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5 Tips for Better Business Writing

https://shelbyhedges.com/2019/10/08/5-tips-for-better-business-writing/

shelbyhedges.com

5 Tips for Better Business Writing
You don't need to have an English degree to be a good writer. Go back to basics and forget what you think you know, with my 5 top tips for better business writing. Write how you speak Stop using words you wouldn't naturally say aloud. You 'use' things, not 'utilise' them.

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Tips for Better Business Writing

You can be a good business writer, just by following these five tips:

1. Write as you speak.

2. Read it aloud.

3. Ditch the Jargon.

4. Ignore the English Teacher.

5. Put your main points first.

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Write how you Speak

Writing simply, and in an alive tone, using everyday words is more forthcoming and refreshing, than using unnatural sounding words. 

Write like a human.

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Read it Aloud

If you read your written text aloud, you will realize where it can be worded better, or where to add or remove a comma. You can also let someone else read it.

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Ditch the Jargon

Jargon can be minimized, and complicated words are sometimes unclear to the reader.

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Ignore your Teacher

It's good to be creative and free in your writing, instead of just following old rules.

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Put your Main Points First

Simply put the main points first, instead of burying it inside the text or email, as many readers don't have the attention span or bandwidth to read everything closely.

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... for establishing what and how you will write:

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The first draft

The first words you write are the first draft. Writing is thinking. You'll rarely know what exactly you want to say when you start writing.

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Common errors

Most writing mistakes are widespread, but good writers just get better at spotting them. Some things you'll learn to watch for are:

  • Overuse of jargon and business-speak, like "utilize" or "endeavor" instead of "use" or "try."
  • Clichés are stale phrases that have lost their impact and novelty through overuse. If you are used to seeing it in print, don't use it.
  • The passive voice. The subject of the sentence should be the person or thing taking action, not the thing being acted on. "Harry wrote this article," is better than "This article was written by Harry."
  • Rambling. When you are not sure what you want to say, it is easy to phrase it in three or four different ways. A single concise sentence is generally better.

Give it some space

When you write something, you get very close to it. It is nearly impossible to distance yourself from it straight away to edit properly.

The longer you can leave a draft before editing, the better. Half an hour to two days is enough of a break to edit well. When you do edit, read your work out loud. You'll catch more problems and get a better feel for how everything flows.

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Accessible Language

  • Use of caps lock, emojis, italics and tildes (~) to make your language flowery, fun and human is a great idea for remote working. You can also use memes and gif images, provided they are not offensive to anyone.
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Be Clear And Concise

  • Do not obscure your message by words that are there to decorate the sentence and make it sound wordy while camouflaging what you mean.
  • Make good use of qualifiers ("I think, In my opinion") while not coming across as a perpetually confused person. Don’t use qualifiers while making a strong point.
  • While writing documentation, it is prudent to avoid jargon and acronyms.
  • Use complete words and sentences. Shortcuts and acronyms block any actual communication, acting as roadblocks. On the same lines, avoid cliches, idioms and any idiotic sounding phrase that catches the ear well but doesn’t really do any good to anyone.
  • Remote working is often on a global scale, and certain expressions will not be understood by some participants, or worse, will be misunderstood.
  • Your words and tone should be tailored according to your audience. The words are different when you are writing to a client, and when you are in a small group chat with your peers. More people in chat also means adopting a polished, professional tone.