BA 324 – Business Communication
Format Guidelines for General Business Writing
Business writing is new to most of you – and it’s an entirely different type of writing than you’ve done in the past.
Business writing is about brevity, clarity, style, strategy, and audience.
It is not poetic or “flowery,” but it is also not rigid
Pay attention to the style differences required between conversational and formal business writing assignments. For
example, letters require a more formal tone than e-mail messages. The tone should reflect an understanding of the
audience’s needs and perspective.
When writing for business, be mindful of the
Clear – Use precise, vigorous words and active voice
Conversational - Group your ideas.
Avoid trite phrases, jargon, and pompous, "lawyer" language
Courteous – Use straightforward, respectful tone
Coherent – Use transitions and order ideas logically
Concise – Avoid wordiness and redundancy
Complete – Use adequate detail and make the audience perspective evident
Correct – Check the accuracy of your information; make sure your work is error-free
The image you are presenting through format, spacing, font, layout, and appearance should be consistent with the message
and tone you are trying to convey to the reader.
All work should look professional when it is submitted.
you prepare should be error-free, pleasing to the eye, clear, courteous, and business-like.
Packaging is of utmost
Don’t undermine your effort by poor appearance, sloppiness, or lack of proofreading.
Business documents should be uncluttered and easy to read.
Observe the following guidelines:
Set up a
1" or 1 ½ " margin
on all four sides of the document.
Use 12-point, Times New Roman
font on all documents.
(Note: The MS 2007 Office version of Word
automatically defaults to 11 point Calibri font.
Make sure you change the font and point size when you draft a
Short paragraphs and sentences are preferred; paragraphs should focus on one idea or concept.
Highlighting (headings, bullet lists, etc.) should be used to make the document accessible to readers who may
only scan the document.
For single-spaced assignments, the first line of each paragraph should NOT be indented but should have flush left
margins, leaving one blank line between paragraphs. (Note:
The MS 2007 Office version of Word automatically
defaults to 1.15 line spacing.
You will need to adjust accordingly).