Business Writing Tips

Increased automation in the workplace has led to considerable changes in the way business is conducted. The role of emails and letters has become increasingly important as they have replaced, to a certain extent, face-to-face communication that used to be possible in the past.

Another key challenge facing businesses today is not just about communicating effectively but also standing out from other firms with effective marketing of products or services. In this aspect, having good writing skills can help firms to establish a unique identity and create an image in the minds of consumers.

They will help you enhance your writing skills or simply learn more about it!

You will find tips on writing everything from emails to power points for a variety of business materials. This course will provide you with the skills and know-how to write business materials that reflect your knowledge, professionalism, and creativity.

Should you have a voice?

A successful writer communicates their ideas to the reader. One sentence at a time. The reader will read the words on the page ambivalently, and feel like they are talking to them personally or hearing them speak. So one of your first considerations in essay writing is that you shouldn’t stutter around trying too hard to impress people with jargon that’s not even relevant to their lives.

For example, if you are writing about computers, don’t start with: “Computers are the future. The world is becoming more and more dependent on them every day.”

That’s useless jargon that will make people roll their eyes in boredom instead of reading it. Instead you should say something like :

“The world would be a very different place without computers.”

That’s all there is to it. It takes a bit more effort to get your point across in this way, but the reader will thank you for not patronizing them with useless jargon. It’s like “some people believe that animals have souls” vs “Some people think animals have souls.” The first one is patronizing and boring, while the second one gets right to the point.

Things NOT to do when writing business letters

The main purpose of a business letter is to open up a dialogue between two parties from different sides of the world, so that they can reach an agreement. This manner of communication also ensures that nobody takes offense to the content of the letter. Therefore, writing a business letter can be tricky and it’s important that you do not make any silly or common mistakes.

The following are some things NOT to do when writing a business letter:

Don’t use personalized greetings:   A mistake many people make is that they forget that they are corresponding with a business counterpart and not their friend. A standard greeting like “Dear” followed by the name of the person is good enough. You can personalize it further only when you are on a friendly basis with that person.

Don’t use too many compliments:   If you are writing to someone, then your letter will be equally important to them. So, you can have one or two lines complimenting the other person in your letter. But, remember that compliments will not make any difference to your case so don’t overdo it.

Don’t repeat yourself:   If you are writing a long business letter then it’s fine to repeat things like key points of discussions etc. But never talk about the same thing twice in different paragraphs. It will make you seem repetitive and it will annoy your reader.

Don’t use too many quotes:   When you are writing a letter, it is always better to be direct with your words rather than quoting something irrelevant that may sound good to you but not to the receiver.

Don’t forget to sign off your letter:     A business letter should be signed off in the end with all the necessary details like company name, telephone number etc. Even if you are writing a mail to someone who you have been corresponding through emails then it’s nice to add a short line about being in touch or dropping an email soon after that. It will show that you are a person of your words.

Don’t use formal language all the time:   Using too much literary language when writing business letters can make you sound out as uninteresting and boring to your reader. So, don’t use sentences like “I was very glad to hear that” or “it is my pleasure to report that”, unless you are writing an official letter.

Don’t use long complicated sentences:   Long complex sentence structure can be hard to read and understand even for people who are not native English speakers, so avoid them in your business letters. Instead, focus on using short simple sentences that get the point across nicely.

Don’t go over the top with formality:     A business letter is a formal sort of thing, so you will have to use some level of formality in your letters. But if you are using words that you will not find in any dictionary like “advise”, “estimate” etc., then it’s better to avoid them and stick with short, simple words. After all, your main aim is to explain your point and win people over at the end of the day.

