Business Writing Quality Checklist
The Business Writing Center
Business writing trainers have learned from decades of training business people at all levels what the best practices are that consistently result in business writing that achieves the writers goals and is thought of highly by readers. You can be sure your important business writing achieves your objectives by checking it in each of these areas.
- Check to be sure your writing contains all the required parts.
- Check to be sure your writing is suitable for the readers.
- Check your organization.
- Check your content to be sure it provides what the reader wants and needs.
- Check the clarity of your explanations.
- Check your navigation guides.
- Check your grammar and usage.
- Check your words and phrasing.
- Check your sentences, paragraphs, and punctuation.
- Check your formatting.
- Check your business writing for correctness.
Check for All the Important Parts of Your Business Writing
- Is the purpose of your writing clear at the outset?
- Does your writing begin with the reason the reader is receiving it now, any background the reader needs, and what the reader is to do with it?
- Does your writing have a statement of contents at the end of the introduction?
- Does your writing contain a clear conclusion with explicit actions and contact information?
- Does the introduction clearly explain actions the reader must perform?
- Is the subject line of the email clear and descriptive of what is in the email?
Check Your Words and Phrasing
- Does your writing contain no pronouns that might not have clear referents?
- Does your writing avoid self-citations such as “In my opinion”?
- Does your business writing avoid prepositions?
- Does your writing avoid unnecessary abbreviations that may confuse readers?
- Does your writing avoid defined terms that confuse readers?
- If your business writing contains information requiring citations, does it cite the information using a specific style sheet precisely?
Check Your Sentences, Paragraphs, and Punctuation
Are the sentences clear, active, concise, and to the point, not long, passive, complex, and difficult to follow?
Do the sentences contain simple, correct punctuation?
Does your writing use paragraphs with topic sentences and one subject per paragraph to help readers follow the flow of information?
Check to Be Sure Your Business Writing Is Suitable for the Readers
Does your writing contain what the reader asked for or expects?
Is your business writing at an educational and technical level suitable for the reader?
Will your writing’s tone, approach to the reader, and level of formality build team relationships and partnerships with the readers?
Does your writing contain the level of detail suitable for the reader?
Check Your Content
Is your writing organized well?Does your business writing have a clear focus?
Does it contain anything irrelevant to accomplishing the writer’s purpose?
Does your business writing contain everything the reader needs to be able to accomplish the writer’s purpose?
Does your business writing explain points when the reader needs the explanations?
Check the Clarity of Your Explanations
Does your writing clearly explain and emphasize critical points?Does your business writing have lists broken out with numbers or bullets rather than being in paragraphs?
Does your writing present complex information in tables, illustrations, graphs, and charts rather than complex paragraphs?
Does your writing use clear, understandable language, without unnecessarily complex words, archaic words, long phrases for which there are short alternatives, and jargon the reader doesn’t need?
Does your business writing use active voice throughout?
Check Your Navigation Guides for Readers
Can the reader clearly see the sections of your writing to follow the explanation easily and locate information later?
Does your writing guide the reader through the content with headings, topic sentences, introductions to sections, and consistent use of key terms?
Check Your Formatting
Does your business writing use acceptable formats for typeface, margins, leading, spacing, headings, and other areas of formatting?
Does your writing follow a standard format for this type of business writing?
Check your business writing for Correctness
- Is your writing free of typos and errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, and word usage?