Not that many of us dreamt of becoming writers in their childhood. However, in the modern world, we all have to write e-mails, reports, proposals, plans, and other business documents. The poignant truth is that those documents are usually poorly written.
It does not mean, however, that you are obliged to read dozens of books and complete hundreds of exercises to improve your writing skills. Still, even the most reluctant writers can avoid common mistakes in their business documents.
Common English Mistakes
Misspelling, Typos, and Poor Grammar
Elementary mistakes are the most noticeable. If you don’t proofread the document, the reader will notice it right away. It will create the impression of you as an inattentive and careless employee. You don’t need that, do you? Check what you’ve written, ask your colleagues to read it, and use online spellcheckers.
Don’t Forget About the Reader
Quite often, we focus on what to write. Instead, we have to keep in mind that someone’s going to read it (hopefully). Is your main message clear? Is the writing easy to understand? Finally, would you like to read it yourself?
Use simple words …
Using elaborate phrases and complicated words does not make you look smart, my dear. Do you really think the reader will be happy to check up the meaning of every word in a dictionary? The audience wants to understand the message, not to translate it. If you know what to say, use simple words.
… and Simple Sentences
A business document is not a book ‒ no one expects to enjoy it. Don’t bother the reader with complex sentences. Needing to read one sentence a couple of times in order to understand it while a deadline is approaching is not what your colleague wants.
A page of plain text is not easy to read. Add here inappropriate font size and line spacing, and the reader will be on the verge of a stroke on seeing the document. To save him/her from emotional breakdown, keep it 50% text and 50% space and images per page. Plus, use readable font and line spacing.
Beware of Abbreviations
While some abbreviations are a common knowledge for your colleagues, people outside the company will probably not be familiar with them. Use the words your reader is sure to understand to make the document clear and pleasant to read.
If you ignore these rules, you not only produce a poorly written piece of writing ‒ you irritate the clients, upset your colleagues, and jeopardize the business. Words are your most powerful tool. Use it wisely.