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UpWrite Press understands the importance of writing skills in business: We're business people just like you. On this blog you'll find tips to improve your writing, along with topics of interest to our staff.

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    Is Your Writing Reader-Centric?

    Friday, February 08, 2013

    Focusing on the reader is key in business writing. Unlike speech, where vocal emphasis helps deliver the message, the business writer must rely on the written word alone. Knowing where to place importance can make the difference in the way your message is perceived. Here are some hints for delivering the most effective message.

    First, make your message “you-centric.”

    What do your readers need to know about your message? More importantly, what do they want to know? Address any needs or questions they might have and stress how your message will affect them.

    Instead of:

    We are offering our best customers a new service option featuring enhanced coverage at a low introductory price.

    Write:

    Because you are a preferred customer, you have the opportunity to try our latest service options, featuring enhanced coverage at a low introductory price.

    Next, emphasize the positive aspects of your message.

    Avoid negative language, and focus on any benefits the reader will gain.

    Let’s say, for example, you are writing to your customers to inform them of an upcoming price hike of your service. This is a negative message, but you can soften the impact through your choice of language.

    Instead of:

    This letter is to inform you that as of March 1, our monthly rate will increase by 3 percent. This is regrettably necessary to cover our rising costs. Thank you for your continued patronage.

    Write:

    This letter is to inform you that as of March 1, your monthly payment will increase by 3 percent. We regret this necessary increase and remain dedicated to offering you the very best service at the lowest possible price. Your business is appreciated, and we look forward to serving you in the future.

    Note that the second letter sounds more positive and places emphasis on the reader’s importance.

    Finally, choose your words carefully to get your message across.

    Your words should be strong and clear but should also carry the tone you wish to communicate. For example, you can convey a relationship beyond business by changing:

    Thank you for your business

    to something more like:

    We have enjoyed partnering in your financial journey.

    Or perhaps:

    Your collaboration has meant more to us than just a business deal.

    In “you-centric” writing, your main focus is on your readers. Make your message important to them, make it pleasant, and make it positive. Your results will be gratifying.

    —Joyce Lee

    Photo by Filippo