You may think you shouldn’t fuss about your writing - that good enough is good enough. But that mindset is costly. Too many professionals unintentionally erode their sizeable sales and marketing investments with poor writing, making the products and professionals appear inferior. Failing to communicate clearly will cause an organization to appear inferior and make it difficult for prospective clients to see the quality beneath the unattractive packaging (Why Great Writing Matters). Bad writing can have a wide-ranging, negative effect on your business, from creating a less-than-coherent business plan and hampering your efforts to attract investors, to communicating with employees, vendors and even your customers (Good Writing)
Poor writing can affect your business in two ways: Loss of money and loss of time. Companies can incur real cost when employees write poorly with confusing jargon-filled and mundane words. Some examples of how poor writing can be costly include: ineffective marketing activities, newsletters and white papers that go unread by executives, and conference and sales presentations yield few if any leads. When the prospective buyer is confused on what it is they’re trying to buy, the reason for confusion is not necessarily bad grammar it’s due to bad thinking and poor writing.
Time is also wasted with rereading and rewriting communications to customers, causing increase in customer support calls due to unclear instruction; wasted productivity through memos, emails and reports that are followed incorrectly, never read or never answered; or worse, result in lawsuits that arise from miscommunication (Why Great Writing Matters).
Forms of Business Writing
Before I show the steps to fix your writing, I thought I would start by listing the common forms of business writing. Organizations today use multiple forms of business writing to communicate with employees, vendors, customers’ and stakeholders. A list of common forms and their descriptions are seen in (Figure 1) adapted from Basic Business Writing.ppt.
I found several articles on qualities needed to express your words clearly and persuasively. I will provide 8 qualities I found most important. The first two qualities tend to work together. The qualities are – focus on the purpose of your writing and your readers’ needs. Let the purpose and the needs of the audience guide the content and delivery of the message. When focusing on the readers’ needs you should keep in mind your readers are busy with little sense of duty to read what you have written, so try to get to the point quickly. The longer the explanation gets the greater clarity is required (Basic Business Writing.ppt). The next three qualities work in conjunction and suggest the author should look for the simplest words possible to express an idea accurately, stay away from business speak or jargon, and have an appreciation for the right words in the right place by speaking like a human and not a corporation. Avoid overusing exclamation points, regardless of how energized or friendly you might feel. Also remember to use an active instead of passive voice when writing, and use a subject, verb, object- that people can quickly read (Adams, 2014). After considering your purpose, audience and simplest words, that leaves us with three qualities to discuss. When putting words on paper, the writer needs to consider spacing. Readers shy away from dense blocks of text. One should consider breaking the space up with shorter paragraphs, bullet