Thursday, May 1, 2014

What is Business Writing?

In a word, email. We all do a lot of it. It is the most utilitarian of tasks, essential in business. But a single word on the topic will not suffice.

Business writing is first and foremost about communication within the business context, where the exchange of email predominates, but is joined by a host of other forms of written communication.

That said, business writing includes any and all forms of text composed within the realm of conducting business. The range of texts might be endless if one takes the time to prepare a thorough list. For anyone who works, you might start by listing every single sample of text you wrote during the course of your last workday. That list is likely to be extensive and quite eclectic in terms of the variety of text.

Below is my list...  a short, but random collection of texts.

What I wrote today in the context of work:
  1. explanatory notes on a whiteboard
  2. student reports (in rough draft form)
  3. responses to questions in a business tender document
  4. entries on a board member application
  5. email to a superior
Today was not an especially busy one in terms of writing, but interestingly some texts were of much more importance than others with regard to how well they needed to be written. In the list above, No. 3 was the most challenging in terms of expressing things just right. No. 2 was also important, even though in draft form. The final draft would be read by students and their sponsors eager to know how well the students had done.

In this sense, business writing is concerned with producing any number of text forms, all of which serve to communicate in some way to others. At the same time, there will also be some greater or lesser requirement to make sure what is written is done so optimally.

Good business writing, then, is about knowing when and how to achieve that optimal result.

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