Originally published November 2017, Updated January 2024

When I tell people I’ve started BetterFasterWriter.com, they all nod knowingly, because they either work with poor writers or they sense their own writing could use improvement. How about you? Are you nodding along, knowing that poor writing is pandemic in today’s business world? Do you see the same lack of effective business writing skills that I see?

Putting up with poor writing is annoying, but there’s a longer term negative impact that results: loss of credibility, for the writer and for the business they work for.

When effective business writing skills are lacking

This week, I received an email from someone new to me, although this person works at an organization I freelance for. Over the course of more than 10 years, I have had many dealings with countless people at this organization, and I have come to expect a certain degree of business writing skills because that’s what I’ve seen.

This new (to me) person did not write with the same professionalism I have come to expect from others there, and therefore lost credibility with me. Here’s the email text, with information removed for confidentiality:

My client works at (Company Name Removed).
She is putting on a large event for (Event Name Removed) that will include (topic removed).
What she is needing at this point is someone who can provide content for 2 different “brochures/flyers”; one for Partners and one for Participants.
Does this sound like something you might be interested in?

Each sentence is on a new line which makes it choppy. The grammar is poor (“what she is needing” would be better as “she needs”). The punctuation is wrong (both the quotation marks and the semi colon). And the use of capital letters for Partners and Participants is unnecessary.

To be fair, I got the meaning of the email. I didn’t have to write back to clarify, which often happens when effective business writing skills are lacking. But this person lost credibility with me, and as a vendor for the organization, I need to be able to trust the people I am working with.

What’s the impact for you when writing skills are lacking?

Is this happening at your business? Do you have employees or coworkers who lack good business writing skills, and so damage their own reputations as well as that of your organization? Are you even aware of the level of competency?

Are emails to customers of the quality they should be?

Are vendors comfortable working with your business?

Are coworkers trusting of each other’s abilities?

If so, then you’re lucky: It sounds like good business writing skills are the norm at your organization.

If so, then you’re lucky: It sounds like good business writing skills are the norm at your organization.

If not, then stop for a minute and consider the possible damage being done when writing is poor. And take steps to nip that in the bud. Because anyone can learn good business writing skills. It only requires taking the initiative to do so.

business email writing class

Sharon Ernst is a retired freelance copywriter now on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes.