Not long ago, you might have left your office and traveled down the hall whenever you wanted to speak with a colleague. Or perhaps you held in-person meetings to inform your staff of significant changes.
A lot has changed since the pandemic, and much of today’s business goings-on take place in written form. Indeed, in the post-pandemic world, you’re more likely to fire off an email than talk with a coworker. So good business writing skills are a must.
With this in mind, we’ve dedicated this article to discussing easy ways to improve your business writing skills, no matter your experience level.
1. Take Advantage of Writing Resources
The internet is full of writing resources you can use for free. For example, there are readability and grammar checkers, as well as business writing courses you can take. Online dictionaries and thesauruses can help you choose words that make a statement and keep you from sounding repetitive. All these resources are designed to help strengthen your writing skills, which can ultimately help you advance in your career.
2. Collect Your Thought Before Writing
To avoid incomplete thoughts and meandering messages, take a moment to consider what you want to say before you begin writing. Jot down a quick outline of the points you want to hit and the main message you want to convey.
If you try to work out your thoughts as you write, your message may get lost, or your writing may sound repetitive and unprofessional. So, always think (and plan) before you write!
3. Understand the Recipient’s Role and Personality
Regardless of your line of business, you likely encounter all kinds of people at work. From the shipping and receiving clerk to the company CEO, how you communicate with each person must differ.
Your tone, vocabulary, and professionalism might be more laid back for some colleagues than others. The key is to know who you’re talking to, understand their role, and tailor your business writing accordingly.
4. Proofread and Edit
Once you have written your email, proposal, or report, don’t send it off immediately. Instead, review it and check for errors, unclear thoughts, and grammatical issues. Use grammar tools to check these things and fix what you can.
When you think your work is good enough, read through it again out loud. You’d be surprised at how different (and possibly hard to comprehend) your writing sounds when read aloud. This process will help you identify any remaining issues before you send the piece off.
5. Gather Feedback from Trusted Sources
Getting feedback from other professionals you trust can help you improve your writing skills. When asking for feedback, be specific about what you’re seeking. Does the writing sound professional? Is the piece worded well with concise thoughts and sentence structures? If you struggle with a particular aspect of business writing, seek feedback and guidance in that area specifically.
Trusted colleagues and other professionals who regularly conduct business writing tasks are usually the best sources for helpful, honest feedback. Just be sure to avoid taking their critiques personally. Their feedback is there to help you improve your writing skills, not attack you on a personal level.
Much of today’s business is conducted via emails, reports, proposals, and even text messages. So good writing skills are more critical than ever. Use the tips above to improve your business writing skills, but most importantly, never stop learning about the written word.