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The four pillars of effective written communications

2 min read

The first thing to consider before you begin writing an email, a report or a proposal, is your audience. It is your audience members who should determine the tone and language you use.

I recommend that all communications be written in plain English. It is more conversational and engaging, and it cuts down on confusing jargon and acronyms.

Now that you have placed your reader front and centre in your thoughts, I will share with you the four pillars of effective business writing.


Why are you writing to this person or these people? And what do you want them to do?

Get this clearly into your mind, because that must be the focus of your writing. The action or event or decision that you want as a result of your writing must be top of mind.

Be very clear what you want to convey and you make it easier for your reader to understand and respond.


Some people think that using big words makes them look important or appear to be an expert. It doesn’t. It only creates confusion. Keep your writing free of jargon and use simple words in short sentences. You can vary the length of your sentences, but as a rule, they should not exceed 20 words. Short sentences, in short paragraphs make your writing easier to read and understand.


Only give your reader what he or she needs. Get to the point quickly and don’t deviate from the main purpose of your communication.

Your reader will appreciate it and your writing will be more effective and have greater impact.


Write as if you were looking your reader in the eye. If you write in the first person, your writing will be more engaging and genuine. Avoid pompous corporate-speak like ‘notwithstanding’, ‘henceforth’ and ‘forthwith’. Real people don’t sound like that and if you write like that you will turn your reader off.

So there you have it: the four pillars of good business writing. If you remember these four tips, I guarantee your writing will be more effective.

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