Business owners know the bottom-line impact of business communication. It doesn’t matter if the communication is a memo to employees, a sales letter to prospects, or a thank you note to customers… A clear, quality message can build your business and the wrong message can demolish it.

Clear messages motivate employees, create positive change in the workplace, increase the possibility of getting a raise, and (most importantly) make a sale! The wrong message can mean lost opportunities, upset employees, and can even send your customer to the competition! Which type of message would you rather give?

Use these 4 steps to make sure that your communication improves your bottom line.

1. Know your audience. Ask yourself what is important to your audience? Make sure that every sentence resonates clearly with the message that you know what your audience wants and you can deliver it. For example: If you are writing to your boss and you’re asking for a raise, don’t complain about the rising cost of homes; your boss is concerned about the business’ bottom line. So instead, talk about how you are going to be more productive and improve the business’ bottom line because of your raise.

2. Know the action you want your audience to take. Often, our messages can be muddled if we are not clear in stating what we want. Don’t “beat around the bush”… make it obvious that you’d like to see a specific action occur as a result of what you’ve written. For example, if you are sending a memo to employees, don’t just write several paragraphs about the need to be on time in the morning. Your employees will think that your memo is right but won’t necessarily take action to correct their behavior. Instead, clearly point out the time you expect them to show up, the consequences for not showing up, and a specific action they can take to indicate that they have arrived on time.

3. Make your communication easy to read. At the beginning of your communication write what you are going to cover. Then cover the topics in the order you stated at the beginning. Then review the topic quickly at the end. If appropriate, put a space between each paragraph and break up lists into bullets. Repeat your point clearly in the first and last paragraph. Avoid unnecessary words.

4. Proofread your work! Nothing reduces the perceived value of a business communication like a missing or incorrectly spelled word. If you are dashing off an email to a coworker, give it a quick read-through. If your work will be read within company walls by subordinates or superiors, have someone else read through it too. If the message is leaving the company to go to prospects, customers, or vendors, make sure that you have at least two other people read the communication before it leaves the building.

Written business communication is an important way that we interact with others. The right messages can build our business and the wrong messages can demolish it. To increase productivity, to improve customer service, and to make more sales, follow these 4 business communication steps to success.

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