Improve Business Communication With These 6 Tricks
Today’s business world is more competitive than ever, and it requires a much more diverse set of skills. This means that regardless of your role, your starting point, or your desired career trajectory, you’re likely to be called on to communicate with a wider audience in more diverse ways than those working in previous generations. Skills like adaptability and needs matching with your audience are more important than they used to be, but they often lead to text that is difficult to understand at a glance. That’s a problem for business communication, since the best business writing should be transparent and accessible to a wide audience.
While you do want to work on those adaptation skills, there are a few tips that you can put to work in any genre of writing. First, use shorter sentences. Use variety. Avoid stringing together long clauses into complex sentences until you have some analysis or direction, though. Or until listing steps in a process that require the language to become more complex.
When that happens, follow the second major feature of good business writing and put the headline first. A short, understandable title or opening sentence makes it easier to understand the details and explanations that follow. Keeping points in the explanation simple makes them easier to read. Then, when you need the longer sentences to put everything together, the reader is more receptive to them.
The third and fourth trick to improving the quality of your business communication skills are related. Both have to do with avoiding reader confusion. Trick three is to avoid using apostrophes for plural items, for any reason. Readers expect that apostrophes are either contracting words (like changing “do not” to “don’t”) or showing possession. Introducing them for other purposes distracts and confuses readers who want to get the information at a glance. So does confusing then and than, or affect and effect. Do your best to eliminate homophone errors and your writing will be much clearer.
Points five and six go to your organization and communication across education and culture boundaries. For the fifth strategy, avoid jargon and buzzwords. If your audience is not a technical one, you save them possible embarrassment and confusion. The ability to break concepts down to a digestible level for your reader also demonstrates your mastery of them, which makes your recommendations stronger.
Last but not least, remember to stick to the point. Trick number six should seem obvious, but to many people it is not, because the temptation is to let yourself flow when you start writing. If each email or memo sticks to one topic, though, it makes discussions easier to organize and progress easier to track on each individual point.
Mastering these six core strategies will not only improve your business communication skills, it will also help you understand how to be clearer and more concise when communicating in other settings.