Business writing is an essential skill for surviving in the corporate world, therefore, it is important to learn and improve on this ability when you are completing your professional studies and acquiring a professional qualification.
Writing business reports, technical memos, articles, business plans, blogs or even formal emails not only requires an understanding of the relevant subject matter but also requires the writer to understand how the piece needs to be structured along with a good command over grammar and vocabulary. Honing these skills can take some time, however, below are some simple tips that can help improve your business writing skills:
Brush up on the basics
If you have taken a business writing course as part of your professional studies then the first place to start off in improving your writing skills is to revisit your course and brush up on the basics of grammar, spelling, vocabulary and, most importantly, how to structure your writing.
If you have not taken a business writing course before then it would be advisable to take formal classroom training or take an online course. Websites like Udemy, Coursera, Lynda.com and Khan Academy have a number of business writing courses that you can check out.
There is also no shame in picking up your old high school English Grammar course book to revisit some of the basics of English writing and grammar.
Read often and analyze what you read
The people who write well also read a lot so it is important to regularly read the type of work and subjects that you want to be able to write yourself. Also, it is important to analyze the pieces you read and understand the fundamental writing principles involved in producing these pieces. Once you understand the techniques used by other more renowned writers then apply these on your own work.
Improve your vocabulary
Having a good vocabulary is necessary to good business writing. When reading other pieces of writing, always take note of new words you find. In addition, also look out for alternative words to express yourself when writing your own business reports . You can look for alternate words in the dictionary or find synonyms in Microsoft Word. You will be surprised that you can often find better and more formal words to express yourself compared to the word you may have been using in the first place. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:
Do your research
When writing a business report, do proper research on the type of business report that is required for the relevant subject. You will need to understand how to structure your report and what headings you need to cover. Look at examples of similar reports to understand what you need to do before starting your own work. You can find useful Microsoft Office templates and examples at https://templates.office.com/.
Make a list of things to cover in your report
Before you start writing anything, it is important to make an outline of the points you want to cover in your business report or article. Make sure you revisit this list and keep updating it as you make progress through your piece. This will keep track of all the items you want to cover and ensure that you do not miss any important details.
Think about your audience
When writing any piece of work, always think about the audience who will be reading the piece. Think about the tone of the writing and how it would sound if you were reading it out aloud. For example, a business report required to be submitted for an external corporate matter may have a more formal tone compared to a report required to be submitted internally within the same organization.
Be clear and concise
When writing, it is important that you explain your points as clearly and as concisely as possible. This can only happen when you have a good understanding of the topic you are covering and also of the points to be covered in your business report or article. It is important to note that simple writing can often be more effective to get your points across rather than writing a long complicated article.
Proofread and edit your work as many times as needed
When completing your work for submission or publishing, always read and re-read the piece to ensure your points are coming across in the manner that you intend. You can often pick up small silly mistakes when proofreading an article or report so it is important that you take out time to do a proper read through before submitting or publishing your work. If you are not satisfied with the results, then you may need to edit the report multiple times to give it a finished look. So you may also need to be patient!
Ask for feedback on your work
Before publishing or submitting any piece of work, it is always beneficial to ask a friend or family member to read your work and provide feedback on the same. This will give you another person’s perspective on the piece and provide you with valuable thoughts on how you can improve it. Finding and working with a ‘writing buddy’ can help you immensely and, although it can sometimes be difficult to receive honest comments on your work, however, this will be beneficial for you in the long run.
I hope that the above tips are beneficial as these are mainly based on my own experience of writing business reports and articles over the last 15 years. However, feel free to let me know of other tips that I may have missed and which may have helped you in the past.