Professional writing is a style of written communication used in the workplace or office environment. In this article, we discuss some examples and their purpose.
Professional Writing: What Is It And Who Is It For?
What Is Professional Writing?
Professional writing is a style of written communication used in offices that helps professionals (such as business people, professors, doctors, lawyers, etc.) to make informed decisions. A job like this usually employs a formal tone and differs from written text that is considered literary or artistic. There is no intention to seek to entertain and/or convey a philosophical truth- as you’ll see in an HR contract template.
What are examples of professional writing?
At some point in your life, you’re likely to see numerous examples of professional writing. Some of the most common examples of professional writing include:
- Reports (White papers wherein an authority on a subject writes a paper to convince other, less-knowledgeable parties of a certain position)
- Email messages ( for example the codes of ethics in which a workplace spells out what they consider acceptable conduct)
- Operations manuals ( helps to explain how to work a piece of equipment or simply how to conduct oneself)
- Rule book (Government statistics and reports detailing anything citizens or businesses might need to know)
- Journals (or articles, which are found in academic or scholarly publications and meant to further research and knowledge on a particular topic)
- Proposals (Business proposals that attempt to convince a buyer of a product or service)
- Contracts template (Service charters that let employees know what duties they should provide customers of their organization)
- Newsletters (Used either within or outside a company to explain new happenings)
- Brochures (Helps to inform or sell in bite-sized, visually appealing ways)
What are some professional writing skills?
1. Know Your Facts
A certifiable way to lose credibility is to produce information that isn’t accurate. Avoid relying on any old source to give you the information you need.
While online websites produce incomplete or incorrect information, and some even purposefully spread untruths, it’s far more profitable to focus on official institutional sites.
Learn to distinguish between facts and falsehoods and rely on information given through government agencies, educational organizations or well-established businesses.
If your source cites another study or report, find the original and analyze or perceive the data yourself. For example, if there is a statistic reported by a news outlet, do your own fact-checking and analysis to be sure of what you’re using.
2. Be Concise
Writing for clients or colleagues? They will be in a hurry, so to grab their attention, there is only one thing you can do.
Be concise and use shorter items that are likely to be read on a mobile device. Say no to long
paragraphs to keep text readable, and put your main point in the first sentence itself.
What if you write a long report? In that case, break it up with headings and formatting tools, like bold font, to draw attention to key ideas (but don’t go overboard).
3. Look for Potential Misunderstandings
Done with your writing? Hold on.
Always ask yourself, “How could this be misunderstood?”
One key point we always need to do is read it from the audience’s point of view.
Take a step back and look for words with multiple meanings and replace them with more precise alternatives.
For example, if you are describing a process, use sequencing and transition words, like “first,” “second” or “next,” to help your reader enjoy the journey of continuation. Just being clear makes you a total pro!
4. Use Online Tools
Is it worth getting help with your writing? Yes! It’s one step extra but plenty of online tools offer help such as:
- Easy Word Counter: Use this feature to check the length of your writing.
- State Of Writing: This tool is full of helpful writing guides.
- Grammarly: This browser extension allows grammar and spelling checks in everything from WordPress to email. It also sends you a weekly report of your progress.
- Cite It In: Use it to cite your sources correctly.
5. Be Detailed From the Get-Go
Yes, you should be concise but you need to be detailed as well. Because sending more emails back and forth all day trying to clarify the details, is a huge waste of time.
Those who read your document shouldn’t have to email back asking for more info. This is important to ensure misunderstandings with potential clients — or coworkers — more than sending something that’s far too general to be useful.
6. Watch Your Tone
Your personal tone doesn’t just matter when you’re talking to people face to face. It also extends to your writing as people can interpret if a piece of writing is being curt, rude or unfriendly. When you’re writing, use a friendly tone that invites readers to pay attention while being courteous to them. They’ll appreciate this more than you’d think.
7. Know When Writing Is Appropriate — and When It’s Not
Sometimes, sending a message or an email isn’t the best way to communicate. It might be better to pick up the phone, set up a skype or zoom video call or meet up in person. Keep this in mind when you’re about to send a message. Is this message best sent via writing, or should it be delivered face to face?
8. Always Edit and Proofread
You’d be surprised at how many professionals skip this step — at a cost. No matter what you’re writing, ensure that it’s properly proofread and edited before it’s sent. Even a single letter in the wrong place in the wrong word can lead to embarrassment later. Spell check won’t catch everything, so make sure you read your writing carefully.
What are the 3 styles of professional writing?
Although there are lots of different styles of writing, most professional writing fits into four categories: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative.
Why is professional writing important?
Professional writing is important to convey information to readers within a workplace context. The specific purpose of professional writing can be broken down into these functions:
- To encourage action or a call to action
- To instruct or direct
- To persuade or convince
- To inform or bring to attention
- To affirm shared goals
The importance is to basically allow various types of professionals to communicate ideas to each other despite their different areas of expertise. For example, an engineer can explain her newly invented solar panel to the sales team by writing a paper.