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Communication is at the heart of business, whether you’re telling customers why they should buy your product or negotiating contracts with suppliers. Since the Coronavirus outbreak took hold, staying in regular contact with your important connections has been even more essential.

With so much uncertainty due to the global health crisis, your customers will appreciate you keeping in touch. But many other businesses will also be reaching out to your market, so it’s still vital that your standard of business writing – whether to clients, suppliers or colleagues – remains high.

The quality of any written communication sent on behalf of the company can leave a lasting impression on the recipients. Your customers and contractors don’t expect you to be a prize-winning author but writing that is poor in fundamental ways suggests a lack of care or attention to detail, which could leave a negative impression of your company.

Here are our top tips for cleaning up your copy for business emails:

1 – Keep it simple, keep it brief.

Mark Twain famously said, “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.” He was referring to overly flowery language, but the same idea applies to word count. The likelihood is that your contact is busy, so they’ll appreciate polite but concise messages that don’t take ages to read. If you need to send more in-depth information, think about attaching that as a separate document.

2 – Use your spelling and grammar check function – every time.

After all, two ‘pairs of eyes’ are better than one!

3 – Don’t use business jargon or ‘businessese’.

Striving for clarity means that you’re less likely to annoy recipients or muddle your message. Avoid euphemisms and phrases whose meaning might not be immediately clear to everyone. For example, don’t write, ‘We’re considering a different direction for our stationery needs, so we wanted to touch base with you about price expectations’, if what you mean is, ‘We need to reduce our stationery budget – can you offer us a discount on X, Y and Z?’

4 – Know your audience.

How formal or informal your messaging can be to any given contact will depend on various factors, such as how long you’ve known them personally, their preferred style of communication and the nature of the news you’re sharing. If in doubt, err on the more formal side, at least until you have a sense of their preference. Definitely save kisses and emojis for your personal correspondence with friends!

Oh, and did we mention spell check?

How can you improve your business writing skills?

Our Business Report Writing course is ideal for anybody who is responsible for producing reports for colleagues and clients, or who wishes to brush up on their business writing skills. Learn about common mistakes, how to produce outlines and how to introduce greater clarity in your writing, improving everything from documents to emails.

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Mark Fryer

10th September 2020