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Effective Business Writing: Understand your focus

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In the article “Effective Business Writing: The BEHQ Guide”, I pointed out the critical importance of writing English correctly to advance your career or your business prospects.

I also introduced the BEHQ Guide to Business Writing. This valuable resource explains how to

  1. understand your focus,
  2. plan properly,
  3. structure your document,
  4. use appropriate writing style, and
  5. know how to self-edit.

Let’s have closer look at focusing your message on your audience. You should always have a clear idea of the goals of your writing and the situations you are in. You have to understand your readers. Always consider their point of view for any type of business document you write.

  1. Why are you writing?  Know the main message,  purpose or goals of your document. This keeps you focused and helps you determine the most appropriate means of communication, such as a fax, email, or letter.
  2. Who are you writing to? It’s helpful to know the background, experience and education of your audience. You could be writing internally for colleagues or management. Or you could be addressing customers or a general audience. Knowing who is your audience will help you determine the tone and level of formality.
  3. What do your readers know? Be aware of their expectations and goals. Don’t assume that they have the background information to understand your message.
  4. How are you going to achieve your purpose? Once you are familiar with your audience, you can plan your document so it fits their interests and needs. In this pre-writing phase, a good tool for gathering content ideas is through brainstorming. I’ll look more closely at this in the article, Effective Business Writing: Plan properly.

According to The AMA Handbook of Business Writing, you can then decide what:

  • information to include or not include,
  • examples that will help readers understand,
  • level of formality to use (formal, semi-formal or informal),
  • background information to provide,
  • kind of introduction that would be best,
  • graphics you could include, if necessary,
  • organizational structure to use.

We can help with that. That’s why we are here. So, what have you done in the past that lacked focus? Do you have any tips or tricks for us about how you maintain a strong writing focus to get your point across clearly and concisely?
[alert]Sample Emails

You know what would be really useful? Sample emails with a clear and concise focus. Unfortunately, very few people give those things away for free. Fortunately for you, we not NOT amongst those greedy, greedy people. In fact, Frank and I have put together some amazing email samples. Why don’t you click the link and learn?

And remember, we have this PDF and so much more in our Business English Toolkit. Why don’t you sign up below and get instant access to this and many other resources?
[button color=”red” link=”http://www.businessenglishhq.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/sample-email1.pdf”]Sample Email[/button][/alert]

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Lyane September 13, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Thank you this helped me a lot.

    • Craig September 14, 2012, 6:21 am

      You are very welcome! Thanks for the comment.

  • Sandrine September 13, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Writters don’t always take the time to think about the readers interest. It is important to choose a precise audience, to define arguments and information that will help a lot the group. Thanks, this article helped me alot.

    • Craig September 14, 2012, 6:23 am

      You are absolutely right. And it’s not just writers, it’s all kinds of people in all kinds of professions, Bankers, doctors, architects, and even teachers forget about the end user. The reason we are doing what we are doing is to help other people, be it with wealth, health, homes, or education. So many people, however, ignore the end user, the customer, the person we are trying to help, and instead focus on ourselves.

      And when you focus on yourself, your writing gets dull, and boring, or worse, arrogant and useless. Once we take the time to learn about our audience, our arguments and our facts are definitely going to be relevant.

      Thanks for your comment, Sandrine, it totally makes sense.

      Craig

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