader will be naturally inclined to think that you’re either on autopilot or not understanding what you’re saying at all—which is even worse.
Using grandiose words is another thing you should look to avoid. Trust us, using a big, fancy word where a simple one would suffice is not a sign of intellect or intelligence.
Read What You’ve Written
After you’re done writing your email, proposal, or presentation, take a look at it from the reader’s perspective. Are the sentences concise and straight-forward? Is your point well-structured and clear? If you’re not sure, read it out in front of a colleague or friend, and ask their opinion. Remember, editing isn’t an act of aggression, it’s one of friendship.
Practice Makes Perfect
Just like speaking, writing is a skill that improves with practice. If you’re looking for a place to start, reading well-written content every day, and paying attention to the flow, style, sentence structure, and word choice is a good one. If you’re looking for a business style writing guide, The Wall Street Journal is a good one.
The next step is writing for practice. Now, make sure you’re leaving space in your schedule for revising and editing. Writing and editing your own work is where you’ll improve.
Panther Editing offers professional editing and proofreading services for all types of businesses at affordable rates. In addition to business editing, we also offer resume writing and academic editing services. Get in touch with us to learn more.