How to Improve Your Business Writing: Framing Your Thinking
In this lesson you learn the value of using a standard framework when writing your memos and are given a framework used for the most common types of business documents.
The Importance of a Framework
Starting with a standard framework when writing a business document jump-starts your thinking and consequently your writing. By knowing the sections you should include in your document, you can easily identify missing information and ensure you incorporate all the data you need to make your document as effective as possible. The framework also enables you to quickly organize your thoughts and evaluate your logic. Using the framework consistently trains your mind to write more efficiently and effectively. The framework also assists your readers because they know where to find specific information.
We will provide a "standard memo framework" for writing most kinds of business memos. This model is appropriate for virtually all the memos you will write; however, you may wish, over time, to modify the standard framework to better suit your personal style and specific business situation. Regardless of whether you adopt the standard framework, a slight modification of it, or a framework of your own creation, beginning with the underlying structure in mind before doing any writing will be a significant aid to your thinking.
If you're going to create your own framework for documents, keep your typical reader in mind. What kind of information is she expecting to see? What logical flow of information is most likely to be persuasive? What organizational structure for your memo will make it easiest for her to find what she's looking for quickly and easily?
Think of a document framework as you would the framework for a new house. The framing in the home-building process provides the outline for what materials are needed and where they're to be placed. The document framework does the same for your logic and data.
A framework for a business document is a guide to writing the document. It tells you the specific sections to be included and the type of information that should be contained in that section.
Some people dismiss a document framework because they believe it is restrictive. We have found in our careers and in our workshops quite the opposite. The framework provides the structure writers need to be thorough and creative. The framework is a tool, a starting point. Use it to start your writing process, and tailor it to your situation as you see fit.