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Effective Business Writing: Top Principles and Techniques

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❶Porter Gale, author of Your Network is Your Net Worth , in a Forbes interview , revealed that much of her success can be attributed to relationships she made throughout the years.

1. Less is more.

Effective Business Writing: The Basics, Top Tips and Trusted Techniques
2. Avoid jargon.

Formal language is fine for legal documents and job applications, but like jargon often becomes invisible, obscuring rather than revealing its meaning. For example, who is this memo relevant to, what should they know, when and where will it apply, why is it important, and how should they use this information? The content of documents that are simply informative are rarely retained very well. Most business communication is meant to achieve some purpose, so make sure they include a call to action — something that the reader is expected to do.

Even better, something the reader should do right now. At most, give two options and ask them to pick one. A cornerstone of effective writing is describing benefits, not features. Why should a reader care? For example, nobody cares that Windows 7 can run in bit mode — what they care about is that it can handle more memory and thus run faster than the bit operating system.

Not a writing tip per se , I know, but good advice nonetheless. Depending on your needs, you can farm work out as needed or move a freelancer into a cubicle on-site, or work out whatever other arrangements best fit your needs.

These rates are for writers in US metro areas — rates may differ in other parts of the world. Great writing may require a talent that few of us have, but effective writing is a learnable skill. If your writing does pass muster, how about leaving a tip or two in the comments below? Career Resilence Coach who is passionate about thriving and growing in a complex world Read full profile.

The one constant thing in our life is change. We cannot avoid it and the more we resist change the tougher our life becomes. Trust me, I know this because I was very skilled at deflecting change in my life.

We are surrounded by change and it is the one thing that has the most dramatic impact on our lives. Change has the ability to catch up with you at some point in your life. There is no avoiding it because it will find you, challenge you, and force you to reconsider how you live your life.

Change can come into our lives as a result of a crisis, as a result of choice or by chance. In either situation we are all faced with having to make a choice — do we make the change or not?

I believe it is always better to make changes in your life when you choose to rather than being forced to. We however cannot avoid the unexpected events crisis in our lives because it is these events that challenge our complacency in life.

What we can control when we are experiencing these challenging events, is how we choose to respond to them. It is our power of choice that enables us to activate positive change in our lives. Acting on our power of choice provides us with more opportunity to change our lives for the better. The more opportunities we create to change our lives the more fulfilled and happier our lives become.

Your meaning in life gives you purpose and sets the direction of how you want to live your life. Without meaning you will spend the rest of your life wandering through life aimlessly with no direction, focus, or purpose. When we were children we would daydream all the time. We were skilled at dreaming and visualizing what we would be when we grew up. We believed that anything was possible. As we grew into adults, we lost our ability to dream.

Our dreams became hidden and once we started to feel like achieving our dreams was impossible. A dream board is a great way for us to start believing in your own dreams again. Seeing our dreams every day on a dream board brings our dreams to life. Our dreams become real and we start to have believe in the possibility of achieving these dreams.

Once you know what is important in your life and what your dream life looks like for you, you need to take action and set your long-term, medium, and short-term goals. It is acting on these goals that enable you to achieve your dreams. Remember your goals may change. Always be flexible with setting and achieving your goals as things in life change and your goals need to reflect these changes.

Regrets will only hold you back in life. Regrets are events of the past and if you spend all your time thinking about the past you will miss the present and the future. You cannot change what you did or did not do in the past, so let it go.

The only thing you have control over now is how you choose to live your present and future life. I had a heap of regrets that were holding me back in my life. On each balloon write a regret and then let the balloon go. As the balloon drifts off into the sky say goodbye to that regret forever. This is all about you choosing to step out of your comfort zone. Public speaking is one of the most frightening things anyone can do.

I was petrified of public speaking, however, I knew that I wanted to be a motivational speaker. So I joined Toast Masters to overcome my fear of public speaking. But I did it and the feeling of completing this speech, even though it was terrible was great.

I chose to keep going and now I earn a living as a motivational speaker. I am still nervous when I get up to speak however it is an excited nervous and I love it. Make a list of scary things that you would kind of like to do but are too afraid to. Put a plan in place and then go do them. Never stop doing scary things because if you do your life will become one of complacency and comfort.

Drafting gives us a sometimes false sense of accomplishment. And, drafting is easier than planning. If you are an analytical thinker, which many business writers are, this is natural for you, but accept that sometimes it makes your brain hurt as your mind has to figure out all the interconnections.

Concept Maps are Essential for Business Writers Mapping the structure of a complex document will make both planning and drafting much easier. Develop Headings When you plan your documents, write a heading for each main section of your document.

The first sentence is often the hardest sentence to write. Instead, look at your document headings and write the section that is easiest or most interesting for you. Once you begin writing, the interconnectivity of thoughts will ignite, and the rest of the document will be easier to write. To maximize your efficiency, refer to the map or outline you created, decide which section you can tackle in the time you have and start drafting.

