Maybe an even better question to ask is: What isn’t business writing?

It isn’t what you may have learned in school: that sentences must paint pictures using many descriptive adjectives.

It isn’t the essay you wrote in university where, in order to meet the word count, you “padded” it with unnecessary words or quotes.

It isn’t texting or tweeting, using abbreviations that only those, who text and tweet understand.

It isn’t an epic document, which is so long and dense, that a reader will dread getting through it.

So What Is Business Writing?

Business writing is none of the above. What business writing is though, is a type of professional communication. Business writing has specific professional standards. The purpose of writing for business is always to be direct, concise, and uncluttered. As well, grammar and spelling should always be correct, and jargon should be avoided.

There are many forms that business writing may take: memos, emails, reports, letters, proposals etc. Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) may also fall under the umbrella of business writing. But these applications are not at its heart. In this day and age, what is at the heart of business writing is the email.

As the website About Education points out, “According to market research firm Radicati, 182.9 billion emails were sent every day in 2013.” Of course, not each one of those emails was a business communication, but there is no question that email is the most widely used professional communication tool.

No doubt that accounts for the fact that The Language Lab’s Business Email Writing course is the most popular online course we offer. Be sure to contact us, if you would like information about taking the course. For now though, have a look at the Language Lab’s following top tips.

Business Writing Is Emails…

1.) That Grab Your Audience: Use a specific subject heading, not something generic and forgettable.

2.) That Keep It Short: Emails should not be longer than three short paragraphs.

3.) That Get It Right: Use correct grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation.

Sentences in Business Writing…

1.) Are Simple: Sentences should contain only one idea.

2.) Are Clear: Sentences should have a subject and a verb.

3.) Are Short: Sentences should be an average of 25 words.

Business Writing Starts With A Plan…

1.) That Considers Objectives: Establish your goals and hoped for outcomes.

2.) That Understands Audiences: Use the correct tone and vocabulary for the target audience.

So, to return to my original question: What is business writing? It’s writing that clearly communicates ideas to its audience. It’s writing that takes careful consideration of grammar, structure, and word choice. The difference between business writing and other forms of writing is a little bit like what Mark Twain once said about specific word choice: “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.”

Do you need help with business writing? Contact me at The Language Lab.

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