The business world is almost wholly information driven. Whether you’re writing emails, presentations, or sales information, you’re communicating by the written word an awful lot while at work. If you feel you need to brush up on your skills, keep these ten tips in mind as you write.
1. Take a break between writing and sending
You’re busy, and you just want to send off that email and get on with the next task on your to do list. However, resist the temptation and let it sit for an hour or so. When you come back to it, you’ll look at it with fresh eyes, and see what needs to be edited or altered.
2. Create templates
Whenever you write something you think really went well, save it as a template. The next time you need to write something similar, you can use that template to create it in half the time, knowing you’ll still write something you can be proud of. If you don’t have anything you can use as a template, they’re easy to find online.
3. Don’t give choices if you can help it
Being given too many options can lead to decision paralysis, which you just don’t have time for. When you’re writing, give a single option. For example, say ‘the meeting is scheduled for 2pm’. If you have to give a choice, just give two and ask readers to pick one. It’ll save you a lot of time.
4. Hire a writer if you need help
You may be struggling to write in the right tone, or even find the time to get all your writing done. Hiring a freelance writer will free up time, and give you copy that’s of high quality as it’s written by a professional.
5. Avoid buzzwords
Keeping your clear and to the point. Using buzzwords and jargon can feel like you’re making your copy exciting, but they can just be annoying to the reader. Also avoid using overly complicated language, when simpler language will do.
6. Use ‘active’ language
You want your reader to be engaged with what you’re writing. Using the passive voice won’t get them involved in what you have to say. Instead of ‘The meeting agenda can be discussed’, say ‘Let’s discuss the meeting agenda.’
7. Read your writing aloud
It sounds like a waste of time, but you should always read your writing aloud. What sounds ok on paper will sound different read aloud, so you’ll be able to spot errors and sections you’ll need to edit instantly.
8. Use solid facts
You want to enthuse about your products because you believe in them, and that’s fine. What you should do, though, is avoid hyperbole. Readers don’t want to read about your product if they can’t find out what it does. Stick to the facts, but use those facts to show how positive that product will be in their lives.
9. Remember to give the reader a reason to act
If you’re using active language, you shouldn’t find this difficult. Give the reader a reason to act, whether that’s by emailing you back, organising a meeting with you, or buying your product. You’re writing to persuade without being overbearing.
10. Use a call to action
Finally, include a clear ‘call to action’. This could be ‘Click this link to find out more’ or ‘Give me a call and we’ll set this up.’ Give the reader the instructions they need to take this further.
These ten tips should give your business writing skills a real boost. Try them out the next time you need to write and you’ll see just how much they improve.