This guest post is courtesy of Catherine W McKinney, who took part in the 30 Days of Blogging challenge we held in March. Catherine is a writer, always looking for a good story. She is the author of the ebook “Finn MacCool and the Woman”, tales of cats invading her home. You can visit her blog, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter if you want to keep in touch.
Today communications run from in person, to telephone, to email, to blogs, to social media. And don’t forget traditional letter writing.
There are newsletters and articles to be written.
The very definition of business writing has changed, expanded, basically exploded during the past decade.
Most of what you learned in school does not apply to all this new media writing. So you wonder, what form should I write in; what tone; what style?
It’s less confusing than you think, and much more approachable.
Today formal business writing has been replaced by the conversational tone, the conversational style. In other words, if you can say it, you can write it.
Here are 8 tips to help you improve your writing:
1 Make the writing easy to understand. Don’t use professional jargon. You want to encourage dialogue not send me running for the exit. Allow your personality to shine through, the personality you showed during the job interview.
2 Be interesting. You want to hold my attention for a least a minute. Give me a reason to continue reading. Add some energy, some life to your writing. When appropriate make me laugh.
3 Be clear. You want your writing to be easy to absorb and answer all questions. Obscurity if your enemy. If I don’t understand what you are trying to say, I am not going to finish reading or seek any other contact with you.
4 Be logical. Provide the right amount of supportive information without overwhelming. Progress through your information step by step. Help me appreciate your expertise.
5 Be concise. Don’t waste my time. Stick to the point. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. Chunk information together for me so I don’t have to go looking for the next thing I need to know.
6 Keep the message obvious. Remember the reader is the important person in this written conversation. Don’t hide the message, tell me why I should care. Tell me how it benefits me or my team or my business. Tell me how it will improve my life, answer my question.
7 Be purpose obvious. Stick to the topic. Allow the writing to be persuasive. Don’t hide what I should do next or what else I may need to know. Tell me.
8 Be easy to read aloud. Your writing needs flow, it needs rhythm. It needs to reflect how you speak, how you present yourself, your ideas. By reading your writing out loud you will easily spot rough patches, thoughts which are disconnected, sentences which don’t work. Reading out loud helps your editing process.
Whether you are sending an email, blogging, writing up advertising, creating the annual report, sending a thank you note, these 8 tips can help you write better. Better writing leads to better communications. Better communications leads to possibilities beyond your imagination.
It’s all about connecting with clarity, with respect and with a bit of imagination.