Business Writing-How to Make a Good First Impression


Have you ever received a resume with a typo or seen an ad with a misspelled word?  What sort of impression did those errors make? Did you feel confident to hire the applicant or buy the product? The first impression prospects and clients have of your business is the most critical.  If that impression is a poor one, it could be the end of a potential lucrative business relationship. You don’t have to be a language expert to improve your prose.  Below are a few quick tips to help you start writing with confidence.

Maintain a professional image

Would you go to a business meeting wearing track pants and a torn t-shirt?  I would hazard a guess to say that you wouldn’t. So in the same way don’t distribute documents that are sloppy with typos and careless mistakes. Always make sure that your documents and marketing materials are concise and error free.
Never omit the most crucial step in writing. Proofread and copy edit all your documents and marketing materials. Remember your computer’s spell checker won’t pick out a word that is spelled correctly but misused. By keeping a dictionary by your work station or an online dictionary (www.m-w.com) in your internet favourites you can quickly access those words you’re not sure about.

Finding faults in formatting

Make sure that your document’s format is consistent. For example use the same font style and size throughout your document. Nothing can be more distracting to the reader than reading through a document and suddenly the font changes from 9 to 11 point or from Helvetica to Times New Roman.

Be active about style and tone

Avoid long sentences. Short sentences are easier to read.  Anything beyond 20 words becomes difficult to understand and tires the reader. But keep in mind, if you don’t vary your sentence length, your writing will become choppy and won’t flow smoothly.

Write in a direct style using the active voice wherever possible. Don’t use industry jargon for a mainstream audience.  By using simple language you will communicate much more effectively than by using big convoluted words. For example replace the word utilize with the word use or replace facilitate with help.

Don’t waste the reader’s time

Write concisely and to the point avoiding redundancies, run-on sentences and wordy phrases.  They add little to the meaning or clarity.  Here are some examples of wordy phrases: Substitute simple and easy to use easy to use (easy is simple). Simliply free gift  with just gift. Have you ever paid for a gift? Replace comes to a complete stop with stop. You can’t partially stop. Change on an annual basis with yearly.

Also be specific in your writing. Don’t be vague or use puffed-up expressions to fill up space on the page. A succinct half page is much more effective than a fluffy full page that uses fancy phrases that may sound nice, but say nothing.

Know who the reader is and what you want to tell them Make sure that the objective of your document is apparent.  Do you want to persuade or inform the reader?  Is your call to action clear? Stress benefits not features.  Organize your material logically and in the way your reader thinks about the subject. Know what prior knowledge they have of the subject and give them the background needed to make an informed decision or to respond favourably.

Finally, write in the same way as when you talk; in a friendly, conversational style. It is much easier to read than stiff formal prose.

Whether you are submitting a formal proposal or answering a quick email, make sure your writing reflects who you are and what you have to offer in the best way possible, making a solid impression. By using the tips above you will have the confidence knowing that the materials you distribute are the best they can be.

Categories : Copywriting

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