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Business Writing Is Different

By: Don Ault HCMC, Viet Nam 12 Sept 2010

Business writing is different from Academic and IELTS writing just as a company is different from a school. Do we agree that a company is different from a school? Good. We are off to an easy start. Business writing is not difficult. In fact it is a simple and effective way to communicate concisely. It is different not difficult. All you need is to be aware of a few small differences. So what does this really mean and how does it affect the way I write for business? The easiest answer of course is money. Time is money. Business people are busy. They have no time to fool around, play games or solve writing puzzles. They have no time or desire to read a two page report if everything can be written concisely in three paragraphs. You must also remember cultural and educational differences. English is the language of business. Most, if not all of you, desire to work for a foreign or multinational company at least once in your career. To be successful at this you must play by their rules. You must make it easy for them to work with you and like you. You would not take volleyball to a football game would you? Of course not. So why take academic writing to work? Time in Western cultures is different from time in Eastern cultures. In the East time is circular. It is a continuum that runs in a huge everlasting cycle. Time in the West is linear. It goes in a straight line from the beginning (birth) to the end (death). Because time is a precious commodity to business people you must write well, strongly and concisely. Your ideas must be conveyed quickly and with the smallest possible chance of misinterpretation. Remember that your reader does not know what you know, what you are thinking or how you mean it. You must tell them everything in a way they understand easily. Your reader cannot hear your voice or see your facial expressions and body language. They have no outside help from you. You must also remember that English may very well be their second, third or fourth language. So how do we write well, strongly and concisely for business? It is easy. Forget all of the flowery grand soft stuff you are used to and get down to business! Say just what you mean and mean what you say. Do not, I repeat, do not write a long poetic beautiful and fancy paragraph that has little or no value or meaning until the last sentence or two. Make every word and every sentence count! KISS your paper. Your clients, colleagues and customers will love you for that. Make it easy for them and yourself. KISS your paper!

It is about successfully engaging people and keeping their interest. Write concisely using action verbs. 2 . Credit: Purdue Owl Writing Lab How can I make my business writing easier to read and more effective? It is as easy as one. Understanding “why” and “how” to write for business is the hard part. Do NOT ‘Justify’ (‘Justify’ in MS Word is the far right ‘Alignment’ button) ‘Justified’ text is hard on the eyes. You want even spacing. In order to do this when writing it is crucial that you use action verbs as much as possible. Since concise writing is easier for readers to understand. action verbs are more convincing than non-action verbs. persuasive manner. 1. it is more reader-centered. Writing is a process. What is an Action Verb? Credit: Purdue Owl Writing Lab What is an Action Verb? An action verb expresses achievements or something a person does in a concise. Use left alignment. Introduction 2. This will never change. Use an easy to read left-align format. You can never take it back. Make an outline of your main points that you want to say.KISS = Keep It Short (and) Simple Business is about action. Double space between paragraphs 3. Remember the Rule of Three. Now that you know that the rest is easy. Write a few (or as many as it takes) concise sentences for each using action verbs. 1. Expect to rewrite all documents at least three times before you are happy with them. Writing is permanent. 2. Why is it Important to Use Action Verbs in Workplace Writing? You should use action verbs in workplace writing because they make sentences and statements more concise. Put them into a logical order. Supporting statements 3. Avoid using non-action verbs such as the verb “to be” whenever possible. Because reader-centered writing is generally more persuasive. It cannot be done in one draft. Chances are you can use an action verb that better describes what you mean to say. two three. All you need is practice. Summary/Conclusion = should say the same thing as your Introduction but use different words.

Everyone’s writing can always be better. The question is: Are you willing to make your writing better? 3 .