Do you find sending business proposals to be a burden that leads you to tears?
If you're like most business people, you send countless emails, proposals, and reports every day, so the thought of writing them makes you reluctant.
However, processing the "paperwork" in terms of quantity doesn’t do any good if the quality is sloppy.
If your business writing is complex, formal, and stuffy that can lead to many broken business deals.
This is exactly the opposite of what you want to achieve and a “No Go”.
You want all your business writing to bring results — whether it's driving sales or building trust with customers.
So what makes good business writing and how can you make sure your copy achieves its goals?
Today we will guide you through some tips and tricks from top marketing experts that can help you avoid the most common mistakes in business writing.
By following those suggestions you can improve your writing, sound more professional and land more successful business deals on your plate.
Let’s dive in!🌊
Effective and established correspondence with your readers is an essential part of any successful business.
To become the master of successful business writing you need to form a certain set of goals you want to achieve:
Focusing on the goal will help you write clearly and concisely, so your readers know exactly what they should do after reading your proposal, ad, or email.
In business only one thing matters for readers, potential buyers, or partners – to answer the question "What's in it for me?"
To accomplish those goals, it is vital to bypass common mistakes in business writing and figure out the way how to use words that will influence your readers to take desired actions.
Now that we know how to establish our primary focus in business writing, let’s check what to avoid in the process.
Here is our list of the top 11 most common mistakes in business writing and how to handle them to gain more successful business achievements.
One of the most common mistakes business writers make is using confusing words and phrases.
Many people who write for a living don’t give their word choices much thought, and this can harm their work.
For example, if you’re asking someone to take part in a project or campaign, don’t use the word “request” — instead, use the verbs ‘ask’ or ‘invite’.
Both of these words have more positive connotations than ‘request’, which can sound bureaucratic.
Also, avoid overly descriptive words such as:
Let’s check that on concrete examples:
Note: To be effective in business writing, it’s important to choose words and phrases that have the strongest meanings and don’t confuse your readers.
Business writing is often more formal than everyday emails to friends, family, and colleagues.
This doesn't mean that you can't use contractions or slang, but a business email is not the place to be casual or overly familiar with your reader.
This is the second most common mistake in business writing.
The tone you use should be formal and correct because you never know who will read your email.
For instance, If you're writing an email to an individual, you might address her as "Dear Ms. Smith" or "Dear Mrs. Smith."
If it's a large company, address it as "Dear Sirs" or "Dear Ladies and Gentlemen."
If you're unsure of whom to address in your email, do some research on the company before you write it and find out who your target audience is.
Let’s see the difference between formal and informal writing:
Always remember that emailing is different from talking over the phone or meeting face-to-face.
You may know the person to whom you are writing very well, but do not forget that you are still corresponding with a boss or a client.
Note: Disregarding this factor may lead to a wrong impression and not getting the desired results.
In business writing, it's best to avoid vague language such as "must," "could," and "might."
Instead, be specific and use verbs that tell how people are doing things rather than words that describe what they are doing.
For example, instead of saying "We must cancel Your order," say "We have had to cancel your order."
Let’s check that on Walmart’s example:
Note: Make your readers aware of what is the current status of the action that is taking place and eliminate any doubt on their part.
Passive voice is another common mistake in business writing that many people make.
The passive voice is ineffective and annoying.
It makes a statement sound less direct, sometimes even less authoritative.
The passive voice sounds like the subject of a sentence does not perform an action but rather receives it from another source.
For example: "The article was written by John."
This sentence should be in an active voice because John did not just simply write the report.
When you catch yourself using passive voice, take a moment to reconsider your sentence and rewrite it to sound clear and convincing :
Passive: The manuscript was submitted on time by our editors.
Active: Our editors submitted the manuscript on time.
Note: Write your sentences in an active voice so they are easier to read and their meaning is clear to the reader. Active voice engages with the reader, and you can use HemingayApp to identify and correct all the passive voices.
Do not use exclamation points at the end of every sentence just to make a point.
You should only use them if you want strongly to convey an idea or if you want to express extreme excitement.
For example: “This is an excellent idea!!!”, “Let's do it!!!”
Instead of using exclamation points start using numbers, interesting facts, or statistics to add credibility to your argument.
“Using our software you can speed up your work up to 65% and make the calculation process easier.”
Here is an example of how to make a point by using facts that sell:
Note: To grow your credibility and sound more convincing avoid exclamation points and prove your statements with the facts.
It's hard to believe, but some people still make spelling and grammar mistakes when writing.
The solution is simple—proofread!
