Many people start business writing without fully considering what they want to achieve. Understanding the purpose of your message before you begin writing is a vitally important element in ensuring that it reaches the right audience and engages them.
Before you start writing
Think about the purpose of your message and the outcome you want from it. Ask yourself whether you are:
Make sure that your message’s purpose and what you want to accomplish is clear at the very beginning.
Ensure that each sentence is advancing your cause and always keep your goal in mind without using an emotional, hostile, or inappropriate tone.
Understand your audience
Communication takes two (or more). To get your message across effectively, you need to understand what your intended audience needs or expects from you. To achieve this you should consider:
- What are the goals of your audience?
- What are their priorities?
- What are their concerns?
- What motivates/interests them?
If you are trying to connect with a wide audience or diverse group, you should focus your message on someone you know in the audience or someone else who is similar to your intended audience and write for them. It’s easier to tailor your message correctly when you have someone in mind.
Always use a positive tone that will engage all recipients making sure they want to spend time reading or listening to your message. Highlight the things that are important to your audience without losing the main content of your message.
Find your focus
Write out a list of main topics you must include in your message.
Expand on each of your topics by listing sub-categories under each heading making sure you include all the essential elements your audience needs.
Organize your categories into a logical list and then fill out the detail required for each category to be understood. Remembering to keep your audiences needs in mind.
A common management complaint is that emails and reports take up far too much time during the working day. Time is a valuable commodity and should be a major concern in your communication. When writing, remember that your audience is busy. They have many other pressing things to do, they will often have little interest or time to read what you have written. Keep to the point by only saying what is necessary and by making the main purpose of your communication clear from the very beginning – or they will move on to something else.
The first part of your communication should show that you have something of value for the recipient. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
- Get to the point quickly
- Keep your message clear and succinct
- Make the content easy and interesting to follow
- Only include what is needed
- Use a clear, engaging layout.
Gather relevant information
Use your headings and subheadings to structure your content and help you to collect meaningful information and data that supports your message. Remember to include relevant graphics to support your message and make it more engaging.
Write Your Draft
Write your draft – do not edit as you go. It is tempting to make corrections as your write, especially as computers highlight some of your errors but this stage is for writing. It is important to keep the flow going without stopping to edit. Editing comes next.
Reread your draft in stages looking at certain elements on each visit:
Editing in stages will help you concentrate on one area of your message and ensure that nothing is overlooked.
All business writing should be interesting and professional. You should us headings and subheadings where possible. Keep to common styles such as layouts, fonts, and styles that may be the expected norm in your business. Use whitespace and graphics to support your message and make it more visually appealing.
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