Businesses spend over $3 billion every year on training their staff to write better. Effective writing skills are important but a few simple tips can improve your writing without spending a lot of money.
Let’s look at 5 easy tips for improving your business writing.
1. Write in the Active Voice
Writing can be in one of two voices:
Writing in the active voice gives your words more punch. For example, instead of writing “The meeting was attended by 15 people” you should write “15 people attended the meeting”.
The first example is in the passive voice, where the action is happening to the people. The second is in the active voice, where the people are taking action.
2. Avoid the Word “That”
In most cases, you can leave the word “that” out of a sentence without affecting the meaning. This helps tighten up your writing by getting your point across in as few words as possible.
For example, take the sentence “You can see that this sentence makes perfect sense.” If you rewrite it as “You can see this sentence makes perfect sense” without the word “that”, it’s still just as clear.
3. Keep Sentences and Paragraphs Short
Effective business writing uses just enough words to get your point across without a lot of fluff. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to make your writing more flowery but your readers aren’t reading to be entertained, they’re reading to learn something.
Keep your sentences as short as possible and limit your paragraphs to two or three sentences. Some paragraphs can even be a single sentence. This creates more white space on the page and makes your writing easier to skim.
The format of a letter is important in some cases but that doesn’t mean you can’t lay it out for maximum readability.
4. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Your first draft should never be the final draft. Getting your thoughts down on the page is important but once the key ideas are there, go back and proofread your work.
Look at every word on the page and think about whether deleting it would change the meaning of what you wrote. If removing a word won’t change the message, it’s probably unnecessary.
Constant Contact has you covered with the tools and expertise you need to get started. Check out their free trial today!
5. Avoid Jargon and Acronyms
Most industries have jargon and acronyms that people outside of that market likely wouldn’t understand. There will always be new people in the industry though, and they won’t always know the jargon either.
Avoid using buzzwords and acronyms whenever possible. If you feel the need to use them, make sure you explain what the words mean or what the acronyms stand for early in the document. That way, your readers will know what you mean as they read the rest of your work.
Plain Language Makes the Best Business Writing
Many people think business writing needs to sound “professional” or “corporate” but the most effective writing uses plain language. Aim for a reading level somewhere between grades 6 and 9 for the best results.
Written communication skills are as much about what you don’t say as what you do. Learn how to get your point across as succinctly as possible and your readers will thank you for it.
Was this article helpful? Check out the rest of our site for more interesting posts like this one.