> At the end of this lesson, you should be able to communicate in a professional environment.
Business documentation is used to communicate, transact, and analyse. It provides proof of the company’s dealings and can be drawn on years down the line. As such, it is important that business documents are written to show consideration for the intended audience.
The Good, The Bad, and The Persuasive
Informative business documents should be a good explanation of something. The best way to do that is to keep relevant, simple, and as brief as possible. Examples include:
- Financial statements
- Thank-you notes
- Account adjustments
- Transmission receipts
Negative business documents are often used to explain and/or apologize for a negative situation. Because they are bad to receive, the best approach is to sandwich the negative message between two positive spins. Examples include:
- Disciplinary notices
- Negative performance appraisals
- Retrenchments and firings.
Persuasive business documents aim to strategically sway the reader to the sender’s point of view. Examples include:
- Performance appraisals
- Fund-raising appeals
Writing is an essential skill for all professionals. For all but the luckiest of us, effective writing is a skill that must be learnt. Compelling written communication is grammatically correct, contains no spelling errors, its tone is appropriate to its content, it is direct without being rude, and it is well organised and easy to follow.
With all the built-in spelling check, grammar check, and letter writing programs on your computer you may think that you cannot go wrong. Think again! To be a successful business writer, you require a thorough grasp of grammar and spelling, a powerful vocabulary, and a desire to avoid being misunderstood. To that end, edit ruthlessly before printing, signing, and sending business documents.
Written communication requires a level of attention to detail that is not needed in conversation. Business executives around the world recommend that you read, read, and read some more. This recommendation has two benefits:
- You learn new perspectives and information.
- You learn new words and increase you vocab.
Courteous writing requires a moderate tone, word choice, and sentence style. Never swear, call people names, or make off colour remarks in business correspondence.
Communication Tip From the Top
Whatever business document you are creating, a little consideration goes a long way to getting the response you would like:
- Structure the document according to business and industry standards
- Arrange the information in a way that is logical to your audience
- Emphasise the positive
- Be polite.
“There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.” Malcolm Gladwell
Download a comprehensive Business Writing Guide HERE.