Writing is the most important part of communication. Good written communication skills are determined by the usage of correct grammar, accurate spelling, and proper use of punctuation.
To me business writing is a way to explain, inform, educate others, and structure a person’s point of view, using appropriate vocabulary. The good news is that this is a skill that can be learned and improved upon, like any other skill.
One way to improve business writing skills is to use tools like Grammarly to correct and improve content. Such tools use a combination of probabilistic language models and rules.
These checkers use hand-crafted rules to define what is and is not an error. An example would be a rule that checks to see if a singular subject is followed by a singular verb. Of course, discerning what is the subject, what is the verb, and whether the subject is singular are all tasks that require probabilistic methods, so there is no escaping the reliance on probabilistic language models as the backbone of any grammar checker.
Why should you pay attention to your employees’ business writing skills?
Business writing is a major component of organizational communication that can help an organization build its brand, increase visibility, and improve its reputation. This is especially important now when much of the communication in workplaces today is conducted via online interactions such as email, rather than face to face.
Observing your employees’ writing skills can help you identify issues and areas of improvement. Doing so can help your business represent your brand as accurately as possible.
When employees have good communication skills they can make departments more efficient and can result in easier development of the organization which decreases workload significantly.
6 tips for effective business writing:
- Think before you start writing: Stop and think about what you want and what you to communicate. Try using the 5W’s+1H formula as a guide to make this easier:
- WHO — Who is my audience?
- WHAT — What do you need to know?
- WHEN — When must this be done or made known?
- WHERE — Where is this happening?
- WHY — Why do you need this?
- HOW — How should they use this information?
2. Keep it short: People are always pressed for time and they will always appreciate brevity. Once you have identified what you want to say, get to the point quickly by keeping it short. Always remember how frustrated you feel after reading the information in an email that is 3 times longer than it needs to be, with the main points buried in it. Isn’t it a waste of time and energy?
3. Use an active voice: Use an active voice whenever possible, as it makes sentences direct, bold, and interesting to read, rather than passive sentences. For example, look at the sentences below that illustrate my point:
- The boy picked the cloth.
- The cloth was picked by the boy.
4. Avoid pretentious words: Be clear and direct. If your reader has to use Google to decipher what you are trying to say then they are definitely going to feel annoyed. This saying by Mark Twain underscores this principle perfectly, “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do”. Avoid the temptation to use flowery and pretentious words to sound smarter. Stick with the fifty-cent words.
5. Be professional: Avoid including a joke or office gossip in an email as they can be misunderstood. Such add-ons do not contribute to your message and can negatively affect your reputation.
6. Clarify your call to Action: Every business communication is created and sent with a clear purpose in mind. Chances are, you need our reader/message recipient to do something i.e call you back/give you more information/confirm their presence at a meeting, and so on. Don’t leave space for the readers to figure out what you want out of them, be specific and spell it out. Here is what I mean:
- Please send it back by EOD
- Please call this client and share the information
- Let me know in case of any query
>> Other points to remember:
- Include only one idea per sentence.
- If there are two ideas, then use two different sentences.
- Vary the length of your sentence for improved rhythm while reading.
- Take time to read your message and punctuate it properly.
- Look out for potentially loaded words. For example: ‘people’ and ‘we’ are far better than ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘him’, ‘her’.
In conclusion, effective business writing has a number of benefits for both employees and for companies. When employees improve their writing skills, they feel more secure as they know exactly what is needed of them. It also improves the efficiency of departments and can increase the success of your marketing campaigns.
Author — Ayushi Gupta, DLT Labs™
About the Author: Ayushi is a young professional in our Business Analysis team. She has been primarily focusing on DL Asset Track producing requirements documentation, user stories, and mockups. She has a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science.
Disclaimer: This article was originally published on the DLT Labs Blog page: