Professional business correspondence is crucial to your personal brand and your business as a whole. Here are 4 simple tips to convey yourself more professionally.
An old adage states that 'the pen is mightier than the sword'. The idea is that what you write can have a tremendous impact on people. This is especially true today, as due to the addition of email to business letters and faxes, companies correspond with clients more than ever before. Correspondence reflects upon the competency of the company therefore whatever it is you are writing, you should always make it professional and polished.
1. Organize your ideas
There may be many points you need to get across in one piece of correspondence. If you want your writing to be professional, you should organize your thoughts before you begin, so that your ideas do not come across as a garbled mess. Before you write any correspondence that comprises multiple points, have a clear plan. Take note of what you need to inform the reader and in which section the information needs to be delivered. Jotting down what you need to cover before you begin will mean that you need not worry about missing a vital point out later on.
2. Less is often more
As a business owner, your correspondence should be succinct and to the point. You should attempt to write short, clear sentences, as these are easiest to read. Do not confuse your reader with superfluous information or complicated words.
3. Keep your language formal
Even though you want your writing to be concise and simple you should never use slang, or words that you would use in an informal text message. For example, 'thx' may be shorter than 'thanks' but it does not convey professionalism.
3. Consistency is key
It is crucial to adopt one style of writing and then to stick to it. For example, if you are referring to numbers you do not want to write '8' in on part of the correspondence, and then use 'five' later. Another example of inconsistency would be to write 'percent' in some parts of your correspondence and then use '%' at other times. Additionally, when you refer to someone by name, choose one formula and stick to it. For example, do not start by addressing the person by his or her last name then switch halfway through to the person’s first name. Do not address them as Doctor or Mrs., and then change to Dr. or Ms. Also do not use 'don't' in some parts and 'do not' in other parts of your correspondence. You might want to pick out a guide that allows you to remain consistent such as the Associated Press Stylebook.
4. Always use spell-check
There’s no excuse for misspelling things today when spell-check is at everyone's disposal. Silly spelling mistakes or errors like making 'a lot' and 'all right' into one word tend to make writing look unprofessional. Always use spell-check once you have finished a document to ensure your correspondence is perfect.