The ability to write well is among the most valuable assets of the professional skill set; poor writing undermines the perception of one’s professional abilities. Skilled writing is in high demand in the business world, where content marketing and social media updates require Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs, small business owners and corporate marketing teams to author newsletters, blogs, scripts for videos, white papers, Facebook posts and press releases.
Some of us hate to write and we’re intimidated by the prospect. From time to time, even good writers struggle to express their thoughts. Here are business writing tips that will help you to communicate your expertise to clients, prospects, hiring managers, peers, or potential business partners.
What would you like your written communication to achieve? Must you write a business proposal, thank you letter, follow-up email that confirms agreed-upon actions that were discussed in a meeting, a social media post, or a message in a greeting card?
To get started, it’s helpful to write a list of what you’d like to say, in no particular order. Don’t worry about vocabulary or even grammar while you’re brainstorming. Grab paper and pencil and capture whatever information is necessary to convey your intentions and save the editing for later.
Concise, complete and organized
Prioritize your subject matter and lead with what is most important and time-sensitive. Write a first draft and do your best to express your information clearly and concisely. If your communication is business related, you may choose to highlight the most noteworthy information in bullet points, so that the reader’s eye is drawn quickly to what is most important.
Business writing is all about action and you will convey your command of the subject or events that transpired when you write in the active voice. Written communications that are expressed in the active voice portray the subject as directly performing the action. Information conveyed in the passive voice portrays the subject being acted upon; that is, the subject receives the action expressed by the verb in the passive voice sentence. Writing in the active voice will present your message more clearly to readers and keep your sentences concise, since fewer words are required to express action in the active voice.
Spelling and punctuation
Run the spelling and grammar check that is on your software. Keep in mind that the system is not infallible and look it over yourself to confirm.
Review and edit your writing and create subsequent drafts as you move toward the final version of the document. If time allows, conduct yet another review and edit process anywhere from a few hours to a day or two after you’ve produced what you believe is the final copy. Allowing your writing to “rest” will improve your perspective and sharpen your editing prowess.
Thanks for reading,
Kim L. Clark is an external consultant who provides strategy and marketing solutions to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Kim is the founder and principal of Polished Professionals Boston and she teaches business plan writing to aspiring entrepreneurs. Visit polishedprofessionalsboston.com for more information.