How a little thought goes a long way

If you find writing a tender or any business document hard work, pity your reader. There is no one on earth that wants to spend longer than necessary reading business documents.

When writing, the goal is to make it as easy, and quick, as possible for your reader to understand what you are saying.

But how do you do this without getting bogged down?

Well, here are a few easy rules to help you to structure what you want to say:

  • Start slow. Think about what you want or need to say. What is your overall message? And what key points do you need to make to get your message across? Do you need evidence, quotes, testimonials, facts or figures? The more time you spend thinking (not writing), the better your document will be. Its messages will be clearer and more logical.
  • Jot down your thoughts either in pen, pencil or on screen. You may like to make a list, but mind maps are more useful – they free up our thinking so it becomes easier to identify all the points we need to make. Don’t worry about the quality of your writing, its grammatical correctness or sequence. That comes later.
  • Put your key points into order so they follow on logically from each other. When a document flows, it is easier, and quicker, to read.
  • Now you can start writing sentences. This is when you can shift your key points from notes to complete sentences and paragraphs. Use short words and don’t waffle. Use active voice, not passive, and use personal pronouns where possible. Useful phrases link the paragraphs together, such as “for example”, “consequently” and “subsequently”.
  • Edit and proofread. Many people edit but forget to proofread. When editing, look out for superfluous and clichéd phrases. For example, “in order to” and “push the envelope”. When proofreading, print your document and read it aloud. It makes a big difference.

Finally, ask yourself, have I made myself clear?

For help with writing your business documents, contact Rosemary Gillespie on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216.

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