The building blocks of any writing, whether for business or social purposes, are words. Failure to use words properly can affect the over-all impact of your prose. It conveys information, delivers news, direct action or influence to take action, explain or justify its aims and objects. A purposeful piece of business writing provides relevant information to help a reader know something or do something. Whether you’re writing marketing copy for a proposed advertising campaign or you’re sending a letter of proposal to a possible client, your writing skills must be sharp as well as professional. Sloppy writing style affects your business badly and impacts with a wide-ranging negative effect. Bad business writing alienate you from customers, hampers your drive to attract investors, makes your effort failure to communicate vendors, and create communication gap even with your employees. Improved your business writing skills, you can ultimately improve the success of your business. In this article we will discuss the strategy of right words choice, grammar issues in writing, and how to prevent both by creating a cheat sheet.
The number of spelling and grammar rules can feel daunting, but you don’t have to memorize everything. What you can do is create a cheat sheet. A cheat sheet is a ready reference of rules you need to remember, written in a brief, simple and easy to understand fashion. Tables and bullet points can make a cheat sheet more effective. Some cheat sheets are poems, alliterations, and songs.
For best results, make your cheat sheets personalized, targeted to spelling and grammar issues that you often have problems with. Here is a sample accomplished cheat sheet:
|Its vs. It’s||‘Its’ is the possessive, third person, singular adjective, typically referring to something other than a person. ‘It’s’, short for ‘It is’, refers to something that ‘it’ possesses.||The machine spread its claws. It’s the fastest engine for this job.|
The best strategy is to consider the seven “C’s”:
Good business writing is clear, concise, easy to understand, conversational, to the point, obvious purpose, reader-oriented, and jargon-free. It can achieve goals for its reader-friendly quality. It is not like the conventional note sent by e-mail. Business letters or memos should follow a formal and legalistic style but crisp and clear in its expression. But will be not too formal or too informal or casual style. Too formal can turn away readers and too informal can make it unprofessional and insincere. The best business writings follow a style that is clear, persuasive and can be understood easily.
Your language should be clear, concrete and understandable for your reader. In fact, you cannot be persuasive without being clear. It will not a heavyweight wordy and verbose writing with unnecessary use of passive voice and make it overly impersonal, uninformative, dull and ambiguous for readers.
Don’t think writing as a tedious or frivolous exercise. It is a skill of knowledge and expertise that can grow interested in making intelligent sentences. It can communicate effectively, win the business competition, and bring success to your life.
In fact, you cannot be persuasive without being clear. It will not a heavyweight wordy and verbose writing with unnecessary use passive voice and make it overly impersonal, uninformative, dull and ambiguous for readers.
Good writing is not “a way with words” – ultimately it is good thinking, If you know techniques and tools that help you think more clearly and therefore write better.
Bad writing causes of bad business writings are that practical writing is rarely taught in school. Typically we lean academic writing, which aims to demonstrate what we know and please the teacher. It values erudite language, abstract thought, and precise grammar. Most of this is contrary to good business writing.
But it is not a thing that is unachievable. Anyone can achieve the quality and adeptness of a good business writer if follows some steps and practices.
In order to improve yourself as a better writer, you need to start writing and stay writing. A writer should not give up saying he or she is incapable of writing. Everyone can write, improve if he or she gives time in practice consistently. How to practice? Typing more words doesn’t make you a better writer. To build new skills and abilities as a good performer the most effective method is to follow a purposeful practice.
Clear writing means clear thinking. Before you put pen to paper or hands to keyboard, consider what you want to say. First, organize your thinking than organize your writing in a way that can communicate to reads. You can have all the great ideas. If you can’t communicate, nobody will hear them. Here is the importance of practice to learn the use effective, communicative and effective writing is not a gift that you’re born with, it’s a skill that you cultivate how to write simply, clearly, and precisely. To achieve it you should practice, Practice every day. Practice with a purpose to achieve clarity, eliminate overuse of the passive voice, unnecessary prepositions, an article that destroys good business writing. After writing, read it attentively. Cut the fats. Avoid writing to three words when one can do. Put your critical eyes, and make sure that each word works toward your larger point. Be sure that you have started with a good opener. If your opener is bad, the whole piece of your writing will not be the good one. Before diving into the bulk of your writing, present your main theme succinctly. It will save the time of your audience and sharpen your arguments.
