There are many types of business communication writing methods and styles that influence how companies, governments, and institutions communicate with each other. However, all professional communication, from emails and letters to memoranda and formal invitations, have fundamental points in common. Clarity, a formal tone, and maximum information density are always key priorities. Read on to learn about the different types of business writing, along with best practices for its composition.
The first consideration in any writing project is to identify the type of communication you're trying to craft. In business, there are a few core types of writing you can expect to be doing on a regular basis.
Encompassing business letters, emails and memoranda, correspondence is intra-business communication. That is, it's communication generally intended to be read by coworkers, not customers. We have written extensively about the various forms of business communication and how to make each one great.
Proposals are a unique type of formal business communication. Of all the common kinds of business writing, proposals are probably the most dependent on form. Getting that form right and using it to achieve your goal are vital skills in modern business.
Reports are more formal than other forms of written business communication. Your employer may have a set structure for a given report. Even if they don't, it's important to be rigorous and detailed, while simultaneously keeping things as to the point as possible.
While every form of business writing has its own unique quirks, there are several overarching principles that apply to all communication in a professional setting.
The first rule of all written business communication is to "get to the point." Business writing is all about sharing information in an efficient, professional manner. For every piece of written business communication, whether it's a two-line email or a two-hour presentation, start by identifying a clear, concrete message you want to communicate.
To truly shorten things up, take a look at our list of common business abbreviations.
Formality is a critical element of how most business writing is conducted today. Any piece of official writing should be considered a legal document and an important component of an organization's body of work. Choose your tone accordingly.
Remember, a business is made up of people. It's just as important for informal communication to be friendly and polite as it is for official documents to follow formal structure. Being polite and helpful isn't just good manners, it's a good strategy. People perform better when they feel positive toward their employer.
The main feature of business writing that ties all forms together is the style. No matter what kinds of documents you are writing, you have to be concise, convey information effectively, and engage your reader in a positive fashion.
For an even clearer sense of business writing style, take a look at our comparison of business versus academic writing.