8 Examples of Business Writing
Professionals use various examples of business writing to communicate with their coworkers, employees and clients. The intended purpose of these business communications can impact their format or content. When you understand the different types of business writing, you can use that knowledge to communicate more effectively and engage your readers. In this article, we explain the different types of business writing, provide common examples and offer tips to improve your skills.
Business writing refers to written communications conducted with colleagues, supervisors, clients and other business stakeholders. The content or purpose of these communications can vary based on the category of business writing. This list outlines the four general types of business writing:
Instructional: Instructional business writing aims to provide directions or guidance to readers. For example, a user manual may give employees a step-by-step process for completing a task.
Informational: Informational business writing serves the purpose of informing readers or recording business-related information. For example, a financial statement documents a business’ financial performance and related activities.
Persuasive: Persuasive business writing convinces or influences its readers, typically to make them feel positive about something. For example, organizations use proposals to showcase their business and gain contracts with clients.
Transactional: Transactional business writing refers to day-to-day communications conducted at work or related to business. For example, a consultant working on a project may send an invoice to their client detailing their services and related billing information.
Common examples of business writing
A business letter serves as an example of transactional business writing. It refers to a formal, printed document an individual sends to a colleague, supervisor or professional associate. Typically, individuals use this type of business writing when conducting employment- or business-related communications.
For example, an employee may write a resignation letter to convey their decision to leave a job. Or a sales professional may send sales letters to their customers to introduce a new product and describe its features. There are several types of business letters, including:
Though the content varies, business letters tend to follow a defined format. It must include the contact information of both the sender and recipient, a formal salutation, a closing statement and the sender’s signature. The body of the letter may be comprised of one or several paragraphs conveying the intended message. Due to its formal nature and the time it can take to send one, this type of business writing is not suitable for sending messages quickly.
An email is another example of transactional business writing. It likely represents the type of business writing that professionals use most regularly. Using email, the sender can convey their message to a recipient almost instantly via the internet.
Typically, an individual sends an email to colleagues or clients to provide information or ask them to take action on something. For example, a supervisor may send an email to one of their employees asking them to gather research on a new product. Or a team working on a project may send an email with details about their progress to the client.
Like a business letter, business emails often include a salutation, closing statement and the sender’s contact information. While emails tend to be a less formal communication method, they must still follow appropriate language and grammar to demonstrate professionalism in the workplace.
Typically, an email is relatively brief and conveys a single message or purpose because recipients may not spend too much time reading emails. One essential element of an email is its subject line, which can provide context on what the reader can expect to find in its message.
A business memo represents an example of instructional business writing. It is a brief, less formal method of communicating information within an organization. Typically, companies use memos for mass communications rather than personal messages. For example, the human resources department may send a memo regarding changes to company procedures or policies to employees. Or a manager could send one to internal stakeholders informing them of the launch of a new product.
A memo is typically a brief message focused on one purpose, so it should not take long to read. While less formal than a report or business letter, it still needs to maintain language appropriate for the workplace. Like other business writing types, memos can include an introduction, body paragraph, conclusion and the sender’s contact information. Memos often use a header to inform recipients of the message’s purpose and may incorporate other details, such as the date.
Some employees receive manuals that provide instructions they can follow to perform their job or complete specific tasks. Depending on the organization’s size, the business owner or a human resources department may help draft this document. They may also consult a lawyer to help draft language around any legal terms and conditions.
A handbook instructs employees, so it must use straightforward and concise language to ensure their understanding. It also incorporates important information that employees need to know to perform their job or follow company standards. For example, a handbook describes companies’ policies regarding compensation, dress code, time-off and schedules. It may also provide information about a company, such as its mission, values, history and employment terms. Employees need all this information in an easy-to-understand manner to help empower them at work.
A business report represents an example of informational business writing. This type of document outlines important information about the business or a specific project. Typically, its purpose is to provide data, research and other information to help managers, executives or other stakeholders make business-related decisions. Businesses use various types of reports, such as:
Writing a business report requires objectivity rather than inserting one’s personal opinions on the subject. Readers must rely on the facts, research and data contained within it to make a decision. However, reports that incorporate recommendation sections allow for some opinions when the author suggests possible solutions to problems. The format may vary, but business reports typically include the following elements:
Responses to customer complaint letters
Why They Matter
We know, we know, customer complaints can be annoying. But keep in mind that someone took the time to write your company a letter. You should honor their time by responding graciously and professionally.
Melissa Shaffer is a freelance writer, online copywriter, and international English teacher. She is one-half of the married couple behind “Teachers Travelling,” a website for tourists, travelers, and those who wish to live vicariously through their travels.
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As the goal of business documents varies, so does the writing style. Business writing is divided into four categories of writing: instructional, informational, persuasive, and transactional. Adapt each writing tone depending on the document’s goals and the audience’s requirements.
Choose an appropriate business writing style, avoid common grammatical mistakes, prefer an active voice, talk with facts, and arrange the document in a way to enhance its meaning and goals. All these valuable tips will result in a professional business document that leads to effective communication.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He is considered one of the top product influencers in the world by Product School and one of the top technical writers. He has been writing software tutorials, manuals, handbooks, and white papers for over eight years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.