Writing is hard, and for many of us, it does not come naturally. Unfortunately, it’s also a huge part of any workplace, meaning that employees must know the ins and outs of written communication.
Over the years, we’ve spoken to many students looking to improve their business writing about their challenges and struggles.
Without further adieu, here are 5 mistakes you’ll want to avoid in your business writing:
- Not planning beforehand
- Expecting the reader to read your mind
- Using buzzwords and jargon
- Not being concise
- Typos and other simple errors
Not planning beforehand
There are many things you can do on the fly. Writing is not one of them.
If you do not sit down and plan properly, not only will your writing be far less focused, but it will also take you longer in the long run.
How to fix: Before you create your business document, think about the following:
- What is the purpose of the document?
- What is the context in which you are writing?
- Who will be reading it?
- What action would you like them to take after reading?
- What are the essential bits of information/takeaways that you must convey?
Expecting the reader to read your mind
This is something that is hard to catch. Because we know something, we often don’t stop to think about whether others do as well. It can be hard to get out of our own heads, but it will make for an improved reading experience.
How to fix: Think about your reader. What do they know right now? What do you want them to know when they’ve finished reading your document? And what is the ideal outcome after reading?
In our business writing course, we leverage the power of emotional intelligence to help writers place themselves in the shoes of their readers, making it easier to create documents that align with their audience and purpose.
Using buzzwords and jargon
It can be tempting to default to the words that are being thrown around in the industry. But what do they actually mean, and will your reader understand?
How to fix: Do a readthrough of your work and identify any buzzwords or bits of jargon. Are they absolutely essential, or is there another simpler or better word you can use?
Typos and other simple errors
The occasional typo happens to the best of us. But if your work is consistently unpolished? Well, it’ll mean that your argument is a lot less convincing, and people may start to notice.
How to fix: Edit, edit, and more editing. You should proofread your business writing at least once, no matter how rushed you are. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with the embarrassment of unprofessional mistakes – or even worse.
It may be helpful to leave your document overnight and revisit it with fresh eyes before sending it off. This often allows you to catch mistakes you might otherwise miss.
Not being concise
Business writing is all about clarity and conciseness. You need to get to the point as soon as possible, with no unnecessary words in between.
How to fix: Again, much of this will come down to editing. Look at each sentence – are there any words or ideas that are not essential to convey meaning?
Want to help employees improve their business writing for better results? Our Business Writing training course is all about giving participants the skills they need to write clear and effective documents.