5 Tips to Improve Your Business Writing - Detailed ExplanationJun 16, 2021
Improving your business English writing skills is all about having a good understanding of your audience and message and being able to formulate your thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely.
Most people believe that they need to spend hours upon hours studying and taking courses for them to write more clearly and professionally.
I say nonsense!
By changing just a few small things, you can dramatically increase the clarity and efficiency of your writing, and you save yourself both time AND money in the process.
Read on if you want to learn more.
What is We Speak Business Program
We Speak Business is an English course with live speaking lessons for English learners who want speaking practice with native speakers, professional teachers, and students from around the world.
You have live speaking lessons where you can join and start speaking business English every day. There's a lesson every day and also, you can review all record lessons. There is a lot of conversation practice for each level of English (A2, B1-B2, C1). There is a calendar of scheduled lessons so you can see when lessons are and at what time you can join and start speaking.
In We Speak Business program, you have 24/7 support and also you have student chat where you can speak with other students from all around the world. Before you join our program and start speaking business English, we strongly recommend you sign up for our free seminar with Andrew Smith, where you can learn:
- What goals you need to have to get better results
- How to master business English quickly
- What are the strategies that will help you advance to a higher level
- How you can speak business English more fluently and confidently
- Free resources to help you learn business English
- Exclusive resource to improve your speech
Tips and Tricks For Improving Business English Writing Skills
In this blog article, I share with you six important and useful tips on how to improve your business English writing skills so that your writing is both clear and professional when communicating with those important clients and colleagues.
And at the end of this blog, I have a very special and exclusive offer for you that I just know you won’t want to miss, so make sure you read all the way until the very end.
Now let’s get started.
Get Straight To The Point
One of the first and most important rules that I learned about business writing during my training was getting to the point as soon as possible. This is so we don’t waste the reader’s precious time!
A lot of non-native English speakers believe that before they drive into their main message a string of niceties need to come first, however, most of them spend far too much time doing this which results in the reader becoming impatient and less interested in what you really have to say.
When writing emails in English, your first line should be something that breaks the ice or/and introduces you to the reader:
- Hope all is well on your end. INFORMAL
- I hope you are doing well. FORMAL
- Lovely to see/meet you last week/month. INFORMAL
- My name is.... from... NEUTRAL
As soon as that one-line ice-breaker is over, you should get straight into the main body of your message and deliver your point(s).
Provide context if necessary but don’t spend a lot of time going into irrelevant details or anything that the reader won’t benefit from.
Be Consistent With Contractions & Abbreviations
Our next point is all about having well-written etiquette. One of the most important rules for great business writing is being consistent with contractions and abbreviations.
A contraction is a word made by shortening and combining two words. For example: “do not” becomes “don’t” and “can not” becomes “cannot”.
An abbreviation is simply a shortened form of a word or phrase. For example: “January” can be written as “Jan”, or the word “abbreviation” can be shortened to “abbr”.
Both contractions and abbreviations are typically used in informal communication.
So if you plan on using these types of words, you must remain consistent for your entire email. Don’t include some contractions and then some full-forms, and if you’re going to use abbreviations make sure that every word that can be abbreviated is abbreviated.
In my professional opinion, I would steer clear from using abbreviations in business writing (more on why I think that a little later on…)
Understand The Reader
Before you begin crafting your message, you want to have a fairly good understanding of the reader or the person/people you are writing to. Far too often people write emails or letters that contain information and details that the reader won’t understand or is not aware of.
How many times have you received an email from a colleague and had to write back straight away to clarify points or get more information about something?
When writing in English, or any language for that matter, we need to ask ourselves 3 big questions:
- Who is it I am writing to exactly and where are they from?
- What is their current level of knowledge on the subject I am presenting?
- What specific action if any do I need them to take after they have read my email?
