It pays to write well and fast. Here’s how to prevent the most common business writing blunders that can sink a project, your credibility, or your career:
Prevent Business Writing Blunders: 5 Best Practices
Don’t Start Too Early
The toughest part of writing is thinking. When your thinking has been insufficient and you draft too early, what often drips from your fingertips is drivel. Think first; then write.
Put Self-Interests Aside
Frankly, readers don’t care all that much about you, the writer. They care about themselves. You can revolutionize the response to your emails, proposals, and reports by analyzing and focusing on what’s of interest to your readers.
Ask Yourself “So What?”
Beat the reader to it. Your document shouldn’t leave the reader with a grimace, thinking, “So what? Why did you tell me this? What do you want me to do?” Don’t leave readers to guess how they should interpret what your message “means” for them. Their next action or your next action should be crystal clear.
Avoid the Brain Dump
Some writers intend to be “comprehensive.” They include everything related to the subject that anyone on their distribution list might want to know. In doing so, they bury key ideas for other, more important readers. That habit makes you appear to some readers as incapable of sorting the significant from the trivial details.
So organize your information for the identified, primary readers. Then provide a source or link to find additional information for interested readers in exceptional situations.
Expect to Edit
Even the biggest movie stars do retakes. Even authors of blockbuster bestselling books have editors. In fact, I love my book editors! It only stands to reason that business writers would recognize the need for editing their work. Unfortunately, many don’t. They draft, they scan, they send.
Nothing helps you catch writing weaknesses like a cool-off period. Overnight is good. A couple of hours will do. Look for gaps in logic, buried ideas, disorganized details, missing information, wordiness, format flaws, style matters, and grammar mistakes.
These five best practices will strengthen your business writing dramatically.
Learn more ways to improve your business writing and communication in Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire and Get Things Done. Download an excerpt by clicking here or on the image below.