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At the office, it's critical that you know how to write well. Businesses need to hold their writing to the same high standard they demand of their products and services. Your clients and suppliers judge you on your documents, so read on to learn about making your business writing competent and professional.
1) Use the Right Tools
Even before your readers start reading, they will draw conclusions about your document based on its physical characteristics. Text printed correctly on the right stationery makes a great first impression.
Choose heavy enough paper. Standard copier paper is flimsy, slightly translucent, and holds ink poorer than heavier paper. Documents printed on quality paper convey a degree of elegance and professionalism. Also, brighter paper makes text stand out better on the page. You can check the brightness of the paper right on the packaging before you buy.
Before you print anything, invest in a good quality printer. The end result will show whether you've used an old, cheap printer or a high-end machine, so spend the money to make your documents look amazing. Also, make sure your ink cartridges are full before printing. Your documents will be harder to read if the ink is faded.
If you're printing irregularly sized documents or you have a large volume, consider using a printing company. They can provide samples of their work and references, so you can be sure you're getting the quality you need. Often, this option is less expensive for you than buying all of the ink and/or special equipment you would need to do it yourself.
2) Layout Makes an Impression
Even a compelling message won't read well if it's poorly presented on the page. Before you send any writing on its way, take note of the following:
a) Separate your ideas with paragraphs. Keep your paragraphs short and to the point, and make sure there is one line space in between each one.
b) Use headings when you can. Headings get an idea across right away and encourage your readers to learn more about it.
c) Be consistent with your font size. Choose a reasonable size (usually 10 to 12 points) and don't stray from it unless your document contains headlines. Even your headlines should not be oversized; make them only slightly larger than your body text.
3) Order Your Topics
Determine what topics your document will cover and order them appropriately. It's always best to deliver the good news first. Keep the first part of your document relatively light-hearted in order to draw in your readers.
Difficult news, negative results, or boring statistics should always come after a more cheerful part of your document. People will be more likely to pay attention to the bad news if they aren't bombarded with it right off the bat. Deliver negative information concisely and clearly so people understand the details.
Always follow up negative or uninteresting news with a few positive sentences before you close. Doing so will make the information more digestible for your readers.
4) Grammar and Spelling
Make sure you run a spelling and grammar check before your documents are read to avoid any miscommunication. You've heard it a million times, but spelling and grammar truly are critical to the readability of your business writing. Don't forget that a perfect business document makes a great impression, regardless of your intended audience.