I’ve been sharing some of the writing mistakes that people make on public signs etc. for a while now on my facebook page and in my newsletter. It makes you laugh how silly the errors are.
It’s not so silly when people make themselves look foolish on their facebook posts – or in their business communications – because they aren’t being careful with their spelling and grammar.
Do you tell them, and risk being labelled a “grammar nazi,” or do you ignore it, and let them continue to make fools of themselves? I still don’t know the answer.
I do know that some people get offended if I offer to proofread something for them – surely, I am not suggesting that they need help with WRITING?
It’s a tricky area. It takes a wise person to know when they may need some help.
But that’s what I do – I help people with their business communication, and a big slice of that is business writing.
So here are some tips if you are a business owner, or if you are a manager.
The esteemed Stuart Goldstein a Senior Corporate Communications Counsellor for over 20 years said, “Writing effectively is not an academic exercise, it is a business imperative.”
Whether it’s writing a business proposal, communicating your latest team successes, or writing a business process document, your success relies on how well you engage your audience.
To do this requires good writing skills.
Writing effectively means:
· Knowledge of the basics of business writing,
· A clear and concise style,
· Knowledge of grammar and structure,
· Knowing how to choose the best format for your communication,
· Knowing how to grab and hold your audience’s attention.
Whether it’s writing reports, memos, job procedures, performance appraisals, letters, proposals, meeting agendas, minutes, memos, brochures, ads, speeches, articles, powerpoint presentations or e-mails, writing is a daily job responsibility.
Doing it well is a critical to effective management.
Written communications are a reflection of professional image.
You can’t afford to let your business communications get lost in the crowd—not if you want to inspire your customers to buy, encourage your employees to work harder, or simply invite associates to a business luncheon.
Effective business writing is clear, concise, correct, complete, and coherent.
How you write is a reflection of your professional image.
Anything that is written could potentially be used against you or the company in a court of law.
Here are the 10 ESSENTIAL things that you need to know about any writing that you do for business:
1. Know your audience
· You should be aware of who the message is for, because that will affect how you write it.
· You are not writing to impress others, you are writing to inform others.
· You should understand exactly what your audience knows, what they don’t know, what they need to know and what they would like to know.
2. Plan your work
· When you write, it doesn’t automatically come out in the right order.
· How you are going to write depends on what you are going to write.
3. Know your message
· Be very clear about what you are going to say.
· If you don’t know something, or aren’t sure of it – do your research.
4. Devise your structure
· Should you use a template?
· Are there specific rules for the type of writing you are doing?
· Do an outline and make sure everything is in a logical order.
5. Make everything concise
· Your documents should be as long as they need to be…
· …but as short as possible.
· Your paragraphs should say what they need to say and nothing more.
· Your sentences should have no wasted words.
6. Decide on the style
· Look at your headers
· Your subheaders
· Your bullet points
· Your graphics
· Your overall layout
· And your fonts.
7. Get rid of the jargon
· Revise jargon,
· Business speak, and
8. Avoid abbreviations
· Abbreviations and textspeak don’t belong in business documents
· Nor do emoticons…
9. Use the active voice
· It encourages readers to stay on track.
· It helps them to understand what you are saying.
· It helps sales.
10. Edit and Proofread
· Error-free documents make you look like the professional you are.
Is your business writing reflecting your professionalism?
People judge you by the way you write. Superiors, colleagues, employees, customers, and others form impressions about the type of manager you are from the way you communicate in writing.
Do you ever wonder if you are giving people the best impression possible of your business?
Perhaps you know people who need to improve their writing skills?
On 26 November at the Clever Centre in Corrimal, I will offer a course:
Effective Professional Communication for Business Owners and Managers: Achieve your goals with clear and compelling writing.
We will cover the 10 topics that I have just discussed, PLUS how to save 40% of the time you waste on emails by following a few simple steps.
Know your audience
Plan your work
Know your message
Devise your structure
Make everything concise
Decide on the style
Get rid of the jargon
Use the active voice
Edit and Proofread
How to save 40% of the time you waste on emails.
This is sure to be useful in your business, or in a friend’s business.
Also, on 21 November at the Clever Centre in Corrimal, I will run a course on:
The Secrets of writing a winning proposal
Making it simple: The different types of proposals explained.
What should go into a business proposal?
How to structure a winning proposal
A simple formula for business proposals
Proposal layout and formatting – make it easy to read!
Give them what they want!
20 things you must have to win your next proposal
10 ways fear can cause you to lose proposals.
The mark of the Professional: making it the best it can be.
Hoping to see you all soon!