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BUSINESS WRITING - SOME MISTAKES YOU DON'T KNOW YOU MAKING

BUSINESS WRITING - SOME MISTAKES YOU DON'T KNOW YOU MAKING

SOME MISTAKES YOU DON'T KNOW YOU MAKING

Business writing should always be clear, concise and to the point.  While it may be tempting to write long descriptions that emphasize your knowledge and skill, your reader just wants to understand the facts.  The business audience isn’t prepared to, nor should they have to, read the sorts of papers college professors require.

You can ensure that your business communications are always well-received by avoiding these common mistakes.

1. Don’t use acronyms, technical jargon or industry buzzwords that the reader may not know. There’s nothing more frustrating than receiving a letter, report or proposal that is full of language that you don’t understand.

 

2. Don’t use vague, sweeping or ambiguous statements. Be as clear as possible in your business writing. Avoid phrases like “This would suggest,” or “It is advisable,” and similar preambles that avoid taking responsibility for a statement or recommendation. You’ll be perceived as a much more confident and knowledgeable professional if you take ownership of your analysis and recommendations. Also avoid statements that could leave the reader wondering who or what you’re talking about. For example. “Theywant us to…” or "Mike saidthatwas a bad idea..."  These statements beg the questions: “Who are they?”  and “What is ‘that’?”

 

3. Avoid jokes, humor, sarcasm and anecdotes. Using humor or sarcasm in your writing sets your tone, and you may come off as sounding unprofessional, uninformed, or just plain ridiculous.  Anecdotes on the other hand, while interesting, are best saved for verbal communication because they waste the time of a business audience who just wants to get to the point.

 

 

4. Avoid clichés. While it is tempting to use the current, trendy phrases in your communication, don’t do it.  You’ll just end up sounding clumsy and even insincere. When you’re done writing a letter or other communication, read it back to yourself out load.  When you hear the words you've written, it will be easier to pick out the clichés and clumsy language.

 

5. Don’t use slang or language that may be offensive to the reader. This mistake is unprofessional and can even be insulting.

 

6. Don’t send any communication without proofreading and running a spelling and grammar check. This should also include making sure that you are using the correct word for your meaning.

 

7. Don’t pad your writing with unnecessary or flowery words that don’t add anything to the point you are trying to make.  Two things happen when written communications are padded with unneeded words. First, the writer sounds like he's trying to embellish the facts; and second, the reader’s valuable time is wasted because he has to sift through frivolous words to get to the point the writer was trying to make.

 

8. Avoid the use of uncommonly used words. While using an extensive vocabulary in writing may make you sound highly educated, it’s frustrating for the reader to have to figure out what it is you’re trying to say, especially if he has a more limited vocabulary.

 

 

9. Use passive voice wisely. In business writing, the use of passive voice is frequently used to avoid specifically naming a person or group of people.  This is okay as long it doesn’t matter to the reader who specifically did something.

For example:  The reports were reviewed and recommendations were provided. (Passive) -versus- Kate reviewed the reports and provided the recommendations. (Active)

 

10. Don’t be overly casual in email communications. Make sure to use a clear subject line and start the email with the person’s name and end it by signing yours, just as you would a formal letter.  Also, try to avoid the jargon that’s been developed for texting unless you know you’re reader will understand.

<Sources: http://www.mba-online-program.com>

 

 

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