Communicating effectively is an important attribute for many professionals, from entrepreneurs and project managers to lawyers and ad writers. Most professionals use business transcription services to write e-mails, memos, proposals, reports, letters, speeches, training material, articles, presentations, and much more. The most critical aspect of effective business communication is ensuring that your messages are clearly understood by your audience. This is not easy as most business professionals have little experience with writing.
As with any skill, improving business writing takes some commitment. Here are some tips to help:
- Be brief: Conciseness matters in business writing. Today, people are less inclined to read, usually because of a short attention span and time constraints. Write short, direct sentences that are easy to understand. Avoid wordiness and long, meandering text.
- Ensure clarity: When writing for business contexts, be as clear as possible and make sure the content is easy to read and understand. To get the appropriate response or action, leave nothing to interpretation. Here’s an example from Lumen Learning of what clarity means:
Avoid: Capable of greeting many customers while attending to a multi-line phone.
Consider: Capable of greeting 25 customers an hour, while managing incoming phone lines for six district managers.
- Watch the grammar and language: Grammatical errors can make business writing look very unprofessional. Correct grammar and sentence structure is indicative of both good language skills and attention to detail. Use the most impactful words correctly to convey your message and impress your audience. Another important way to add impact to your writing is to use active voice. Sentences in active voice will build trust in the reader as they will convey the idea directly and identify who did what. For instance, instead of “A blog post was created for our campaign, say “Tom created a blog post for our campaign”.
- Avoid jargon: Acronyms, clichess and business jargon can put off readers. While some terms are unavoidable, many are meaningless. According to a Guardian poll, words and phrases that annoyed people include: ‘disruptive’, ‘synergy’, ‘upskill’, ‘blue sky thinking’, ‘Generation Y/Z/Millennials’ and ‘leverage’. Recent reports add ‘lockdown’, ‘low hanging fruit’, ‘game changer’, and ‘trim the fat’ to the list. Use plain, inclusive language in your writing to ensure everyone understands you.
- Double check your writing: After you write, proofread as many times as you can. Revision is important for good writing. After all the trouble you went into to write a report, sending it out with typos and clumsy language can be a major setback and convey that attention to detail is not important. This is bad for business communication. Always set aside time to re-read what you wrote and revise it if needed, though this may not be possible in all situations. Another reason why you should read emails, memos and reports before you click send is to catch tone mistakes. When we are upset or angry, this might get reflected in our writing. The tone you use will impact how the reader perceives the message. So remember the golden rule: double check your writing.
- Be professional: In business communication, it’s important to know when to use professional and conversational tones. For instance, use a professional tone for presenting business ideas to investors and a conversational tone to influence customers to buy your products. Even if you can use informal language in business communication, avoid personal comments, gossip and off-color humor.
- Ensure names, titles, and genders are correct: Spell names correctly – it’s an important part of ensuring inclusion and promoting respect. If you are not sure about how a person’s name is spelt, check with someone who knows. Likewise, as the use of gender-neutral language is now considered standard practice, look up strategies to use gender neutral language in business communication.
- Keep templates: Creating templates is a useful strategy to save time and get organized. Save templates of a well-crafted letter, email, memo, or other document for future use. Templates are especially useful for internal communication and will promote consistency in your messaging. All you have to do is to make relevant changes and tweaks in the standard message before sending it out.
Business writing conventions evolve with time. For example, emojis and emoticons have gained acceptance to express business ideas and emotions in the workplace in a huge way. If you want to convert voice recordings of letters and reports into text, you can reach out to an audio transcription service provider. Drafting clear and concise business communication will be easier with such support.