This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is copyright to Jessica Fender © 2022.
Published here July 2022

Editor's Note | Introduction | Benefits of Working on your Business Writing Skills 
Ways to Develop your Business Writing Skills
Business Writing Mistakes to Keep in Mind | In Summary

Ways to Develop your Business Writing Skills

There are several techniques you can apply to your business writing skills to build upon the foundations you already have. Everyone is good at some form of writing, whether it be short-form or long-form writing. Your task as a project manager is to recognize your style of writing and play it to your advantage. Here's how you can do that in several intuitive ways:

1. Recognize the main types of business writing

There are four types of business writing which are commonly used in corporate correspondences. Different types of writing are necessary depending on what you are trying to accomplish with your copy. Knowing the difference between them will make or break your copy as a project manager — here's how to differentiate them:

  • Instructional Writing: Instructional writing is intended to communicate certain instructions or tasks to the reader. This type of writing is used in project briefs, memos, manuals, or project specifications. It can also be used to delegate or split up work among your team members to make your project's goals clearer to everyone.
  • Informational Writing: Informational writing is meant to be informative and doesn't take the form of orders or tasks to be done. This can help you create helpful guidelines, how-to documents, meeting agendas, and reports for your team. Informational documents are used as guideposts in project management and can be written anytime during project development.
  • Persuasive Writing: Persuasive writing is typically used when pitching projects and writing sales offer to stakeholders. You can use persuasive writing in your emails, project proposals, PR statements, and various forms of sales documents. Persuasive writing isn't used top-down and for project management purposes, only for bottom-up writing for your managers or clients.
  • Transactional Writing: Transactional writing is somewhat confusing because transactions aren't necessarily monetary — they can involve the exchange of data, for example. You can implement transactional writing in your corporate emails, B2B letters, invoices, letters, and other documents intended to share certain information. It can also be used in writing monetary-related documents for charging clients, requesting funds, or pitching prices to stakeholders.

2. Tailor your writing style to the audience

Beyond recognizing the different business writing styles, you'll also need to tailor your approach to writing based on who you write for. Writing business letters or emails to clients or your project team will be much different in tone, style, and formatting. You'll always want to think about "who" will read your copy before you write it. This will help you focus your message and be more informative for your reader, who has different expectations from you as a project manager.

Your team will want more information on how to proceed with the project, how to apply changes, and how to split up the workload, for example. A client might want a comprehensive report with data and demo files that will help illustrate your points. In both cases, using a different vocabulary, writing style, and approach to information delivery will be crucial to how persuasive your copy is.

3. Always be concise in your writing

A great way to be successful as a project manager is to communicate your messages concisely to all stakeholders at all times. Avoid being wordy and instead, try to filter your thoughts into more cohesive business writing. A good way to do this is by writing a freestyle document with your thoughts and ideas on a blank piece of paper.

When you've included all the information you want to communicate on that paper, start restructuring your thoughts. Which sentences are unnecessary and add nothing to your argument? How can you make your messages as simple and understandable as possible? Aim for concise writing instead of long-form content in all business writing types, and you'll be a much better project manager for it.

4. Use facts and findings to persuade readers

Business writing is all about objective and informative facts. What better way to tick both boxes than by using statistical data, findings, and publications to your advantage? As a project manager, you'll often have to refer to certain data sets or publicly available information to make your point. Certain studies and academic resources can also be used to make your point clearer. Using numbers, percentages, and certain types of visualized data can help your business writing considerably.

This will add credibility and trust to your business writing, especially if you're pitching projects or asking for more resources. Make sure that you only rely on truthful and verifiable information instead of embellishing information or misinforming the reader. When you're caught in the act, your reputation as a project manager and business writer will suffer greatly.

5. Make it a habit to proofread your writing

It's always a good rule of thumb to proofread your writing, regardless of if it's business writing or article writing for online publication. As a project manager, you'll always want to dot your i's so that nothing is left unsaid or uncertain. The same applies to any form of business writing, from corporate emails to reports or project briefings. When you're done writing, make it a habit to read your writing aloud and look for discrepancies.

Proofread your writing by hand and by using a reliable online tool to ensure that everything is in order. While this won't necessarily lead to problems in understanding your writing, repeat proofreading errors can reflect poorly on your reputation. Showcase how professional you are by always spellchecking and formatting your writing before sending it to the intended readers.

Benefits of Working on your Business Writing Skills  Benefits of Working on your
Business Writing Skills

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