23 Jan

Effective communication is necessary for success in any area of business. From internal communication to sales funnels, networking to invoicing, and meetings to marketing - what you say and how you say it shapes people’s opinions and perceptions of you and your company. 

Strong writing leads to increased productivity, engagement, motivation, and collaboration. Conversely, ineffective communication can cause unnecessary confusion and complications at work. When you improve your business writing, you improve the effectiveness of your organization. Here are four ways to improve your business writing. 

Know your Audience

Identifying who you're speaking to is incredibly important when communicating. Is your message internal communication or external? A client or peer? How familiar are they with technical terms or industry jargon? 

Build a mental profile of the person reading your writing. By doing this, you’ll be able to communicate empathetically with your reader, which will help you create persuasive content and help prevent speaking above or below their knowledge level. 

  • Try asking yourself these questions to identify your audience: 
  • Who am I trying to reach with this message? 
  • What do I need from them? 
  • Why will this message be important to them? 
  • What are their priorities? 
  • How can I shape this message so it positively impacts both me and my audience? 

Identify your Goals

What is the purpose behind your message? Whether you are asking a question, looking for a specific response, or providing information and resources, you risk losing your readers if your intent is unclear.  It becomes another missive to passively skim and promptly forget. 

Before you start writing, make sure you know what you’re trying to convey (and how you want your readers to respond). Identifying which type of business writing you need will help craft a clear and concise message. 

  • Instructional- This provides the reader with specific information needed to complete a task and often provides steps for the process. Knowing how much information and context your reader has before your message is vital. 
  • Informational- An account or record of business information; this is often an update that requires no follow-up from your readers. Most internal informational communication is reporting and used as an archive. If follow-up is needed, be sure to specify the desired response. 
  • Persuasive- Your message offers both information and value to the reader; it solves a problem and solidifies you as an expert in their mind. This writing is most often external and focuses on the issues you can solve for your readers.  
  • Transactional- Often used for more conversational, back-and-forth messages both internally and externally. Primarily used in emails and client communication, transactional messages should address any questions from the previous communication while furthering the conversation to entice a response. 

Keep it Simple

Often, we write as a stream of consciousness. This is fine for a draft or note-taking. However, this can make your writing meandering and repetitive. Business writing requires the skill to reduce long, rambling sentences into concise, clear ones. 

When we use simple or plain language, we increase processing fluency- the brain’s ability to process information. Short sentences, familiar words, and simple structure ensure that the reader doesn’t have to exert too much brainpower to understand your meaning. 

  • Restructure long or rambling sentences 
  • Make sure the information is relevant and adds value 
  • Format messages with bullet points if they are content-heavy
  •  Use direct phases that won’t be misunderstood or misinterpreted 
  • Be consistent with fonts, spacing, headers, and attachments

Avoid Jargon

We’re all guilty of using these phrases in team meetings, one-on-ones, and even in casual conversation. However, most of these instances happen in real-time, where you can clarify meaning immediately to avoid misunderstandings when questions arise. In addition, corporate jargon can convey a lack of direction or anxiety and insecurity when communicating via writing. 

Jargon refers to vague and ambiguous terms in place of clearly understood phrases. Often, corporate jargon includes euphemisms, buzzwords, or obscure, ambiguous phrases. By cutting out and rephrasing jargon, you create a clear message that won’t leave your readers with more questions than answers. 

Here are some jargon terms to look out for 

Circle back to 

  • Trim the fat 
  • Low hanging fruit 
  • Can we leverage 
  • Bleeding edge 
  • Boil the ocean 
  • Drill down 
  • Bandwidth 
  • Game changer 

When communication falters, it causes confusion and misunderstandings. Solid writing is the key to success and has a ripple effect on your organization. Remember, you’re writing to communicate. So, keep it simple, clear, and concise to make the biggest impact on your readers. 

The Deep End Talent Strategies team is here for you with any HR questions or additional communication discussions.