Less is More: Twelve Tips For Better Business Writing

We are all inundated by important written communications, … whether it is a critical message from a fee-generating client or customer, a business-building email from another trusted professional, or fabulous news from friends and family. It’s sad to say that we often don’t attend to these messages with sufficient focus. We are overwhelmed.

How do we make OUR writing count? … And allow our readers to process the information in a straight-forward way? Savvy professionals know the world has changed and, when it comes to business writing, less is more!

  1. Refine it. Take a hard look at the structure of your writing. Only include sections that are necessary to support your points.
  2. Consider an informal tone. Just because you’re writing a report, doesn’t mean you need to be formal. Adopt a more informal tone to be direct and concise.
  3. Keep it professional. LOLs or BRBs rarely work for business writing. One can be informal while maintaining professional gravitas at the same time.
  4. Avoid complex phrasing. My favorite way to simplify a run-on sentence is using a semi-colon.
  5. Writing elegantly is not important; delivering strong content is the goal. Let the message stand out more than your language.
  6. Don’t get hung up on “flow.” Flowing sentences tend to be long and dense.
  7. Skip the jargon. Jargon can be a useful way to communicate quickly among experts but not in writing … especially when your audience may not be familiar with the terms.
  8. Use active voice with a subject-verb-object sentence structure. Have people “doing things” rather than “things being done to people.”
  9. Try one idea per paragraph. Short paragraphs are easier for the reader to digest.
  10. Organize your thoughts. State your main point first. Then back it up with supporting information.
  11. Leverage your subject lines. Whether in email or memos, succinct subject lines get your reader attending to your message right from the start.
  12. Make it “scan-able.” Few people read every word. Use headers and bullet points so that your audience can quickly scan your message.

Let me know if your office or your team needs a refresher on effective business writing and common grammar goofs.