People change all the time.
In turn, the use of language and communication evolves. To be able to keep up with the changes is an important aspect of being successful in our careers. Something – that all of us realize more, everyday.
Over time, we have moved on from simple emails to live chats, using voice conferences and many other newer tools for business communication. Yet, business writing still makes up for a big chunk of our work days.
And though we may have improved many of our business processes, one thing that hasn’t quite kept up with all the changes, is the way we are writing for business communication. To improve your business writing, you need to know exactly where you are going wrong.
We continue to make the same writing mistakes and use the same ‘abused’ words in our emails to communicate with colleagues, customers and stakeholders. Which is not helping business communication at all.
How many of us have received an email or a promotion that we have struggled to understand or read through? And discarded the email or message because it simply made no sense – or took too much effort to consume.
I understand that for most people, it’s easier to communicate with the more commonly used terms – perhaps because they have been doing it for so long. But the fact is – things need to change. There are ways to improve business writing skills and all it takes is a bit of self reflection to correct our habits.
Pet business communication phrases like “please find enclosed”, “kindly review enclosed” and “I may wish to inform your kind self” are common.
But these phrases do not work for business communication today. The most important point here is that we really don’t necessarily need to kill our keyboards in the process of writing.
In fact, you may never know how people begin to perceive your business just by the way you write your emails. Now that’s an alarming thought.
Moment of truth – we are not two hundred years old. And we should not write like we are. There are many ways to say the same thing. Let’s try doing it.
Here are some tips to help you improve your business writing skills.
Title your message for relevance
I know so many people who send me a survey with the subject titled ‘did you know?’
I usually don’t bother to open this email because I know it’s a survey and offers me nothing I would like to know.
You can fool me once but I am so not falling for that over and again. So title for relevance. Important aspect is to keep it interesting but relevant.
Write for a person. Keep it simple
Forget the terms ‘enclosed’, ‘kind self’, ‘review and kind consideration’ when writing your emails. Write to a person. The way you would talk should reflect in the way you write.
Start with the greeting and then tell your customer why you think this product can help them. Tell them what you are offering and if the price is negotiable.
Keep your promotions simple
Think of this scenario. You have sent out a promotion. It’s a fantastic graphic – beautiful, relevant and great pitch, but it just won’t load in the email client of your customer. Sadness. How good is your promotion if you customer is unable to view it?
Lesson learnt: Write a small message with the graphic. That is if you must include the image in your promotion. Make it personal for your customer. Include important details and don’t forget to mention pricing and contact details in the text byte.
Use a unique signature
I know so many people who write, ‘yours sincerely’, ‘warm regards’, ‘profound regards’, ‘kind regards’ but that sounds like a pompous royal ruler and not really a person one can talk to. Is that the perception you want your customer to carry with them.
Yes, I understand the business environment in every circle is different but it does not hurt create your own unique signature for your business communication. Something that can work for everyone you work with. Your unique style – preferably a light and colloquial one can help to get people comfortable so that they can write back without worrying about how formal do they need to be.
Don’t lose out on professionalism
I know it is easy to get carried away when I have bashed the olden ways of communicating this much. But my point is not to take the professionalism out of your business communication. Maintain your etiquette but as you do that, make it human, relatable and communication friendly. That will help your business communication and you will see more replies in your inbox.
Language is a great tool. It can help you remove communication barriers. But it can also create blocks that affects business and productivity of people. If used, intelligently you can make the most out of your communication every day. Check out this really useful infographic to get some tips on how you can improve your business writing skills. If you would like to receive resources and personal trainings, leave a message here and I will get back to you.
Have a great sunday and happy writing!
This infographic was first published here
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