I’m going to gift you a plain business writing course…
Our words are seen as a mirror of our thoughts. If you talk or write without thinking, people will judge you harshly. You may be the next Einstein, but people just won’t take you seriously if you can’t say things right. And this goes for the humble email as much as for a proposal worth millions.
The first rule to crank up your business writing is: Don’t try to write a best-seller. You have little chance of getting it right anyway. Keep it ‘PLAIN’: Planned, Lean, Accurate, In active tense, and Nice and neat. (I’ll be writing some blog posts around this acronym over the next few weeks.)
Rule 1: Step back
Ask yourself, “Who am I writing for?” Then step back and put your reader under the spotlight.
One IT boffin writing to another may get away with using lots of jargon. But if you mean to write to Joe Soap, then ‘go minimalist’. Small words, short sentences. (You’ll be hearing a LOT about small words and short sentences here.)
Is your reader’s home language English? If you’re writing to a wider audience, then keep it low-key.
What information will ignite your reader’s fire? Think of something that would REALLY interest him/her, and kick off with that.
To sum up: To write better, step back and write something your READER wants to read.
Talking of writing for your audience…
“Some of the unsurpassed miracles of English were worked by a poet-dramatist who depended on a popular audience for his living; who noted when it clapped, laughed, or stayed away; who responded to its tastes and its fashions; who was utterly careless of preconceived perfections; and who even entitled a comedy ‘As You Like It’.”
(Author unknown – and I hope you got it: the poet-dramatist was William Shakespeare, of course.)