Business Writing Essentials

Business Writing Essentials: How to Write Letters, Reports and Emails by Clare Whitmell

Category: Communication

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Why: I need to write clearer English to my business partners to get feedback.
Goal: learn rules on how to write a letter or an email that is easily understood.

Action: Write Like How You Would Talk.

3 Key Concepts

  1. Write like how you would talk, avoid over-formal words.
  2. Use modal verbs instead of a phrase.
  3. Stick with simple layout “Subject + Verb + Object”


How to write like you would talk?

Read out loud what you are writing about. Then, re-read them again out loud. Writing as business usual!

I am telling you this is easier said than done.

It requires extra work to reduce your reader’s work.

This book is a compact guideline to write simply. However, for a better writing style, I suggest you check out this post: The Elements of Business Writing by Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly.

Writing as business usual
Writing as business usual.

3 Ways to Write Concisely

  1. Avoid using formal words in general English.
  2. Avoid using cliched expressions and repetition.
  3. Use modal verbs: can, must, should instead of a phrase like “it is necessary to”.

Rules for Easily Understood English

Your reader should understand at the first go: objective, main information, what to do next.

  1. Keep grammar simple
  2. Keep vocab simple
  3. Avoid idioms and phrasal verbs: I will use them because I like them ;p
  4. Keep sentences short
  5. Use a clear layout: Subject + Verb + Object
  6. Use punctuation esp. list
  7. Define words if necessary: at the first use
  8. Get someone else to read your text

To sum up

Easily understood English takes more than memorizing alphabets.
Easily understood English takes more than memorizing alphabets.

Writing as business usual needs some guidelines. With rules here, you can reassess your business writing skill and start to refine it to achieve an easily understood English 😉

Goal check: I learned some very basics guidelines on how to write simply.

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