In the words of Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and the Internet and social media have certainly changed the way we now do business. But what many business owners fail to realize is that they have also changed the way we now need to write. Some fail to be concise, captivating and to the point in their written communications, while others mistakenly believe that these changes mean that informality is the order of the day.
“How to Write Effective Business English: Excel at E-mail, Social Media and All Your Professional Communications (Better Business English)” details what small businesses must consider when communicating to a wider audience and through the various forms of media now available.
What “How to Write Effective Business English” is About
There can be no doubt as to the power of the written word. However, the written word can be misunderstood, found to be offensive, and once read is difficult to retract or correct. Email, social media and instant messaging, which have all made it far easier and quicker to communicate and do business, are among the topics covered in the book. This ability to rapidly or hastily communicate can be a mixed blessing if a business owner is not careful, and it should be remembered that both you and your business will often be judged by the manner in which you write.
In “How to Write Effective Business English” Fiona Talbot takes a look at how, as a result of technology, we now need to adapt the way in which we write and vary our writing according to our audience and the medium that we are using to communicate.
The author dedicates a chapter to writing in social media. In it, she explains how writing for social media differs from the more traditional forms of media, and how it can be more difficult for those used to writing more formally to write in a more conversational style.
With the aid of a variety of examples, she also outlines the many mistakes that a writer can make, especially when attempting to connect with a global audience. While English is the language in which to do business, it needs to be remembered that there are variations of the language, and it is not enough just to set the spell check of your computer to the variety of English you wish to use.
Grammar and writing tips for everyday business are just some of the other useful subjects covered in this informative book on business communication.
Fiona is currently in charge of TQI Word Power Skills which is a Business Writing Skills Consultancy helping native and non-native English speakers globally, and runs workshops and e-coaching courses for writers of all levels.
What Was Best About “How to Write Effective Business English”
I was happy to see that the author tailored “How to Write Effective Business English” to be useful for both native and proficient non-native English speakers alike. Although English is a single language, its use does vary from country to country.
For example, writing here on a site which is read predominantly by a US audience, I have to ensure not to use certain expressions, words and idioms which would be understood by a British audience but may confuse or have no meaning to a non-British reader, and the author puts this point across very well with the use of some common examples.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
With so much content now being produced by businesses, many small businesses can be found outsourcing a great deal of their written content to freelance writers. I had expected to see a chapter dedicated to giving guidance on this and the pros and cons of a business doing it.
While, as the author herself points out, there are many extremely good non-native English writers, there are also some very weak ones trying to make a living through writing. Using non-native English writers may be cheaper, but business owners need to ensure that the image of their business in not affected by poorly written content.
Why Read “How to Write Effective Business English”
Whether you are a native or non-native writer, or a business owner looking to standardize the written content of your business, you should pick up a copy of “How to Write Effective Business English.”
Regardless of the level you are at in your writing, the book contains handy tips and suggestions on how to reach your target audience more effectively using the correct tone and medium for the task at hand.