Writing is one of the most valuable skills you can have in the workplace and on your resume.
Business writing is not just for executives and leaders. It’s an important skill that every business owner, manager, and employee should have ––– regardless of your position.
In today’s article, we are going to address several key questions and topics around business writing:
- What is business writing?
- Why business writing is important?
- How to improve your business writing skills.
Let’s jump in and explore why business writing is one of the most valuable work skills you can have…
What is Business Writing?
At its core, business writing is the process of conveying thoughts and ideas in a clear and concise manner. It can be used for professional purposes to write emails, letters, memos, reports, proposals, and presentations. It can also be used for effective in-house communication on channels like Slack.
Business writing skills are valuable because they build trust with your managers, leaders, teammates, clients, and employees. It gives you the tools for communicating effectively, at any level.
Effective business writers know how to use appropriate vocabulary for different audiences (e.g., executives versus regular employees) while still maintaining an effective tone (e.g., persuasive, inquisitive, instructive, or informative). They also understand that some topics require more formal language than others (e.g., financial reports).
Why Is Business Writing Important?
“Good writing is fundamentally good thinking that follows a logical path and is easy for someone to follow. Writing out what you want to communicate forces you to organize your thoughts.”–Jeff Bradford | Forbes
Look at any job listing online. “Writing” and “Communication skills” are going to be amongst the top-listed and most desired skills, for any role.
Business writing is a critical skill because of your work-based communication. Especially in the remote-working world that we live in today.
Business communication occurs in one of two ways:
- Written communication: Emails, messages, letters, reports, proposals.
- Verbal communication: One-on-one conversations, meetings, video conferences, recordings, video training, presentations, etc.
What most people don’t know is that practicing good business writing habits and grammar not only improves your written communication but also improves your verbal communication skills. Becoming a better business writer will help you communicate clearly and concisely in both writing and verbal discourse.
Here are some of the top benefits of developing business writing skills:
- Faster typing: Saves time with writing and response times.
- Improved Clarity: Reduces back-and-forth questions over email.
- Clearer Thinking and Better Problem solving: As mentioned, better writing = improved logic, reasoning, and problem-solving.
- Building better relationships at work.
- Earning the respect of your coworkers and leaders.
Business writing is not just about communicating effectively with others. It also helps you improve your reasoning, problem-solving skills, efficiency, effectiveness, relationships in the workplace, and leadership skills. Writing skills are a great way to impress your leaders, wow your teammates, lobby for promotions and raises, and level up your resume.
How to Improve Your Business Writing Skills
“Business writing” consists of a combination of writing skills. This can include grammar, punctuation, syntax, organization, structure, vocabulary, and different types of writing as well.
Want to get better at business writing? The best way to get started is with these 5 steps…
Step 1: Take a Business Writing Class
One of the best ways to improve business writing skills is through a live or online business writing course. These courses provide writers with business writing tips, tricks, writing activities, and assignments to help you improve your business grammar, vocabulary, and technique.
We recommend signing up for a class with a coworker or friend so you have a partner to practice with.
Step 2: Practice Your Business Writing Skills
After you take a class, it’s time to practice! Here are a few writing activities you can do alone or with your coworkers, class partner, boss, or manager to improve your business writing skills:
- Practice writing emails to each other (internal and external).
- Practice writing a mock newsletter.
- Write instructions or directions to a made-up task or project.
- Write a memo or meeting notes.
- Practice writing letters and proposals: Raise, promotion, project, recommendation, thank you note, etc.
Step 3: Practice Proofreading and Editing Your Business Writing
Once you’re in the habit of practicing business writing and using it in your workday, it’s time to work on your proofreading and editing skills. Here are our team’s top tips for editing and proofreading your business writing:
- Read your work completely (don’t skim).
- Read your writing out loud: Your ear will catch errors your eyes don’t.
- Eliminate or change what’s unnecessary or unclear
- Other people editing (e.g., your class partner, coworker).
If you get stumped, one of the best questions you can ask yourself when editing or proofreading is “what am I trying to say here?” Brainstorm the answers out loud. When you have an answer, that’s usually the best way to write the thought, idea, or message you are trying to get out.
Step 4: Ask Your Coworkers for Feedback
One of the most important business writing skills is accepting constructive criticism. Let your coworkers know that you have been taking business writing classes to improve your writing skills and are open to feedback on how you can get better.
You can even copy-paste this template to the end of your emails:
“I’ve been taking business writing classes and am actively working on improving my business writing skills. If you have time, feel free to provide feedback on my writing ––– content, structure, grammar, organization, clarity, or anything you notice that could be improved. Thank you for your time!”
Step 5: Read Business Writing Books, Guides, Articles, and Publications
There are tons of great books, websites, and publications on how you can continue to develop and improve your business writing skills. Be sure to check the top-sellers list on Amazon for “business writing.”
Step 6: Keep Practicing and Improving
Writing is an invaluable lifetime business skill. There’s always room for improvement.
Practice these skills on a daily and weekly basis at work. Continue asking for feedback from your friends, leaders, and coworkers to identify other ways you can improve your business writing and grammar skills.
Taking an advanced business writing class is another great way to continue your business writing education.
At ACTS, we offer award-winning business writing courses for our students. Check out our Business Writing Classes at Alliance Career Training Solutions today:
- Business Writing and Grammar Skills Class: View our Class Schedule and Curriculum Outline.
- Advanced Business Writing for Professionals Class: View our Class Schedule and Curriculum Outline.
If you have questions, contact our instructors today at [email protected] or call our office at 831-755-8200.