We define a writer’s style through his or her word choice and syntax (the order of words in a sentence). In business writing, we should choose words and sentence structures that convey our messages in the most effective way. The best way to do this is by writing simply and professionally.
Sometimes, our writing can be too monotonous and it ends up boring the reader. Here are 10 simple ways to improve your business writing style:
1. Avoid using the same word at the beginning of every sentence.
If you start every sentence in the same way, the reader will stop paying attention.
2. Avoid repetitive sentence structures.
Vary your sentence lengths. Use simple, complex, and compound sentences. If every sentence you write is five words long, your reader will become bored. Read this to see how annoying it can be: The Importance of Varying Sentence Length. Use short sentences and longer sentences to make sure your reader is paying attention.
3. Avoid phrases and words that do not sound like you.
If you do not say words like ‘preposterous’ and ‘judicious’ when you speak, do not include them in your writing.
4. Do not overuse adjectives and adverbs.
When you pad your writing with unnecessary modifiers and qualifiers, your reader’s attention will wander.
5. Avoid slang.
Only use slang in direct speech, and only if you are reporting exactly what somebody has said. Even then, it is better to avoid it. It puts readers off.
6. Avoid overused words.
Create lists of alternative words for the ones you use most in your writing. Warning: Do not swap them for more complicated words. Simply have a user-friendly selection of synonyms. (Have a look at this list for ideas.) The more you write, the more aware you will become of repeating them.
7. Avoid clichés and jargon.
Do not use phrases such as ‘think outside the box’, ‘a win-win situation’, ‘low-hanging fruit’, ‘touching base’, and ‘pushing the envelope’. Say what you mean or your readers will become as tired as the expressions you are using.
8. Avoid redundancy and tautology.
Do not use superfluous and unnecessary words or statements.
9. Avoid wordiness.
Do not use too many words if you can say the same thing using fewer words. Do not use big words to show off. This shows your inexperience as a writer. Use the simplest word that gets your message across.
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