Whether it’s an email, a sales letter, a policy revision, a fact sheet, or a memo, even in the age of handheld computers, there comes a time when people engaged in business need to write. A well written letter reflects favorably on the writer. The business writer’s skill like a free essay writer is on display for everyone to see once a document is distributed. Here are seven tips to help even the first time writer.
Do This First
Before writing a single word, think about:
- Who is the audience?
- What is the purpose or goal?
- Why should the reader care?
- Is a written document the best method of delivery?
- What should the reader do because of reading this letter?
Once these questions are answered, it’s time to write. With these answers in mind, the actual writing should be easier because the letter is already half completed and most of the work is done. After the letter is written, there are still two more steps for final changes on the document to make it the best it can be.
Let’s look at these seven steps one at a time.
Who is the Reader?
Business letters and memos tend to be more effective when they are written to one person. Rather than writing to a group of employees, write to Janet Jones, one employee who is representative of the audience. To improve your skill in conveying your ideas, visualize Janet sitting on the other side of the desk. Explain the issue to her. See her sitting across the table as we go through the remaining steps. Select words, phrases, and examples that she will readily understand.
What is the Purpose or Goal?
Business communication is usually written to inform or prompt the reader to take action. Decide what the goal is before beginning to write. Sometimes the goal is not written out, but the writer needs to know what it is, and whether it is openly stated or not, the reader needs to understand what she is supposed to do. Should the document explain a new procedure, or should it really get employees to follow the new procedure? Decide what the document is supposed to accomplish before writing. It will save time, effort, and frustration. Many business letters either have the wrong goal, or it was not thought out in advance by the writer, and a letter or memo leaves the reader wondering what she is supposed to do or why she received the letter.
Why Should the Reader Care?
The benefit the reader will gain from reading the letter should be clear. Just because you think the information is important doesn’t mean the reader will. Any reliable essay writer would say to write in terms of benefit to the reader. Learn to distinguish between features and benefits, and write in terms of benefits. A feature is some property of the issue, such as “metal detectors will be installed at the main doors.”
A benefit is what the reader will obtain from the feature, the peace of mind that comes from a “safe and secure workplace that ensures each employee can go home at the end of the day.” Put the most important benefit at the beginning or end of the letter, it shouldn’t be buried in the middle where it might get lost.
Is a Written Document the Best Method of Delivery?
Is writing out the information the most efficient and effective method to get the information into the hands of your audience? Would it be better to explain the information in person? There is less chance of confusion if your audience can ask questions to clarify any unclear points. Should you write, or should you convey the information in another format?
Six Good Reasons to Send it in Writing
- The audience is too large. Contacting ten thousand customers in person is time consuming and expensive. Written information can be sent to all of them at the same time at less cost.
- The receipt of the information needs to be documented.
- A written document will not change over time. There may be confusion about what a word or phrase means, but each recipient will receive exactly the same information.
- The information will be added to a written policy manual.
- There is so much information that having a written list for reference will help the reader understand, and they will have the document for future use, such as a catalog.
- Only a small percentage of the audience will be interested in what you are presenting, but it is unknown who will respond, such as sales letters.
To ensure that the reader has all of the information she needs, list out every point that should be included in the letter. After listing all the information, number each point in order of importance, with “1” being the most important. Refer to the list as you write. Include every point in the document, and consider writing the most important points more than once.
Keep in mind, if the information is delivered verbally in person, the audience has the opportunity to ask questions or make suggestions. Once the information is in a written document, it is more difficult to repair any mistakes or clarify the meaning.
What Should the Reader do Because of Reading this Document?
Tell the reader when she is supposed to take action, and what action to take. If the reader is a customer, and the goal is to get them to buy an item now, tell them, “Buy Now.” If the goal is to get your reader to send for information, say “Send for this information.” Coupling this with a sense of urgency, the message could be, “Send for this information today.”
If there is a new rule going into effect on November 3, 2011, tell the reader the date, how long it will be in effect, what changes will be required, and what she needs to do or avoid as a result. If there is an expiration date, tell them that date as well. Give the reader all the information she needs to take the action you want her to take. Don’t make her guess.
Proofread and Edit to Improve Your Business Writing Skill
One letter sent from a boat sales and repair company had a third of the words misspelled. For example, essay writer help suggests not to trust ‘spell check’ on the computer, it’s a good start, but don’t rely on it. Go through your document word by word and confirm (1) the words are spelled correctly and (2) the correct word is used in the context of the sentence. Spell check will sometimes allow incorrect words as long as they are spelled correctly. A business writer’s best companions are a good dictionary and thesaurus.
Now that all the words are spelled correctly, and the right words are used, set the document aside for at least a day, preferably two. Then take the document out, visualize the representative reader Janet sitting across the desk from you again, and read it aloud to her. As you read, do the words flow smoothly? Is Janet confused about any part? Do you stumble over certain words or combinations of words? Does the letter answer all of her questions and address all of the points you listed as important?
Rewrite any areas that cause you to stumble. Choose better words to replace confusing ones and add in any points that were left out. Once the corrections are made, read it aloud again, and make changes if needed. Go back one more time and check the spelling and usage of all the words in your document.
Now, let someone else read the document. Fix any problems or errors they find.
When the above steps are completed, read the document once more. Does it accomplish the goal set for it? If it doesn’t, determine where it fails, and return to that step. Once the letter:
- Conveys the all the information in a manner that shows the reader why he should care
- Contains all the important points
- Effectively explains what the reader should do
- Flows smoothly
- Is error free
It’s time to send it. Don’t miss the deadline because the letter may not be perfect.
Following these steps will help any writer produce better basic business writing and improve writing skills. If the project is longer, more involved, or is vital to the company, it may be time to contact a professional writer for assistance. Many writers will analyze your document and suggest how it can more effectively communicate the message or get a higher response rate. If your time is more valuable on other tasks, consider having a professional commercial writer compose the entire project.