10 Ways to Revive Your Business Writing

Who says business writing has to be boring?

OK, probably lots of people do. But anyway, there are lots of easy ways to liven up your memo and report writing which will increase the chances that someone, somewhere will actually read it all the way through. Here’s ten of ’em.

  1. Write conversationally. You do it in emails and instant messages, so why not bring that just-between-us-colleagues tone to your reports and memos? Go ahead and use contractions and dashes and ellipses.
  2. Don’t write for your sixth grade grammar teacher. Start a sentence with and or but. Throw in a sentence fragment now and again.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use the word “you.”
  4. Give lots of examples.
  5. Put the most important idea at the beginning. Don’t save it until the end because most readers don’t get there.
  6. Use metaphors.
  7. Make every word count. Take a few moments to go through your draft and delete unnecessary words and sentences.
  8. If there’s a simpler word, use it. Don’t utilize it.
  9. Skip including the acronym in parentheses after a name. Your readers are smart enough to figure out that the National Society for Acronyms will be later referred to NSA without you spelling it out.
  10. Avoid the attorney’s favorite redundancy of “fifty (50).” The number 50 is just fine. If the number is ten or below, use the word instead of the number.
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