Effective Business Writing: Top Principles and Techniques

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business mission statement example-david

What is business writing

A "genre" is a socially agreed upon and recognized form of communication that a group of people has developed over time to communicate more effectively and efficiently with one another. There are many communication genres, including speech genres and genres of writing. A telephone conversation would be an example of a speech genre. Telephone conversations usually include generic beginnnings, modes of development, and endings. An email message would be an example of a genre of writing. Classroom genres of writing include exams, essays, and notes, for example. In businesses, written communication takes several different forms, including email messages, memos, resumes, letters, proposals, reports, advertisements, contracts, etc.

The term, "format," refers to the spatial or visual design of a document. When you picture the visual design of a business letter � with the address of the receiver, the address of the sender, the date, salutation, message, and closing � arranged conventionally upon the page, you are picturing the format of a business letter. A format can easily be reproduced as a template, yet provides little or no assistance to writers for generating the content of their documents.

The term, "structure," refers to the set of topics that readers of a particular genre of writing expect to find included. When you imagine an outline or a table of contents for a document, you are imagining a structure. Structures can help writers generate and organize the content of their documents but are less useful as templates for arranging information visually on a page. This guide uses the term, "superstructure," to describe not only the set of topics typically including in a specific genre of writing, (a proposal for example) but also to suggest a logical order for arranging those topics.

It is important for business writers to remember this distinction between the format and the structure of a particular genre of writing, because the set of topics typically included in one kind of document may be formatted according to the conventions of another kind of document. In other words, the recognizable superstructure of a proposal can be formatted in several different ways � as an internal memorandum, a letter, or a short report, for example. Business writers make decisions about the format and structure of their documents according to their purposes for writing and the needs/expectations of their readers.

Effective Business Writing: Top Principles and Techniques

Porter Gale, author of Your Network is Your Net Worth, in a Forbes interview, revealed that much of her success can be attributed to relationships she made throughout the years. She stressed that one’s “net worth” is not anchored on the size of one’s portfolio or network but on the quality of affairs and on one’s “ability to define and stay true to your passions and values and that working with other people who share them will allow you to build a strong and enduring interpersonal safety net that will carry you through any financial calamity to greater output and personal fulfillment.”

Communication means success at work

It serves as both the content and channel for one’s decisions, ideas, tasks, solutions, plans, and need to belong and solidify your sense of culture and self. In fact, a Towers Watson study attests that companies that communicate with courage, innovation, and discipline are more effective at engaging employees and producing ideal business outcomes.

One type of communication that is used almost everyday in the corporate world is business writing: from emails, memos, new policies and instructions to huge client presentations, research and development, and marketing campaigns. Even profit-making and nonprofit organizations in the field of aeronautics, according to a survey by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), are into communication the whole time. It says respondents use:

Fundamentally, poor business writing is costly and leads to disastrous events. A Los Angeles Business journal article explained that billions of dollars are lost due to insufficient writing skills among business people. It happens, for example, when a customer does not understand the email, marketing tool, or proposal by a company because of wrong grammar or awkward style and tone. The article adds that customers encountering poorly written materials might form an undesirable impression of how a company runs its business.

What style considerations are common in business writing?

Business writers tend to prioritize clear and concise communication. When writing in business, carefully considering the following style elements, along with your purpose and audience, can help you communicate more effectively:

Active voice. One skill in business writing is how to tactfully take ownership or distribute blame for certain actions. Active voice refers to a sentence structure that places the actor of the sentence as its grammatical subject. In general, active voice comes across as clearer, more direct, and more concise than passive voice, which are all elements of good business writing. However, the passive voice can be a useful tool in legally-sensitive writing, because the passive voice can convey what has occurred without naming names.

Jargon. Generally, your audience will prefer plain, straightforward language over jargon, because it allows them to read your writing quickly without misunderstandings. However, you may encounter what looks like jargon. Ask yourself if this language may be functioning as shorthand or whether it’s helping establish expectations or norms in business relationships. Understanding your audience and why they may choose to either use or avoid jargon will help you determine what is most appropriate for your own writing.

Tone. While business writing should be clear and concise, “concise” does not necessarily mean “blunt.” As you write, think about how your relationship to the reader and about how your audience may interpret your tone. Consider the following examples:

Nobody liked your project idea, so we are not going to give you any funding.
After carefully reviewing this proposal, we have decided to prioritize other projects this quarter.

While the first example may be more direct, you will likely notice that the second sentence is more diplomatic and respectful than the first version, which is unnecessarily harsh and likely to provoke a negative reaction.

How to write a compelling mission statement for business

1. Take inventory

2. Gather your information

Gather together your answers to these questions and turn it into a reasonable and actionable statement as to how you intend to operate and for what purpose. Freely organize the information into four buckets:

3. Widdle it down


4. Add color

Avoid flowery and unnecessary adjectives and adverbs that will take away from readability, but see if the addition or substitution of any word can help add the more emotional feel, like with Campaign Monitor.

campaign monitor

3. Make it public

4. Adjust as needed

Change happens. New leaders come on board. Businesses rebrand or merge. Goals and strategies shift. Culture evolves. So be sure to revisit your mission statement each year and make adjustments if needed.

Key Takeaways

There are lots to take into account and consider as a small business owner. Especially when it comes to taxes and which expenses you can deduct. Take a look at the IRS website for a full breakdown of expenses that you can write off as a small business.

They can range from home office supplies, education and training, travel and contract labour. Knowing which expenses you can and can’t claim can help reduce your taxes and increase your income tax. Who doesn’t love saving money?