The Three Major Functions of Business Writing

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The Three Major Functions of Business Writing

The Three Major Functions of Business Writing

In today's information-driven business world, communication is the basis of a smoothly run organization, regardless of the size. The majority of that communication is written.

When planning a business writing project, consider the three major functions of business writing:

  1. To inform.
  2. To influence.
  3. To entertain.

In the following discussion, we will:

  1. Look at each of these functions.
  2. Discuss how to incorporate them into our writing.
  3. Determine the type of business document we want.

To Inform

Informational business documents are created to convey all the information needed to complete the operations of a business. Some examples of these documents are:

  • Meeting announcements.
  • Training materials.
  • Memos or letters accepting contracts or acknowledging orders.

The main focus of an informational document is to ensure understanding by the audience through the use of clear, concise, logically presented content.

To Influence

When composing the document, take into account the attitudes of the audience as well as their expected actions as a result of reading the document. Documents created to influence the audience include:

  • Presentation of ideas to supervisors, customers, and/or stockholders.
  • Letters written specifically to promote a product or service.
  • Grant proposals.

To Entertain

Finally, it is important to retain the readers' goodwill. This is done through exhibiting knowledge of the English language and understanding human nature. The purpose of the document is to persuade or influence the readers without offending them.

When asking for a payment, for example, using proper grammar and sentence structure, along with appropriate, professional writing, will go a long way toward keeping that customer and creating the goodwill that is necessary for success.

Before putting pen to paper, the writer must decide the following:

  1. What is the purpose of the writing project? Ask the following questions when trying to determine the purpose:
    1. Is the project meant to inform or influence?
    2. What do you expect the reader to do upon finishing reading the document? Sometimes the reader will do nothing, just read and absorb the information, but other times there is something that the writer expects to happen once the document has been read.
    3. Is there a call to action in the document? A call to action can be as simple as asking for a meeting or as complex as reviewing a contract and making a decision.
  2. Who Is the audience? This is an important part of the planning. Knowing who the audience is will help you decide the following:
    1. How much information is needed in the document.
    2. What the structure (formal or casual) of the document will be.
    3. What kind of language you will use. For example, if the audience is familiar with the terminology and the concept, the document can have terms and acronyms in it that a reader who is not familiar with the terminology would understand.
  3. What information will be presented in the final document?
    1. Creating an outline will help you determine what information will be needed for the final document. The outline will also help you focus the information and create a table of contents if necessary.