As a genre it involves certain rules and conventions
This means that there are basic rules that every business writer should follow
It is essential to be clear and concise in one’s communications
Precision, clarity and consistency are achieved through— Thinking before you write Knowing your audience Using simple language Proofreading your document Proofreading again—be ruthless in making sure there are no mistakes
Let’s now address the importance of thinking before you write…here are some questions you might ask yourself before sending an email…
Because email is a relatively immediate form of communication thinking before pressing the send button is really important. While proofreading your email You need to take into account the perspective of your reader/audience Part of doing this is thinking carefully about your word choices It is always good to adopt a positive tone even if the message is serious. This is because you want to relieve stress. Rarely do people perform well when stressed.
This brings me to the importance of tone (or register) in your business writing
What people pick up on first even before reading the content of your message/email is its sound
This is tied into tone. Work on the sound of your writing as we read with both our eyes and ears.
In getting the tone right in your writing think about the essence of your message
As you can see this problem of writer’s block is a part of many narratives in popular culture texts…
The best way to address this problem is to write…write anything. Just put some words and characters down on the page and see what happens…
The Nike ad campaign, ‘just do it’ may not seem helpful but as an experienced writer myself the way to start writing is just to do it.
Once you have words on a page then you have something to work with and also to change.
A large part of writing is rewriting. The advice below is wise.
Handy Tips: Do not burden yourself with the idea of perfection, but you can come close to it through revision and proofreading Believe in yourself even when you feel the least confident Work at your writing Think of your reader And eradicate as much ‘noise’ from your writing by being grammatically correct at all times Avoid waste words such as qualifying clauses that add nothing to your communication
What to do in Electronic Writing Use simple words Write in complete sentences Respect your reader Adopt a formal yet positive tone Edit your email Proofread your email Think carefully before pressing the ‘send’ button
What not to do in Electronic Writing Talk down to your reader Adopt a negative tone Use vague language Send before proofreading and editing Use complex words and sentence constructions Use incorrect grammar including spelling and especially your recipient’s name and when relevant, title.
Also know the nature of your communication tool. Famous communication theorist Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) once said: ‘The medium is the message’.
For most of you, the medium is your computer and you communicate through email.
In the recent past email used to be treated lightly as an informal mode of communication but now it is the most common and arguably influential form of business communication.
Also unlike the paper document, an email or any other electronic form of communication cannot be erased. So make sure you put your best foot forward in keeping it simple.