Where do you go wrong writing for work?
Give yourself a writing check up! How many of these common pitfalls do you fall into with your business writing?
Common business writing pitfalls
- “I don’t think about my audience, or the purpose of what I am writing”
- “I don’t plan my writing or make a logical argument”
- “I avoid being direct in case someone doesn’t like what I have to say”
- “I butter people up before I get to the point”
- “I cut and paste from other documents and don’t add any context”
- “I refer to people, places or programs inconsistently throughout my document”
- “I don’t check my formatting, spelling or punctuation and it looks unprofessional”
- “I use long words and jargon people outside my team or organisation won’t understand”
- “I include unnecessary information because I think it makes me look smarter”
- “I use weasel words and long, waffling sentences even though I know it isn’t easily understood”
- “I use unnecessary connecting words to make myself look smarter”
- “I keep my language vague and bureaucratic so I don’t get asked another question”
- “If I am dealing with criticism or a complaint, I am defensive and negative”
- “I repeat myself because I think a short response makes me look incompetent”
- “I don’t edit or proofread my work”
- “I let others fix my mistakes”
Win friends and impress your boss with these business writing tips
- Team up with other staff to be writing buddies – check each other’s work and offer edits to improve
- The very best editor is time. If you can, leave the draft and do something else. Often when you come back, you’ll see ways to instantly improve
- Think about your audience every time you write something – it might be your customer, your staff, your boss, a colleague or a stakeholder
- Take responsibility for your work – don’t skip editing and proofreading a document because you know someone else will do it
- Get to the point without padding out your writing with irrelevant information
- Don’t use jargon if your audience won’t understand it
- Be direct and courteous at the same time
- Try to make a human connection with your audience, but not at the expense of being professional
- Treat emails and presentations like you would any other piece of writing – use the APPLES shortcut
Your business writing is how you make your first impression on customers, staff, your boss and anyone you need to communicate with.
There are lots of great reasons to get it right – it could even get you a raise!