Writing business documents is undoubtedly an important task. It reflects not only your understanding of the subject matter, but it also impacts your company’s wider reputation.
The recipient will outright disregard a document littered with spelling errors, incorrect grammar, and similar mistakes.
To make the best impression, you have to keep several things in mind. So, in this article, we’re going to reveal a few basic rules for writing top-notch business documents.
Let’s dive straight in.
What’s the Purpose of the Document?
Once you know who to write for, you have to consider the content. It’s best to prepare your ideas beforehand. That way, you’re more likely to express your thoughts coherently. After all, you don’t want to confuse the reader!
The recipient has to understand the subject of the document. Period. This means the central theme of the text has to be conveyed clearly and concisely.
Preferably, make the subject matter known at the start of the text, so the reader has a firm understanding of what the document is about.
Know who You Write for
Like we’ve just mentioned, you have to understand who’s reading your document. It’s a sterling idea to do some background research about the recipients.
That way, you can better tailor the content and style of the material to better engage and resonate with your audience.
For instance, if you’re writing for the pharmaceutical industry, you might consider using more sophisticated medical terms and other jargon that the average layperson wouldn’t understand.
But, if the document’s oriented towards the marketing sphere, the vocabulary would (probably) be far more relaxed.
On the whole, overly confusing jargon and other similar speech patterns should be avoided.
A general rule worth following: If you wouldn’t say it in a professional meeting, you shouldn’t write it.
Have a System
Your approach to writing business documents needs to be organized. It’s preferable to include a content table as this gives the text a more definite structure. As such, the reader can jump to the relevant parts of the document as and when they need to.
On the topic of structure, make sure your sentences aren’t too long. It’ll help you lay down your thoughts more concisely. Trust us, your readers will thank you, as they’ll have a much easier time understanding the purpose of the text.
When writing business documents, ensure your tone remains consistent. You’re representing your company, and as such, you should always reflect the tone of your brand.
Just like we said with sentences, don’t hesitate to create shorter paragraphs. A recommendation is to write only four sentences per paragraph.
A wall of text can seem intimidating. It’s much easier to read a page of writing formatted in a few smaller paragraphs, than one massive collection of sentences.
Additionally, don’t go overboard with fonts or text formatting. On the whole, underlining text shouldn’t be used in business documents, and italics and bold text should be used with restraint.
Use bulletin points to list objectives or similar elements. This allows the reader to recognize the information they need to pay attention to near-on instantly.
Headings should be clear and to the point. They should describe the content that follows them. Subtitles provide the primary guidance for the reader. They should be informative, and repetitions should be avoided.
Edit and Proofread
It probably goes without saying, you need to re-read your document. It’s advisable to give it to someone else to look at. Involving someone else doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself, but there may be mistakes that you accidentally overlooked that they pick up on. After all, it’s true what they say, two sets of eyes are better than one!
If you have software specially designed to proofread business documents, that’s even better! These applications can check your grammar, spelling, and point out parts of the text you need to fix.
Read the document out loud. Sometimes when we read in our heads, we fill in the gaps automatically, so you might miss mistakes you’d otherwise notice when reading the text out loud.
The last thing to remember is that a professional document needs to look the business. This means sticking to the recognized norms, such as using Times New Roman size 12 font.
Granted, your company might have templates made for them for you to use. In that case, always use the provided formatting.
The background color should be white, and you must avoid using unrelated images. The best thing for business documents is to add only informative imagery such as diagrams or graphs. They should always illuminate the text to provide the reader with a better understanding of the subject matter.
If you need to reference something, use a recognized method. Hayward or APA referencing models both work well.
To maintain a good layout, try not to end or start your paragraphs with too shorter lines. It’s not as much a rule, rather a suggestion. Such occurrences might create disjointed sections, which is the last thing you want!
Ready to Start Sending Professional Business Documents?
To sum up, your business documents should exude professionalism. The content is obviously the most important, but the overall design of the material plays a massive factor as to whether the recipient consumes the information.
If you have any other questions about creating your own documents, or if you’d like some help with this, don’t hesitate to contact us. Speak soon!