Effective business writing skills are a critical component in this day of the consistently written business report and the abundant use of the instant Email communication. Whether you are in management or an entry-level employee, communicating in a professional and clear manner will not only make your job much easier but will help you to document your conversations with a permanent paper trail that can be useful in potential disputes or clarifications. Always remember that any electronic message can be easily retrieved for an indefinite period of time. Make sure that your message is clear and precise in order to protect yourself from future liability issues or litigation in a court of law.
One of the more common mistakes that are witnessed throughout the corporate world is the issuing of a report or Email that is filled with grammatical and punctuation errors. Even though the message may be perfectly clear, communications with these types of errors make a terrible first impression. Your professional reputation may take a big hit. Sloppy or disorganized content that is difficult to follow and understand is also one of the leading problems. Jumping from one topic to another without completing each thought leads to frustration by the reader. Also, writing a report or Email that is either too long or too short is another common mistake. Make your point quickly and completely without the need for the reader to send a follow-up message.
Organize your Thoughts
When writing an important professional announcement, business letter, report or Email, you may want to go through a couple of initial drafts. Organizing your thoughts is critical to ensuring that your message will be received successfully. There are different ways to achieve this. You might begin by creating a bullet point outline of the topics in which you want to discuss. Or you might simply sit down at your computer and begin typing your message. If you choose the second option, plan on spending some extra time afterward, proofreading and editing the wording to its most clear and concise form.
Consider the Reader
You might have different writing styles depending on whether you are writing your report or Email to a superior or to a subordinate. Always consider the level of expertise and skill of the reader. In communicating with a CFO, for example, your communications may require a higher level of detail and supporting documentation. However, if you are simply giving direction to a subordinate for a specific project or task, “less is more” may be the rule to live by. Keep the message short and to-the-point so that the employee does not waste valuable time reading and deciphering an overly lengthy Email.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Whether you are writing your report or Email for a superior or subordinate, always make sure to proofread, proofread, proofread. This takes only a few seconds and the resulting positive effects can raise your professional level of respect as viewed by either party. Don’t be afraid to move words around, delete unclear phrases, or to provide additional information to further clarify a point. Fix errors and clean up inconsistencies. Some professionals prefer to proofread as they go along while others prefer to complete this process once the first draft of the document has been completed. Either method is acceptable, but proofreading of all documents, letters, emails, and reports is a critical factor in leading to professional success.
BUSINESS WRITING LESSON: How to Write a Press Release
What is a Press Release?
A press release is also known as a news release, press statement, video release, or media release. It is a concise and compelling news story that is intended to target certain members of the media.
The goal is to spark the interest of a publication or a journalist. A quality press release contains the following essential information: who, what, when, where, how, and why. A good press release is going to read similar to a news story.
Essential Tips for Writing a Press Release
The content of a press release should always be considered newsworthy. The Press Release (PR) will be picked up by journalists and news editors worldwide so its essential that you have a distinct message deliver.
Start out by telling the reader the importance of reading the press release.
The first ten words should be effective and powerful (they are the most important). Think of the opening lines is a headline news story that you would read in your daily newspaper.
Use simple language. A press release should never be filled with verbosity. Use “Plain English” wherever possible and avoid clichés such as “Last but not least”. In addition, be very careful when using industry specific jargon and ensure that your intended audience will understand such terms. Also avoid the excessive use of adjectives.
Stick to the facts. A press release is meant to be informative.
Include as much contact information as possible. This includes the name of the business, the number, media contact, address, etc.
Include an “About Us” paragraph: 2 or 3 informative sentences at the end of the press release. Many newswires will not accept a press release without these details
Press releases should always be written in third person and in a journalistic style.
Why is a Press Release Beneficial?
Any business or working professional can benefit from a press release. This is largely because it is a relatively inexpensive way to gain exposure. It is also a great way for a person to establish himself or herself as an expert within a specific industry.
A press release is also a perfect technique for getting information to a wider target audience and acquiring new customers. Investors like to use press releases to keep informed about certain businesses and organizations.
BUSINESS WRITING LESSON: 8 Tips For Writing An Effective Business Report
or How to Business English Reports and Investment Analyst Reports
Reports are an extremely useful business communication tool. They may be aimed at an internal or external audience and designed for many different business purposes – including sales promotion or investment analysis. Follow these tips to ensure you can write clear reports effectively.
