LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
5 tips for effective business writing
marisa gift, training & development manager
When Albert Einstein is mentioned, most people think of genius or science, rather than simple and writing. However, Einstein gave us some important advice for business writing when he said, “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” In today’s media-intense, message-heavy environment, it’s important to consider how we can effectively get our point across in writing. Here are five tips to help you accomplish that goal:
Think first. Write second.
Don’t start by writing. Start by asking yourself what you want the reader to do as a result of your communication. This is important for achieving clarity and conciseness, two keys to effective writing in the business world. Remember Einstein’s words above… if you understand something, you should be able to articulate it simply.
Start with the punchline.
Once you know what you would like the reader to do as a result of your communication, be sure to say that early on. Yes, delivering the punchline right away may go against what we learned in high school English class (as well as any good joke-tellers we’ve listened to over the years). However, it’s important that people understand from the get-go why you are writing and what they are expected to do as a result.
Choose your words wisely.
Make sure your punchline, along with the rest of your writing, is simple and as brief as possible. Never use a long word where a short one will do. Again, we often were trained to show off our fancy vocabulary but this isn’t the best route in business writing. We want our readers to understand our message, not google the definition of our words. Along with brevity, we should also eliminate any business jargon (i.e., “let’s circle back”). This may make you feel like part of the “cool kids club” but it may also confuse your reader!
Keep your cool.
It’s important to stay professional when writing for business. This means you may need to reign in your enthusiasm at times by cutting down on exclamation points and/or smiley-face emojis. Although these extras are great for texting friends and family, they typically don’t belong in communication with your boss or your clients.
Make editing a priority.
Although your mom probably doesn’t care about type-o’s in your communication, the client who is paying you to be detailed oriented might find those same type-o’s to be a red flag. You must make editing a priority in your business writing. One effective way to do this is by reading your writing out loud to ensure that it is clear and makes sense. You can even go one step further and get your friends and colleagues involved for another set of eyes and ears. This type of proofreading process will ensure you are sending the right message to your reader(s).
Hopefully, our business writing will be more clear and concise if we follow these five tips. By striving to explain things simply, we illustrate that we understand them well. And it seems even Albert Einstein would approve of that strategy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MARISA GIFT + TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Marisa Gift is the Training and Development Manager at Lutz with over 15 years of experience. She helps shape the firm’s training and development strategy while also managing Lutz’s campus recruiting, orientation and mentoring programs.
AREAS OF FOCUS
- Human Resources
- Leadership Development
- Campus Recruiting
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
- Association for Talent Development, Member
- Human Resource Association of the Midlands, Member
- Society for Human Resource Management, Member
- BA in Communication Studies & Politics, Drake University, Des Moines, IA
- MA in Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
- Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Publicity Committee
- Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Music Ministry
- Drake University National Alumni Board of Directors, Past Board Member
- 5 Tips for Effective Business Writing
- 4 Tips for Successful Delegation
- Change Management: 5 Strategies to Embrace the Change
- Personal Branding
- How to Run a First-Rate Internship Program
- Goal Setting Guidelines for the Road of Life
- Simplify the Holidays
- Minding Your Voicemail Manners
- Creating a Feedback Culture
- Recruiting Top Millennial Talent
- Coping With Conflict
- Small Steps to Establish Big Trust
- How to Run Your Life Like a Business
- E-Mail Etiquette Tips
- Tips for Being an Effective Mentee
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