Introduction to Business Writing Skills
Are you looking to improve your professional Business writing skills or to get better results from your business writing? We’re dealing with different kinds of writing, editing, and consulting courses to help you improve your business communication at work. Our focus is to save you time as you drive draft documents that will help you with every email, resume, cover letter, report writing, proposal, procedure of professional presentation, or other kinds of business documents. Professional writing skills are also embedded in this course.
Table of Contents
- Introduction to Business Writing Skills
- List of Business Writing Documents
- Steps to Business Writing Skills
- Writing skills to Influence or Persuade your Reader
- Clarity of Purpose in Business Writing
- Real-life Examples of Professional Writing Skills
- Difference between Academic Writing and Business Writing
Professional writing skills offer a five-step planning process to help you write any document for anyone. It also will include tips and tools for sentence-level strategies including effective grammar clear and concise language. And, other sentence-level challenges that business people on all levels struggle with. But what do you struggle with tick a piece of paper and write down a few things that you find challenging about writing for work.
Some people have trouble organizing their main idea or the points they’d like to present. And, some people struggle to determine who’s the right audience for their message. What level of information, if any, should be included? Or some people struggle on a sentence level with grammar and punctuation issues. There is a list of professional writing documents given below.
List of Business Writing Documents
- Formal letters
- Performance reviews
- Memo’s content
- Online forums
- Meeting minutes
We write a lot at work and our writing is exposed to larger audiences through electronic communication. So, it’s important to take time to focus on giving out the best. Putting our best foot forward our objectives are the following:
- To help you get to the point quickly proofread accurately.
- Develop clear and concise paragraphs.
- To write concisely, clearly, indirectly, and when appropriate to write persuasively.
So, let’s think about these objectives in the context of the documents that you write. The work of our agenda today is broken into two parts.
Steps to Business Writing Skills
- State the main point clearly at the beginning of your message
- The second criteria are to organize the information logically.
- We’re required in business to leave out unnecessary information.
- We should use short kind of sentences and paragraphs.
- Eliminate unnecessary words and unnecessary information.
The criteria for effective business writing is a five-step planning process. That we’ll walk through and you can adapt to your own needs. The components of the first draft include openings, closings, and lists. The agenda for part 2 includes active language, specific language, and plain English.
By eliminating clutter by considering sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar, and editing and proofreading your writing by focusing on all of these components, you can improve your professional image and get more done in less time.
Let’s start with the criteria for professional writing in everything that you write. It’s important to state the main point clearly at the beginning of your message. Unlike, academic writing the main point always goes first in business writing.
Why readers don’t come back to you immediately with questions? You haven’t considered originally using active, precise language in print, plain English, and using correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling in part 1 of this section.
We’re going to talk about these criteria in more detail, we’ll walk through a five-step planning process, and then we’ll get into our first draft, openings, closings, and lists.
Writing a Plan
Let’s start with writing a plan, and developing a plan in five steps. This is a chart we took from some research that was conducted after interviews with professional writers. The question was how much, how do you allocate your time when you’re writing something important? The answer we got is here:
- 5% Time Thinking about our Readers = Understanding our audience,
- 5 percent Time for determining our purpose = The purpose for the communication
- 5% Time identifying the main point
- 20% Time selecting the information to include
Selecting the Information
- If you’re a reporter, research at that point.
- If you’re inside your organization, plan a message.
- You may gather information or do assessments or read do primary research asking other people to formulate your thoughts. All of that is part of selecting the information.
Organizing the Information
That’s also 20% of a professional writer’s job. Now, let’s do some quick math, if we add it all up above the line, 55% of the time is spent thinking about the writing.
Time of Planning the writing
- 55% is spent writing a quick first draft.
- 20% revising and editing
- 20% proofing and
- 5% correcting
So, 45 % of the time is spent on writing, whereas the larger portion 55% is on planning. It tells us that planning is very important to writing.
So, for clear and effective communication, you need to spend time planning your message before you write. You need to write to somebody who is your reader. Imagine them on the other side of the email communication or reading your report in printed form or seeing it on their screen think about that reader visualize them.
