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13 Tips for Improving Your Business Writing Skills

Strong writing skills are necessary for any business professional, regardless of industry or job role. From crafting persuasive emails to creating engaging sales decks and reports, communicating clearly via the written word is essential for success in the workplace. Here are tips for improving your business writing skills.

1. Define Your Purpose

Whether attempting to solve a problem, promote a product or idea, or establish a relationship with your readers, understanding your purpose is key to achieving your writing goals. It’s also essential to consider how your topic relates to your business’s goals, values, or unique selling proposition. By setting a clear intention for your writing, you can organize your thoughts in a cohesive, focused manner, ensuring your message remains on track and delivers the results you’re hoping for.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing the type of people who will read your work can help tailor the language and content to resonate with them. Depending on the context, different readers may require different levels of detail, technical language, or even a different tone.

For example, if you’re writing to potential investors, it may be wise to include more detail and statistics that demonstrate the viability of your project or company. However, when writing to customers, omit some details to avoid confusing them and keep things light and friendly. It may be helpful to create an audience profile that includes the type of readers, their preferred communication style, values, and interests to ensure your writing is tailored specifically to them.

3. Organize Your Thoughts

Crafting an engaging writing piece involves more than a compelling concept or message. It also involves structuring your ideas in a logical and coherent fashion. This could involve creating an outline of the key points you want to discuss or brainstorming ideas on paper before putting them down in a formal document. Organizing your thoughts beforehand allows you to write more clearly and avoid meandering off-topic.

Use an appropriate writing style, such as a bullet list or numbered paragraphs, to create organization and structure. By enhancing the readability of your content, readers can effortlessly follow and comprehend it.

4. Research Your Topic

Researching helps ensure accuracy and helps make your writing more credible since readers will have confidence in your knowledge of the material. It also uncovers angles or perspectives that may not have occurred to you initially, enhancing the quality of your writing.

Additionally, consult reliable sources like reputable business blog, primary research studies, and books written by experts on the subject. Due diligence will help you write more confidently and effectively about any topic. 

5. Ditch the Jargon

While industry-specific jargon can be helpful if everyone in the company is familiar with it, it can be challenging to understand. Avoid using complicated jargon when communicating with clients or others outside your company. Instead, use language that’s easier to understand and clearer. You can still use the same ideas or concepts but break them down into simpler terms. If you must use jargon, explain it in plain language.

Avoid long sentences with multiple points, which can be difficult for readers to follow. Keep your sentences short, and ensure each contains only one point to make your writing more accessible to a wider audience.

6. Use Active Voice

Active voice uses fewer words to get the point across since it focuses on the person or thing responsible for doing an action. It’s important to note that there are some cases when passive voice is preferable.

For example, passive voice may be more appropriate to emphasize a particular object than the subject. However, in most cases, using active voice makes for simpler and stronger writing.

7. Avoid Clichés and Overused Sayings

Instead of relying on clichés to fill your writing, try creating more creative and descriptive language. If you’re having trouble thinking of new words or phrases, try using a thesaurus or researching synonyms for the same idea to help you diversify your vocabulary and make your writing more exciting and original. Additionally, it’ll make your words stand out and keep readers engaged.

8. Use the Right Tools

Consider investing in tools such as good grammar and spell-checking software (Grammarly or the Hemingway App), which can help you identify common errors in your writing and ensure it’s free of typos. Additionally, look into a thesaurus website that can provide many words to express your ideas and differentiate your writing from others. These tools are invaluable when it comes to creating impactful business content.

Additionally, using various project management tools to stay organized with your writing can help you stay on track and ensure nothing gets overlooked. Investing in the right tools for business writing will make it easier to create effective and efficient content.

9. Proofread Your Work

Proofreading your work helps you catch typos, grammar mistakes, or awkward phrasing. Take the time to do a few rounds of proofreading or use a professional editor for more detailed feedback. Having another pair of eyes can help ensure your writing is clear and professional before you send it off. It’s important that you’re sending a message that accurately represents the company and its values.

10. Stay Up to Date With Changes in the Industry

Consider subscribing to email newsletters or news sources that offer pertinent information on what’s happening in the business world. Additionally, attend seminars and network with those in the industry you serve better to understand any new trends or topics of discussion. Understanding the industry’s current state can help you tailor your writing to fit the needs of your audience and ensure that what you’re saying is still relevant. Presenting fresh and relevant ideas can keep readers engaged and build a loyal following eager to learn from your insights. 

11. Always Use a Plagiarism Checker

It’s a good idea to use a reliable plagiarism-checking tool when creating content to ensure your work is original. Some popular services include Copyscape, Turnitin, and Grammarly’s plagiarism checker. These tools can help you keep your content 100% unique and protect you from potential legal problems.

Additionally, it’s crucial to provide proper citations when using direct quotes or other ideas from external sources. It will give credit to the original authors and avoid any plagiarism issues.

12. Cross-Check Your Facts and Figures

Your readers trust you to provide factual and truthful content. Any discrepancies can lead to confusion or misinformation. That means considering multiple sources and double-checking any information that seems doubtful. Don’t hesitate to contact experts in the field to verify your facts and access more reliable information. Doing so can help ensure your readers stay informed and engaged with your content. Accuracy is key in business writing, so always take the necessary steps to ensure your work is reliable and trustworthy.

13. Keep Practicing

Practicing regularly allows you to try new techniques, experiment with different formats, and improve your skills. It’s also important to consider feedback from others to improve your work. Finding someone knowledgeable in the field can be invaluable for getting constructive criticism and advice. Additionally, reading through examples of well-written business documents can help you better understand how to craft your content. Staying active in the writing world can also give you access to new ideas, trends, and topics that could benefit future projects. 

Overall, business writing is a skill that requires dedication and practice to perfect. From understanding the basics of grammar to keeping up with industry changes, there are many components to consider when writing for business. With some effort, you can become an expert in the field and create content that professional readers respect and value.

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By Susan Barlow

Dr. Susan Barlow is retired from academia after teaching business administration, project management, and business writing courses for over 20 years.

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