I had always fancied myself somewhat of a good writer, with a good command of the written English having written countless reports and memos. I had never been on a writing training and the organization I have worked for the last seven years pre-covid pandemic gave staff the option of sourcing one training a year independent of the training they plan for you. I never gave business writing a thought, I wish I had.
After reading the required reading for the Management Communication course in the Lagos Business school Executive MBA program “The Smart Guide to Business Writing” by Gay Walley, I learnt that “If you don’t write well, your business persona is diminished. If you don’t write well, you may be inclined not to answer important correspondences and thus be left out of the business transaction. If you don’t write well, people may not know how well versed you are in your subject and mistakenly think you are not as knowledgeable as you are. If you are flip in your writing style, people may not take you seriously. If you are long winded, people may think you don’t know what you are talking about. If you are too familiar, people may think you don’t respect authority. If you are too formal, people may think you are a cold fish.”
In modern business practices, one of the advantages is being able to express oneself well. In a business plan, in a memo, in a presentation or conversation, being able to sell your vision or persuade your audience to see things from your perspective.
Evolution in technology has more people relying on mobile devices for work, tablets and phones designed for the businessperson. This means business writing must be concise and clear. Strive to be yourself when writing but be direct, clear and concise.
Do not be personal in getting your points across by communicating your feelings and convictions. Stick to what the document is intended to communicate. Use proper English and refrain from using any other form of English even if it is popular in informal spoken and written English.
Humor in a minute dose is acceptable only if relevant to the business issue. Do not convey your emotions in your writing. It should be unemotional and factual and always be polite and appreciative. Choose your words carefully and take time to search for the right verb to describe the action needed or the right adjective to describe the product or the right set of words to describe what the product can do.
Be specific and concise in your writing and when you are done with the document, the final important part is editing. An excerpt from the smart guide to business writing states, “The first few times you edit, edit on the screen. But then, for your final edits, edit on paper. You’ll catch things you didn’t catch on the screen. On the screen, you are “seeing” the words. On paper, you can hear them in your mind’s ear.”