The art of business writing

September 15, 2011

In our information-driven world, business often requires us to wear many hats… and one of those hats, inevitably tends to involve writing. There’s proposals to get out to important clients, formal letters, tender documents, RFP’s to respond to, not to mention all those words that need to come from somewhere for your marketing.

Here though, we’ll take a look at strictly the business writing… the land of proposal/pitch documents, an art in itself. And to get you started, here are a few tips for effective business writing…

Less is more – Businesspeople that you are writing to are busy, so be concise. Say what you want to say effectively, then be done with it.

Avoid jargon – There are bound to be a whole bunch of terms that you use in your business that mean nothing to anyone else. If the meaning may be unclear to your readers, leave these words out, always being careful not to assume knowledge your audience can’t possibly have.

Write once, check twice – Proofread after you write, and then preferably later, after you have set the document aside for a while. Alternatively, get someone else to check it as a fresh set of eyes. Nothing undermines credibility more than a silly error.

Professional isn’t necessarily formal – You can be professional, without a totally formal take on what you’re writing. Just because it’s business writing, doesn’t mean there can’t be any personality in it. Just make sure you keep a balance that you feel comfortable with.

Save templates – You don’t need to reinvent the wheel each time when you’re writing similar documents.  Just double check that you have amended any specific information, so you don’t send a letter out with the wrong person’s name in it.

Call in an expert – If the document is really important, with a lot riding on it, don’t take the risk if this is not your core competency. Freelancers are not just for marketing materials, so find one with a good business background and let them know your needs. It’ll save you heaps of time, allow you to focus on running your business and ensure you achieve a superior result.