5 elements to consider when writing for a grant, award or contract.

The elements of good business writing

Knowing the elements of good business writing can determine whether you secure the grant, award or contract, or communicate your message to your audience. This article outlines some of the basic elements. 

Understand the purpose of your writing

Think about the outcome you want to achieve. Are you trying to inform, inspire or convince? Your purpose will determine the content of your writing and the format you follow. In report writing for example, infographics and images can get your message across quicker than words and can be more memorable for your readers.

Know your audience 

Before you start, get clear about your audience. Who are they and what impact do you want the content to have on them? Your audience will influence your language, the level of detail and the information presented. Are they familiar with the topic or do you need to take them on a journey?

Keep it simple

Time is a precious commodity to us all so save the reader time and get to the point quickly and concisely. Avoid wordiness and unnecessary complexity. Presentation structure is a good outline to work with in report writing, i.e. in as few words as possible tell the audience what you are going to say, say it, then summarise what you have said. 

Include a call to action

Your writing has a purpose, so make sure to include what you want the reader to do. Include a call to action rather than letting your readers decide what to do with the material provided. This will save time for both parties and avoid misunderstanding. If there is a deadline for their response, make this very clear.

Active vs passive voice

Use the active voice wherever possible to improve the effectiveness of your writing and its readability. In an active sentence, the subject is doing the action, for example, the state government is funding the program. A passive version of this sentence becomes: the program is being funded by the state government. The target of the action, the program becomes the subject but isn’t doing anything. There is a place for passive voice, for example, when you want to be vague or to avoid giving responsibility or pointing the blame.

Follow these tips and see if you can improve your writing skills. If you need any assistance with your written communications – it’s not everyone’s strong suit – I’d be happy to discuss your needs and time frame.  

Jayne Jennings

Principal of JJ Strategic Consulting, a results-focused tourism consultancy.