The most common mistakes in business writing

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Common Business Writing Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

Whether necessary or needed, business documents are produced on a daily basis. Even though it’s normal to make a mistake or two while creating them, some common business writing mistakes can ruin your documents and give the wrong impression to the reader.

Writing effectively in business can help you sound professional, make your message clear, and create a good image of your company and you as an employee. Therefore, you may want to know the most common mistakes in business writing so that you can avoid them more easily.

6 Common Business Writing Mistakes

1.Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar Mistakes

We usually make these mistakes when we’re in a hurry, but we still need to avoid them. They may not be too serious, but they are still a sign that we don’t care enough to check what we’ve written. And, what client wants an employee that doesn’t care about their business?

Spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes can make your client think that you are either unaware of the basic rules of the English language or too lazy to check what you’ve written. Either way, it’s not the image you want to create for yourself.

If you often make these writing mistakes because you don’t check your work before sending it to the reader, it’s time to change that. Even when you have a strict deadline, make sure you reread your document and make the necessary edits.

Taking the time to edit the document is better than sending a message that will end up being ignored just because you didn’t bother to pick the right word for common confusions such as cofounder vs. co-founder or your/yours/you’re.

If you often make spelling and grammatical errors because you’re not aware of the rules you’re breaking, use spelling and grammar checkers that will help you by pointing out mistakes and suggesting changes as you write. Once you write the document, run a scanning check.  Not only do these checkers eliminate any possible errors in your writing, but they will also help you learn the rules and avoid making them in the future.

Remember to always read through everything you write and check and double-check if necessary. Sometimes you may even ask a coworker to recheck it.

2.Writing without Knowing Your Audience

To craft the perfect business document, it’s crucial that you know who will read it. In that way, you’ll be sure that the reader will understand your message.

So, if you’re writing to someone outside of the company, avoid using company-specific abbreviations and acronyms or overly technical terms. This will lose the reader, who won’t be able to understand what you’re trying to say. As a result, they may ignore your message.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you know your audience before writing any business document. Consider the information they are already familiar with, the information they need to know, and their reaction. This will help you craft the perfect message for your reader who will be able to understand it easily.

3.Being Too Formal or Too Casual

Using the wrong tone in business writing can turn off potential clients, offend clients, bosses, and coworkers, and even cause a conflict in your company or business.

Being too casual in your writing can make you sound unprofessional while the reader or client may think you’re not taking them seriously. This may happen if you use emoticons, inappropriate jokes, or shorthand.

Being too formal, on the other hand, can make you sound insincere or rude. This involves being overly blunt about sensitive matters, using large words, and over-explaining points that the reader is well-familiar with. As a result, your document will have a condescending or stuffy tone.

Instead, try to make your writing personable. No matter who the reader is, your communication should be respectful and sincere. Your message should be warm, friendly, and inviting enough for your reader to want to read it and understand its importance.

4.Including the Back Story

Including a back story that your reader doesn’t need or already knows can make your message too wordy. No one wants to waste their time reading unnecessary or familiar information. What’s more, long documents have higher chances of ending up ignored by the reader.

Therefore, get straight to the point and delete any unnecessary words that can only make the document longer and more boring, and confusing. For example, instead of saying “at this point in time,” say “now,” or “a large proportion of people” can become “many people.”

Making your documents shorter and clearer will save time for both you and the reader.

5.Poor Planning

Never start writing immediately without making a good plan, even if you have a tight deadline. Otherwise, you risk writing a lengthy and muddled message that will probably end up being ignored.

Decide what information is crucial, desirable, and irrelevant. Then, prioritize your writing in that order.

6.Burying the Bottom Line

No matter who the reader is and what type of business document you’re writing, your message should always inform something meaningful for the reader. Most people skim the documents, so your reader should easily find what’s in it for them.

One of the most common business writing mistakes is making it hard for the reader to find that information, resulting in failing to get the desired outcome.

To help them find this information easily, write it down in a few lines and put it as close to the beginning of the document as possible. Don’t forget to use clear language to ensure your message is understood.

7.Band-Aid

Today, Band-Aid means a piece of sticky tape with a gauze pad in the center that we use to cover small cuts or wounds on our bodies. It can also mean a temporary solution. But, this term used to mean “a medic” during the Vietnam War.

To Sum Up

You can make many business writing mistakes because of rushing, not paying enough attention, not being aware of certain rules, using the wrong tone, making it unnecessarily lengthy, or not knowing your audience. 

Luckily, you can easily avoid them by being aware of them while ensuring you get the results you want.

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