Mechanics Of Business Writing

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The mechanics of business writing are those little details that, when ignored, do no end of professional harm. The linguists include spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, and vocabulary. The layout includes typeface, margins, letter kerning, line spacing, and the like. Overall conventions of the workplace--whether nonprofit, government, corporate, or civic--tend to the formal rather than the creative. Business is business. Crisp, persuasive communications play a large role in the marketplace.

It doesn't take a first-rate writer to recognize poor or pretentious writing. Nor does it take one to recognize clear and graceful writing. The heavy emphasis put on good writing abilities and style is in largest part recognition of how valuable they are.

Stringing words together with good syntax and spelling isn't the full picture. The organization and focus of a document--whether it's a letter to a vendor, a funding proposal, a report, or a white paper--is the third component in the mechanics of business writing. It's just as important as linguistics and layout, but not always so obvious when it's weak. Planning, researching, outlining, and addressing the audience appropriate are all critical mechanical elements. Online writing guides can provide, obviously, guidance in each of these steps.

Fine-tuning the Mechanics of Business Writing

Joseph Pulitzer spoke of fiction when he neatly encapsulated what fine writing is all about. The dictum applies as well to nonfiction, which of course includes business writing, even if business writing will never win a Pulitzer prize. "Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by it."


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