5 business writing skills to accelerate your career
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In today's business world, writing skills are more important than ever.
Most of our work is done digitally (or at least has a digital component).
More workforces are now remote.
And more work is happening asynchronously, meaning it needs to be well-documented.
Effective written communication is critical.
Today, I want to share the 5 most important business writing skills (in my opinion). Master these and they will accelerate your career.
Here we go:
Business writing must be clear.
If your writing isn’t easy to understand, it will not be effective.
The best way to make your writing clear is to simplify it.
Replace long sentences with short ones.
Swap complex terms for simple ones (especially if you’re writing about a technical subject).
Here’s an example of clear business writing:
Boom. Easy to understand.
Unclear writing is vague and abstract. The reader has to work to understand what’s being said.
Lesson: Make your writing easy to understand. Don’t make us work.
Business writing must be concise.
If your writing isn’t concise, you will lose people.
Remember: the average adult reads at the 7th-8th grade level.
The longer your writing is, the harder it will be to comprehend.
Here’s an example of concise business writing:
Clear and concise.
Concise writing is powerful. It saves time for your reader (and you), and helps ensure your message lands clearly.
Avoid using unnecessary words, filler language (”I think that the main thing is …”) and too many descriptors.
Lesson: Get to the point, then get out of the way.
Business writing must be specific.
Specificity eliminates ambiguity and makes your writing more impactful.
It demonstrates authority and mastery.
Here’s an example of specific business writing:
Here’s a non-specific example of the same message:
Which of those sounds more credible?
Who would you have more confidence in?
It’s obvious. The person who communicates specifically.
Lesson: Be specific. It builds credibility and authority.
Business writing must be accurate.
Your facts are correct
Your grammar is correct
Your writing is free of errors
Will you sometimes have a typo or make a mistake?
Yes. It happens and isn’t the end of the world.
That said, consistent inaccuracies in your writing IS a problem.
It shows a lack of detail, professionalism and care for your work.
Two tips to help you be more accurate:
(1) Write a draft and come back later to review it with fresh eyes
(2) Use AI tools like Grammarly to proof-read your writing
Lesson: Be accurate. It matters.
Business writing must be organized.
Well-organized writing has a clear structure and uses formatting to make it easier to consume.
Numbers and titles
Bold and italics
Those are a few formatting options you can use to help with organization.
Organization helps the reader quickly understand the main topics, make connections and get the “gist” of your writing while skimming it (important in a world when a lot of reading is done on phones).
Lesson: Organized writing gets read. Unorganized writing gets dismissed.
Start putting these 5 skills into practice.
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