Why Having Good Business Writing Skills Is So Important
Business writing skill is a targeted form of writing designed to facilitate clear communication. In this digital age where everything is mostly done virtually, good business writing skill has been deemed as one of the most useful skills to have. Emails, reports, letters, presentation slides, and social media updates; all of them require good business writing skill to be executed. In this article, we are going to look at why good business writing skills are important and how you can improve them.
1. Ensure effective business communication
When doing business, we have no choice but to write all of our correspondence. Say we have 20 clients to cater to, the probability for us to see all 20 of them are zero to none. Hence, we turn to another form of communication which is writing. Having good business writing skills will ensure that everything is written in a proficient, comprehensive, and informative way. Miscommunication will also be less likely to happen, hence improving the team’s innovative way of delivering the message will create fewer delays in understanding a certain matter.
2. Boosts brand reputation and drives more sales
People have the misconception that writing skills are only needed when you are in the marketing or content team. In reality, writing skills are useful for every department. Why? Because there is no escape in writing when you are working in an organisation. Even the emails you write every day needs to be written properly. This is because poorly written materials will be seen as less credible and will make your company seem unprofessional. Whereas well-written materials will make your company seem more credible and reliable which will then make people see your company in a positive light.
3. Elevate your leadership skill
This one goes to all the managers and team leaders. Many factors contribute to being a good manager or team lead. One of them is writing clear and concise emails and work instructions. Giving out clear instructions will not only improve the employees’ work quality but it will also improve their relationship with you and encourage work collaborations. With good business writing skills in hand, you will know how to encourage and influence others to achieve their goals as well as sound convincing without being pushy.
4. Boost your confidence and career
In this digital age, a good writer can easily build a solid web presence. In the pressure of keeping oneself relevant, an organisation will appreciate people who can produce high-quality content. Once you have mastered this fine art, chances are you will make yourself irreplaceable while also increasing your chance to get a promotion. People with good writing skills will immediately be deemed as the best communicator. So, get ready to be busy because you will be given more responsibility and the more responsibility you get, the more things you can add to your resume.
5. Business writing is a form of professional courtesy
Remember the times when your mother borrowed the aunty next door’s Tupperware and your mother will fill it up with food before she returns it? That is a form of politeness and courtesy. Now, think of business writing as you returning someone’s Tupperware. Formal business correspondence is equal to politeness and considerate attention to detail in face-to-face conversation. A good business email or presentation shows the writer’s respect for the receiver and the company they work for. Excellent word choice and minimum to no grammar mistakes will highlight one’s professional etiquette.
How to improve your business writing skill?
1. Think before you start writing
When it comes to writing, it is always best to take a moment and think about what you want to write and how you can express it most conveniently. The easiest method to do so? 5Ws + H rule:
- Who: Who is your audience?
- What: What do they need to know?
- When: When did this happen and when do they need to know it?
- Why: Why do they need to know?
- How: How should they apply this information?
Once you get the skeleton done, the rest will fall into place.
2. Be direct: Make your point
Do not be wordy. People seem to link intelligence with the choice of words you use. This can’t be further from the truth as you do not have to use bombastic words all the time to make yourself look like the smartest person in the room. A message that is conveyed simply and concisely shows that you have a clearer headspace. People are busy and running against the clock all the time, so be concise. One way you can do it is by deleting prepositions as suggested by Bryan Garner, author of The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing.
3. Always be professional
When writing, you will solely depend on your words to get your message across. People can’t see your hand gestures or facial expressions. So, try your best to avoid throwing jokes or office gossips to avoid any misunderstanding. Your words can easily be manipulated and twisted so do not jeopardise your position for the sake of being light or funny.
4. Read what you write and proofread
Put yourself in the readers’ shoes and ask yourself whether the points are clear. It is also okay to get a second or third opinion. Do not be afraid to ask for your colleagues’ opinions. Having another fresh pair of eyes to look at your work is always a good idea. Once you do that, always be open to welcome their feedback. Do not be resentful as their comments are for you to improve your work and never to attack you personally.
5. Practice every day
Writing is a skill that needs to be sharpened consistently. One way you can improve your writing skills is to read well-written materials such as articles from Times, Forbes, etc. while focusing on its grammar, word choice, and sentence structure. To take it up another notch, you can invest in a good grammar book such as Fowler’s Modern English Usage. This book has been raved by all sorts of writers for its’ lesson on comprehensive and practical advice on grammar, syntax, style, and choice of words. Other than that, you can also make use of online tools such as Grammarly to ensure your spelling and grammar are correct.
To conclude, good business writing skill does not have to be boring nor does it have to be intimidating. Of course, you can spice it up and make it fun (looking at your targeted audience) but the most important thing is to convey your message across while keeping you and your company’s reputation in check. So, write, read, proofread, and edit. You got this!