Don’t Write Off Good Business Writing

Communication skills are an essential part of any industry. Good business writing can communicate ideas in ways that neither spoken nor visual media can express. The written word carries the greatest authority and conveys the most credibility. 


Good business writing provides the following advantages to communication:
  • Ensures consistent, uniform delivery of your message.
  • Enables you to communicate with those you cannot reach in person.
  • Extends the useful life of your message by making your message more memorable.
  • Provides a form of self-checking to assess whether your thoughts are clear and organized.
Good writing is built on good ideas, but good ideas do not automatically produce good writing. If your ideas are mediocre, no amount of skill can conceal this weakness. 

Good business writing requires these four foundations:
  1. Clear organization of your thoughts.
  2. Logical development of an argument.
  3. Appropriate writing style and vocabulary.
  4. Attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax.

1. Clear Organization of your Thoughts

As you approach a writing task, organize your thoughts on the subject by developing an outline. The outline is the framework of your writing and a valuable tool that helps prevent inconsistencies in organization.

As you prepare the outline, you assemble a document that expresses how you think about the subject. Put yourself in the reader’s place to determine if your message will be understood.

2. Logical Development of an Argument

Your ideas should be presented, developed, and concluded logically. Review your outline for internal inconsistencies. A convincing argument should lead the reader to your conclusions, which should be the logical, natural result of your thought process. While you may need to elaborate on a particular point, there should be no digressions from your logic.

3. Appropriate Writing Style and Vocabulary

Use a writing style that is appropriate to the situation and type of document. A terse, formal style may be appropriate for budget reports, but not for a personal memo. Likewise, a folksy, conversational style for a formal project proposal may appear amateurish. Some people write as they speak, which is usually not an effective form of written business correspondence. To avoid this mistake, read your writing outloud and place yourself in the reader’s position, and/or ask someone else to review it.

Always remember that you do not need a large vocabulary to impress people. Clarity and brevity will impress. Wordiness won’t.

4. Attention to Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation, and Syntax

Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation add credibility to your ideas and help the reader grasp your point. Correct syntax enables you to express ideas simply. Some of the most common problems in business writing include run-on sentences, lack of subject-verb agreement, and lengthy paragraphs.

By applying these four foundations to your business writing, you will sharpen your writing skills set and in turn, become more confident and methodical in your abilities.

This article is adapted from BOMI International’s course Fundamentals of Facilities Management. More information regarding this course is available by calling 1.800.235.2664. Visit BOMI International’s website, www.bomi.org.

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