Five Unacceptable Moves In Business Writing?

This week, we provide answers to some frequently asked questions at our business writing workshops.

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Question 1: Is it right to use “I” and “we” in the same message?

Answer: Yes, it is okay to include both pronouns in one message. Use “I”, when you are speaking for yourself and use “we” when you speak for the organization. For example, “I will email you tomorrow morning with the details. We look forward to meeting you this Friday.”

Question 2: Are contractions acceptable in business writing?

Answer: Yes, it’s acceptable to use contractions, however use them sparingly. Contractions such as “can’t, won’t, don’t, it’s, and didn’t” are considered somewhat informal. In formal documents, it is better to avoid them.

Question 3: Is it okay to end a sentence with a preposition?

Answer: Yes, it is, however sentences ending with prepositions are often considered less formal. Depending on the tone you want to project, an end of sentence preposition may or may not be suitable. For example, “These are the terms and conditions we would like you to think of.” Or “These are the terms and conditions we would like you to consider.”

Question 4: Can I start a sentence with “and or but”?

Answer: Yes and yes. Here also, it really is a matter of tone. If you want to sound formal, you can use other words like “in addition, furthermore or additionally” in place of and. Similarly, use “however, nevertheless or nonetheless” in place of but. Here is an example, “But, we hope to start the training this Wednesday. Or “Nevertheless, we hope to start the training this Wednesday.”

Question 5: Is it okay to begin a sentence with, “because”?

Answer: Yes, it is, however, beginning a sentence with “because” is often discouraged. Here is why, you may end up with sentence fragments if it is not done right. For example, “I did not sign the contract. Because the money was less than I asked for.” Here is A correct way to use because to begin a sentence, “Because we appreciate your business, please enjoy this 30% discount.”

Four Types of Business Communication You Must Know

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Last week, we established that the tone of all forms of business writing, from emails to business plans, must remain professional. Click here to read that article.

While keeping a professional tone at all times, it is important to identify the goal of each business communication. What exactly are you trying to achieve? Once you answer this question, you should be able to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively.

All forms of business communication fall under one of the following types. Make sure you goal aligns with your choice of words.

 

  • Actionable Communication. This type of communication encourages people to take actions or follow specific instructions. For example, one can send an email asking colleagues to complete an optional online survey. Actionable communication gives the reader something to do. It is expected that this kind of writing is motivational so that the reader is egged on to take the desired action. 
  • Informational Communication. This kind of business writing simply informs an audience. For example, an Ad announcing the re-branding of a product or service of a company. Informational communication is expected to be clear and easy to understand so as to avoid misinterpretation.
  • Negative Communication. This type of communication is inevitable in the corporate world. Sometimes an appointment has to be terminated or a deal has to be cancelled. Whatever the situation that calls for negative communication, care must be taken when writing any document of this nature. It’s important to be empathetic but firm and direct in this type of communication.
  • Persuasive Communication. This refers to proposals or applications for funding, a government grant, or partnership. The tone and style of the writing should be convincing and positive. The document has to hook the recipient so they consider or act on the plan.