How to Improve Your Business Writing

Communication is the lifeblood of business, and most of that communication is written down. Bad writing is a legitimate handicap to business. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Carolyn O’Hara shares some tips to amp up your business writing.

For starters, people commonly work out their perspective about something while they are writing about it. That stream of consciousness arrival at what one really means does not make for good writing though. Think about the who/what/why of what you want to convey before you start writing, or at least slim down what you have written to only address those key factors. Ideally, you want to make your main point up front. Your audience should never have to “search” for the message.

You can cut fat out of your writing by writing in an active voice, (“I punched him,” is better than “He was punched by me,” etc.) rephrasing words more succinctly (“viewpoint” instead of “point of view”), and avoiding use of “to be” verbs. (“It benefits us,” is better than, “It is helpful to us.”) Likewise, just avoid jargon and pretentious words if at possible. And in any case, always read back what you write.

For a couple case studies of better writing in action, you can view the original article here:

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