The variety of business documents seems huge. Moreover, it seems like every company has its own standards and templates that serve goals of their particular industry. We need to use different types of business writing depending on various business scenarios. However, the vast variety of business writing can be divided into four major categories.
Every category has its own objectives. Depending on the needs of a company, all kinds of business writing fall into these four segments. We decided to provide you with basic information on types of business documents so you can choose a right one in any situation.
Don’t forget that, regardless of the type of your document, you must follow certain rules of style:
- Professional writing implies a clearly defined purpose and a certain audience. The main goal of professional writing is efficiency. Your document must tell your readers some important information or provide them with understandable instructions.
- Make sure your content is concise and clear. Don’t use unnecessary words or sophisticated jargon. All elements of business writing must have a purpose.
- Clear business writing implies the lack of grammar and punctuation errors.
As the name suggests, this type of business writing is aimed to provide readers with information necessary for the successful accomplishment of a certain task. Instructional documents describe a process step-by-step, making it understandable for an audience. Readers must be familiar with certain basic principles of the process. In turn, a document provides them with specific details and suggest ways of solving potential problems.
- User manuals inform customers on how to use a product. Good manuals improve users’ experience from the product. Manuals, in general, are classified as a sort of technical writing, however, they are somewhat similar to business writing.
- Memos are intended for a certain group of people or an organization. Memos refer to some guidelines to help the audience accomplish certain tasks, or provide direct instructions.
- Specifications are technical documents that include important information about a certain process or a product so that the audience can reconstruct it, even being unfamiliar with it. Such documents play a key role in the successful distribution of a product.
While most of the business documents are focused on certain actions, others just make references or records. It’s very important to record information properly to ensure the progress, comply with various obligations, and predict future goals and challenges.
- Reports are probably the most common type of business documents. Reports are necessary for a company to link technical and business structures, to record incidents, to evaluate the completed work, and to plan further actions. Good reports are accessible and understandable, allowing readers to get quickly informed to be able to make right decisions.
- Minutes record what happened at some meeting. Such papers contain details of discussions and record decisions.
- Financials reflect the financial state of an organization or a company. Usually, such documents are focused on a certain period of time.
Perhaps, this is the first category that comes to your mind when you hear “business writing.” Documents of this kind are aimed to increase sales. Their persuasive function may work directly, focusing readers’ attention on a certain product, or indirectly, improving relationships with clients in general. These papers serve two important goals: informing readers and convincing them that this information has a high value.
- Sales emails are targeted at a vast audience. They pitch some services or products.
- Proposals are intended for potential clients. They are aimed to outline some products or services, describing benefits, costs, and providing a brief overview.
- Press releases are written for media sources and journalists. The main goal of press releases is persuasive — they must persuade the audience to share this information with others.
This category is probably the biggest one, as it includes all means of everyday communication between colleagues in the same company, and between company and customers. This type of business writing includes emails, invoices, and official letters. There are many online courses dedicated to transactional business writing, so you always have a chance to improve your skills in this field.
Transactional documents are used for different purposes and are often related to processes associated with human resources.
- A dismissal notice is a document focused on employment termination. It is aimed to provide necessary details of the procedure and its official context.
- Emails are aimed to provide effective communication between clients and a company, or between colleagues. Business emails are often dedicated to a certain business activity, so they must be informative and clear.
Knowing the purpose of each category of business documents, you can easily choose the right type and writing style in any situation.