So, ask some questions keeping yourself in the place of your reader.
- Do they expect to hear from you?
- Are they familiar with this subject?
- Are they interested in what you have to say?
- Do they likely to consider you as an authority or are they familiar with your views?
- Are they committed to your point of view and likely to agree?
- Are they likely to find the message uncomfortable?
Think about your Purpose in Business Writing
But, before you can think about step 2, you need to go back and understand your reader and what they care about. Because we want to change the whole paradigm of communication here. So, instead of telling people what you want to tell them what they want to hear and what they need to do to get their job done. So, once you’ve decided, once you’ve thought about your reader and what they care about, the second step is to think about your primary purpose. Hear it, write it, well we use a decision tree and it’s called informing or influencing.
All writers have always one primary purpose for writing. You’re either writing to influence somebody, to do something, or inform them about something. So, let’s break that down a bit, if you’re writing to influence. Your primary purpose is to persuade readers to do something. In other words, you’re hoping they will take some action if you’re writing to inform them. Your primary purpose is to answer readers’ questions about a subject. So, they can be informed or make a decision.
Writing skills to Influence or Persuade your Reader
The implicit statement here is that they’re going to decide at some point or they need the information to be informed. If you need readers to do something right away or in a precise time frame, you are writing to influence. Or this kind of writing is also known as writing to persuade. We use those words interchangeably writing to influence and writing to persuade.
Now, sometimes people think that there’s something negative about writing to influence or writing to persuade. The negative thing is when you don’t know what your purpose is and you send confusing messages that make the reader work too hard to understand your main point or your purpose. So, if you’re doing a good job, you’re very clear about what the purpose of your communication is. Okay, so go back and think about your example. Whether you are writing to tell somebody that they should do something or simply exchanging information. And, expecting them to read it but not respond.
Clarity of Purpose in Business Writing
So, think about your purpose for the message that you need to write. Maybe, you’re writing to persuade somebody to correct a problem to clarify something. That’s confusing to send you something or to take some other action if you’re writing to inform them. You’re just telling them the facts not just might be very important facts, but you’re sharing facts you’re letting them know the consequence of some actions or failures to act.
If you’re offering a solution to a problem or it might be another topic. But you’re giving them some information, you’re not expecting them to take immediate action, you’re sharing information. So, imagine they read your email, they smile, they minimize it, and they move on if you’re informing them. When you’re asking them to do something, they’re turning in to the reply. And, they’re getting back to you and giving you the information, you need.
Real-life Examples of Professional Writing Skills
Subject = Annual Sales Conference
I would like you to consider it. Moving this year’s sales conference to the horizons, the Resort in Marina horizons has all the facilities we need. And, offered us an excellent package I’ve enclosed details Marina is centrally located and is served by all the major airlines. If we sign a contract by January 15th, horizons will give us an additional 10% discount.
Please! let me know if you need more information, I’d like to confirm confluence plans by the end of next week.
Well, before the holiday break and there is assuming, we assume that there’s a closing there as well. All right, so let’s say that this is what we’re probably writing to influence.
Somebody to take some action here, right? We want to see some action but let’s look at this example.
Subject = Three-Week Shift
Excuse me! Three shifts coverage in processing for the last several weeks. We’ve been provided with three shift coverage in the processing department company. Employees have covered the day shift and swing shift. A temporary employee has been covering the night shift a third shift was covered on a trial basis and it’s scheduled to end this week. This arrangement has been satisfactory and we should continue it.
Analysis of Examples
We’ve changed our purpose. Originally, we were just giving information. Now, we’re offering some suggestions we want somebody to do something. So, read why Eileen says to George please confirm arrangements for shift coverage? I recommend that we continue our three-shift coverage please let me know what you decide. The coverage has been working out very well in the processing department.
So, this person has thought clearly about their point, and their main purpose for writing. And, they’ve thought if I just give information, I may not get the results I need. And, it’s appropriate for me to write here to persuade somebody to influence them to do something.
So, my main point is going to be stated very clearly at the beginning I recommend that we continue.
