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16 August, 2016 in Writing Prompts
How To Improve Your Business Writing Skills?
Writing skills are critical for any employee since you will surely have to communicate with someone via the email at least once in a lifetime. The email that you write is a kind of your portrait for your recipient – upon reading, he/she gets a particular impression of you as a person and paints a picture of you in his/her mind. Therefore, you should try as hard as possible to improve your writing skills.
I would really recommend you to read the book by Bryan A. Garner, which is called HBR Guide to Better Business Writing. It will be of great help for you to acquire effective writing skills. So, here are the main points of the book:
1. Know the main writing aim
Before writing, think about the purpose, the target audience, and the result you aim to achieve. Be convincing in presenting your ideas. However, do not put much pressure on the reader. If you need to write to the company partners, you should be clear and consistent in presenting the main points of your email. You may turn to draft writing to ensure that you have some time later to return to the email and proofread it.
2. Know the target audience
The style of writing, vocabulary, and the tone in general are directly connected to your target audience. The email should be clear and understandable for the reader. If your recipient uses a dictionary to find the meaning of some words you have used in the email, then you have definitely failed in mastering your business writing skills.
3. Do not spend much time on draft writing
A draft should not be as perfect as the final version of your writing. Therefore, it’s OK to do it quickly, just jot down some main points and develop the ideas later.
4. Proofread and edit
Garner provides a list of questions you have to ask yourself while proofreading. In particular, was the information reliable and true? Are there any missing details? Have you presented the ideas clearly?
5. Prove and support everything you say
Do not be biased in writing and never jump to hasty conclusions. Whenever you are going to write some statement, make sure you can support it and prove your point.
6. Do not write wordy sentences
Make sure you avoid repetitions, delete unnecessary prepositions, namely “of.” Besides, change phrasal verbs with appropriate one-word equivalents. Do not use colloquial phrases either.
7. Fight clichéd and high-brow writing
Do not aim at sounding fancy. Still think that sophisticated vocabulary will make a good impression of you? No, professional business writing skills aren’t about that. Try to avoid flowery speech. Make sure that the message of your writing is understood from the first time.
8. Find a balance
Do not try to sound too formal or too informal. Both of these options aren’t advisable. Pay attention to the length of the sentences, the vocabulary you choose, etc. Besides, do not use irony, sarcasm or humor. You are not talking with a person face-to-face, and therefore you might be wrongly understood.