When it comes to writing business documents and communications, the way you say it is just as important as what you say. You may lose your reader due to grammatical faults, technical jargon, or too wordy messaging. Consequently, your bottom line is neglected, and your requirements are not met.
Below are the 7 most common mistakes that one can make when writing business documents:
When a person fails to plan correctly from the beginning, they will baffle the readers and hence fail to accomplish their goals. If one fails to plan, the result will be a chaotic document, particularly long documents. It might take longer to locate the paragraphs that might not follow each other logically; citations are messy, etc. This will not only irritate readers somewhat, but it also makes the article essentially ineffective.
Before you write anything down, think about how you generally want the document to look. Come up with the basic framework that will assist you in structuring well and perfectly. And before publishing this text, give it to someone to review it – if possible find professional academic writers. They will review the document and give you pointers on what should be added/removed, or changed. The organization of the completed text should be sensible and insightful to the targeted audience.
The audience you target will determine how the content and design of your document will be. So always have them at the back of your mind as you are writing. If your audience is a group of professionals, it is okay to include some technical terms; it can even be necessary. If your readers have a specialty in a different field or the general public, watch out because what’s expected and evident to them might not be.
Step back and determine, and look at your readers. Think through what you want to write and see if it will level up with their expertise. What acronyms do you use daily? Do other people know them? Even if you are sure that your audience will see each terminology that you use, it is a wonderful idea to have a glossary or abbreviation table or the two at the beginning of your document. Another approach you can use is explaining parts in parentheses or footnotes when you first use them.
As an expert writer, you are well aware of the main punctuation marks. Apart from these writers, not many people have advanced knowledge of the function of each punctuation mark. Full stops and commas are used effortlessly; however, other punctuation marks are often misused. Readers may assume that the writer is sluggish or have no knowledge of the fundamental writing rules.
If you find yourself making grammatical mistakes and misusing punctuation marks, look for a current guidebook and go through it until you have mastered how to use punctuations correctly. You can also set spelling and grammar checks on your word document to change as you are typing, or highlight sections where you need to pay attention.
Professional writing needs to be comprehensible and line of thinking clear. However, when one writes text over a long time or is written by different writers or the text is being updated without going over what was previously there, it may contain some contradiction. It could be the way the document is designed, the framework, the intonation, viewpoint, etc. The tone may change suddenly from amiable and talkative to technical. This can be perplexing.
If the text is already written and all you are doing is updating it, get to know its context. Take note of the intonation and the tense used. Adjust your text to fit in with the version that is already there. Another way of making it easy for anyone to update the text is by developing a company style guide. Ensure that all writers can access it quickly and can use it as a reference point. This will ensure the consistency of all documents.
It is essential to know that there is a point you want to put across when you are writing, and it does not help if you take too long to get to the end. It is essential to provide the background or sequence of events, but you need to state your purpose from the onset.
One approach used is the “inverted pyramid” strategy with the most significant details—who, what, when, where, and why. Then dive into the context and supporting evidence of the text. So if the person reading does not have time to go through the whole document, they still get your point.
We all have used informal texting when communicating with our close friends, family members, or associates. These types of messages generally do not follow grammar and spelling rules. With most people using social media messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, you will come across text such as “R U @ home?” which translates to, “are you at home?” Some people find it hard to stop this habit even if they are writing official documents. The person receiving such misspelled texts can assume the person writing was not serious, leading to loss of business.
A writer should always practice writing documents professionally and go through them again to ensure that any grammatical or punctuation issues are dealt with. You might also consider hiring experienced writers if the paper is going to the high-level staff to avoid making such mistakes.
Poor presentation can make a document look worse. Such things as long worded sentences can put off a reader at a glance. Some writers will write one block of a paragraph instead of breaking it into ‘bite size’ pieces. The reader’s brain will shut down because of the effort they are putting in to make out what is being said.
Use short words, sentences, and paragraphs. You can also include bullet points to break up sentences making them easy to read.
In conclusion, business writing does not come about naturally, mainly if you rarely write them. The 7 pointers given in this article are guidelines for writing a clear, understandable document to improve business writing skills and the reader’s experience.