I'm just going to tell it like it is, business writing can be boring...it doesn't have to be though. Reading business plans, proposals, reports, etc. probably isn't the most exciting part of a person's day but there are things that you as the writer can do to break the tedium and make the task at least marginally more enjoyable.
I've touched numerous times on making sure your communication is concise and relevant but that does not mean it has to be a boring monologue. Particularly if your document is going to a bank or investor who likely has to read several proposals a day, you really need to make sure yours doesn't make them fall asleep and stands out. Banks frequently complain that the business plans they receive, even from large well established corporates, are like shopping lists, and it seems people have accepted this as the norm. That doesn't mean, however, that you should conform, in fact use it as an opportunity to stand out.
So how do you do this?
1. Tell a story
At Amras Communications we use a story telling approach. Tell the facts but use structure, language and tone that not only communicates the necessary information but also takes the reader through a journey. Every business has a personality and that needs to show through your writing. Engage the reader instead of "talking at” them.
2. Opening sentence
As with just about anything in the fast paced environment we live in, you have a few seconds to capture a person's attention. The first sentence is of course the first thing that is read, unless the reader decides to skip over it for some reason, so make it something that peaks their interest and makes them want to know more. Don't start your business plan with "XYZ is a construction company that operates in Zimbabwe" (I mean you can start your document that way but I strongly advise against it). If there is one place to really let your creative writing juices flow freely this is it. Give them bait worth biting onto then reel them in with the rest of the document.
When the focus is business writing the aesthetic appeal of the document often falls on the wayside. The design aspect of a document may not seem like a key factor but at the end of the day people like to look at nice things. Even a half-baked document can be passable due to of the way it looks because the physical appeal already creates a positive first impression and image of your business before the first word is even read. The design includes the cover page, the colours you use, the inforgraphics you insert, the font and text alignment, right down to the paragraph spacing. If it looks good it makes the reader feel good too.
There is obviously a lot more that goes into making a business document more interesting but within Amras Communications these are the three key items we focus on. Business writing doesn't have to be boring, don't be scared to let the creative writer within loose. Effective business writing is just as much about creativity as it is about sharing information.