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It’s hard to imagine a professional without writing skills. Yet, surprisingly, a significant number of job applicants often lack the knowledge of business writing.

According to the 2019 Employer Skills Survey, 24% of specialists don’t know how to write instructions and reports:

This data comes from Great Britain, so we can assume that this percentage is higher if we research this topic on a global scale.

So, why do employees lack business writing skills?

We could say that not every person is born a gifted writer, but luckily, it is a skill that you can learn, and the lack of it is caused by insufficient practice. And, if you master writing, it could also bring your career to the next level.

How can you do that?

Keep reading to find out.

1.  Practice Writing Outlines

The first rule to remember – business writing is about being straightforward. It doesn’t allow emotions and requires a direct narrative. So, you need to stay out of the creative writing zone (at least when you’re crafting business documents).

If you’re catching yourself steering away from the point of the document, this simple exercise can help:

  • Determine the purpose of the document you’re writing.
  • Break it down into the main sections.
  • Write a detailed outline.

In general, it’s an excellent practice to start the writing process from an outline, even if it’s not related to business processes. It’s also very helpful when creating a content marketing strategy – an outline simply gives you a sense of direction.

Why a detailed outline?

Before you learn by heart, what each section of a specific document should include, these details will guide you and help you remain on point.

2.  Give Yourself a Daily Task

It’s true that practice makes perfect. However, not everyone can say they have an opportunity to engage in business writing every day.

So, what can you do?

Give yourself a task, of course. For example, you can search for the templates of business documents online, try to fill them in, and evaluate the result afterward. These can also be documents related to the ones you’ll often be working with at your job.

At this point, you can also try some creative writing tasks. For instance, write a blog post on a topic from HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator:

Giving yourself such a task once in a while will help you learn how to put your thoughts on paper and express different ideas. It is also an awesome exercise to practice your analytical and research skills, which are crucial in business writing.

3.  Read A LOT

Authors work in different genres and have different styles, but there’s one thing that unites them – love for reading. The number of books you read directly impacts the quality of your writing.

Don’t believe our word for it?

Stephen King, in his memoir On Writing, says that strong skills come from avid reading. He even recommends switching from watching TV to regular reading and writing practice. Consuming books, in his words, helps expand your vocabulary and define your own unique style. You can’t disagree with his statement.

What is the right way to read?

The best approach is to read a chapter and then ask yourself questions to check your understanding of it. It helps develop analytical skills and deepen your knowledge. Besides, adopt a habit of reading with a pencil to underline important parts in a book.

4.  Ask Someone to Coach You

Four eyes see more than two – this saying applies to the development of any skill, including writing. When you have someone to guide you, it helps you recognize your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

That’s why you need to have a writing tutor or coach who will analyze your writing and identify the points to work on.

It is generally believed that you need someone to train you only if you’re learning a foreign language. However, working with an English tutor who speaks the same language as you can also bring significant advantages:

  • You get specific tasks to work out your unique writing style.
  • A tutor helps you develop analytical and research skills.
  • You work through your mistakes under the guidance of someone knowledgeable.
  • It’s a great chance to learn structured and concise business writing.

A coach will also see the mistakes that you won’t be able to spot. For instance, it could be jargon, which business texts don’t allow. A tutor can also help you proofread and edit work documents.

Wrapping Up

People are not born great writers. The only way to master writing skills is through persistent practice.

So, start with working on outlines. It will help make your writing more structured and consistent. Engage in writing on a daily basis if you want faster results. Regular reading is also a must – it helps build up your vocabulary. And, of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone coach you and help define your writing style.

By Manali