Writing For Business

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The starting point in writing for business is simple. "If you don't have anything to say, then don't say it." If you do, organize and outline what you do have to say. Business, by definition, focuses on specific goals. Writing for business--whether an annual report, an IPO announcement, a white paper, a marketing brochure, or a funding proposal--does as well.

Writing for Business: What You Need to Know

Knowing your audience and respecting a reader's time is critical. So is knowing what you want those readers to know or do. Express the idea in a few sentences. Explain why it's important and how to achieve it. Think clearly. This will be your introduction, which needs to be short, sweet, and powerful. Its aim is clear: You need to make your audience want to read, know what they're reading, and why they're reading it

As you write, do so concisely. Be straightforward in writing for business. Be simple. Don't write to impress--you end up looking silly. Write to accomplish the goal at hand. When you finish, heed Samuel Johnson's admonition: "read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage you think is particularly fine, strike it out." Above all else, proofread.

Just as grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors in a cover letter for a professional position or other job vacancy will rule out any chance you might have had, similar errors later on are just as dangerous. The mechanics--the document format, supplementary materials, contact information, protocols--vary from business to business and across document types but are no less critical. Every detail makes a difference.

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