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Strong business writing requires attention to organization, sentence clarity, tone, and readability in addition to careful audience consideration. There are steps in the writing process you can take to help it go more smoothly for you.

Effective Business Writing Skills

Strong business writing requires attention to organization, sentence clarity, tone, and readability in addition to careful audience consideration. There are steps in the writing process you can take to help it go more smoothly for you. These are:

  1. Identify your audience. Know exactly who it is you are targeting with your message. Not all messages should be worded the same way for each audience. Imagine explaining a project delay to a customer. Now, imagine telling the same story to your supervisor or a good friend. Chances are high that your story will vary in tone, word choice and organization. This is because we are already in the practice of catering our messages according to who is on the receiving end of them and to our message purpose. Your message recipient should feel as if you are communicating directly with him or her.
  2. Draft your document. When tackling a writing task, it can be easiest to simply start writing – get something on your computer screen. Then, you can go back and edit and proofread your message to ensure you are sending the message you intend to send.
  3. Revise your document. When proofreading, you are checking for mechanical errors (grammar, spelling, typos); when editing, you are checking your content, sentence construction, and formatting. Revising is an important part of the writing process, and can be most productive if you finish your first draft early enough to let it sit for a day or so. Coming back to your work with ‘fresh eyes’, allows you to see issues that you might not see when attempting it revise immediately after completing a draft. It is also a good idea to run important final documents past at least one other person to check for errors. Of course, we don’t always have the luxury of another editor or time to put our work aside, so learning to write well is a must when working in business environments.

When revising your work, here are key things to look for:

  • A. Grammar, capitalization, punctuation, typos, and proper usage of numbers, symbols and abbreviations.

    Test your skills at http://elt.oup.com/student/practicegrammar/test;jsessionid=4FF033ED7E52FE3565C0EFBAAE1F7769?cc=us&selLanguage=en

  • B. Proper use of pronouns – check to see if a proper noun would be the best choice for clarity.
  • C. Sentence syntax – are your words in the proper order? Do they make sense? The easiest way to identify syntax errors is to read your work aloud. If it is awkward to say them, it is even more awkward to read them.
  • D. Format – how does your document look?
  • E. Organization – is it logical?
  • F. Readability – your work should be targeted to the 9th grade level. There are a variety of ‘test’ you can do to rate the readability of your documents. One quick and easy way is to do the following in MS Word:
    • a. Go to Tools > Options >Spelling & Grammar and Check ‘Grammar with Spelling’ AND ‘Show Readability Statistics’.

Effective Business Writing Skills

Strong business writing requires attention to organization, sentence clarity, tone, and readability in addition to careful audience consideration. There are steps in the writing process you can take to help it go more smoothly for you. These are:

  1. Identify your audience. Know exactly who it is you are targeting with your message. Not all messages should be worded the same way for each audience. Imagine explaining a project delay to a customer. Now, imagine telling the same story to your supervisor or a good friend. Chances are high that your story will vary in tone, word choice and organization. This is because we are already in the practice of catering our messages according to who is on the receiving end of them and to our message purpose. Your message recipient should feel as if you are communicating directly with him or her.
  2. Draft your document. When tackling a writing task, it can be easiest to simply start writing – get something on your computer screen. Then, you can go back and edit and proofread your message to ensure you are sending the message you intend to send.
  3. Revise your document. When proofreading, you are checking for mechanical errors (grammar, spelling, typos); when editing, you are checking your content, sentence construction, and formatting. Revising is an important part of the writing process, and can be most productive if you finish your first draft early enough to let it sit for a day or so. Coming back to your work with ‘fresh eyes’, allows you to see issues that you might not see when attempting it revise immediately after completing a draft. It is also a good idea to run important final documents past at least one other person to check for errors. Of course, we don’t always have the luxury of another editor or time to put our work aside, so learning to write well is a must when working in business environments.

When revising your work, here are key things to look for:

  • A. Grammar, capitalization, punctuation, typos, and proper usage of numbers, symbols and abbreviations.

    Test your skills at http://elt.oup.com/student/practicegrammar/test;jsessionid=4FF033ED7E52FE3565C0EFBAAE1F7769?cc=us&selLanguage=en

  • B. Proper use of pronouns – check to see if a proper noun would be the best choice for clarity.
  • C. Sentence syntax – are your words in the proper order? Do they make sense? The easiest way to identify syntax errors is to read your work aloud. If it is awkward to say them, it is even more awkward to read them.
  • D. Format – how does your document look?
  • E. Organization – is it logical?
  • F. Readability – your work should be targeted to the 9th grade level. There are a variety of ‘test’ you can do to rate the readability of your documents. One quick and easy way is to do the following in MS Word:
    • a. Go to Tools > Options >Spelling & Grammar and Check ‘Grammar with Spelling’ AND ‘Show Readability Statistics’.

Writing

Please respond to ONE of the following:

Question A

Suggest three to five rules for clear, effective writing that are not mentioned in this lesson. Consider what you have noticed in your business and personal experience, or what you learn from an internet search of the topic. Explain your rules using examples.

Question B

Explain your personal writing process. What has worked for you in your effort to produce quality documents? What is your biggest writing challenge?

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