First, we need to know if the reader is a native English speaker or a non-native English speaker. If they’re the latter, then we should be careful about the style of language and vocabulary we use. Stay away from long, overly formal, and complex words and stick to shorter more simple ones.
Second, we ought to know what the reader’s current level of knowledge is on the subject we’re writing about. If you’re emailing them about a new product line you’re launching and the recipient knows nothing about it, then you may need to simplify some terms or processes so that they can understand you.
Finally, we should know exactly what type of action is required of the reader before we write our email. What do they need to do next? What do you need from them now that they’ve read your email? This can be your next paragraph after you’ve delivered your main point(s).
Use Correct Titles
Here is how you should address different people in business writing:
For males, you haven’t met or don’t know well, use “Mr” and then their surname. For females use “Mrs” and their surname if they’re married, or “Ms” and their surname if they aren’t married. Remember that you should address a woman as “Ms” if you aren’t entirely sure about their marital status. You should always assume that they’re single.
In informal situations or for people you know well, you can say “Hi”, “Hey”, or “Hello” followed by their first name.
You have two options when you aren’t sure of the name of the person you’re writing to. You can either say:
- Dear Sir/Madam
- To whom it may concern
To groups of people you can say:
- Hi all
- Hi everyone
- Hi gang (very informal)
One final note on titles and openings: when there have been a few exchanges already sent between you and the recipient, there is no need to greet and address that person over and over again. Instead, just lead in with your main message.
Shorter Paragraphs Over Longer Ones
English typically prefers shorter, more concise paragraphs as opposed to longer ones. In a lot of business writing, you will often see native English speakers using very short paragraphs. This is very common and is generally the style we adopt.
Ideally, your paragraphs should be a few lines/sentences long, and no more than 6 sentences if possible. Each paragraph should contain one key idea.
Remember to leave a line break between paragraphs too. Line breaks are basically a ‘space’ that is left between paragraphs and are something a lot of business English learners either forget or simply don’t do.
Do not be that person!
Paragraphs that are clumped together look messy and it’ll put the recipient off reading your email as well as making you look unprofessional and a tad careless.
Define The Purpose Before Writing
Would you do a presentation at work if you didn’t know what the presentation was supposed to be about?
Didn’t think so.
So why should you do it with your writing? One of the most overlooked problems non-native English speakers have when writing in English is that they go straight in with the writing part before figuring out the real purpose of the message. Doing so makes our message foggy and difficult to understand.
So what do I actually mean by defining the “purpose”?
Some common purposes could be:
- To inform
- To educate
- To update
- To instruct
- To persuade
- Or even to entertain!
Knowing exactly what you want to say will make it a lot easier when crafting your actual message. This is because it becomes much clearer as to what kind of language and vocabulary we should use.
For example, if my purpose is to persuade, I might be using more persuasive language than I would if my purpose was to entertain.
Knowing your purpose makes the proofreading process easier as well. Because we know exactly what it is we want to say and achieve, we’ll know if our message misses the mark or not.
So our final tip of today is to really know what it is you want to get across to the reader and will make forming sentences and choosing relevant vocabulary much simpler and quicker.
In this article, we’ve looked at six useful tips and ways to instantly improve your business writing skills. By following these rules and tips, I do not doubt that your writing will not only be clearer and more professional but will also make it more enjoyable to read and easier to understand.
If speaking better English at work is something you need to learn or/and improve on, then I’d like to invite you to an exclusive free seminar where I show you how to speak better business in just one month.
The seminar is two hours long and includes information and value that people would pay a lot of money for. I’ve condensed my decade of experience into this seminar for you to show you what you can do to start speaking better English at work with your colleagues and clients.
You can reserve your seat by clicking the link below. We have free seminars running daily, so you can join at a time that suits you.
Thank you for reading and good luck with your business writing.
To your success.
If you are looking to improve your speaking skills at work, then we have an exclusive free seminar where I teach you how to speak better business in 30 days. Sign up by clicking the button below!