Why You Need to be a More Effective Business Writer

I recently found this business writing guide I wanted to share.  I received it as part of the training at my first job, General Foods (now Mondelez International). While this guide is old and was meant for entry level marketing employees, the content still stands true today!  I am a good business writer and I credit this guide in helping me get there.  

Caren Gendell, a General Foods employee at the time, is the original author.  Much of the content is the same but I did take some liberties and contemporize it.   I hope she doesn’t mind.   In this age of email, blogging and the desire to get information out on demand, I hope business executives of all experience levels will read this.   Regardless of your experience, we all can be better business writers.  And if you’re already a good writer, this guide is a great reference and reminder to not get lazy. 

So Why You Need to Write Well?

You need to write well because a large part of your success in the business world will depend upon it.  You must be able to communicate information and ideas in written form quickly, clearly, and most importantly, persuasively. 

As a business executive, you expect to receive well-written proposals.  Demand the same level of quality from your own writing.  Your writing skills provide first impressions to Management, and will become part of your total “portfolio” of managerial skills.  Effective writing enhances your success in the business world.

The hardest part of learning to write well is to forget your academic training.  Business documents are not term papers or essay exams.  Excessive quantities of words or prosaic language are not effective in business memos.  The form of your writing is as important as the content, since it may make the difference between what is read and what is not read.  Your task is to showcase your thinking and hard work in as few pages as possible. 

The first step to good writing is to develop a good attitude towards writing.  It should be a gratifying form of self-expression, not a dreaded or agonizing task.  Remember who you are writing for.  You are not writing for your boss.  You are writing for yourself to expose your own ideas to the management hierarchy.  Writing is a very important demonstration of your thought process.  And at the beginning of your career, it may be the only aspect of your work exposed to upper management for a long time.

Writing is hard work, but it has real staying power.  When you write a recommendation for your idea, it has your name attached to it as the author.  An important analysis or recommendation may become a reference document. 

You must work on your attitude by yourself, but this guide will help you work on the mechanics of writing.  It provides general tips for good writing practices, recommended formats for business documents, and simple editing techniques.  Use this guide until good business writing becomes second-nature to you.    

DOWNLOAD the complete guide.