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Business Writing Basics: Learn How to Write with a Professional Tone

Blank Page Artis webAlmost every working individual has done some form of business writing during his career. A simple email, cover letter, proposal, thank you note, newsletter or memo – all of these and more are examples of written pieces that require a certain level of professionalism.

This may be a common task for any employee or businessman but not everyone has the right skills to craft a well-written piece.

The Basic Guidelines in Business Writing  Will Help Individuals Create Well-Written Pieces:

  • Know your audience

Before starting to write, it is important to first identify the target audience. This will dictate the overall tone of your message. The tone should be professional and informative if writing a business proposal; it can be a little relaxed if writing an email to a peer; firm and authoritative if writing a memo, and so on. The written piece should be appropriate to the readers and be able to serve its purpose.

  • Be clear and concise

Not everyone has the luxury of time to read emails and business letters. It is important that every written communication deliver the message in the shortest way possible. When writing an email, for example, the main idea should be included in the first paragraph. If not, it may likely be misunderstood, or the main message may not come across effectively.

Also, avoid the use of pretentious words that not everybody might understand. If there’s a more common word that means the same thing, then that’s a better alternative. Using big words may also be misunderstood as being a show-off or exerting too much effort.

  • Use positive scripting

In the business world, it is normal to communicate bad news. However, do not aggravate things unnecessarily by being harsh and negative in the communication. There is always a positive way of saying things. If unsure whether the message is positively phrased or not, have a colleague read your message first and ask for feedback before sending it out to the wider audience.

  • Be mindful of your grammar

In business writing, correct grammar is essential. One of the most common grammar mistakes committed is subject-verb agreement. Singular subjects are followed by the singular form of verbs; plural subjects use the plural form of verbs. Verb tenses are often misused as well. At times, incorrect tenses change the meaning of the message. Most word processing software now have a grammar correction feature, and it’s highly recommended to always use it when writing business communications.

  • Read before sending

After finalizing, it will help to read what you have written at least once, twice if needed. This allows you to identify any incorrect grammar, inappropriate tone, or possibly wrong information that has been written the first time. You don’t want people doubting your credibility because of messages that need to be recalled due to mistakes.

Learn more about the basics of writing business communications with Ashford Global IT’s Fundamentals of Business Writing course. This 1-day course will help you develop the needed skills in business writing through discussions and hands-on activities.

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Mary is a leading trainer in Microsoft® and Business Applications.

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