The majority of business communication is expressed through writing says Isabella Strong, well known communications specialist and writing instructor.
Regardless of their job roles almost all employees will be expected to write a business-related document at some point.
Whether they are composing contracts, proposals, letters, memos or simple emails, employees need to have a basic level of writing and composition to perform their jobs effectively.
While the tone of business correspondence should always be professional not every piece of writing needs to be formal or complex says Strong. It takes a trained writer to know the difference.
Strong looks at the level of complexity in business writing and offers some advice on how to write appropriately in each category.
Contracts are legal documents which must contain certain elements. This makes for extremely complex and structured writing. "It is more formal in that there is a set way of doing things."
Research reports, proposals and minute-taking also require a high level of accuracy and reliability.
However Strong advises business writers to steer clear of jargon, abbreviations, or convoluted language even in official documents.
Emails or letters to clients and colleagues can be written in a slightly more informal manner.
Correspondence of this kind does not have any legal prerequisites with regard to layout or content, but there are certain guidelines that writers should follow in terms of etiquette.
For example Strong says, "it helps to be positive always and to have a personal tone."
Ultimately the golden rule in writing is to keep it simple and concise so that readers can understand.
Writing is such a fundamental skill; employers can easily take it for granted and expect staff to have a natural writing ability.
However like any skill, writing is a competency that can be learnt and practiced.
For more insights about business writing please join Isabella Strong for either the Technical Report Writing or Business English training course. Please contact Faith on +27 11 447 7470, email her on [email protected] or visit their website www.alusani.co.za