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Writing for Business Audiences

Writing is often seen as an obsolete skill, but for business people, it is crucially important in order to be able to influence, persuade, and convince others with your writing, and it all starts with effective planning.

Business Planning

Business planning starts with the end in mind. What d’you want your audience to think? How d’you want your audience to feel? What d’you want them to do as a result of your writing? Often, this is not always obvious, and of course, there may be multiple possible outcomes. The objective of an article in a journal is obviously different from that of a letter of introduction, but in each case, there is a reason for your writing. So, ask yourself questions, and then jot down answers about the results you hope to achieve.

Think About Your Audience

Ask yourself, who are you writing for? Can you visualize who your readers are and if so, what do you know about them? What do your readers already know, or what do you think they already know about the subject you’re writing about? What sort of language would you have to use to make what you have to talk about, accessible? Are your readers likely to respond better to technical data or anecdotes? Does your audience need hard scientific proof or illustrative case studies? If you were in a conversation with your readers, what questions do you think they would be asking you? Being clear about who you’re writing for and what you want to achieve with your writing, are essential first steps.

Capture Ideas For Your Content

Try to capture what you could include in your writing. You can do this using a mind map or other graphical techniques. Add different main subjects and then keep adding more details—anecdotes, statistics, stories, examples, areas where you need to carry out more research, and so on. At this stage, you’re not trying to structure your writing—you’re simply trying to think of as many things (as possible) that you could include. Keep adding more details and ideas, and use a few words as possible for each idea. Don’t forget to draw arrows between elements that have a possible connection.

Look For Themes And Create A Structure

You need to decide now what you are going to write—what are you going to include and what are you not going to include? You may need to be brutal, but stay focused on your objectives and keep challenging yourself about whether or not, each thing you are planning to write about, will support your objectives. Ideally, the outline that you establish at this stage will have no more than three main themes or points. It may be useful to jot down these, along with the sub-themes that you’re planning to make and in the order, you’re planning to make them in.

This structure helps you greatly because you can visualize the completed article and as well, evaluate its effectiveness. The structure will also help you to identify where you need to carry out research and where you already have enough information in your head or easily to hand. Keeping to about three main themes or points will make it even much easier for your readers to understand, remember, and if appropriate, act on your message. Also, if needed, you can start your writing with “in this article, we are going to look at three aspects of this subject, one…, two…, and three…” and then finish with a recap of the same three key points

It’s Time To Write

Finally, you can begin to write for your business audience. Using the above structure as a guide and information available at hand, you should find it easier and quicker to write and be much more likely to achieve the objective of getting your readers to think, feel, or do something, as a result of reading whatever you have written.

Go to Lecture 15 →