Tips on Business Writing

The importance of good business writing skills cannot be underestimated.  Here are some tips:

  1. Remember the old public speaking adage:  "Tell them what you're going to say, say it, then tell them what you said." The same principle holds when writing a business report.  In an introductory paragraph (or section), tell your reader what you are going to say; in the body, say it; and in a concluding paragraph (or section), review what you have said.
  2. Be excited by your topic.  It shows!  If you are not excited, you can be sure your readers will share your lack of enthusiasm.
  3. Break up your writing with headings, subheadings, lists, tables, and figures. This helps the reader to understand and organize the content of your document.  It is difficult to focus on and digest unrelieved text.  
  4. Proof-read, spell-check, and grammar-check your work!  A good trick for proofreading is to read your report aloud in a conversational voice.  Your tongue will often catch awkward phrases and words which your eyes might otherwise overlook.
  5. Cite your sources of information and data, and include a reference list.  A good and simple way to cite your sources is simply to include the name of the author and year of publication in parentheses within the body of your text (Lawrence 1999).  Then include the full citation in a reference section at the end of your paper:
Lawrence, S.R., "How to write good," Journal of Unpublishable Drivel, May 1999, 110-143.

Additional tips:

These points can be operationalized as follows:

Writing Style





Conclusions or Summary


Stephen R. Lawrence, College of Business and Administration, University of Colorado, 1997