1. PURPOSEThink about the reason you are writing the business report. You need to gather all of the information that you will need in order to ensure that your information is accurate and reliable. This may mean that you have to talk to the people involved or you may have to carry out a research project.
2. ORGANISATIONOnce you have your relevant information, it is time to organize it. You must be sure that you limit your data to the goal of the report. You cannot let the scope of the report be expanded beyond the boundaries set. It is important to stay focused on the information at hand to make your report more relevant.
3. AUDIENCEDetermine who your audience is so that you are able to craft the report according to their needs and backgrounds. This is important because you don’t want to bore your readers with information they may already be aware of. Also be careful of using jargon; If your audience does not have the technical background to understand these terms then make sure you annotate each item with a relevant explanation in an appendix.
4. CLARITYDraft your business report clearly with everything you have been asked to include. It is a good idea to include headings and subheadings so it will be easier to follow and enable your readers to isolate specific information. Remember the purpose of your report is to communicate information. Typical subheadings include Procedure, Reference, Recommendations, Findings and Conclusions. Keep in mind these may be different than ones you are asked to use which best reflect the purpose of the report.
5. COHERENCEEach section that you write will have a different purpose. Each paragraph will have one key idea but make sure that your ideas flow logically and that your message is coherent. Using short lists, charts or graphs will help your readers find the data they are looking for much easier.
6. LANGUAGEWrite the report using strong English words that will motivate your audience. The sentences should be effective and properly arranged. It is important to use a good deal of white space along with effective headlines and short paragraphs for clarity. Avoid clichés and old-fashioned legalese vocabulary and phrases. You should focus on using Plain English and be Clear, Concise and Correct: Clear meaning, Concise sentences and Correct English Grammar.
7. REVIEWProofreading is extremely important to be sure that you have conveyed the message of the report to your intended audience. Having another party read the report may also be helpful. Having another set of eyes may help you catch grammatical or spelling errors, factual omissions and organizational mistakes that you may have missed.
8. DISTRIBUTEWhen you distribute the report, it is important that you have all the documents as well as the attachments included and that each person that is supposed to have a copy of the business report is given one. If the report is restricted then make sure it is clearly marked as such.
How to Write A Technical Business Investment Report
Business investment reports assist the reader to learn more about a variety of business plans, the goals of a business as well as business growth strategies. Business reports can either be internal such as within a business or they can be external such as those written for clients. The most important thing to remember is to use correct organization and formatting when drafting a technical report such as this.
Use A Standard Format
There are a variety of writing formats that are geared towards business investment reports in which anyone reading it can easily comprehend. These standard formats will also help you in reducing your preparation times since you will find that you are more organized. Most companies have standard formats that they expect their analysts to follow so you should strictly adhere to these.
Writing business reports involves using logical steps which explain the information as well as related data regarding business issues. The title is the first page of the report and should include the name of the business report as well as the writer’s name and the date.
While this is optional, you can also add why the report is being written so that whoever reads the report will be able to fully understand what problems are being discussed or what options are being offered.
The letter of transmittal is the page that is used to announce the release of the business report. In addition, this page also tells the reader the background. The content page is the part of the business report that has the table of content of the main titles that you will be mentioning in the report. This is the place where you will also list your subheadings if you are including them in your report. Be sure that you include the page numbers which relate to the main tiles and subheadings. Page numbers are usually written an inch from the bottom of the page.
Illustrations, Tables and Graphs
If you are including visual or graphical data then you should include a “list of illustrations” page is where you will mention what illustrations are included in your report. If you have figures instead of illustrations, you should title it “list of figures” instead. Also if you are using tables instead you will title this page accordingly.
The executive summary will provide your readers with a background of what your business report will entail. This is helpful for your readers who do not have time to read the entire report. It will sum up the report for them in a single page. You should include the methodology for your research to let your readers know how you came up with your findings, recommendations and conclusion.
Once again logical organization is the key to a successful business report. The body of the report is the heart of the business information. It should have an introduction, main body and conclusion. Each of these sections should have headings and subheadings. Most word processing programs or apps will help you formulate these automatically.
The recommendation page provides your readers with possible suggestions to assist in addressing the problems described in the report. Always refer back to the specific section of the report and figure or graph that relates to your recommendation.
Last is the appendix where you will list of the sources that you used in detail. You should use standard referencing formats should as APA or Harvard.