Textual materials form the first impression about the person. As a business school student, do you feel that your messages are often not perceived as you expect? Why do you find some texts pleasant to read and others boring? Are you familiar with people who are friendly face to face but lose most of their charm in correspondence?
Business school students often think, “I can do my PowerPoint presentation in no time,” and then spend hours not being able to put their thoughts into words. We have prepared an ultimate list of writing tips to make your texts better.
Your writing should be understandable
Different people perceive the same information differently. It depends on the context in which the person is, their awareness of the issue under discussion, and their mood at the reading time.
You should put yourself in the place of the reader and try to look at the text fairly and objectively: whether it fulfills its purpose, whether it is all clear, whether it is not overloaded, whether there is a desire to shut it in half, or if there are additional questions.
If you find any of the above — great! It shows that you’ve been thoughtful about the process.
Work on readability
The main task in written communication is to make the interlocutor read the text to the end and understand our standpoint. Psychological comfort at the time of reading is essential for this.
That’s how you make the life easier for the reader:
One sentence = one idea
You’ve probably noticed how your brain gets tired and loses focus when we see compound sentences with heavy vocabulary and participle clauses. Try to make sure your reader gets one idea out of one sentence. Break sentences into parts and shorten them. If long sentences are unavoidable, alternate them with short ones. That way, you balance the text rhythm.
Avoid bulk text
Think back to your reaction to a large letter or long-read on Facebook that has no visible sections, no headings, and no highlights. It doesn’t have anything in it to help capture the essence of what’s written. It’s annoying and scary at the same time. You feel like you’re doing the extra work of deciphering someone else’s text.
Avoiding this is easy. The least you can do is leave blank lines between paragraphs. This makes the text easier and more visually pleasing. At most, you should highlight the key points in bold, make lists and headings, grouping your thoughts. You demonstrate your care for a reader.
It’s simple. An emphasized word should not be repeated in the current (and the next) sentence. You can find synonyms 95% of the time.
Tone of voice
There are no texts that work for absolutely everyone. Even the most experienced business school graduates can be unconvincing to a specific person. A common reason for this is a lack of focus on the reader’s personality or a portrait of the target audience. We must always remember who we are writing for and what context that person is in. Our tone of voice is shaped by this.
In the case of business, informational style is an almost universal solution. It will not make the text worse, but it is quite capable of emotionally “drying” it out. And this, in turn, is only good in strict business communications and where the audience is blurred. If you have a warm relationship with the recipient, you can and should add a little humanity to the restrained info-style. Personalize, make references to previous communications, and be supportive and service-oriented. And everyone will be happy.
Respect your readers’ time
Time is a valuable resource. If we care about the reader, we should leave only the most important information in the text. To do this, we need to understand what clogs up the text:
Don’t include judgments about something or characteristics of that phenomenon that are not supported by arguments. They appear in the text through such adjectives as good, best, quality, efficient, professional, experienced, winning, trendy, and similar ones. Today they devalue even the coolest products.
Adverbs and prepositional constructions are often responsible for it in the text: “In my opinion, sort of, probably, maybe, probably” do not carry any semantic load, weighting down the text and stealing the reader’s time.
A sense of security is especially important in business texts. It’s valuable when a partner conveys clear messages and keeps processes transparent. If you’re not sure, explain why. Argumentation will turn your uncertainty into forethought, competence, and care.
Exclamation points and ellipses are good for fiction but cheapen business texts. If you want your text to convey care, the period at the end of the sentence will evoke the same reaction as an emoji. If you want to broadcast discontent, the reader will feel it even without the exclamation point.
Evil tips for writing in business school
Here’s a list of what business school students should avoid when writing texts:
The more text, the better
Why bother with the idea and value when you can pour out your thoughts on the 3,500 characters? Do not spare words in sentences. You should write a 10-paragraph introduction and sprinkle the text generously with adjectival phrases and epithets. Write in a storied manner so that everyone understands who the brilliant author is.
Do not proofread the text
Do not waste your time on anything. Do not let your colleagues and readers look for errors in the text. Your work is done!
Don’t back up your ideas with examples or facts
You only need to state your opinion, but confirming it is a waste of time. Those who want the truth will believe you without any arguments.
Everything has already been thought of before us — just copy
You do not have to go deep into the subject. Bravely take texts and ideas of other authors. Do not name and cite the sources.