Business Writing: Making Your Writing More Readable

Needless to say, most writers in Business and Industry do not enjoy unlimited artistic freedom in
plying their craft; however, this should not mean that letters, memos, and reports must be entirely
devoid of originality.

That said, anyone who writes regularly in their job understands the importance of writing
communications that “stand out”. Just the same, over time, even the most talented communicators
often end up treating every writing assignment with a sameness that saps the vitality out of their
writing style.

Of course, Organizational Style plays a big part in influencing Business Communicators. The simple
fact is that when writers feel compelled to write with a consistent and “official-sounding” voice, they
often end up in a creative void.

The upshot is that Organizational Style may reflect management preference, but this, in itself, is not
always conducive to producing the most effective written communications.

Obviously, writing contrary to Organizational Style may very well expose Business Communicators to criticism and rejection. Nevertheless, this should not be an excuse for maintaining the status quo.
After all, if readers are merely skimming or are ignoring most written communications, then change
is both logical and inarguable.

On the surface, introducing change may seem professionally risky, but change need not be radical.
For Business Communicators, the simple act of following up on a commitment to better-connect with readers will often trigger enough of a change to affect reader interest in a positive way.

Start by reviewing the tone and substance of some of your past communications. Read each one objectively, and ask yourself the following questions:

* Is my writing overly formal and ponderous?
* Does it sound like I am trying to inform or impress readers?
* Are my communications “heavy” with acronyms and buzzwords?
* Do I have too many unbroken text blocks?
* Are your main points easily identified?
* Do my communications tend to run longer than necessary?

As you go through this exercise, keep in mind that written communications need not be humorless
or heavy-handed in order to be effective. By the same token, they should not be so informal that
they lose all credibility with readers (and management) as Professional Communications.

The key lies in striking a good balance between these two extremes. In the end, this simply means
tailoring that tone, vocabulary and level of detail in a communication to specific groups of readers.
It is here, perhaps more than anywhere else, where a communicator’s creative talents are most
needed and appreciated.

As a final note, keep in mind that changing your writing style from what is usual and customary for
your organization will make your writing stand out; however, this should never mean comprising
one’s credibility with unconventional language and formatting. If you want to pique reader interest,
keep things simple. Write to be read!

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