6 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Business Correspondence


Business / Friday, March 13th, 2020

Writing is an unavoidable part of work responsibilities. We write emails, memos, reports, and other documents every day. That’s why it is necessary to master the technique and not make mistakes. They may cause misunderstanding, a decline of your reputation, and even lead to the loss of a client.

Business correspondence is a skill, so it can be learned by anyone. One can learn from professionals like https://essaypro.com/ and by spending more time writing. Knowing the most common mistakes will also help to eliminate them. Here are errors that many people make and a guide on avoiding them.

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Formatting and punctuation

Formatting is what a reader sees first. If it is wrong, this cannot be missed. The bad format of the business letter shows a lack of professionalism. It is a sign of sloppy work that one didn’t care enough to alter. As a result, a writer can make an unfavorable impression on a client or a partner. They might think that a person takes all responsibilities this way.

The best thing is to have a template of a business letter with the date, address and company name on top. All parts should be placed correctly on the template; it will save a lot of time formatting.

Punctuation is also a necessary tool. First of all, it clears all misunderstandings. Secondly, it shows intelligence and professionalism. Do not avoid commas in complex sentences.

Clear writing

The purpose of business correspondence is to exchange information and ideas in a clear and comprehensive way. This means that the writing should stick to the point and focus on the important data. It includes the following.

  • A writer should avoid complex words is there is a simpler alternative. Do not use “utilize” instead “use”, it doesn’t make you sound smarter.
  • Do not use texting language. It is a formal letter, so it uses only standard English, spell out any abbreviations like “brb”, “ty”, “pls”.
  • Break complex sentences into simple ones. They are easier to understand.
  • Avoid generic and abstract statements like “everyone knows that”, point out who knows and where the information is from.
  • Do not address multiple ideas in one paragraph. Try to use one idea/statement per paragraph scheme.

Always follow the traditional business letter structure to make writing easy and clear.

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Check grammar and spelling

It is important to proofread and check every letter. One might even ask a colleague to help with that, as a new person has another vision. Some plugins or extensions offer automatic spelling and grammar checks in the writing process. You can use them for additional insurance that everything is top-notch. Also, avoid these common grammar mistakes:

  • Fewer and less. Fewer is for countable nouns, and less is for uncountable;
  • Then and than. Then is used for time and than for any other comparison;
  • i.e. and e.g. i.e. means “that is” and used for clarification of an idea. E.g. means “for example”;
  • Its and it’s. “Its” – possessive form. “It’s” means it is.

Think about the reader

Always keep the receiver in mind when working on business correspondence. Put in the information that interests the reader. Also, explain all abbreviations and not-widely known terms. It will not sound patronizing; it will save someone’s time and effort. No one wants to use a vocabulary to read a business email.

Do not overuse passive voice

It might seem to sound more professional. In reality, it is hard to comprehend, especially when there is too much passive voice. It draws the focus away from a person who is responsible for the action. Passive voice might sound vague and as if you don’t want to take responsibility for something.

Always double-check

Everyone makes mistakes; after all, we are humans. The best strategy is to double-check everything. Use spelling- and grammar-checking software. You can also read the letter out loud. Following are more points to consider.

  • The greeting and closing are formal, they should not be casual;
  • Formatting is on top;
  • All attachments are actually attached. This is an extremely common error that shows a lack of planning and hurry;
  • All references are not abstract, but factual;
  • Countable and uncountable nouns are used correctly;
  • All abbreviations are explained.

Before starting a letter, make sure that you have a good idea of what you are going to write. Planning ensures 50% of success and helps to keep everything simple and understandable.

In Summary

Business correspondence only seems intimidating. It is a skill that everyone can learn, although it takes time and practice to master. Always keep a reader in mind and have a clear purpose in the letter. Use formatting templates and spell-checks. Avoid extremely complex words and phrases, as well as unnecessarily long sentences. The main point here is to be direct, clear, and correct.

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