We’ve said time and again that everyone encounters writing in some form or the other. We are not referring to writing in the literary or even technical sense, but writing on a more functional level.

Communication through the written word is a crucial part of professional life, regardless of what field you work in. The language you use in your professional life can often be a representation of your work ethic itself, especially when you are speaking to external collaborators. There is the writing you do on an individual level – for instance, shoot an e-mail to HR about an upcoming holiday. And then, there’s the writing that is done on an official level. These may range from an internal report to a partnership pitch to another company. Either way, language matters.

 

Tip 1: Create a style sheet for your organization. 

Depending on the nature of your work, you can design it to be simple – with minimal rules – or extensive – with elaborate rules. The point is that the style sheet should create a writing style that is distinct to your organization. Whenever you are communicating externally, you would be identified by this style.

What can you include in your style sheet? Rules about dialect, punctuation and capitalization, formatting. You can refer to this article to see how you can create a style sheet for your organization.

 

Tip 2: Step up a proofreading protocol. 

Once you have conventions in place, it’s all about implementing them. The real task is to make sure that these are being adhered to.

Set up proofreading protocol that ensures that all communication – both internal and external – are written clearly. You can either appoint one person to the proofreading duty, or multiple. The goal is to

For instance, you can set up a buddy system that ensures that the same person who is writing does not end up proofreading as well.

 

Tip 3: The key is to be succinct.

Sometimes, a draft is filled with long, run-on sentences that do not make sense. In business communication, it is important that your sentences are clear and straight to the point. Take a step back, and see (before checking for spelling and punctuation), if your sentences are structured properly. See if they make sense: in that, are they saying exactly what you want them to say?

 

Tip 4: Identify what type of errors you make. 

If you are proofreading on your own, identify what kind of mistakes you tend to make most. Do you tend to misuse homonyms (similar-sounding words), or have jitters when it comes to commas? Once you identify them, you will find yourself more aware of what you’re doing and rectify accordingly.

 

Tip 5: Don’t rely solely on a spell checker. 

Spellcheckers can be useful in making spelling and basic grammar corrections, but it is important to recognize that often it does not recognize context. (Pro tip: Don’t EVER keep automated spellcheck on your computer, just in case it makes unintentional changes.)

 

These are some of our tips to ensure that all your business communication is in order. Keep following PaperTrue for more editing and proofreading tips.