Having a map and headings will prevent you from having to re-engage your thinking all over again each time you exit and enter the document. When you get stuck, back up! Hire a Coach Hire a business writing coach and receive personalized feedback. One-on-one sessions will help you gain confidence in your writing. Paragraphs Seven Lines or Less Online.

Any longer than that and readability studies show that your readers just see a big block of text and jump over it. Instead, write out the actual words - his or her. Headings Will Allow Your Readers to Scan Easily Using headings in email to highlight the organization will allow readers to scan the email more efficiently. Use Format to Indicate Hierarchy Indent paragraphs to visually indicate it is a subset of the information above.

Write to Express, Not to Impress In business writing, your goal is to easily transmit ideas and information, not to flaunt a big vocabulary. Blaise Pasqual stated, "I apologize for the length of my letter. I did not have time to make it shorter. In his book, The Miracle of Language , Lederer sings the praises of the short word: When you speak and write, there is no law that says you have to use big words.

Short words are as good as long ones, and short, old words— like sun and grass and home—are best of all. A lot of small words, more than you might think, can meet your needs with a strength, grace, and charm that large words do not have.

Two tips on clarity I always highlight in business writing courses: A break in varied syllable length has the same effect on reading a document that staccato notes have when listening to music. The short, staccato words subconsciously alert your reader that something has shifted, causing them to pay more attention.

The famous strong verb example by Julius Caesar: I was in attendance, and I conducted a review of the situation and culture, and I made recommendations for acquisition. Business writers tend to muddle verbs because imprecise verb use is so common in business writing that it sounds normal to our ears.

For example, the verb decide is nominalized into the noun decision. These nominalized verbs require helping words around them that smother their impact, muddle the clarity of a sentence, and increase sentence length. None of the smothering words have any value. Unsmothering verbs is a very powerful clarity technique.

If take is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. If give is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered.

Let me give consideration to your muddled writing. Let me consider your muddled writing. If have is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. I have a suspicion some of your verbs are smothered. I suspect some of your verbs are smothered. If make is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. We promise to make an adjustment to your account by tomorrow. We promise to adjust your account by tomorrow.

If conduct is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. Two smothered verbs corrected. If come is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is smothered. We came to the conclusion that prices had to increase. We concluded that prices had to increase. If -ion or -ment is next to a verb or nominalized verb phrase, it is likely smothered. Are we i n agreement that clarity matters? Do we agree that clarity matters? Extend an invitation to Karen and Sunita.

Invite Karen and Sunita. Avoid Wimpy Verbs Avoid wimpy verbs that need a helping word to enable the verb to do its job in the sentence. Avoid Redundancy Avoid redundant verb modifiers. Damian shouted loudly at Clarrisa after she missed the deadline.

Damian shouted at Clarrisa after she missed the deadline. Shouting, by definition, is loud, so no modifier is needed. Don't Start Sentences with "There is" or "There are. Find the real subject and start there. There was a strong disagreement between the divisions about the reorganization structure.

The two sides strongly disagreed about the reorganization structure. Active Voice is Better than Passive Voice Active voice is more dynamic and lively than passive voice, typically. Use Reader-Focused Wording To increase reader engagement, shift appropriately from writer-focused wording to reader-focused writing.

An entire document written with reader-focus wording can feel smarmy or too much like a marketing pitch. We have decided to upgrade the features of our training course. You will automatically receive updated features in your training course. Everything we write at work has a larger echo. This echo is both a worry and an opportunity to advance your career. For example, you may have to deny a funding request to present research at a conference, but the larger echo requirement is maintaining the drive to innovate and research at your company.

Don't win a battle and lose the war. How to Dodge Awkward His or Her Dilemma To dodge the awkward his or her dilemma, shift the subject to plural when possible: A manager is trained to support his or her employees. Managers are trained to support their employees. As noted on page four of the instruction booklet, photocopying on both sides requires two steps.

Equal Respect Matters Use consistency naming people. Do you hear the difference in confident tone? The second statement sounds much less out-of-breath or desperate to please and more confident and competent. It is calmer and assuring. A structured course can help you develop effective business writing techniques. When I studied rhetoric in graduate school, my favorite professor shared this funny statement about using too many exclamation points in general.


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Business Writing is a type of written communication, usually with standard structure and style. According to the Capella University, it addresses the needs of specific audiences and has prose and lists for a particular topic that concerns business.

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Effective business writing skills can help you win that million dollar contract, earn a promotion, resolve a dispute, or generate a significant increase in new business leads. Poor business writing, on the other hand, can never be undone; it can cause you to lose business to your competition and could even cost you your job.

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If your business writing isn’t up to snuff, follow the tips above and see if you can’t improve it. If your writing does pass muster, how about leaving a tip or two in the comments below? Share. “Even if I knew good business writing from the get-go, I think continually improving your writing and taking it to the next level is absolutely .

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I'm excited to share these top 87 business writing tips with you. They were honed while I studied English Literature and Rhetoric, taught writing at the university level, and worked with thousands of individuals and hundreds of companies to . In this webinar, we reveal the basics to effective business writing and the top tips, tricks, key steps and trusted techniques to drive online success.