Writing Style – What Every Business Reader Wants to Know

Today’s busy readers are skimmers, drowning in paperwork and are impatient. Therefore, when they glance at one of your documents either in hard copy or on a screen, what do they want to know right away?

They want to know “What’s in it for me?” They mentally ask themselves “Why do I need to read this document?” “Why should I take time out of my busy day to read it?” “Can I get away with skimming it?” “Can I put it aside for later, ignore it entirely or delete it?”

Therefore, when you start any document begin with the main message. Don’t waste a reader’s time with fill words or background details in the first paragraph.

Don’t start a report with “The purpose of this report is to clarify/describe/explain…”?Get rid of the fluff: “This report clarifies/describes/explains…”

In an email, don’t start with background: “Three weeks ago, I met with you to discuss the new production line. You asked me to…” ?Get rid of the bedtime story: “Here are the answers to your questions regarding the new production line.”

In a letter, try to avoid starting with the word “I” : I want to take this opportunity to thank you for …” Put the focus on the reader, not the writer: “Thank you for …”