Business Writing Tip – Ditch Per Your Request

Today’s Business Writing tip tells why we write.

You write business documents for one of five reasons.

You write to inform, inquire, include, incite, or influence.

Informing means telling. Nothing revolutionary there.

Inquiring means asking a question. Simple.

Including gets a little tricky. Sometimes you “include” people by creating “documentation” – that necessary form of writing that nobody ever reads.

You also “include” people with “CYA” writing.

Y’all know what “CYA” means, right? Cover Your Anatomy!

This is that strange form of writing in American business that proves no one trusts any one.

I love the word, “incite.”

Most people think this word means something revolutionary. All the word means is to emotionally stir someone into action.

Accounts Payable people incite customers all the time. “Pay your bill.”

The fifth reason we write is to “influence” others.

Probably, most of the writing you create informs people.

If that is so, let me offer one simple way to become successful with that task.

Take a clue from your task. If you purpose is to “inform,” your writing should be “informal.”

Yes, go ahead. Re-read that sentence.

Your writing should be “informal.”

Forget about what your English teachers and your college professors taught you. You are in the business world now where

your success and the success of others depends on clear, concise, correct, complete, and conversational communication.

This means you need to express your ideas in a way your readers can read quickly, understand easily, remember, and act upon.

Let’s put that another way. Keep your business writing conversational. Your business writing should sound as natural as a telephone conversation.

That’s all business writing is – conversation on paper.

Ditch “Per Your Request”

Remember, in your job, you are in a people-to-people business. I seriously doubt you would start a conversation with a friend, coworker, boss, or client by saying, “per your request.”

We don’t start telephone conversations saying, “per your request.”

But, for some reason, many people start their letters and e-mails that way.

In his book, “Talking Straight,” Lee Iacocca wrote, “Write the way you talk. If you don’t talk that way, don’t write that way.” Thank you, Mr. Iacocca. You just summed up this article in one sentence.

For those purists in the group, I will add a side bar to Mr. Iacocca’s sound advise. Write the way speak; then, edit, edit, edit.

Someone once said, “There’s no such thing as good writing, just good re-writing.”

To me, re-writing implies a lot of work.

I prefer to take what I have created in my first draft and edit it to make sure it is clear, concise, correct, complete, and now, conversational.

This means checking your draft to ensure you have used complete sentences and correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, structure, and approach.

That sounds like a lot.

But, if you visit you will learn tricks, tips, and techniques on how to accomplish this important business task.

Comments are closed.

Copyright © Communication Skills Success Tips