Effective Business Communication Hinges on Well Honed Writing Skills

The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think. — Edwin Schlossberg, author and educator

“E-mails – that are received from Jim and I are not either getting open or not being responded to. I wanted to let everyone know that when Jim and I are sending out e-mails (example- who is to be picking up parcels) I am wanting for who ever the e-mail goes to to respond back to the e-mail. Its important that Jim and I knows that the person, intended, had read the e-mail. This gives an acknowledgment that the task is being completed. I am asking for a simple little 2 sec. Note that says ‘OK’, ‘I got it’, or Alright.’

Is there an easier way to say that? Of course there is┬ĘPlease let me know that you’ve received our emails.”

Sad to say, that sort of writing is all too common — slapdash, hurry-up writing that takes absolutely no account of the reader. Worse, the “writer” didn’t even bother to edit before hitting the “send” button. You can only imagine the snickering and grumbling that that email elicits among the recipients.

As the novelist Somerset Maugham put it, “The best style is the style you don’t notice.” The world of business communications is no different. Effective writers get their point across concisely without calling attention to the way they write. The reader understands what the writer is conveying — questions, answers to questions, a call to action, a persuasive point — in one reading.

Getting there starts with three foundations of successful writing, whether a project report, a technical evaluation, a sales pitch or a brief email:

o Writing is thinking. It should be viewed as an opportunity, a gift of time to show how smart you are.

o Know your readers. Successful writers use inclusive language, not pompous, jargon-laden language that excludes. They write to edify, not to impress.

o Edit/revise. The first two foundations are meaningless if you don’t check your work carefully. Sloppy or nonexistent writing can make you look foolish.

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