Learn how to quickly improve your Business English writing with these 5 tips
Who doesn’t write every day at work nowadays?
Like many of us, you probably write every single day in business: emails, reports, letters, memos, presentations, marketing texts, social media, chat messages, and more.
We write all the time.
Improve your Business English writing skills
Writing is one of the four language skills you need to communicate in English, among speaking, listening, and reading.
A recent study by Cambridge English outlines how important writing skills are in business. “English language skills have never been more essential to succeed and progress at work.” (Cambridge English, 2016)
Good writing for success in your career
Did you know that writing is a skill that can lead to success more than any other skill?
“Good English skills can lead to faster progression through job grades and higher salary increases. [People who] can communicate are more likely to grow professionally and personally.” (Cambridge English, 2016).
No matter where you are in the world, knowing how to write professionally makes you more valuable to any company.
Good writing for business success
Why do you write in business?
Ultimately, you write because you want to bring your message across to your reader. Think about it. Every time you write something in English, you have a purpose.
Whether you write a newsletter to 1,000 people or a personal chat with your colleague, you want the reader to know and do something. Therefore, they need to enjoy reading your piece of writing. It needs to be useful. You need to make your message clear.
Clear, interesting, and effective writing can make a huge difference. If you write in a way that is both meaningful and easy to understand, you are more likely to get the result you want from your reader.
Good communication is crucial in any business.
Quick tips to improve your Business English writing skills
Writing isn’t easy and it takes time. So, how do you become a good and professional writer?
The good news is: you can learn to improve your writing and you can learn it rather fast. Small changes to your writing can make a big difference.
Here are 5 easy steps you can take to quickly improve your writing in business:
1) Simplify your language
In business, we need to write clearly. Look out for a few small things that will make a huge difference.
More is often less. When you use simple, direct language, your reader is more interested.
Try these simple tricks when you are editing your text:
- Remove unnecessary English prepositions. Instead of “a project that is important”, write “an important project”. Similarly, instead of writing “the success of the company”, it is better to write “the company’s success”.
- Remove filler words in English. Here is a useful list of words you don’t need in your writing:
- Use active voice instead of passive voice. Whenever you want to write in the passive voice (“It was decided that…”), try to replace it with the active voice and leave out the conjugated form of “be” (“We decided…”). This makes the message shorter and more direct.
- Use verbs wherever you can. It is better to write verbs instead of nouns, such as nouns ending with -tion. Avoid “zombie nouns”, as this video by TED-Ed explains:
2) Don’t translate from your native language
Some English learners prefer to write in their native language and then translate the text into English afterward.
Please, don’t do that. It will only confuse your reader. Avoid direct translations from your native language.
Try to switch off your native language for a while. Just start writing in English and try to think in English. It’s okay if your writing is very basic and you are not sure about the vocabulary. This way, you will keep it short and simple. Simple writing is good because it makes it clear for your reader (see tip #1).
3) Look up English phrases
Not sure if a phrase is correct? Do you write “I have a suggestion to you” or “I have a suggestion for you”?
Make sure your writing is correct by looking it up with some useful online tools.
You can easily check phrases to see if they are correct. By typing the phrase into Google or Linguee you can find out if other people have used your phrase before.
- Google shows you how many people have used the phrase:
- Linguee shows you a translation of your phrase and suggests the best solution for you:
- Look up phrases in a monolingual online dictionary:
4) Give your text a clear structure
When writing your text, a clear format is vital. Making your message easy to read is one of the things you have to keep in mind.
So, when you are writing for business, take these steps to make your structure as clear as possible:
- Write several short sentences instead of one long sentence. If your sentence is longer than 2 lines, try separating the ideas into 2-3 shorter sentences.
- Use many short paragraphs. As a rule, not more than 1 idea per paragraph.
- Use headings for paragraphs. Include a heading for every 2-3 paragraphs by summarizing the most important points.
- Use bullet points. If you are listing 2 or more items, use bullet points instead of commas. For example, instead of writing “You should include the name, address, email, phone number, and company”, you can use bullet points: “Please include:
- phone number
5) Use free tools to proofread your English writing
Isn’t technology great? Avoiding writing mistakes is becoming even easier. You can now automatically correct the grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes without looking every word up.
Not sure if you need to put a comma in that sentence? No problem. Try these awesome apps and tools for writing in English:
- Install this browser extension for free and proofread your text. This app automatically corrects spelling and grammar mistakes in everything you write on your computer.
- This useful tool by Cambridge English gives you feedback on your writing.
- This app analyzes your text and tells you if your sentences are clear and easy to understand.
- Try this app to find synonyms and replace words that are used too often, such as “good”, “bad”, “very”, and “important”. As an added bonus, you might even learn some new vocabulary.
How can you improve this business email to make it clearer and more effective using the tips above? Share your corrections in the comments below!
Subject: Conference Invitation
You are invited to attend the Marketing Mania Conference in order to learn about the newest trends, techniques, and research regarding Marketing. This is a conference that is very special and big and simply cannot be missed by marketer, because it is important in order to improve the marketing strategy of your company.
The event will take place on December 9, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the cost is a total of $149.99. We will be discussing the state of digital marketing, inbound marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, and much more. If you would like to attend this event, be sure to sign up and let us know your preferences and if you would like to present at the conference. We’re in the process of preparing the program of the conference.
Hope to see you there!
Jen Brooks, Event Manager
Try Grammarly for free now to proofread your writing
See also: Words to use instead of “very”