10 Steps to (More Persuasive) Business Writing


Ah, wouldn’t it be nice if people did what you asked them to do? Of course, that’s not always possible. But you can try to persuade them to come around to your line of thinking.

Here are 10 ways you can write better Business Letters.

  1. Be sympathetic to the reader’s situation. Acknowledge their frustration and any previous queries they may have made. Don’t rush into the letter without first mentioning any correspondence they’ve sent you or conversations you’ve had in relation to this business matter.
  2. Include a short, positive introduction when opening your letter. Try to strike the right now from the start.
  3. Use one idea for each paragraph. Don’t confuse the reader, or yourself, by mixing multiple ideas together. Prioritize the most important points.
  4. Use headings to divide the letter into logical sections. This also makes it easier to scan. Most people read only the sections that interest them. Using headings to assist them in locating the relevant information.
  5. Use white space to organize text. Avoid large, dense paragraphs. It’s very intimidating. No-one likes blocks of text. However, if used correctly, white space can emphasize the key sections in a document and give it more breathe.
  6. Use bullet lists to identify key points. Use short sentences. Number items if action have to be performed in sequence. Avoid garish bullet points. Aim for a clean professional design.
  7. Use tables to represent data. Strive to balance the ‘text to images’ ratio. Provide labels for each table. Consider using alternating stripes to add some color to the document.
  8. Avoid using condescending language or adopting a patronizing manner. This will only infuriate the reader even more. Avoid using phrases such as, “As I’m sure you’re aware…” or “As you must know…” Always try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes.
  9. Help the reader understand YOUR position. For example, why your product may have malfunctioned or how they can help you understand their situation more clearly.
  10. Show your appreciation for the reader’s time, especially if they have already written to you.