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BUSSINESS WRITING PRINCIPLES

After planning steps in communicating the message have been completed we have to consider specific
writing principles to help us choose right words, syntax and sentences for our letters, reports and
memorandums.

These principles are as follows

1. Correctness
2. Conciseness
3. Clarity
4. Completeness
5. Concreteness
6. Consideration
7. Courtesy
8. Confidence
9. Conversational tone

Let’s discuss each one in detail.

1) Correctness:
To be correct in communication the following principles should be borne in mind:

1. Use the correct level of language.


2. Include only accurate facts, words and figures
3. Maintain acceptable writing mechanics.
4. Apply the following qualities
a. Avoid switching from third person to second or first person. If you are writing in the third person don’t
use I, me, we, us & you.
b.Vary your sentence structure.

c. There should be proper grammar, punctuation, spelling and paragraphing.

2) Conciseness:

Business executives are dead busy. They don’t have time to go through unnecessary lengthy messages.
The writer is also a loser if he writes wordy messages, because it involves more time and money to type
and read. Conciseness makes the message more understandable and comprehensible. To achieve
conciseness the

following guidelines will help you.


1. Omit hackneyed expressions and clichés.
2. Avoid unnecessary repetition and wordy expressions.
3. Include only relevant facts with courtesy.
4. Organize the message logically and efficiently.

The message should be laconic. Conciseness should not ne accomplished at the cost of completeness
or courtesy. In business writing, less in more, spare is fair, lean is keen.

Clarity:

Clarity demands that the business message should be correct, concise, complete, concrete and with
consideration. To accomplish these, observe the following:

1. Choose pithy, short, familiar and conversational words.


2. Proper punctuations make the writing clear.
3. Insert examples, illustrations, tables, graphs and other visual aids, if necessary.
Make the message readable and understandable.
4. Make correct sentences and divide the message in properly sized paragraphs.

Completeness:

The message should be complete to bring desirable results. It should include everything the reader wants
or needs. We should be able to know the reader’s background, viewpoints, needs, attitudes and emotions
to determine the extent of information to be included in the message.

The following are the guidelines for completeness.

1. The message should answer all the questions in the order they were asked.
2. Give some additional information, if important.
3. Ensure to answer 5 W’s and any other essentials.
5 W’s (five questions) are as follows:
Who
What
Where
When
Why

Concreteness:

The business writing should be specific, definite, unambiguous and vivid rather than vague & general.
The following guidelines lead to concreteness.

1. Use specific facts and figures. Avoid words like few, quick, soon etc.

2. Use action verbs. You can accomplish it by using active voice.


3. The message should have vivid and image building words. To achieve it make comparisons and use
figurative language and concrete words.

Consideration:

Consideration refers to your attitude, empathy, the human touch and understanding of human nature.
Consideration means the message with receiver, in mind. You should try to visualize your readers their
desires, problems, emotions, circumstances and possible reaction to your request.

Consideration can be achieved through the following:

1. Emphasize you instead of I or We.


2. Your message should convey truth.
3. Stress the positive, pleasant aspects of facts.
4. Offer a service of value to the reader.

Courtesy:

“ Everyone gains where courtesy reigns” is a good age-old slogan for written and oral communication.
Courtesy is more important and advantageous in business writing than it is in face to face communication
or conversation. Courteous messages strengthen present relations and make new friends. Courtesy is a
goodwill builder.

Courtesy may be achieved by the following:

1. By truly tactful, thoughtful and appreciative.


2. Omit expressions that annoy, distress or disparage.
3. Answer all your mail promptly.
4. Grant and apologize candidly.

In normal situations people tend to behave courteously. However, in unpleasant circumstances they tend
to act otherwise. They may lose their temper and go discourteous. In fact irritating situations are the test
of courtesy. A businessman may get irked if his receivable amount becomes overdue by many cays,
weeks or even months. Such a situation calls for cool mindedness and courtesy.

Confidence:

Your letter will be more successful when you show confidence in yourself, confidence in your reader and
confidence in your message. Letters with optimistic tone take into account neglect and negative issues.
Confidence in communication creates positive tone; confidence in yourself is produced when you believe
or apologetic. Show your reader that you are decisive, positive, confident and straightforward rather than
diffident dubious, indecisive and negative.

To have confidence in your reader means that you assume the reader will do that is right until otherwise it
is proved. You should give your reader the benefit of the doubt.
You lose confidence in your message when you write I hope, I trust, if, why not. Such phrases should be
avoided. Spend the time necessary in designing a letter so that the message accomplishes the business
objectives.

If you lack in confidence the following undesirable results will tend to occur.

1. You may find yourself unable to write or speak.


2. You may not represent your case strongly.
3. You may throw a bad impression on others and as a backlash it will damage the goodwill of the firm.

Conversational Tone:

Your letter should be read as it you are talking to the reader. The tone should be comfortable, natural,
conversational, unpretentious and inconspicuous. Business letters are not scholarly dissertations.
Conversational tone makes the writer emphatic. You should avoid legalese and business jargons such as
beg to advice, please find enclosed herewith, or thanking you in anticipation. To accomplish
conversational tone.

1. Vary your words.


2. Use proper syntax.
3. Be straight forward.
4. Keep the paragraph small.
5. Avoid vague writing.

Non-conversational tone will bring out the following results:

1. The language may become formal making communication ineffective and weak.

2. The readers or the audience may get bored, inattentive or distraught.