Things to do when writing business letters

The following are some points that you should keep in mind while writing your business letters, so that you don’t go wrong:

  • Use proper spacing between paragraphs:   A well-spaced paragraph will make it very easy for your reader to read your letter. So, use a good number of paragraphs so that you don’t overdo it with the content. Use bullet points wherever necessary:   Whenever there is a list of points in your letter then best thing to do is to break them into bullet points instead of writing everything as one paragraph. Using bullets allows readers to easily scan through the content in order to find what they are looking for. Never miss a chance to ask questions:   Whenever you have a chance to ask your readers questions like “do you agree?” or “is it OK with you that..?”, then go ahead and do so. It will show that you really care about their opinions. Always offer help wherever possible:     If for example you are writing to someone who has purchased your product then it is very important for you to offer them customer service. So, never forget that what goes around comes back, so take care of your customers in the best way possible.
  • The opening is the most important part of your business letter or report because it’s what gets people interested in finishing what you have to say. Your opener should be interesting, relevant and newsworthy! Forget these conventional beginnings: “I am writing to inform you …” This is a waste of words when you could just as easily have said: “Here is the information you asked me for …”
  • When writing your opener, keep it simple and avoid technical language unless you’re absolutely certain that everyone will be able to understand it. Even if they do, it may give them a negative impression of you as someone who is too big for their boots. Instead, try to use simple language and be personal.
  • Too many business writers start by saying what they are going to say instead of just getting on with it. This is a big mistake because if you get straight to the point people won’t want to put your letter down! If you have been asked for something specific, make it clear at the start. If not, a simple statement such as “Here is information about your request” or “I am writing to let you know about …” will do.
  • Use headings to break up your letter into easily-digested sections and make a good impression. People like to see something different and it makes them more likely to want to continue reading. Your headings should be short and memorable so that they give the reader a clear idea of what you are going to say next. It’s much better, for example, than: “The Way we Do Things Around Here!”
  • Make your spelling mistake free by writing in an easy-to-read font such as Arial or Times New Roman. Don’t use italics, underlining or different coloured text because they are annoying and just get in the way. You may also want to consider using bullets (·) or asterisks (*) for lists, which look neater than words with spaces between them.
  • Use a spell checker to make sure there are no spelling mistakes in your letter. Many people don’t care if their business documents are perfectly written because they believe that looking unprofessional can get them more customers! But the truth is that being seen as someone who doesn’t take time over their work will lose you respect and lower your reputation. Check your spelling and grammar several times before you send out any of your business documents to make sure they are mistake free.
  • There are some words that can easily be replaced by shorter ones, such as “that” or “which”. If you have a choice between using full stops/question marks (e.g., “?”) or commas (e.g., “,”), it’s a good idea to use the comma because you don’t want to read a whole long sentence which ends in one!
  • If you are using more than one font, keep them different enough so that they stand out. The most important thing is that everything is clearly readable but don’t go overboard!
  • Write everything in lower case letters because it is easier on the eye than capitalised letters and looks much neater as well. If you want to emphasise something, italicise or bold it instead of writing it in capitals. You wouldn’t write “I live in a small town”, would you?
  • Keep your sentences short and to the point because longer ones can be off-putting and difficult to read. If you need to use long words, don’t make them all upper case or bolded so that they stand out; if you do that, people will think it is just a game to see how many big words you can use!
  • Make sure your letter is the right length for the occasion. Sounds obvious, I know – but too many people send out long letters or include loads of unnecessary information, and it’s just a waste of time. You don’t want to make work for yourself by writing a longer letter than you need to, and you don’t want to lose someone’s attention by sending them something that is too short.
  • Don’t use jargon or technical terms that the majority of your readers would not understand because it just creates confusion – especially if they are trying to look for information about their requirements.
  • Avoid using abbreviations or acronyms unless you are absolutely sure that everyone knows what they stand for – and if they do, make it clear at the start of your letter. And don’t forget to spell them out at least once!
  • Keep a copy of everything you send out so that you can keep track of what has been done and see if there are any mistakes or things you want to add.
  • If necessary, ask for people’s feedback so that you can improve your work in future – it will just take a little time out of their day!
  • Finally, be sure to make the letter layout as attractive as possible so that people are more likely to read it and find an answer to their questions.

Don’t feel daunted by writing a letter – there is no reason why anyone should have to send one out because it has not been proofread for mistakes or rubbish spelling. TIP: If you use a spell checker, only do so on the final version of your letter – it slows down your computer and can often identify words that are correct or inappropriate!

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