Three Keys to Better Business Writing

Lauren Krause
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Good writing skills are a great asset for any administrative professional. Whether you're writing reports or taking notes during a meeting, you will need to communicate with people in writing on a regular basis. If business writing is not your strong suit, it is possible to improve with a little practice. Once you understand the basics of grammar and sentence structure, you will be able to use your writing skills to share information and persuade people to take action.

If improving your business writing is at the top of your to-do list, the first thing you should do is learn how to be concise. The people who read your memos, letters, and reports are busy and don't want to read several paragraphs to find one or two important pieces of information. One of the most basic principles of business writing is to put the most important information at the top. Then follow up with additional details so the reader doesn't have to search for the pertinent information. Take the time to review each document before sending it out so you have an opportunity to cut unnecessary words and tighten your writing.

Avoiding jargon and confusing terminology is another basic rule of business writing. If you use a lot of acronyms in your industry, don't assume a reader will understand all of them. Spell the phrase out the first time you use it, and then use the acronym throughout the rest of your document. If a short word gets the point across just as well as a long word, use the short one. If you are writing something for a mixed audience, use short sentences and simple phrases to increase understanding and avoid confusion.

If you use email as your primary method of communication, you should spend time learning the rules of email etiquette. Follow these rules at all times, or you risk offending the recipients of your emails. Instead of using capital letters to emphasize a point, use bold text or italics. Writing in all capital letters is the electronic equivalent of yelling at someone. Address the recipient directly instead of getting right to your message. If you introduce a new topic when responding to a message labeled with a different topic, change the subject line to avoid confusing the recipient. Following this rule of business writing makes it easier for administrative professionals to avoid misunderstandings.

Whether you have been in the administrative field for a few years or several decades, there is always room for improvement when it comes to writing memos, reports, and letters. Avoid communication problems by using short words and sentences, spelling out acronyms, avoiding confusing abbreviations, and learning the rules of email etiquette. Following these business writing tips will help you succeed in any industry.

 

(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)

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