Plain business writing course (entry 7): The purpose of business writing


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How is business writing different from any other writing? From, say, writing a best-seller?



Well, as someone once said, the average person has about the same statistical chance of writing a best-seller as being hit by lightning while at the same time being attacked by a great white shark...

(Luckily) business writing is not the same as writing a best-seller, BUT... it is still creative. After all, when you write a business document, you are creating something. But that is more or less where the similarity ends – a business document will always have a definite purpose that is linked to a specific timeframe or set of circumstances.

Rule 7: Remember what your document's purpose is and write accordingly: to get someone to act, to explain something, or to record and share information.

When writing a business document, your focus is less on entertaining the reader and more on getting something done. To achieve that, it is important to ask yourself first of all what the purpose of your document is.

·       Are you using your document as a communication tool to sell a thing or idea?

·       Is your document meant to get the reader to do something?

·       Are you writing the document in order to make your reader understand complex information?

·       Does your document simply record information to be shared with others?

Whatever the case may be, be sure to include only what's necessary to achieve your goal. Any unnecessary information will only distract the reader and may mean your document fails to do what it's supposed to.

What is especially important in the information age that we live in is the ability to research and collect data, and the ability to target specific markets. Once again, keep to the point and write to your purpose and to your intended audience.

To sum up: Write with the end goal of your document in mind, and trim it of anything that does not add to this goal.