Becoming a good business writer is more about what you should “not” do than what you should. It’s about slashing and pruning, de-jargonizing and editing your work. Avoid carrying the legacy of school essay writing into your professional life. School essays had definite structures, with an introduction, main body (of the argument or thesis) and a conclusion. In the busy corporate world, however, nobody has the time to read a long-winded introduction or conclusion to an email. More often than not, business writing is about making a sales pitch to a client or persuading employees to act in a certain manner, the key word being “persuasion”. To achieve this end, the sooner you leave behind your “school essay” mindset, the faster will be the leap into your career as a successful business writer.
Remember that writing is all about engaging your audience with useful content (refer to the article that BrandKnew featured some time back on http://bit.ly/2zw3Hrc). There are certain “dos” and “don’ts”. Let’s look at how small differences in your writing can help you triumph over employees and clients. Firstly, get rid of the school essay structure format. Think of yourself as the CEO of a company writing an essential email to your employees, persuading them to act in a certain way. If you write a long and verbose email (with an introduction, main body, and a conclusion), chances are your email will only get a cursory look and may not get the attention it deserves. The reason for this is simple: readers, especially busy ones with no time on hand, have a habit of scanning through information in newspapers or emails, rather than diligently studying their content. So, if you want to strike the right chord with your target audience, good writing sense suggests you get straight to the point.
Your time-pressed employees or clients will only, at best, scan through your piece of communication on a busy day. Good business writing is about rising to the challenge of a reader who scans. Experts suggest that stating the main intent of your email (the exact action you want your employees to take) right at the beginning is the way to start. Give them information that is most valuable to them right at the beginning because, given the short attention spans of busy employees, chances are they will not reach the bottom of the email (or even the middle for that matter).
Another useful technique to make your writing effective and compelling is to insert headlines and subheadings to grab your reader’s attention (which is also known as signposting in journalism). Make the paragraphs short and punchy. And if there is any context (history or reference to the past), that can come at the end. Don’t forget that white space is considered good in business writing – experts go to the extent of saying that it is easy on the eyes. So, leave a lot of white space in your email. This is more likely to take the attention of your reader to what is written than if the document was crammed with a lot of content with no white space.
It is also important to remember that the subject line in an email conveys what the reader should expect in the body of the email and should not be vague and meaningless. These are simple but impactful and compelling tips and you could try these in your next communication with a client or employees. The good news is that those who appreciate the importance of Business Writing and Email Writing outsource some of the work to experts.
To be continued…
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