Business Writing Tips 

Need some business writing tips to help you polish that major report or proposal?  You know you want to inform your reader and allow that person to quickly get your main idea and the bottom line. So check out these tips to help you make your documents more effective and also enhance your credibility.

Nine important business writing tips

Decide on your goal

Do you want to inform, persuade, solicit ideas or get someone to take action?  Knowing the result you want makes planning your document and writing it much more focused and efficient.

Business writing is a unique form that focuses on giving the reader necessary information as quickly as possible. If you like to slowly develop your main point and build intrigue, write fiction instead.

Develop your key message

This is probably the most important business writing tip.  our key message will relate to your goal. What problem will you solve or how will you help the reader? Keep your focus on what their interests are and that will help you with your key point. Having the discipline to write down the takeaway message you want others to receive will make your thinking clearer and writing tighter.

Business writing should have enriching content.

You will get your point across more effectively if you have supporting data, examples, illustrations or stories to enhance your writing.  If you use data tables, be sure to summarize what they reveal. As you write, you will no doubt find gaps that need further explanations or illustrations. However, pulling together some key data or other facts will help you gain credibility and demonstrate your depth of knowledge.

Do an outline.

Your third grade teacher was correct:  outlining helps keep your writing on track and makes the development of your points more logical. Knowing the path you will take from start to finish will help you write more efficiently.

Writer's block? Start in the middle if you are stuck.

You don't always have to start from the opening paragraph. Write a section you know well that is easy to get down on paper. Experienced writers often complete their first and last paragraphs after they have finished everything else.

Knowing where you are going helps you write a dynamite opening. Writer's Digest has some other tips for overcoming writer's block.

Write quickly -- edit slowly.

The sure way to fall victim to writer's block is to start editing as you write.  Efficient writers know that the most important task in getting started is to get the first draft down. You will have time for changes, revisions and rewrites later after you have gotten your ideas on paper.

Talk to your reader and avoid lazy writing

Keep a You-focus in your writing.

For example
Think about what your reader needs to know

Instead of
It is important for writers to think about what their readers are interested in.

Another tip to avoid lazy writing:  When you are editing your work, search for the times you use It is or There are to start a sentence. Then do whatever you can think of to rewrite to get rid of those terms.  Sometimes there is no good alternative but in 90 percent of the cases, if you rewrite to get rid of those expressions, your writing will be much stronger, more vivid and clearer.

Watch out for wordiness.

Some words pack a punch; others just add bloat. Know the difference. As you read your copy, get rid of prepositional phrases that don't add to your meaning. Also, watch for qualifiers such as very, nearly, much, little and similar terms that slow your reader down. Delete those unnecessary words and your copy will be stronger. The Purdue OWL is an excellent resource for examples of wordiness. 

Proofread and get another set of eyes on your work.

It is impossible to see typos and missing words in a document you have invested hours in.  Set your work aside and come back to it after taking a break. Then ask someone unfamiliar with your document to look it over. You'll be surprised at what a second set of eyes can find.

Use these business writing tips to help you craft a document that will do justice to your proposal.

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