Too many business documents are too long and written from the writer's perspective instead of the reader's perspective, says Deborah Dumaine, author of Write to the Top: Writing for Corporate Success and founder of Better Communications, a Lexington, Massachusetts, firm that helps employees improve their writing skills. "Grammar isn't the biggest problem in business writing; it's getting the message across," she says.
Well-written documents help firms seem larger and more established. Better writing also boosts employee productivity, Dumaine says: Her clients report a 73 percent increase in productivity after employees are trained to write more effectively, since employees aren't composing documents that require going "back and forth to clarify," she says.
Private companies such as Dumaine's offer writing programs that average $200 to $600 per employee. Community colleges offer writing classes, too. Avoid programs where employees will get lectures on writing instead of getting practice.
If a class is too costly, give employees a book about business writing to keep at their desks, or create a bookshelf of writing resources. Who knows? Your company could have the write stuff after all.
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