Business writing describes a set of literary conventions used in professional settings. It is clear, purposeful, grammatically correct, and minimal in its approach. There are four rough categories of business writing you need to know about. These are instructional, informational, persuasive, and transactional. Each of these will require a slightly different skill set but all come under the ‘business writing’ banner. You will need to understand English business writing conventions if you want to fill out reports, send emails, submit proposals, or put up notices. While it can initially seem intimidating, once you learn the key ideas and get some practice in a classroom, it will become second nature in no time. Our team at ULC has put together some top tips on how to start your professional and business English journey.
1. Identify The Purpose
When you write up an email, send a report, or create any other piece of business writing, you need to know the purpose of the text. To determine the purpose, you should ask yourself two key questions before you begin to write:
- Who am I sending this to?
- What do I want to tell them?
The answer to these will determine how you approach your task. You will generally be more formal with your boss than your coworker, even if you’re asking the same question. Clarifying the purpose means your writing can get to the point and convey information succinctly.
2. Write With Clarity
In the workplace, it can be frustrating to read emails or memos that go on tangents or ‘hide’ the meaning of the text. Professional business writing should be clear and concise; the aim is for your reader to instantly understand what you’re trying to say with as little ambiguity as possible.
You can make your writing clearer by planning out what you want to say beforehand, rather than writing and thinking at the same time. If you know the purpose for your writing, this step will be much easier. This will also cut out unnecessary tangents and repetition. Clarity really is a hallmark of English business writing, so make sure you understand how to use this skill.
3. Avoid Jargon & Use Proper Grammar & Syntax
Make sure your grammar and sentence structures are correct. Business texts that are full of spelling errors, use industry-heavy jargon, or have confusing sentences mean your reader will struggle to understand your writing. Corporate writing is all about communication, so it’s important to use language correctly and minimise miscommunications. If English isn’t your first language, consider taking a professional English class to refresh your grammatical and syntactical skills. This will ensure you approach the workplace with confidence in your writing. Though industry jargon may make you look smart, unestablished acronyms and other technical language should be avoided when writing for a general audience. Using simple and clear language that everyone can understand will ensure your point comes across and you achieve your desired result.
4. Be Succinct In Your Writing
Succinctness is firmly enchained with point 2 on clarity; being more succinct will often make your writing clearer and more comprehensible. A good way to practice succinct business writing is trying to get the core information into 150 words for larger reports and one or two sentences for smaller pieces. This lets you sharpen your argument and express it clearly to the reader. Don’t dance around your point; be direct; your reader shouldn’t have to analyse your writing to figure out what you were trying to say.
Alongside directness, your writing should be concise. Go through your email or report and eliminate sentences that are superfluous, or change out words to shorten the piece. For example, instead of writing ‘get rid of sentences’ you could write ‘eliminate sentences.’ This will enhance the flow and clarity of your writing.
5. Attend A Business Writing Class
We know business writing can be challenging; there are so many unspoken rules of workplace communication that you must learn to navigate quickly and effectively. Joining a corporate English class can help you learn about conventions within your field from industry professionals who have experience navigating this tenuous area. Many courses, including ULC’s English business writing course, offer dynamic learning options to suit your schedule and learning preferences. This course helps business professionals who may not have English as their first language learn the relevant professional writing skills that will allow them to confidently communicate in the workplace. Sign up for an English course with ULC today and see where your new skills will take you.
Let ULC Help You Impress In The Workplace With Your Writing
ULC is an organisation that offers English courses for all ages, including adults in Singapore. We have an array of professionals on our team, all of whom bring unique perspectives and experiences to your classroom. With an English course from ULC, you can step into your workplace confident in your professional English language skills. Alongside confidence, having a certificate of completion will be a bonus for individuals looking to acquire positions in English-speaking workplaces; many hiring managers require a standard level of English in their candidates, and a professional English certificate will provide assurance that you have the skills to communicate effectively in the workplace.
If you’re interested in improving your business writing, sign up for the ULC professional writing course today or, if you have any questions, get in touch with our friendly team.