As an aspiring business writer, you have to practice your writing with purpose. The purpose should be well defined with a goal, and well focused. Focus means not to be distracted by any other things or works. Be attentive to one aim and stay committed to improving the specific task. It is not easy to earn the skill of excellent sentence structure, relevant word choice, and perfect rhythm overnight. It needs a long and deliberate practice but not unattainable.
Proofreading and Finishing
The writing process does not end with getting the words on paper or on screen. You also need to review your work carefully, make sure that it’s free from errors. In this module we will give you an overview of the processes of proofreading, peer review, and preparing a manuscript for printing and publishing.
A Proofreading Primer
Proofreading is the systematic check for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and typographical errors. It is different from editing, which is the check for the accuracy, consistency, clarity, and organization of written text.
Deliberate time and effort must be given to proofreading. Our minds can easily miss omitted words, incorrect spelling or improper use of sentence structures, unless trained to look for them. This happens particularly when we are proofreading our own work, or when we are familiar with the subject matter of the document.
Moreover, we think way faster than we can type. The gap between our thinking process and our typing makes it likely that we’d miss certain words out.
Spell-check and grammar-check functions in word processing software are good ways to start the proofreading process. Note though that they are not reliable in spotting all errors. In fact, they may even consider correct usage as an error, so be sure to double-check!
Here are some tips on effective proofreading:
- Avoid proofreading immediately after writing. If possible, put the material aside for a few hours before starting the process. At the very least, shift to a ‘critical’ mindset before proofreading your own work.
- Go slowly, considering every word. Read what is actually on the page and watch if you’re filling in blanks!
- Look for one error at a time. You can start at different parts of the paper every time to avoid the negative effects of familiarity with the text.
How Peer Review Can Help
Peer review is the process of submitting your work to the scrutiny of another writer, an expert, or a fellow member of your team, with the goal of getting constructive feedback. Peer review can be done ‘blindly’, with the identity of the writers kept from the reviewer or in a more open fashion.
Peer review benefits both the writer and the reviewer:
The writer gains insight on the quality of their writing, or at least how their work comes across to one reader. They also get advice on the strengths and weaknesses of their writing, from someone presumably working in the same context that they do. This advice can help them improve both present and future work.
The reviewer, on the other hand, gets to develop their proofreading and editing skills, which can help them in identifying and resolving their own writing issues.
It’s important that you choose carefully who would review your work. While a fellow team member — a peer— can already be effective in getting valuable feedback, not everyone is effective as a reviewer. If a reviewer does not have enough time to review your work, is biased towards an error, even biased against you, then you might not get good feedback.
Printing and Publishing
A manuscript can look perfect on your computer screen or on your draft copy, but there’s no guarantee that the final printed or published version will be the same. It is important that you take time to anticipate printing and publishing issues when writing.
Here are some tips on printing and publishing your business documents:
- Always check the ‘print preview’ (a function available in most word processing software) before printing a document. Make sure that all text, tables, and graphics are within the page margin and the page is properly laid out.
- Be careful when changing computers for printing purposes. Opening a document using different software, or an outdated software version, from the original can result in formatting errors. This is the reason why many prefer to use portable data files (.pdf) for printing and publishing.
- Check your publisher for guidelines on what quality of graphics, pictures and clip arts you should use. Images of a low pixel count may not translate well on print, depending on the quality of the printer and ink.
- To be sure, always have a print draft for review before making many copies. Typesetting can introduce errors in a text that weren’t there before. Autocorrect functions in word processing software can also introduce errors.