Writing for Business

This workshop was headed by Cheltenham Art Office’s Anna Poulton, who offers various different business improvement opportunities.

To start with, we were asked to express what we’d like to be seen as in terms of work, i.e. friendly, skilled, confident etc. She then explained how important it is that when writing, you should think about what message you’re putting across, and whether this reflects the type of person you’d like to be perceived as.

Anna talked about three things you should think about when writing:

Medium – what kind of writing is it?

Audience – who are you writing for?

Purpose – what do you want them to do as a result?

A Challenge: Look back at your old writing or ask someone else to look at it – is your message clear and are you being viewed in the way you’d like to be?

We were then asked: What puts you off when you read something?

We discussed a few ideas and looked at some examples, and discussed why we didn’t feel they were good forms of writing. This was really good to make us realise how important it is to think about every aspect of the piece of writing you’re doing, as things like background/text colour, unstructured text, or long complex sentences, could really have a negative effect on the reader.

We then talked about some common grammar mistakes that a lot of people make without even realising. first we touched on apostrophe’s, which are only used for two purposes:

  • Possession

For possession, the apostrophe goes directly after the owner, for example:

If there’s one boy playing with a ball, the boy is the owner therefore it’s the boy’s ball.

If lots of boys are playing with a ball, the owners are the boys, therefore it’s the boys’ ball.

  • Abbreviation

When abbreviating, the apostrophe goes in place of the missing letter, for example:

have not = haven’t

We also touched briefly on commas, with Anna explaining that commas are only used for a pause in the sentence, when the content after the comment doesn’t make sense as a sentence on it’s own (like this sentence here!)

Anna finished the session by going over a process that can help you improve your writing:

  • Think
  • Plan
  • Write
  • Wait
  • Edit
  • Wait
  • Proofread
  • Publish

Waiting allows you to take a break from looking at your writing, and often you’ll find that it’s easier to spot mistakes when doing this.

So what is good business writing?

A good piece of writing should be:

  • Clear
  • Easy to read
  • Accurate (both your content and your spelling, grammar and punctuation)
  • Appropriate for your audience
  • Engaging