Business Writing Style

Using a business style is different from personal or academic styles. The purpose of a business document is not to show off your vocabulary or to highlight creative writing. Instead, you should be clear and brief as possible, so your reader immediately understands your message without wasting time reading complicated sentences.

Tips to develop an effective business writing style

  1. Be confident. Communicate your professionalism. But remember that the overuse of confidence may appear as arrogance.
  2. Research and plan before writing. This will make the writing more forceful and persuasive.
  3. Use short and simple sentences that are easy to understand. Don’t confuse readers and waste their time with long sentences – 25 words or more.
  4. Use simple sentence structures. Write at an appropriate level of difficulty.
  5. Highlight your ideas with paragraphs. Even if the description of an idea takes only one sentence, still write it as a paragraph.
  6. Write in conversational style. Deliver your message in a friendly and straightforward manner.
  7. Use contractions such as it’s, here’s, you’re, doesn’t, I’m, we’ll, we’re, they’re, isn’t, that’s, which gives a natural tone to your message. But avoid overusing them.
  8. Prefer active voice rather than passive. Good writing requires the use of precise, strong verbs in the active voice, when subject acts on the verb.
  9. Write your messages from the point of view of the company if you are a representative of the company at the moment.
  10. Write more unequivocally. Be sure that your phrases will be correctly perceived.
  11. Use strong verbs. (change nouns into verbs, e.g. “analysis” into “analyze.”)
  12. Avoid qualifiers – words that weaken recommendations, claims or express doubt (i.e. may be, might be, probably, etc.)
  13. Select words in an appropriate register for your reader.
  14. Use the imperative voice for recommendations. Make the message strong and persuasive.
  15.  Use lists to simplify and structure the presentation of information.
  16. Avoid personalizing pronouns and personalizing problems. Avoid using “you,”, “he,” etc.
  17. Keep your reader’s needs and interests in mind. That will help you to write a document at the appropriate level.
  18. Be positive and respectful, never use negative or condescending tone. Even if you are writing about dissatisfaction with actions or a mistake, always write in positive tone.
  19. Eliminate buzzwords, technical language and bureaucratic jargon. Remove any words that may confuse the reader.
  20.  Keep it simple by using plain English. Replace wordy expressions with one or two words when possible. Eliminate unnecessary words to communicate concisely.
  21. Proofread the document several times to see if its written right. Check your grammar and word use. Make sure that your writing sounds logical and simple.

The main purpose of business writings is to show an idea. That’s why you should use plain English to make a quick delivery of the message to your readers. We have made a list of common phrases and words that can be simplified.

Common phrases to avoid in your business writing

Avoid Use
facilitate   help
impact on   affect
commence   begin
advise   say/tell
cognizant of   know
per diem   per day
permit   let
remunerate   pay
subsequent to   after
utilize   use
at this time   now
do an analysis of   analyze
in-depth study   study
make a recommendation   recommend
it is necessary that   must, should
with the exception   except

All types of business correspondence require you to make a variety of decisions, particularly if you’re writing longer documents, such as manuals, reports, or proposals. Remember that using an appropriate business style in your writings will present you as a professional.