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Business Writing

Notes on a business writing course.


  • Skim and scan looking for whats important for them
  • Readers want to find what they need right away, 5 seconds
  • Readers want to make decisions, what is the purpose?

What is the purpose of a text?

  • Benefits
  • Steps
  • Recommendations
  • Risk

What is good writing?

  • Quick: Information designed for speed
  • Organized
  • Easy: to find and understand


  1. State purpose:
    • Clearly stated subject line
    • Signal word (e.g. procedure, request for, warning about, proposal to, …)
    • Do, why, know
  2. List key points:
    • Support purpose
    • Provide more information
    • Start with a verb
    • Write “headline style”
  3. Expand key points
    • only if needed
  4. Restate purpose
    • if text is long, no new information
    • contact information if needed


  1. Clear
    • Follow Structure
  2. Concise
    • Use lists
    • Use active voice, e.g. staff attended meeting vs was meeting attended by staff
    • Use simple, strong verbs
    • Avoid wordy and redundant phrases, e.g. as matter of fact vs in fact
  3. Correct
    • Use auto-correct
    • Don’t trust spell checks


These notes are unpolished collections of thoughts, unfinished ideas, and things I want to remember later. In the spirit of learning in public, I'm sharing them here. Have fun exploring, if you want!
© 2022 by Adrian Philipp