Five keys to unlock your writing at work

Turgid and jargon-filled. That’s the state of much of the business writing I come across. Writing that is full of clichés and overused words is not engaging. It’s just eye-rollingly boring.

There is a way to be a better business writer. Here are 5 keys to unlock your potential.

1. Know why and who you are writing for
Understanding your objective is like gripping the steering wheel of your car. A firm and steady hand on the wheel will keep you on the straight and narrow. That’s your objective – straight, clear communication that’s on message. Understanding who will be reading your writing guides your tone of voice and ensures a good fit.

2. Just get cracking
You’ve got some writing to do. So just do it. Don’t sit there procrastinating and over-thinking it. Get cracking and get those words on the screen. There’s plenty of time later to reorganise its structure and finesse – get the bones down first. Remember, there’s no such thing as writer’s block, just writer’s inaction.

3. Cut the clutter and jargon
Bad business writing puts readers to sleep. That’s because it’s full of jargon and prepositions that don’t need to be there. Overly wordy, long sentences bog your writing down. And over-used business-speak does not count as considered opinion. It’s babble. It’s what everyone-else-says-so-I’ll-say-it-too. Be thoughtful in your business writing and you will boost your credibility.

4. Embrace re-writing
Rewriting is the essence of good writing. It is where clarity is honed, repetition is binned and the flow and cadence of good communication is struck. Making time to revise and re-write is essential to good Business Writing.

5. Write as you speak
Imagine the people you are writing for are sitting in front of you. Now write as if you are speaking to them. This will take the pompous, stuffy edge off your writing. Use contractions such ‘I’d like to’ or ‘we’re pleased to…’ and your writing will be warmer. That makes it more engaging. So ditch the robot and write like a human being.