Often writing is not as easy as ABC, especially in the business world. When you write in your respective job position, you not only represent yourself but the entire company. That’s a lot of pressure if you are not confident in your ability to write well in business settings. If you’re wondering how to improve business writing skills, this article is for you.
At Big Storm, we believe everyone is a writer, and anyone can become a better writer with the right tools. Whether you’re putting together a marketing proposal or drafting an email to a coworker, there are simple steps you can use to improve business writing skills. Our content writers took a course offered by New York Times bestselling author Daniel Pink, and he laid out the top pieces of advice for those wondering how to become a better business writer. We pinpointed several of our favorite tips for how to improve business writing skills and condensed them into a resource for you to learn and grow from, too.
Tips for How to Improve Business Writing Skills
Establish a Productive Work & Writing Environment
Do you need complete silence to work? Do you like to stand while you work or sit in a comfy chair? Each of these factors contributes to your ideal, productive work environment. An effective work environment sets up your success in business writing, so it’s important to know what conditions help you work the best. Everyone’s work environment is different, so make a list of what factors help you work better and create a work environment around that list.
Once you have a productive writing environment in place, you can merge your work environment with your writing. If you know you work best under deadlines, you could try setting word count goals. If you enjoy working in short bursts of time, try setting a timer for 25 minutes and writing for that set amount of time before taking a break.
Follow a Writing Process
Setting up a writing process is one of the best ways you can improve business writing skills. Having a set structure in place can help bring order to the scariness of creating content from scratch. If you go in with a plan for what you need to write effectively, it can help you get your thoughts across better. Daniel Pink recommends following a 3 step writing process:
This stage involves anything you do before you write a draft. This may include research or developing and testing ideas. The prewriting stage helps you collect your thoughts and pinpoint the best ideas. This enables you to test the validity of your ideas and figure out how to communicate them to your readers effectively.
During this stage, you will want to develop a working outline that categorizes your main points and organizes your ideas into an order that makes sense. Outlines help you not get stuck during the writing stage, as they keep you moving from one idea to the next in an orderly fashion. Outlines vary from project to project and person to person, so make sure the outline you create includes the details you need to continue progressing through your writing project.
The writing stage is when you draft your writing project. First drafts can be intimidating, especially if you like getting the words “just right” on the first try. What’s important to remember is that first drafts don’t need to be perfect. First drafts are all about getting out what you want to say as well as you can without getting bogged down by grammar, construction, and flow. Once you complete your first draft, that’s when you can start paying attention to the details. Then, you can check for gaps in your ideas and adjust your word choice. Daniel Pink calls the writing stage a continuous cycle of rewriting, rearranging, and refining your words, so don’t be afraid to wrestle with your words. It’s all part of the writing process!
The final stage of the writing process involves editing your work alone and with the input of others. In our opinion, editing is the most crucial part of the writing process. Editing business writing involves looking at your words on a micro and macro level to see if they meet the project’s goals, come across clearly, and are strong enough to hold up to scrutiny. Because it is an integral part of the writing process, make sure you carve out enough time in your project management schedule to account for self- and peer-editing.
When you first edit on your own, read through your piece and identify areas of improvement. Highlight places where your writing is repetitive, boring, thin, or irrelevant to your main point. You can also note areas where you want to change words, fix grammar errors, or adjust formatting for consistency. Reading your writing aloud on your own or with another person can help you hear what words are clunky in a sentence or don’t help get your point across.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Feedback
Sharing your writing with someone else can be nerve-wracking, but it’s an important part of the writing process. Asking someone for constructive feedback on your writing can help you understand how your words come off to another person and can help catch things that you might not notice with your own work. You want to make sure you hit the right tone with your audience, so asking a colleague to peer-edit your writing can help you become a better writer. Before you give your writing to another to edit, provide them with guidance about what kind of feedback you need. Tell them where you are in the writing process, what your criteria for success is, a few questions to answer, and a deadline for when you will need their feedback done.
Write with Big Storm on Your Side
If you have questions about effective business writing, we’ve got the tools and specialists to help you succeed. At Big Storm, we have experts in content writing and content marketing who have years of experience in creating a strong brand voice, effective content, and impactful content marketing. For a consultation, fill out our contact form today; we look forward to speaking with you!