The following is a brief overview of the dos and don'ts of good business writing.

Note that this list is not nearly all inclusive. The following merely features some of the frequent mistakes I've encountered while reading student papers. Even if you are already a good writer there may be an item or two below that you have not incorporated into your skills. Therefore, please take the time to read all the dos and don'ts. Note, especially, the items that apply specifically to business writing (as opposed to writing that you will do for, say, an English or History class).

Write clearly and concisely. (Business writing should be more clear and concise than other forms
of writing. Rarely should a piece of business writing be more than one page. If the document is more than one page it should probably include a brief, one paragraph "Executive Summary" at the outset. Avoid excessive use of the passive voice.) Proof/edit your work more than once before printing out a finalized version. The finished product shouldn't look like your initial draft. Reading each line backward can help you avoid the distraction of content. Remember to re-read slowly and carefully and to use spelling and

grammar checkers after editing, and before printing, your final copy. Read your printed copy before submission to make sure that correctly spelled words are the correct words for the sentences. Pretend you are the reader with no prior knowledge during your editing. (Is the content understandable on its own?) Create e-mail messages in a business environment as you'd create a written memo. Include proper punctuation and formalities. Use bulleted, or numbered, lists as effective tools to quickly alert the reader to key points or conclusions. Keep your sentences short (but not simplistic; each sentence should still add meaning). Avoid abstractions and use concrete language. Structure elements in a series in parallel form. (For instance, on a resume, list your job activities
with a series of active verbs as the first word--"Organized..., Managed..., Performed..., etc." not "Organized..., I managed..., Once helped to..., etc." Notice the parallel format of this Dos and Don'ts list.)

Sum up, or otherwise highlight, key points briefly. Avoid repetition in the body of the work, however. Utilize commas correctly, without creating run-on sentences. Pay attention to paragraph length and structure. (Include only one main idea per paragraph-included in the first sentence, if possible.)

Use a reader-based (you rather than I) approach. Plan your communication around the recipient's questions and expectations. Adapt to your intended audience: level of education, degree of formality based on your relationship, interest and knowledge of subject, and organizational expectations.

The meaning will become unclear or even the opposite of what you intended. Likewise.. Don't misplace your modifiers. Don't write a rambling essay for business readers. At that point include them in less formal modes of communication (possibly verbal). to a friend. Save your own musings for when they are asked for. etc. gender. don't use font sizes smaller than 10 on a regular basis. Stick with Times New Roman or something similar.Don'ts Don't write for a business audience the way you would talk. Phrases like "I think. Don't use C o u r i e ror other inappropriate fonts. Don't shift number. out-dated expressions. Organize your thoughts into relatively short sections under descriptive headers.. or point of view. Exaggeration will lessen your work in the eyes of others and leave you open to exception." should be avoided. Case's Guide to Grading Written Materials Five Cs that result in better business communication Al Case . or write an e-mail message. tense. Avoid words like always. Again." or "In my opinion.. never.. you are not writing fiction.Faculty Profile . Don't inject your opinion. Sleep on your drafts. Don't utilize the same adjective or verb repeatedly. Writing a fictionalized novel requires a very different technique from summarizing facts and conclusions for your boss or colleagues. subject. and jargon which your reader might not understand. The same could be said for sizes larger than 12. Don't exaggerate. Don't use sexist language. Don't wait until the last minute to begin writing.

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