When you are talking to someone face-to-face, you have lots of visual clues to help you – your tone of voice, gestures, eye contact. It may not be fair, but in the everyday world we are judged and influenced by all these criteria. And like it or not, it's through the way we speak and look that we earn trust and confidence.
But none of these visual cues present are in written communication, so how do we earn trust in our emails, reports or other business messages?
Well when we write, we have to find other ways to evaluate the person who is 'speaking' (writing). People do that by looking at your 'style'.
'Style' In Business Writing
In business writing, 'style' means lots of things: It means you must:
- Pay attention to proper spelling and punctuation
- Use correct sentence construction instead of non-sentences
- Spell out words in full instead of abbreviations only suitable for SMS
- Be creative in what you write and how you write
- Make your messages look good
- Use numbered points or bullet lists
- Include headings when necessary
- Make sure your tone hits the right notes
- Structure your messages logically
I recently did a follow-up workshop for a client I'd done a business writing workshop for two months earlier. I asked the participants what had changed since our workshop. They told me proudly:
- We get straight to the point, but are still courteous.
- We use everyday language instead of old-fashioned template writing.
- We avoid redundancies, like'Please be informed', 'Kindly be advised', 'I am writing to inform you', etc.
- Our messages are structured logically with the intro, details, action and close.
- We make it clear what action the reader needs to take.
- Our clients tell us our messages are more friendly, so we seem more approachable.
Bingo! This is how to earn trust and confidence!
HERE'S A GOLDEN RULE FROM TIP #6:
Pay Attention To Your Writing Style
What you write and how you write will affect what people think of you and your organisation. Give yourself an edge and build trust by paying attention to your writing style!