So, Eileen has gone on to say we’ve met all the deadlines and made the most efficient use of employees’ time. That’s because we’ve had company employees cover the day shift and swing shifts. And, we hired a temporary employee thanks if you can let me know this week if we continue. This can continue this arrangement.
So, clearly stated by the way if you tell somebody to do something in the form of persuasive or influential writing. They’re generally going to ask you why. So, your job isn’t just to tell them what you think should be done.
Another Real-life Example:
Subject = Address the Meeting
Now, here we’re persuading again the reader to address the meeting.
I’m Dear Miss Leighton, we suspect you’re very busy. But we would be delighted if you’d agree to be the keynote speaker in early October at the first meeting of the new Glendale climbers Club. Please let us know if you’d be available. Our members would be happy to hear, that they take a minute and redo the rest.
But, generally what are our readers doing by the way our readers are skimming? They’re skimming the beginning of a message to see what the most important message is so be clear at the beginning of every message.
Are you writing to persuade or writing to inform? Otherwise, known as influence or info what is your most important purpose?
And, if you’re just writing to inform, be clear that we will hold our first meeting on Thursday and our keynote speaker will be_________.
Do you notice the difference? Here, previously we said please join us we’d like you, and here’s why and here we’re simply sharing information about the meeting.
So, remember the first step in our planning process was around thinking about our readers how busy are they, how they are going to read the message, and what information they are interested in hearing from you.
Steps in the Writing Plan Process
Our second step in the planning process is to be clear about our purpose. Are you writing to inform or writing to influence?
In everyday business communication, determine a primary purpose which is either to inform or to influence. Once you’ve followed steps one and step two in our planning process, we’re going to move on to step three, writing the Main Idea.
Write a key Sentence (Main Idea/ Thesis Statement)
A Document from Mr. Weller:
Subject = Safety
Safety is our number one concern and our safety record shows that we’re altering well. There’s a lot of traffic on the block of Jefferson Street between South Main and Mission, the street Steve’s heavy traffic very regularly. Yet its current condition as a safety hazard the street should probably be widened that would have tremendous benefits and we’d certainly get the job done a night permit would allow us to start right away.
Difference between Academic Writing and Business Writing
As we mentioned earlier academic writing and business writing are different. We did academic writing when we were in school. Oftentimes, we were required to write 13 pages and our main point our most important point was the conclusion and which was at the end of the 13 pages. But, in business writing, people are not reading every word I like to say. Because they are not lingering over every word of your writing. Probably, they’re skimming and scanning looking for the most important message.
Organization in writing Skills
The important point is that we’ve taken the time to group our ideas and logically organize them. Why? Because it’s much more rational and easier for the reader to follow. So, there are different ways again to organize your ideas. You may choose different topics for organizing. So, you may organize based on costs or ease of use or time frame, or a different kind of feature. Here, is another example of an organizing schemes. It might be the first year; a scheme might be the first scheme one might be:
- first year
- second year
- third year
scheme two might be:
You know again the most important point is that you take ways to categorize other ideas might be as the pros and cons. That’s one that people can fall back on all the time:
These are great ways to organize the content and group it in ways that are helpful for the reader. So, here’s you know one that we can do together essentially, how could we group these ideas?
These are all-different sports activities that we need to group in different ways. So, surfing, skiing, windsurfing, and snowboarding how might we group those we could group them by water-related or non-water-related in workshops?
More Similar Examples
- Winter Sports
- Summer Sports
- Seasonal Sports
- Expensive Sports
- Less expensive Sports
Think about how you identified your reader and your purpose, your main point about all your readers’ questions.
How do we implement this, how the ordering works and how do we communicate this new process what’s the budget around this process, who gets to decide, and what things we include you want to do a great job of brainstorming?
All your facts and ideas and then organize them into logical categories, so that anyone can follow your most important point. But the idea is to get results with your writing to make sure that the time that you spend communicating achieves the results you need.
The tone, and how you present a professional message should be according to the nature of writing. Because we’re not telling people immediately, just add all of the softening languages.
But, it’s important to own a planning process before you jump into lesson two which is planning or writing the first draft that you own this planning process. Adapt it to your needs but you’ve thought through all the components. This is an important step in the journey of presenting a professional image to your reader.