Improve Your Business Writing Skills
If you read a typical resume for a white collar non-managerial position, you will find that most of them have similar credentials. Virtually all job seekers state that they are computer literate, have a good working attitude, and are experienced in the particular field relating to the position, etc.
There is a way to stand out from the multitude of applications without a big investment in time and money. Simply add business writing skills to your list of strengths. Unlike an MBA, you would not have to invest years and hundreds of thousands of pesos to improve your skills in business writing.
Even if you already have a job, good writing skills will still be a big factor in your career advancement. A few minor grammatical mistakes in speech may not be too harmful, but a higher standard is expected of written communication since you have the time to review it. Few things are as embarrassing and as common as errors in business writing, especially if even a fifth grader could spot it!
Below are some useful tips to mind while drafting a business letter:
• Use simple words. In the business setting, long gone are the days when using flowery words signify intellectual superiority. There are two important reasons why you should choose simple words as much as possible. First is so that you will be easily understood, and second so that you won’t come off a braggart.
• Have templates of different types of business letters available. You won’t score points for originality, but you will save hours of work if you have a stock of templates for every occasion. Since these letters were made by professional writers, we may assume that they are correct.
• Write to your audience. Adapt your style according to your target reader. This is especially true if you are in a technical profession that uses jargon that some people may not be able to understand. If you are dealing with people without a college education, it is probably better to use our native language.
• Be concise and straight to the point. The rule is the shorter, the better. Write only enough details to make yourself clear.
• Use your word processor’s proofing functions, but remember its limitations. Always use your spelling and grammar checker, but you must also review your work manually. There are times that errors are not caught especially if a wrong word was used. Wrong spelling, too, is usually not spotted if the first letter is capitalized; you must be the one to correct the mistake.
• Vary your words. Just like the need for vocal variety in speeches, it is a stylistic atrocity to keep on using the same word if there is a suitable replacement. With everyone using computers, there is no longer an excuse for not taking a few seconds to remedy this. Use the synonym function in your word processor to get a quick replacement for words that you are frequently repeating.
• Watch the tone of your writing. There is a much greater risk of misunderstanding in written communication because your expression and tone of voice cannot be seen or heard. People might interpret your words in ways that will surprise you. Be extremely careful that what you wrote will not be interpreted negatively.
Having good business writing skills is essential to your career. Improving your ability to write will increase your productivity and enhance your credibility. Want to begin developing your business writing skills? BusinessCoach Inc., one of the country’s leading business seminar providers, has an excellent one-day seminar on business writing. Among the topics that will be tackled include writing memos, minutes of the meeting, reports, emails, and faxes.
Click here to view details of the training program on: Effective Business Writing (Memos, Emails, Agendas, Meeting Minutes) »
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.
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