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Improve Your Business Writing Skills

Strong writing skills are essential for success in modern business. The Graduate Management Admission Council reports that recruiters around the world name communication as a top skill they seek in job candidates, with writing being a part of the larger skill set.

Regardless of your position in the work world, you will use many different forms of written communication. Whether it’s a formal press release, an office memo or a social media post, the impact of your communications relies on the quality of your writing.

Yet, writing is not a one-size-fits-all practice. Business writing in certain contexts can be somewhat formal, whereas other situations call for a more conversational tone. Shorthand and industry-speak may be appropriate for some internal communications but less than useful for out-facing messaging.

Improving your business writing skills is an important part of bettering what you do and furthering your career. So where do you begin?

How Can I Improve My Business Writing Skills?

Applying basic concepts can make a difference. Here are a few business writing tips for you to consider:

Be Direct

In business writing, start with the most important information up front, directly relaying what you want to get across. Less is almost always more, and using short words and straightforward syntax helps keep your writing clear and accessible.

For instance, an in-depth business email may be longer in form and different in linguistic style or tone than a Twitter post. But both should efficiently communicate to readers what they need to know.

Know Your Purpose and the Audience

To be clear and direct, you need to know what you want to communicate and why. Taking a little time to do your research can help you craft a complete message. Writing with purpose and intention will give the audience a clear idea of what they should take away from the communication.

Knowing your audience also informs how you will communicate your purpose. Buzzwords and business jargon are rarely useful to the average consumer as this turns off readers who are unfamiliar with industry terms. It is up to you to make sure your audience connects with the content and language.

Reread, Revise, Edit and Get Help

First drafts are rarely perfect. Reread what you write and check your grammar. Read it aloud and see if it sounds clear and correct. Take some time away and come back to your writing to look at it with fresh eyes and see if it still makes sense.

If you feel stuck, get help with editing. Hire a freelance copyeditor or have a friend or family member look over what you write. This can help ensure your writing is clear and polished to any reader.

What Resources Can Help Me Improve My Writing Skills?

An online search can turn up bookmark-worthy resources on general writing, grammar and English language rules. Merriam-Webster provides word definition and use, synonyms, antonyms and more. The AP Stylebook is a go-to for writers, as is the The Chicago Manual of Style. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, is also a handy grammar reference.

The Quick and Dirty Tips website and Grammar Girl podcast, both created by Mignon Fogarty, are useful resources and accessible to writers at all levels. Grammarly even offers AI-powered software applications to help with writing and editing.

With study, practice and drive, you can improve your business writing skills to communicate with impact in your career.

Programs like Northern Kentucky University’s online MBA give students ample opportunity to study, read and write about a variety of business topics. Communication with professors, cohort members and other professionals can help them hone their applied writing skills for business contexts. The NKU Writing Center is a helpful resource, with assistance available online. In addition, faculty members provide feedback on writing throughout the online MBA program enabling students to improve their business writing skills.

Learn more about NKU’s online MBA program.


Graduate Management Admission Council: Employers Still Seek Communication Skills in New Hires

Harvard Business Review: How to Improve Your Business Writing

Lifehack: 12 Tips for Better Business Writing

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips

Northern Kentucky University: Writing Center

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