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Bringing Your Business Writing into the 21st Century

Part of the Business Writing For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

In business you succeed by achieving your goals. Tailor your business writing so it works in the same way and achieves what you want it to. In order to create successful business communication, be sure your writing is:

  • Clear and simple. Except for technical material directed at specialists, no subject matter or idea is so complex that you cannot express it in clear, simple language. You automatically move forward a step by accepting this basic premise and practicing it.

  • Conversational. Business writing is reader-friendly and accessible, far closer to spoken language than the more formal and traditional style. It may even come across as casual or spontaneous. This quality, however, doesn’t give you a free pass on grammar, punctuation, and the other technicalities.

  • Correct. Noticeable mistakes interfere with your reader’s ability to understand you. Further, in today’s competitive world, careless writing deducts points you can’t afford to lose. People judge you by every piece of writing you create, and you need to live up to your best self. However, good contemporary writing allows substantial leeway in observing grammatical niceties.

  • Persuasive. When you dig beneath the surface, most messages and documents ask something of the reader. This request may be minor (‘Meet me at Restaurant X at 4’to major (‘Please fund this proposal; a million will do’). Even when you’re just asking for or providing information, frame your message to suit your reader’s viewpoint.

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