Many types of writing exist: academic writing, screenwriting, creative writing, and many more. One of the more important types of writing is business writing. This type of writing is different because you cannot necessarily write what you want to write. Instead, you write what you have to write in order to construct a well-written piece of business writing.
In other forms of writing, you are telling a story that you want to tell. You have full control over what types of words are used in each paragraph, how the pages are formatted, and what the message of your story is. Business writing forbids all of this. You are representing your company and therefore your audience is more important in business writing than any other form of writing. There are two types of audiences for business writing pieces: the readers and the stakeholders. The readers may include a primary audience (decision-makers), a secondary audience (other audience within company of interest), and a shadow audience (others who may read your piece). Business writing guidelines recommend that, while writing, you consider all three of these audiences in mind and to clearly emphasize why you are writing your piece and what you want them to do. The other audience is your stakeholders, or those who will be affected by the decisions made because of the paper. These can include customers, employees, or even local residents. None of these people will read your piece, but it’s important to have them in mind while writing so you know the actions of your proposal will have a positive impact on all parties involved. Screenwriters or narrative writers do not have to pay this much attention to their audience while writing, as the story they craft will have no impact on the livelihood of its readers.
Some other critical aspects of effective business writing include document design and tone. When designing your document, you want to make sure all of the important information is either bold, highlighted, or italicized. Your key ideas should be written as headings and the subsequent paragraphs should begin with a generalization of your topic followed by more specific information. This makes your document more accessible and allows readers to skim over a few sections while still grasping the main idea.
When thinking about your tone, you first want to, once again, think about your audience. Your attitude may change depending on who exactly you are writing to, but generally, you want to come off as confident and sincere. You can achieve this by writing in the active voice and placing more emphasis in your sentences. This is mainly different from other types of writing because while other writers may be telling a story, which allows them to explore different genres of writing, business writing is primarily persuasive (whether it’s applying for a job or suggesting company action) and thus forces you to write more confidently as you try to persuade your readers into acting in your favor.
Lastly, revision is just as important in business writing as it is in any other type of writing. Revising allows you to look at your piece from a reader’s perspective and allows you to see the errors that you may have missed while looking at it from a writer’s perspective. When revising business pieces, you want to remove any excess words that prevents your content from becoming completely accessible, while also rewording your sentences to focus on your reader and the benefits they’ll gain instead of focusing on yourself and the benefits you’ll bring. You want to be more positive, have a more parallel sentence structure, and include correct grammar in order to give yourself more credibility. While business writing pieces surely benefit from these revisions, it is important to note that revising any form of writing in this manner will enhance its quality.