Effective writing has emerged as a vital skill in corporate circles. Marketing agencies or an in-house communication department can provide advertising campaigns and corporate brochures, but what about the staff memo or the report to a supervisor. Don’t under-estimate the impression such seemingly simple writing can make. A recent study by Business Monthly magazine reported that 47% of the corporate executives polled said the greatest shortcoming among managers is their inability to write memos or reports. Another 31% cited poor communication with superiors.
These indicators point to the need for better writing skills in the business arena. Following are some simple tips to keep in mind when faced with nearly any writing project.
- Keep the necessary tools close at hand. Even when writing a memo, refer to a dictionary or thesaurus if you have any doubt in the words you’re using or their spelling. A grammar or stylebook will assist with usage and punctuation.
- Maintain a writing sample file. Before writing, refer to examples similar to what you’re planning to write. Read through them briefly to refresh your memory and put you in the proper frame of mind.
- Write simply. Don’t try to impress your reader with stylistic tricks and fancy phrases. Strive for clear and concise writing.
- Get to the point. Your reader is busy and wants to know what the writing is about.
- Organize your writing in an easy-to-read style. If you have several points to make in a memo, arrange them in list form noted by bullets.
- Don’t write about something you don’t understand. Seek explanations or do research before you write.
- Write without interruptions. If you aren’t sure how to phrase something, leave a space and come back to it. Use your first draft to get your thoughts on paper and revise them in later drafts.
- Edit your writing. Before any writing is complete, you must reread it for errors and to ensure your message is clear. If possible, have someone else read it too.