When Writing for Business

Beautiful golden-coloured butterfly sitting on finger

When we write a document to meet a business objective, we could be forgiven for thinking we should use a different mindset to that required craft great fiction.

Nevertheless sometimes, popular approaches and ideas that are used to create modern, bestselling novels, can also be applied to help develop surprisingly unusual and effective communications in business.

That idea may be fine, yet, whether you choose a direct style of presentation or a more seductive approach, here is one guideline suggestion that when applied to a business-related document, communication or presentation, can substantially improve the end results you get:

  • Strive to keep your sentence structure simple.

Why: to respect your business reader's time. When you allow them to understand what you want to say, as quickly as possible, you demonstrate that you appreciate they may have a full, busy day.

We've also identified two basic styles of writing that you can apply to your business publications or presentations: (1) seductive, seeking emotional responses, and (2) direct. Let's briefly explore these two contrasting styles of communication now.

(1) Applying a Seductive, Novel Writing Style To Your Business Publications

When writing novels for today's readers, often, the best writers use a "tight" writing technique: simple, direct, instantly understandable, yet intriguing, seductive and full of suspense and expectancy. Mystery authors often drip-feed snippets of crucial information or clues at key stages to keep the reader entranced and engaged with the plot.

Yet here's a surprise: with the right balance, you can use similar techniques to those used to write exciting novels, to create an attractive and compelling style with which to apply to your business documents, articles, publications, web site pages and presentations.

You may find that when you tease and tantalize your target business reader, listener or website visitor to some sort of result, slowly building up to a "high point" or conclusion, instead of taking the more traditional "direct" route, your results improve — sometimes dramatically!

Some projects certainly have been shown to fair better when you take your reader by the virtual hand and guide her on an interesting journey of discovery.

Key tip: often, the tricky part is judging the ideal length of presentation and when to make your big statement and make the wait worthwhile for your reader, viewer, or listener. Take too long and the problem of short attention span, or higher risk of interruptions, can both trash your goal. Offer too little and your recipient wonders what all the fuss is about. Your offer is then likely to create lackluster results.

(2) The Direct Approach

For some business presentations, you'll want to get straight to your key point(s) usually by communicating benefits and features quickly, simply, directly and up-front. With this method, you'll want to make your big, bold statement sooner rather than later. Marketing materials especially traditionally call for a more considered, persuasive, direct approach based on the maxim of: benefits first, features second.

Traditional advertising today is nowhere near as effective as it once was. Because we're deluged with massive amounts of advertising on television, newspapers, magazines and on the web, we buyers copy by learning how to detect a sales pitch early on, then simply tune out of many traditional types of presentation.

Key tip: one possible drawback with using a direct approach style is that however careful you are with your wording, sometimes, your presentation or message can come across in such a way that your recipient feels that you want their money more than the value you offer in return. For that problem, you need a copy-writing solution.

Perhaps instances like those provide a good opportunity to test a new writing or presentation style that weaves in drama, suspense and which has a more human, "story-like" fabric, to help make your communication more real, more personal, more relevant, and provide the natural solution to the problem that your product or service overcomes.

Whichever Style You Choose, Never Forget Your First Goal

No matter what the type of document you're writing, your first objective above all others is to:

  • Get your core message across to your target reader, listener or website visitor. For that, your recipient has to be sufficiently motivated by what you have to say to: (a) give you some attention, (b) to at least read, scan, listen or view the core points you're making, (c) be open for long enough to "suspend belief" while you present your message, deal, offer, case.
  • That's why, learning how to become an effective communicator, in all its forms available today, can be one of the most important, financially rewarding skill-sets you'll ever develop.

So just how do you achieve the goal? I recommend that whichever method or style you choose for the type of document or presentation you're creating, when working with publications for business, remember to keep your writing structure simple — this tip alone can go a long way to helping you get the kinds of results you want.

Even when you're creating drama, tension or a feeling of expectancy, you can still use simple, short sentences, mix in more white space. When writing popular novels, this technique is often referred to as "tight" writing.

Strive to understand and learn the differences between these two kinds of communication styles while appreciating the needs of your audience. Then choose the most appropriate, simple sentence structure for the document you're producing.

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