Writing is part of your everyday business life regardless of the type of work you do.
Whether it’s emails, marketing letters, proposals or web pages, writing will be your most common and frequent form of communication today, especially emails. In fact, statistics reveal that the average worker receives around 120 emails per day.
Everyone can write, but not everyone can write well
The fact is that everyone can write, however not everyone can write well. You might feel that your writing is not hitting the required mark. Perhaps it’s too wordy, or perhaps you are using shorthand words like “lol”, or smiley faces to suggest you are happy.
This can make it difficult for the reader to understand, read, and interpret your message. In the business world, it can be unprofessional.
The good news is that you can learn to write and edit your work with a few key concepts and practice. Here are 8 top tips to improve your writing skills and become a more effective writer:
1. Keep it short and simple
Keeping it short and simple benefits both you and your audience. It will be easier for you to perform the task and for your reader to read. Keeping your sentences shorter will also allow your reader to remember your message. A good guide is to stay within 20 words.
2. Always start with an outline
Before you start, draw up an outline of what you plan to write. An outline doesn’t have to be elaborate. Even a simple one will help you see the big picture and save you hours of rewriting. Having an outline as you write is like having a map to refer to and keep you on track.
3. Know your audience
An essential principle of writing is knowing your audience. There are many ways to get to know your audience including through surveys, feedback forms, and social media. Asking questions such as, “what do they want to know”, “what do they already know”, what is the benefit for them” will also help you know your audience and identify the strategies or media that best suits them.
4. Write with a purpose in mind
Always have a reason as to why you are writing. This means deciding on the outcome you wish to achieve and what your intentions are for your audience. For example, writing a proposal with the purpose of gaining a new client and you want the reader to accept your proposal.
5. Write in ‘plain English’.
Easy to understand language will mean that your written communication reaches everyone. Write using simple everyday words that do not require a dictionary. This will also make it easier for your audience to read.
6. Edit ruthlessly
The bulk of writing work is done in the editing and rewriting process. Therefore, avoid being attached to your wording or idea. You must always be willing to modify your work if you discover that your ideas would be clearer or more effective presented in another way. A good question to ask during editing is, “has it achieved the purpose for the intended audience?”.
7. Proofread or have someone do it for you
Proofreading checks grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. This will ensure that your written work has the necessary full stops or capital letters to help it flow easily for the reader.
8. Read what you wrote out loud
Reading your writing aloud can help you determine if it has a good flow and rhythm. If it sounds choppy, add a few longer sentences. If you find yourself stumbling over sentences, then you need to simplify your work. Reading out loud also helps you to pick up on mistakes you might otherwise miss.
Business writing builds a solid web presence.
In a modern workplace full of daily emails, reports, and meeting presentations, having good writing skills is therefore vital because they ensure your readers will clearly understand your message. They also demonstrate your intelligence and help you become more influential and credible. This can help you boost your professional confidence and promote yourself and your career.