How Do I Make My Point?

How Do I Make My Point?

Business writing is not meant to be fine literature. That is not to say that it should be dull or poorly written. Certainly, if you want your audience to read your email, memo, business plan, or other business-related document, it should be well written and interesting, but the heart of the matter must always be the content that you are attempting to communicate.

In a nutshell, you want to make your main point or points early on in your document, without a lot of background information or a long, drawn-out introduction. Busy people do not have the time to read extensive, tedious introductory paragraphs or mildly humorous anecdotes that do not quickly lead into the main topic of the paper. They want to determine the pertinent information in what they are reading as rapidly as possible.

On the other hand, beginning a business document with a bit of humor or an interesting angle is a good idea. The trick is to make it short and sweet, and to make sure your introduction does, in fact, lead to your main point.

A good way in which to write clearly and to make your content easily identifiable is to write your main idea first. Make it as simple as possible. That is the heart of your document. Then, if necessary, add additional information to clarify the point. Look at the example below. The sentence in boldface is the main point. The rest of the paragraph contains additional information that is used to clarify that point.

In an attempt to protect vital company information, a new procedure will be effect as of 9 AM tomorrow. All written documents (computer printed, fax generated, and those written by hand) will be stored in a labeled black folder, which will you will find on your desk in the morning. At the end of the day, your folder, containing all written documents which you have retained, must be brought to Mr. Jenkins in the Human Relations Office for overnight safekeeping. Do not leave the folder until he has logged it in. You will be able to retrieve the folder the next day by requesting it from Mr. Jenkins.

Once you have written that, you may, of course, write an introductory paragraph. In the above example, it would explain the reason for the new security procedure. It should clearly lead into the main content paragraph.

When all is said and done, of course, you should carefully proofread your document. Look for spelling, English usage, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Even a simple email or memo should always be written well.

Getting your point across is easy to do as long as you do not allow extraneous information to interfere. Remember: the point of a business-related document is to convey information. It is not meant to be great literature or a source of entertainment.