Since you have learned to form your first A, writing has become a part of your life. Whether it is something simple as jotting down a note or writing a letter to a loved one, writing is an essential part of our daily life.
When we start our first job, we need to learn a whole new way of writing. More formal and permanent, business writing is an art not always easily mastered.
How can you be effective in your business writing?
1. What is business writing?
At its most basic, business writing involves a sender sending a message through a written medium to one or more recipients.
Business writing is more formal and less flexible than oral communication but is the best medium for business communication.
Business writing can take on many forms like circulars, manuals, memo’s, job descriptions, etc.
Formats have evolved from analogue mediums like letters and postcards to a wide variety of digital formats like email and instant messages. Business writing is now widely used online on websites and social media sites.
Clear and concise writing ensure effective written communication.
2. What are the types of business writing?
The goal of transactional communication it to get a response. The best mediums to use are online forms like email or instant messaging.
The purpose of an information message is to send a message that will benefit the recipient. Online or offline channels can be used.
With an instructional message, the format is more important than the medium. This type of message normally contains step-by-step instructions to complete a specific task. The best way to present this type of message is by using bullet points or numbered phrases.
3. What are the advantages of business writing?
Business writing has many advantages. It creates a permanent record of evidence and can, therefore, be used for future reference and proof in legal disputes.
It is perfect for long-distance communication and can be sent to many recipients at a time. Sending an email instead of placing a long-distance call also save on costs.
Writing gives a person a chance to formulate his thoughts properly. Taking the time to draft and edit, for example, an email also gives the sender a chance to calm down and rethink his message if he is angry or upset. Many an email send in haste while emotional has caused irreparable damage!
Business writing is perfect for statistical data, charts, and diagrams. It reduces ambiguity and helps to determine responsibility through work allocation and job distribution. It also creates uniformity in the work procedure.
If used correctly business writing can be used to create goodwill and promote your business!
For the Hard of Hearing (HOH), business writing is an absolute preference and will be discussed in point 6. How is Business Writing an effective way to communicate with the Hard of Hearing (HOH)?
4. What are the limitations of business writing?
Business writing can be time-consuming and is not efficient when instant feedback is required due to the time delay between sending and receiving a response. It leaves little opportunity for clarification if the message is not clearly communicated.
It can also be costly due to data and printing costs (paper and cartridges).
Since business writing is a relatively slow medium it is not a viable option for communication during emergencies. It also carries a risk as far as confidentiality is concerned.
Although many of these advantages have a lesser impact with many digital mediums in use today.
5. How can you make your business writing more effective?
“The true sign of knowledge on any topic is the ability to explain it in a few simple words as possible”Essential Skills for Written Communication
- Plan your message beforehand. State clearly the purpose of the message and avoid irrelevant information. Lack of clarity only creates frustration and misunderstanding.
- The tone you use in your writing is determined by your audience and the purpose of the communication. Business writing is normally more formal. Using the incorrect tone can discourage your recipient from reading your content.
- Explain clearly why it is to the benefit of the recipient to help you with your request.
- Use simple language to clearly convey your meaning. Clichés, jargon, expressions, and big words only confuse and discourage the recipient from reading your message. Keep paragraphs and sentence short and to the point.
- Using active voice makes your writing flow better, engage the reader and is easier to understand.
- Your word choice affects how your message is received and is determined by your audience. In business writing, you need to explain jargon and industry terms for new employees and those with less experience in the field.
- Correct formatting can help to increase readability. This includes components like the size of words, spacing and paragraph layout. Wrong formats intimidate and dissuade interest and comprehension. Use lists, bullet points and break up paragraphs.
- With business writing perception is everything! Ensure you make a good impression with faultless grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use spellcheckers and services like Grammarly. But ultimately proofread every piece of writing yourself, as many errors are not picked up with these tools. Reading out loud will also help you to catch many errors. Better still, get somebody else to check it for you, as we all tend to overlook our own mistakes!
6. How is Business Writing an effective way to communicate with the Hard of Hearing (HOH)?
Disabling hearing loss means hearing loss greater than 40 decibels in the better hearing ear in adults.
6.1 Why is matters:
According to the World Health Organization over 5% (around 466 million people) world-wide have disabling hearing loss. They estimate that by 2050 over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss
Causes can be genetic, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, use of drugs, exposure to excessive noise, ageing. Many of these are preventable.
Hearing loss affects the way we communicate with others. Feeling excluded due to the struggle to communicate leads to loneliness and isolation.
6.2 Business writing and the Hard of Hearing
“Speechreading Lipreading entails deducing verbal messages through watching lip movements. Speechreading, on the other hand, not only encompasses lipreading-its most important component-but also incorporates many other visual clues which assist in understanding the spoken message. Such clues include facial expression, gestures, pantomime, rate of delivery, and eye contact. Even hearing people develop and use some speechreading ability, often unconsciously, especially when background noise interferes with hearing.”Overcoming communication barriers – communicating with deaf people
Listening, lipreading and speechreading are tiring, since it requires intense concentration, especially in noisy environments. Sounds often gets distorted which makes understanding even more difficult.
- Many numbers and words sound remarkably similar, making taking down details like names, phone numbers and email addresses extremely difficult for the Hard of Hearing person. Especially over the phone where you do not have lip-reading as a backup.
- Group settings and meetings are hard to cope with. The nature of this setting creates distance between individuals, making it harder to lip-read and decreasing the volume of speech. It is also very difficult to determine the next person who will speak, thereby losing out on communication while finding and focusing on that person.
- Telephonic conversations are also difficult as we cannot lip-read or read body language.
Since business writing often does not require personal contact it lessens listening fatigue. Often so much effort is put in to just hearing, that comprehension suffers. Also, no part of the communication is missed, which ensures better understanding.
We can see that if used correctly, business writing has many benefits for the individual and the business.
Not only can it be used to promote your business, but also prevent conflict between employees when planning and thinking through your business writing. It can help to relay difficult data clearly and for long-distance communication. It can also be kept for future reference and as proof during legal disputes.
But for me, the most important benefit is how it can be used to accommodate the Hard of Hearing person in your organization.
Get in touch if you need any writing or proofreading services!
What will you do today to improve your business writing?
- Written Communication: Meaning, Advantages and Limitations
- What is written communication in business? – Definition, Types and Examples
- What is Effective Written Communication?
- Essential skills for written communication
- Communicating with People with Hearing Loss
- Deafness and hearing loss
- Overcoming communication barriers: Communicating with deaf people