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Business Writing

Updated on August 23, 2017
1001 Commonly Misspelled Words: What Your Spell Checker Won't Tell You
1001 Commonly Misspelled Words: What Your Spell Checker Won't Tell You

Yep. Spell check gets me too. I've misused more than one word or misspelled it and it wasn't recognized by spell check. This book will make you a more savvy about catching those oops that even your computer can't help you with.


The First Impression of You

It used to be common knowledge that one's correspondence is one of the first opportunities for an individual to form an opinion of the writer as a person or representative of a company. Normally, the secretary was the individual to whom that rather grave responsibility fell. With the last statement, you now know how this responsibility can be met - take care of it yourself or hire someone to do it. From the receiving end, communications received with gross spelling and grammatical errors and dire lapses in punctuation will normally underscore the obvious, this person can't spell, write or otherwise communicate well. Will they be up to the task at hand? Do we want to continue further with the business at hand?

Then electronic communication methods arrived on the scene. The exchange of quality communication for expedience, mobility and convenience doesn't necessarily mean progress. When executive level management becomes less concerned with the company's image and more interested in being seen as savvy, with-it, or part of the in-crowd, it doesn't take long for the veneer to thin and the reality of their ineptitude show through. As I'm keying in the previous, I'm reflecting on an email I received from the CEO of a privately owned business. In this business message, she'd entered the entire message in the subject line and left the body of the message blank. The subject line of the message is truncated in the inbox, so I had no idea what the message was about. I had to open the message, place the cursor in the subject line and read the very lengthy string of text in the subject field.


Image photo manipulated by lens author.

What's your preference?

Which is your preferred method to correspond with others?

See results

Getting A Leg Up on Correspondence

New Oxford American Dictionary 3rd Edition
New Oxford American Dictionary 3rd Edition

It's really easy to forget how much information you can find about a word when you look it up in the dictionary. Do you have a dictionary? Why not get one now?


Personal EMail - Thumb Tapping - No Holds Barred

Being Casual - Being Cool

It's a sign of the times. One sees people standing here, sitting there or anywhere staring intently at their cell phones with fingers flying - thumbs rather - across the keypads of said devices. Some are laughing, some are groaning, while others remain expressionless. The texts themselves, more times than not, break any and all rules, including the newest ones, on the form of correspondence. That's cool. That's fine. No problem.

Being connected is what it's all about. Everyone wants to be in the loop of what's going on back home, at school and at the local burger joint. No one wants to miss a party pulled together for just hours from now because they couldn't be reached. The request from employers and local officials to not use-, operate- or turn on cell phones during work, while driving or in the gas line go unheeded because the personal agenda of each individual takes precedence. No problem. Cute one liners and text speak have taken over even in regular correspondence. The appropriateness of corresponding by cell phone ends at the door to your place of business, when the car is powered on and moving, or anywhere there's reasonable request that thumb tappers refrain.


Image photo manipulated by lens author.

The Executive Guide to E-mail Correspondence: Including Model Letters for Every Situation
The Executive Guide to E-mail Correspondence: Including Model Letters for Every Situation

Just because it's not on paper doesn't mean there isn't a formality which should be employed for some types of email.


The Basic Ingredients for Messages

Some things to consider for your next message.

If you can't employ the below suggestions, try another method of reaching the recipient. I've listed below some things you should make sure are present in your business correspondence.

1. If you have a number of topics which need to be addressed by one person, either enumerate them on a list within the body of the message or send separate messages which include only related topics.

2. The subject line doesn't replace the body of the message. The subject line should identify the topic. If it pertains to a a particular effort or project, then start the subject with the name of the project or effort then the next part should identify the topic within the project and then the actual need or request. Here are a few examples:

a. Big Top Carnival - Balloon Sales - Quantity Needed

b. Tonight's Meeting - Agenda - Last Minute Guest Speaker

c. Hurricane Evacuation Shelters - Rezoning - Next Meeting

3. Many times cell phones do not offer a complex enough email platform to accommodate detailed messaging. It's always an option to to send a reply acknowledging receipt of the message and that a full response will be forthcoming at a later time.

4. Proofread. Spelling, grammar, punctuation and form do count.

5. Confirm that your email actually did send and leave the email client. Many times email will save to the draft folder and not send. Follow up if there's no response within 24-72 hours. There's nothing more annoying than being made responsible for a reply to an email when it was never sent. I don't delete email so when am made aware that email was sent and I hadn't responded, I search using multiple search criteria to try to locate the message. There is only one email provider with which I have issues. That email provider's email is frequently lost when sent to my email providers servers.

6. Politesse. Make extra effort in your correspondence to demonstrate courtesy, politeness and professionalism. Electronic and written text lacks facial expression and body language which are present in face-to-face interaction.


Image photo manipulated by lens author.

Webster's New World Letter Writing Handbook
Webster's New World Letter Writing Handbook

When you have cause to write a letter, you need to make sure it drafted in such a way to accomplish what you want while making you shine as the sender.


Does the quality of your business' written communication really make a difference? Are the relaxed standards in writing a positive or a negative? Do you manage your business correspondence or do you hire someone to do that? What else do you have to say about the topic?

The McGraw-Hill Desk Reference for Editors, Writers, and Proofreaders (with CD-ROM)
The McGraw-Hill Desk Reference for Editors, Writers, and Proofreaders (with CD-ROM)

The reference extends the knowledge of a word to how to use it and most importantly how to accessorize it with other words, grammar, punctuation and proper usage.


“I sit up straight and do the first thing a person is supposed to do in an emergency, which is send a text message.”

— Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

© 2014 Tanya Jones

Thanks for stopping in. How Do You Manage EMail For Your Professional Needs? - What suits you best for managing your email?

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    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @Lynn Klobuchar: Way to go! Thank you, LynnKK, for stopping in and commenting. It's important that kids learn the right way to do something, so, when they choose to "break" the rules, it's not for ignorance's sake.

    • profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 

      4 years ago

      I require my sons to text me in complete sentences with proper punctuation.

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @Donna Cook: Ha! Funny, mountainmistjewelry. Thank you for taking a moment to comment.

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you, Susan52, for taking the time to comment on my lens. I'm all for relaxed standards, but within limits, like you pointed out.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 

      4 years ago

      Relaxed standards are a negative and shouldn't be used in business communication. As Grumpy Cat says "Before not B4! We speak English not bingo!"

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I don't have a smart phone, I don't text, and I don't send email from a tablet, all of which helps to keep me out of trouble. I try to re-read emails and check for accuracy, but I'm sure I make mistakes. Relaxed standards are fine to a point, but not to the point that tarnishes a professional reputation. Interesting topic!


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