When it comes to corporate English writing, there are certain rules that you need to follow. Whether you are fresh out of college or you just landed your first job, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of business writing. Otherwise, you run the risk of sending emails that go unnoticed, memos that do not contain clear directives, and reports that don’t put forward your points clearly. Apart from that, bad writing tends to make you sound unprofessional.
To avoid these, here is a brief cheat sheet to make sure that your business correspondence presents your message the way you intend it to:
- Know who you are writing to. Before you even begin typing words on your laptop, you need to be aware of who you are sending it to. It sounds like an unnecessary reminder, but this is something that a lot of employees gloss over. As a result, they unwittingly make the impression of being rude.
Whether you are requesting a sick leave from your boss, proposing an idea to a client, or you simply have to relay a message to a colleague, you want to address your recipient/s properly and with due respect. To do that, it pays to know their position in your workplace or the influence they have over the company. If you are sending an email to somebody in your rank, you may get away with a less formal style. However, if you are addressing the CEO of the company you are working at, you might want to take a more formal and dignified approach.
- Be concise and direct. Back in the day, the use of flowery language is the rule rather than the exception. Letters took weeks or months to get delivered, so there was a need to write everything in great detail. But now, thanks to technology’s advancement, sending messages are done in an instant. Information is also readily available and accessible by anyone, so it is not necessary to lay down ideas profusely.
Remember: It does a reader no good to peruse a two-page document when important points can be made in just a few sentences. It is a waste of their time.
- Don’t overuse visual aids. In relation to #2, don’t make the mistake of going overboard with unnecessary elements. Yes, it’s understandable that you want your recipient/s to read through your letter and make sense of it, but it doesn’t mean you need to bombard them with graphs, charts, and tables. If you are just sending your boss an email regarding your request to work from home, then including such visual aids might be an overkill.
- Avoid jokes and sarcasms. When you engage in a water cooler conversation with a colleague, it’s okay to say a sarcastic comment or two for a good laugh. When you are presenting a business proposal to your superiors, it might be fine to mention a hilarious joke just to break the initial ice. After all, most people understand and recognize humor once they hear it. This is hardly true in writing.
Unlike verbal exchanges, written communication does not always deliver your funny remarks the way your mind does. This only leads to your recipient/s misinterpreting your messages and regarding them offensive or uncalled for.
- Capitalize and punctuate. These are basic business language skills you should not take lightly. Use uppercase and lowercase correctly. Following the standards in capitalization helps make sure that you are conveying the right information to your readers. Do not neglect punctuations, too. They are there to separate your ideas and let your recipient/s absorb and get a clearer picture of them.
- Be wary of your tone. In face-to-face communication, this is called ‘reading the room.’ Being able to pick up cues and know the general mood is crucial in writing. Again, the last thing you want is to become insensitive towards your reader’s feelings.
Let’s say you are trying to resolve a complaint via email. You want the complainant to feel that you empathize with them and that you are doing your best to help. Surely, you wouldn’t be too cheerful in writing as it would make it seem like you are not taking the issue at hand seriously. Similarly, you also wouldn’t be overly sympathetic. You must give the impression that you are capable of lending your hand at a professional capacity.
- Pay attention to format. It may not be as important as the content of your writing, but it does affect how readers comprehend an entire document. Use fonts and font sizes that do not strain the eyes of your readers and employ headlines that section your ideas into intelligible paragraphs.
- Proofread and revise. Don’t hit ‘send’ right away. Sure, it’s not a requirement to go over what you just wrote at least once, but it’s not wise to be careless about it either. For one, typographical or grammatical mistakes not only make you sound lazy, but they can also lead readers astray.
While you are at it, try to remove those that were written on the spur of the moment. When your emotions are in high gear, they cloud your judgment and force you to say things that you would normally avoid when you are calm and composed. Put your best foot forward. If you’re quite uncertain about it, consider having someone double-check it for you.
These are just some of the basic tenets of English for business communication. There is a lot more to learn to really develop your business language skills and become a pro at them. From the nuances of corporate terms to the nooks and crannies of writing, you have got a long way to go.
That said, you can still take advantage of this English corporate training program offered by Preply Enterprise! The platform is dedicated to improving your business communication skills through 1-on-1 lessons that are tailored to suit individual needs. What’s more, they carefully select tutors deemed experts on the subject matter to ensure quality instruction. Lastly, employees can do it anytime, anywhere!
If your team is ready for this English communication skills training, feel free to visit their site!