Have you ever found yourself mid-way through a document and then realised that you had waffled on without covering your key points? Were you sure as to what you wanted to achieve?
We live in an information age where most of us feel overwhelmed by the amount of information we are expected to read on a daily basis.
You as the reader
As a reader, which document would you prefer to read?
|Document 1||Document 2|
|Has no logical order||Has a logical order|
|Has an inconsistent layout||You can immediately find the section or sections that you need to read|
|Uses terminology that you don't understand||Uses language that you understand|
Your document could be a report, proposal or an email. Whichever of these it might be you want your reader to actually read it. You wouldn't be writing it if it wasn't important, would you?
Do you plan your business documents?
Most people that I speak with about their business writing often say to me that they are time poor and need to 'just get the document done'. That is understandable. However, wouldn't it be better to have an approach to writing that made your life easier and would save you time?
Just as we gain an impression of a person when we first meet them, your document gives an impression of you and your business to your reader.
Benefits of planning
A document that is easy to follow with clear objectives will more likely be read. To achieve this you need to spend some time planning your document. Researching, creating an objective and establishing an outline are key steps in the planning stage.
Planning your writing:
- Saves time
- Ensures that your document follows a logical order
- Ensures that nothing is left out
- Allows you to meet your deadlines.
As a starting point, ask yourself these three questions:
- Why are you writing the document?
- Who are you writing for?
- What important information do you need to include?
What does this mean for you?
By answering these questions you will be clearer as to why you are writing the document, who you are writing for and what the reader will need to read.
This in turn means that:
- You will take less time to write and edit your document
- You will write a document that will meet your reader's needs
- Your reader will be more likely to take action as a result of reading your document.
By following these points you will find that you will save time writing and have a greater chance that your email, report or proposal will be read and acted upon.
What are your tips for planning business documents?