Are you putting people off with your writing and not realising it?

The writing mistakes you don’t know you’re making


As a business leader you need to write clearly and effectively, whether you’re communicating with clients or others within your company. It not only affects how well you get your point across, but the image you present. Simply put, bad writing makes you look bad. Basic mistakes can ruin your business communication, and the worst part is you’re probably not even aware that you’re making them.

With that in mind, here are four common mistakes people make in their business writing and how you can start avoiding them today:

It’s a mistake to rush into a piece of writing without thinking about what you’re trying to say.

1. Leaping in without planning

When you’re under deadline pressure and you need to communicate something urgently it can be tempting to get it written as quickly as possible. But it’s a mistake to rush into a piece of writing without taking a little time to think about what you’re trying to say and how you’re going to say it. This is true whether it’s a complex report or a straightforward email. says you should stop to organise your thoughts and structure your points. It will make your writing clearer, and get your message across more effectively.

2. Relying on buzzwords

Readers get tired of cliché phrases and management speak that sounds fancy but doesn’t really say anything. Explain your points in straightforward terms and try not to use words like ‘synergy’ or ‘leverage’ unless it’s really necessary, says.

Buzzwords don't sound as impressive as you think, and they get in the way of your message.Buzzwords don’t sound as impressive as you think, and they get in the way of your message.

3. Not citing your sources

At the very least, it’s rude not to give people credit where it’s due. At worst it’s plagiarism. The College of Business at the University of Illinois says to make sure you acknowledge where you get ideas and information from – and this means both from colleagues within your company, and from outside sources.

4. Not being ruthless enough

You don’t need to be ruthless in how you address your clients or coworkers. But you should be ruthless in how you edit yourself. Forbes reminds us that you don’t have to use a complicated word when a simple one will do. Use fewer words with fewer syllables. Trim the fat from your writing, and then trim it again.

No matter how good a writer you are you can always improve. We’ve just scratched the surface here, but if you’re interested in taking it further ICML has a range of business writing courses designed to make your writing professional and effective.

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