At Business English HQ, Frank and I have put together the BEHQ Guide to Business Writing, based on many years experience in writing business documents. It simplifies the fundamentals of business writing. And it gives you language activities to practice your understanding and writing.
We’ve broken down the writing process into five broad areas: 1. understand your focus, 2. plan properly, 3. structure your document, 4. use appropriate writing style, and 5. know how to self edit. It’s your job to master each of these elements to write effectively. If you are a non-native speaker of English, it’s about looking your best and gaining a competitive edge in your business.
In a previous blog post we talked about understanding your focus. We looked at the “why” and “who” behind your business writing. You should always have a clear idea of the goals of your writing and the situations you are in. You have to understand your readers. Always consider their point of view for any type of business document you write.
Let’s have closer look at the “what” and the “how” of your message.
- What do your readers know? Be aware of their expectations and goals. Don’t assume that they have the background information to understand your message.
- How are going to achieve your purpose? Once you are familiar with your audience, you can plan your document so it fits their interests and needs. In this pre-writing phase, a good tool for gathering content ideas is through brainstorming. I’ll look more closely at this in the article, Effective Business Writing: Plan properly.
According to The AMA Handbook of Business Writing, you can then decide what:
- information to include or not include,
- examples that will help readers understand,
- level of formality to use (formal, semi-formal or informal),
- background information to provide,
- kind of introduction that would be best,
- graphics you could include, if necessary,
- organizational structure to use.
My name is Craig Gonzales and I co-run Business English HQ with Frank Bonkowski. Please ask a question, comment or let us help you.
Business English HQ, thank you.