Here are some tips on how you can always be ahead of your spelling and grammar errors:
It would be such a bummer if someone decides to put your offer to rest, just because you didn’t carefully review your proposal before sending it.
Note: When sending emails, do not forget that misspelling is often related to phishing.
Do not overlook this mistake just because it is simple and stupid to make.
Many businesses make this common mistake in writing — they do not take the time to plan their message before they write it.
They assume that, just because they know what they want to say, the reader will understand their meaning as well.
Let’s take a look at this example — “In this report, we will discuss several issues concerning the topic at hand.”
This sentence does not make it clear what the topic is.
Another example is — “Our team has been able to complete our task on schedule and within budget, but there are still some concerns about how the tasks have been carried out. In this report, we will discuss those concerns and make recommendations for how they can be addressed in the future.”
It’s hard to understand how these two statements are related or if there are any concerns about those completed tasks.
Your reader needs to follow your line of reasoning — back it up with a clean flow and a clear message.
Here are some ideas of how to accomplish that:
Here is an email example of good business writing:
Note: Explain to your readers why you are making a certain suggestion or recommendation step by step. This way you will “sound” more professional and gain the reader’s trust.
Not researching your targeted audience is a “deadly sin”.
You cannot expect any positive progress in your business if you are not following the natural process of demand and supply chain.
One is certain — you cannot sell a drill to an old grandma that is backing cookies for life, right?
It is important to analyze your audience before you begin writing any type of content.
Incorporate this tip into your writing to attract the right group of people for your business.
Note: If you want your content to be effective, target your audience and make sure to meet their needs.
Not providing adequate background information is just lazy writing.
This includes leaving out facts that are necessary for understanding the topic, and not giving enough evidence to support an argument, product, or proposal.
For example, let's say you're writing an article about why college students should live at home instead of living in a dorm on campus.
In this case, you need background information about college and dorm life for your readers.
This way, you don't have to explain everything from scratch, or even worse — make your readers search for answers elsewhere.
Instead, start each paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly states what the paragraph is about.
Note: Keep each sentence focused on one idea so that the reader can easily follow along.
Business writing sometimes can be full of industry-specific buzzwords and acronyms.
And while these terms are sometimes unavoidable and can occasionally be helpful as shorthand, they often indicate lazy or unclear thinking.
Business writing should be as straightforward and simple as possible.
Don't use technical language unless your audience will understand it and appreciate it.
The following are some commonly used technical language words in business writing that should generally be avoided:
Example: “Be that as it may, the price is fair.”
Good output: “Nevertheless, the price is fair.”
Use "will" instead.
Example: “He will definitely show up.”
Good output: “He will show up.”
If something has been done effectively, it was obviously done in the desired manner.
Example: "The machine was effectively dismantled."
Good output: "The machine was dismantled."
Note: You want your content to be clear and informative, but you don't want to overwhelm your audience with excessive information and confusing acronyms.
Whether you are writing an article, proposal, ad, or email — consistency and good organization in your writing matters.
If you organize your writing poorly, you risk losing your reader’s attention.
Use transitions between ideas to make a logical flow from one point to the next.
Transition examples: “For example”, “ In addition”, “On the other hand”, “At the same time”.
Good organization includes also ordering information from the most important to the least important, or from the least controversial to the most controversial, etc.
Note: Decide what information in your business writing is critical, desirable, and unnecessary — then organize your business writing accordingly.
Whether you’re creating a proposal, an email, or a press release — there are many things to consider if you don’t want to make the most common business mistakes.
By keeping these tips in mind, we hope that you'll be able to make your writing more effective and engaging to scale up your business achievements.
Remember that it is essential to know what you're trying to achieve with your writing.
Otherwise, your words will fall flat — and so will your success.
With this in mind, business writing can be a tough subject because of the many variables at play — but it doesn't have to be.
If you want to permanently avoid mistakes in writing and expand your efficiency by creating more different types of content in 70% less time — AI writing tools can be your perfect ally.
Using artificial intelligence tools can be a great way to improve your efficiency and forget about making these common mistakes in business writing.
The tools are designed to increase the quality of content, so you can spend less time proofreading and more time on other tasks that are important for your business.
Some of these tools, like TextCortex, use a module-based learning process that can provide human-like and high-quality output within a few seconds.
All you need to do is to log in, choose the desired template, and hit generate.
See how the TextCortex Customer support email option works.
Implementing AI tools in your business writing routine can:
TextCortex can take over 80% of that tedious work, and make your writing skills scale up instantly.
The best part is that it can save your effort and your money.
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