You don’t need to have an English degree to be a good writer. Go back to basics and forget what you think you know, with my 5 top tips for better business writing.
Write how you speak
Stop using words you wouldn’t naturally say aloud. You ‘use’ things, not ‘utilise’ them. You ‘get’ things, not ‘obtain’ them. And if you’ve made a mistake, you say ‘sorry’, not ‘apologise’. Simplifying your writing will help you better connect with your readership and build real relationships. Your writing should be human, just like you are.
Read it aloud
When you write something, read it aloud. You’ll be able to hear if your writing could be worded better. If you’re struggling for breath, add a comma or consider breaking your sentence into two. If reading aloud isn’t your thing, show it to someone who will give you their honest opinion. Two heads are better than one.
Ditch the jargon
Unless there’s a word you can’t replace (like software), you should ditch the jargon for a simpler word. Intelligent writing doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it shouldn’t be. The best business writing is clear, to the point and easy to understand by someone with a high school reading age.
Ignore your English teacher
You can start a sentence with ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘or’. And you should. They add power to your writing and help to break up your sentences. Not convinced? Great writers have been doing it for years, it’s even in The Bible.
Put your main points first
Whether you’re writing an email or a whitepaper, you should always put your main points first. Your reader won’t always have the time, or the attention span, to read the whole thing. Think like a journalist. The headline gives you the outline in just a few words. And the summary always comes at the start of the article.