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Writing for business...

First, and foremost writing for work or business communication is very different then writing for your English or history class. Business writing is the communication or exchange of information in a written format for the process of business activities.  It can take place between organizations, internally or between the customer and company. 

Writing for work is a basic component of your job - an internal memo, feasibility report, financial report, analytical report or a marketing report. 

  • Writing at work focuses on problem solving.
  • Work related writing targets multiple audiences with different perspectives.
  • Writing at work may be read by unknown readers and/or readers outside of the company.
  • Work related writing can be used indefinitely; moreover, parts of or whole documents can be used out of context.
  • The format for work-produced documents varies greatly  - memos, letters, procedures, policies, and evaluations... 

Keep in mind it's a busy world, busy people do not have the time to read lengthy documents, most just scan for the key points.  Business/work related documents need to be clear and easy to read. Reports, memos and emails... should be inviting to read with bullet point and headings.

Before writing:

  • Identify the purpose
  • Identify the audience
  • Identify the context
  • Identify all of the facts and ideas
  • Organize facts and ideas
  • Identify the best medium for the message

Effective business writing follows the 10 c's:

  • Complete – what does the reader need to know? What is the primary purpose of the message?
  • Concise – keep to one page when possible. Do not use weak verbs, meaningless expressions or stock phrases.
  • Clear – be aware of word connotations. Be sure to define the topic purpose, place and time.  
  • Conversational – keep the tone of the message conversational. Write like talking face to face. However, do not use slang.  
  • Correct – use correct spellings, format, punctuation and mechanics. Coherent – A coherent message flows together with all the parts fitting together and ideas connect. 
  • Credible – use reliable, valid sources. The writer must be able to support their opinions. Beware of information bias, how the data was collected and how current is the data. 
  • Concrete – give exact information using specific, meaningful words. Vague words are to be avoided. 
  • Courteous – write in a positive tone, using positive language. Focus on what is or can be. 
  • Considerate – design the document to be easy to read.
  • Chunk information -  use bullet points, highlight important points. In memos, letters, and emails a paragraph is 6 to 9 lines not sentences.

Keep in mind business writing is:

  • Logically written
  • Well written
  • Well reasoned
  • Well ordered
  • Done well