improve your business writting  


improve your business writing

Write with care

  • Work slowly and carefully to reduce opportunity for errors.
  • Avoid distractions that will impair concentration.
  • Work only when alert, in a quiet environment.
  • Allow yourself enough time to compose and edit your document, especially if you are on a deadline.

Begin with a rough draft

  • Outline your initial ideas in point form before you begin.
  • Decide whether your message is best delivered in a letter, memo, proposal or report. Create a rough draft.
  • Review the draft and rearrange paragraphs as needed.
  • Insert any missed ideas.
  • Refine your structure and wording to achieve clarity and maximize impact.

Organize your material for impact

  • Determine the essence of the document's intended meaning.
  • Capture the reader's attention early by placing important ideas up front.
  • Maintain readers' interest by referring back to the central theme throughout.
  • Ensure that each paragraph has an introductory statement, supporting points and a conclusion.
  • Consider the use of graphs, graphics or charts to add interest and visually support your points.
  • Conclude with a call to action, or with a set of next steps to be accomplished and by whom.

Use words economically

  • Use a variety of different words for interest and to avoid repetition.
  • Leave out jargon that may be unfamiliar to readers.
  • Use words that come easily and naturally to you.
  • Avoid the temptation to add extra words in an effort to sound articulate.
  • Employ words effectively but sparingly for better comprehension.
    Look for opportunities to omit unnecessary words.
  • Remember that busy professionals rarely have time to read excessively long documents.

Check your grammar

  • Incorrect grammar can detract from the professionalism and credibility of your document.
  • Refer to a good stylebook for a complete discussion of proper punctuation and grammar. Ask at bookstores or libraries for recommended stylebooks to suit your needs.

Choose the right type styles

  • Employ type styles properly to reinforce communication and improve legibility.
  • Choose different type styles only to distinguish between different elements of your document : body text, headlines, captions, titles, subheads, etc.
  • If your organization has standard typefaces for documents, be sure to use these.

Review content for accuracy

  • Make sure all information you have provided is accurate and up to date. Verify any numerical references, including math in graphs or tables.
  • Check that individuals mentioned by last name were previously introduced.
  • If the text describes a stepped process, make sure that all steps are listed.
  • Ensure that you are not violating any copyright laws when citing outside sources.


  • Do not rely solely on your computer's spell-check or grammar-check functions to catch errors.
  • Take the time to carefully reread your document for misplaced words or incorrect usage.
  • Have someone else read the document for you to catch any errors you may have missed.

Select the right presentation

  • Ensure all letters are properly formatted to fit letterhead.
    Staple or clip multiple-paged documents together once in the upper left corner.
  • If you must photocopy documents, ensure that your machine yields high quality, legible copies. Consider outsourcing high-volumes of multiple-paged documents to a copy store.
  • Place large documents in binders or have them spiral bound.

Deliver the finished product

  • Determine whether the document should be emailed, mailed, sent by courier or distributed through an internal mail system.
  • Allow enough time for your audience to receive, read and respond to time-sensitive documents.
  • If your document is designed to accompany an oral presentation, ensure there are enough copies for everyone attending.