Making your writing stand out is essential. How can you ensure that it’s as straightforward and effective as possible? Your correspondence constantly flows through senior executives and clients, so keeping them engaged with a creative approach will give you an edge when trying to win business or maintain customer satisfaction.
You probably write on the job every time: proposals to clients, memos to senior executives, a constant flow of emails to colleagues. But how can you ensure that all your communications are engaging to capture attention from busy counterparts like CEOs and CMOS? It’s essential for success; they read what we send! Keeping our work interesting sets us apart and ensures high-quality output since we always try new things before sending anything off.
What I Advise Can You Take from Business Experts?
When you think about it, good writing is all in mind. The best ideas can mean nothing if we can’t communicate them well enough for people to understand and appreciate our thinking process. Kara Blackburn, a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, said, “Luckily, everyone has this capacity to improve.”
Think and Brainstorm Before You Write
It is essential to know what you want to say when writing; don’t rush it! If the answer isn’t clear after taking some time back and thinking about it more carefully, it takes even longer. It’s better than not knowing where your point of view or argument lies in a piece of text.
Hold back for just a moment before you write anything down. “The mistake that many people commit regularly that is they start writing prematurely,” says Garner. You want to ask yourself, what should my audience know or think after reading this email, proposal, or report? If the answer isn’t clear yet, then you’re moving too quickly! Step back and spend more time collecting thoughts instead. “Blackburn advises.”
Provide Direct Insights
Most people find that the writing style and structure they developed in school don’t work well when writing for businesses. The effective way to rectify this is by making your point right up front like Garner suggests. Instead of delaying until later down the page, state your argument within 150 words so that everyone can get where you’re coming from sooner than expected! Many writers use sentences such as “my main idea will be discussed at the end,” which wastes readers’ time since they have already thoroughly absorbed what you are saying before it even comes out.
Make Short Presentation
Focus on condensing your work without removing important information. Cut out unnecessary words and sentences that aren’t vital to making a point or conveying an idea. Don’t use excessive phrases like “general opinion” when you can say “consensus.” If readers feel writing is verbose, they will start tuning it out immediately, so make sure every word works toward the more central message you want to convey!
The writer suggests deleting prepositions (point of view becomes viewpoint), replacing -ion words with action verbs (protected to becomes protected), using contractions, and swapping is, are, or was for stronger verbs.
Minimize the Use of Jargons
You may be tempted to apply industry jargon and acronyms in your business writing. This is a mistake because using too many will make it seem like you’re not thinking, or worse, the reader won’t understand what you are saying. Blackburn says, “Jargon doesn’t add any value,” but clarity and conciseness never go out of style.”
In Garner’s writing tips, he suggests creating a blocklist of words to avoid. This list includes terms like “actionable,” “core competency,” and others that have become overused in today’s business world. He also cautions against using grandiose language as it is often mistaken for a sign of intelligence but isn’t genuine.
Address Your Readers Effectively
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Is the point of your passage clear and well structured? Are sentences straightforward, concise, and interesting enough to engage readers? Blackburn suggests reading passages out loud. “That’s where those flaws reveal themselves: gaps in arguments; clunky sentence; a section that is two paragraphs too long,” she says. And don’t be afraid to request feedback! Welcome it as an act of friendship, not aggression.”
Strengthen Your Writing Skills through Practice
Blackburn insists that writing is a skill, and one can improve their ability to write by practicing regularly. Garner suggests reading well-written material every day while paying attention to word choice, sentence structure, flow, etc. He also recommends investing in reference guides like Fowler’s Modern English Usage on grammar and style for your personal use as needed; most importantly, though, he emphasizes the importance of building time into our schedules for editing or revising what we’ve written before it gets published or shared with others.
Blackburn stresses the importance of rewriting your writing to become a better writer. This takes patience, but it is time well spent because employers will notice good writers during job hiring processes.
Be Open to Share Your Work; Don’t Be Scared with Negative Feedback.
David McCombie realized that the writing style he honed at Harvard Law School wasn’t well suited for executive-level communications when working as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. David’s transition from sociology to philosophy was a natural one, given his penchant for structure.
“It was the presentation of my arguments,” David says. “I wanted things to be more straightforward.” His move away from theory and toward empirical work has yielded fruitful results in feedback received by students taking his courses—the majority have reported that they appreciated being able to get straight to the point without wasting their time with unnecessary preamble or lengthy explanations.
Business communication should start with the conclusion to get your point across effectively, says author and expert Scott Britton.
To make his writing more direct and practical, David reached out to several of his senior colleagues and asked them for any past presentations or reports that they might have done. He wanted these pieces as an example because he figured it’d help get a better understanding of what their previous work looked like. He also copied trusted colleagues who were exceptionally skilled communicators on essential emails to ask them about specific techniques they used when sending messages in the workplace.
David McCombie is the founder of a private equity firm in Miami called The McCombie group. He says he sends anything necessary to his partner and knows not to take any edits personally because they talk about better ways to convey an idea, which is more succinct.
Through improving his writing, David has become an influential voice in the field of private equity.