Six steps to improve your business writing skills

Proper writing and clear communication are important for people working in any organisation. Improving your business writing skills will benefit you and your coworkers, and help everyone communicate more effectively.

Accuracy, getting to your point, writing as you speak, knowing your weaknesses, and clarity are all important to improving your business writing skills.

Here are my top six tips:

1 Be organised and accurate

Before you worry about editing, polishing, or correcting word choice, it’s important to make sure you’ve got the facts correct and well organized. Rewording a sentence doesn’t help if the statistics you’re providing are inaccurate. Know who your audience is so you can make your writing understandable to them. Know what your point is before you begin writing.

Make an outline that includes the major categories of information you’re focusing on. Write in a sequence that is logical. Think about your reader, what topics or concepts do they need explained before others? 

2 Get to your point

Get to your main point right away. People are busy, so don’t waste their time with unnecessary padding. You’ll make a bigger impact and get your point across more effectively if you simply state it right away. Then you can go into it further and explain it. Learn how to summarise well, and try to keep your message to 150 words.

If you start out poorly by burying your point, your communication will suffer greatly.

3 Write in your normal voice

A lot of people fall into the trap of thinking they need to write in a very formal or stuffy way. You can write professionally and still write in your normal voice. Just write as if you were speaking to a coworker or your boss in a professional manner. There’s no need to try to seem smart.

Don’t use words you wouldn’t use when you talk, just let the reader know what they need to know. Writing the way you speak is also useful for making you appear trustworthy, which will help build relationships and increase compliance when your writing includes instructions.

 4 Determine your weaknesses and strengths

In order to improve, it’s necessary to find out where your weaknesses lie. This is why constructive criticism is important when it comes to business writing. Try and find your weak points by separating the information you’re conveying from the words you use to write it. Is your problem bad information or your writing skills? Look at some of your past writing and analyse it critically. Does it provide the information the reader requires? How is the flow? Are ideas grouped logically? You’ll also want to take a look at your syntax, which is the way you use your words.

Have a friend or coworker go over your writing and give you feedback. Or consider enrolling in a business writing course.

5 Clear communication

Clarity is important for business writing, which is all too often bloated with unnecessary information and jargon. Make clear and concise writing your goal. Your document is finished, not when you can’t add any more words, but when there are no more you can edit out.

Un-smother your verbs. A smothered verb is one that is buried in a group of unnecessary words. For example ‘suspect’ vs. ‘have a suspicion.’ You can also improve clarity by minimising your use of adverbs. Instead, use powerful verbs that don’t need an adverb to modify them.

6 Improve your writing and grammar skills online

Before you can focus on improving your business writing skills, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got a good handle on basic writing, grammar,  and editing. These are lots of good online resources that can help

 Proper business writing makes communication a lot more effective. It begins with ensuring your information is accurate and well organised.

Getting to your point quickly, writing in your voice, finding your weaknesses, and clear communication are also important to improving your business writing.