When talking about business writing, the first word that pops in almost everyone’s mind is formality. A business writing piece must have a no-nonsense quality since as a business writer, you don’t want to waste the time of your readers. No need to use flowery, overly expressive words; what you need to do is be concise, clear and accurate. You need to make sure that the message you want to convey is easily understandable.
There are different types of letters that fall under business writing: memos, cover letters, resumes, business proposal, letter of request and many more. Although they have different purposes, the basic rule of business writing stays the same. You need to show professionalism; to do this there are different things you have to consider.
Organizing your Thoughts. Before you start writing, you should know what exactly you are writing about. You need to make sure that the topic you want to discuss is the focus of your letter. For resumes, memos and business letters, focusing on the real subject is much easier compared to composing a proposal or a business report. Collect all the data necessary and filter the ones that are most important and make it the prominent part of your piece.
Write in an Active Voice. An active sentence means that the subject of your thought is the one doing the action and not receiving it. It is direct to the point and the message is clear. Write in an active voice instead of a passive voice so that your subject is not buried underneath your sentence. For example, instead of saying “On the 30th of June 2009, the new rules and regulations shall take effect.” say “The new rules and regulations will be effective as of June 30, 2009.” The focus should be on the subject at hand.
Consider Your Readers. Whenever composing a business report or making a presentation, bear in mind that what you want to say might differ from what they (your readers) want to read. There are different departments in a company, focusing on different tasks; the level of detail in your composition should complement a specific department. For example, if you’re making an annual company report most of the gritty details are expected to be presented to the boss; all the details concerning the security procedures should be given to the security department; however, the rest of the employees doesn’t need to be overburdened by such details.
Once you gathered all the information that you need, start writing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t make much sense of it in the first glance; just write everything that crosses your mind. For some people, this doesn’t work; they prefer smoothing things out as they go along so find your own style and pace.
Review and Edit. When you’ve finished your report or letter, read it over and over until you’re sure that you’re satisfied with your work. Do not be complacent, check every word, every punctuation mark, and every sentence – check everything! You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of you bosses, co-workers or business partners.