Five ways to improve your business writing skills

Writing for a business audience can be overwhelming for some given that there is a high level of professionalism that must be adhered to, but if you arm yourself with the necessary knowledge you will be well on your way to typing up business reports and emails in no time.

More business than ever is conducted through writing, meaning being able to effectively convey your thoughts through the written word has taken on increased importance.

How to write a business email

The most common form of business communication nowadays is emailing, and with everyone trying their best to deal with the never-ending cycle of emails it’s imperative that you’re getting your message across in a concise manner otherwise you run the risk of being consigned to the trash folder.

A good way to ensure that your message gets eyeballs on it is to place the main point in the opening sentence of the email. For example,if you’re looking to schedule a meeting with a potential new clinet, you could open the email by saying: “Can we schedule a meeting for Thursday morning?” You can then use the remainder of the message to provide some details on what will be covered during the meeting.

While professional standards must be maintained when compiling a business email, there is still room for creativity.

Creativity is an absolute must when it comes to attracting new customers. People read lots of content online on a daily basis, so you need to set yourself apart from the pack by telling them a story.

Whether you choose to go down the creative route or stick with a professional email, you must be accurate. This means getting the smallest of details such as someone’s name correct. Remember, if you cannot get the basics right, the person on the receiving end of the email isn’t going to take you seriously and won’t waste their precious time reading the rest of what you had to say.

How to write a business report

While smaller businesses will do the majority of their communicating via email, larger corporations will regularly draw up business reports.

A business report is an evaluation of a specific issue or financial operations of a business and is intended to be succinct in nature.

Business reports are written in a highly structured way to allow the readers to easily access and assess the information.

Research 

As with any kind of project, doing your research before putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together is key. And when I say doing your research, I mean looking at whether the organisation you work for has an established format for reports. The company handbook is a great resource or you can reach out to the person wanting to see the report to determine whether there are certain guidelines that need to be followed.

Once you have established the title of the report and included the authors, the Table of Contents page needs to be added in. The Table of Contents page serves as a great reference point when reports are long and complex. While this page features at the beginning of the report, it needs to be written once the report has been completed. To ensure maximum readability for your intended audience, the section headings must appear exactly as they are in the report itself and the page numbers must line up as well.

Introduction 

The report truly begins with the introduction, which details why you’re writing the report.

The methodology section is where you explain to the reader the research methods you have chosen for this report, whether it be a qualitative method, a quantitative method or a combination of the two.

Data 

Having data at your disposal is great, but if it isn’t presented in the right way your report will miss the mark. To make your findings easier to read, it’s a good idea to use headings, sub-headings and numbered sections to organise everything. If you really want to make your presentation pop, you can incorporate infographics into your document.

Conclusion 

The heart of the report concludes with a Conclusion and Recommendations section in which you need to detail your assessment from the findings and make recommendations for action. Each recommendation should come with a note on how the option suggested will impact the organisation.

The document officially comes to an end once you have listed all of the sources that you drew upon to write the report. These can include periodicals, online articles or books and must be listed in alphabetical order.

Once you’re done writing your report, it needs to be proofread to make sure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors and that the content flows in a logical fashion.

Admittedly, there is a lot to take in when it comes to business writing but you will only become an expert at this highly refined craft through practice. And if you stick with writing for the long term, the benefits for your business will be tremendous. 

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