Business Writing: Definition, Format, and Style


Business Writing: Definition, Format, and Style

10 Helpful Skills to Level-Up Your Business Writing

Professionals communicate with each other through forms of writing such as emails, reports and proposals. The writing style you use in these materials differs from personal writing and can affect the response you get from your colleagues, clients or audience. Good business writing skills can help you deliver information clearly and effectively.

Business writing is a form of writing used to communicate with coworkers, managers, stakeholders or clients. You use business writing to share information and ideas, deliver news or explain new processes. The four main types of business writing include:

1. Instructional

This writing form gives readers the information they need to follow a new process at work. It might include steps for completing a task or solving a problem. You might use instructional business writing in memos, user manuals and product or design specifications.

2. Informational

This type of writing provides readers with information they can refer to and use to make decisions at their organization. You might use informational business writing in reports, financial statements and meeting minutes.

3. Persuasive

Professionals use persuasive writing to get the reader to make a particular decision, such as to buy a product or service. You might use this writing style in project proposals to clients, sales pitches or emails

4. Transactional

Employees use this type of writing in their daily business communications to share information or get a specific reaction from coworkers or clients. You might use transactional business writing in professional emails, letters, direct messages and invoices.

A Simplified Business Writing Definition

Business writing refers to purposeful written professional communication that aims to convey a message to inform, direct, explain, request, or influence the recipient’s action. Based on this definition, business writing has three main components:


The primary objective of any professional piece of writing is to convey a message in a precise and concise manner. Writing is the means through which the communicator will achieve the purpose of the communication. Hence, the objective of the written document is to deliver the writer’s message.


The purpose of writing implies the impact the message will have on the target audience. In this case, business writing can be used to inform or influence the receiver’s action. Examples of informational messages are adverts, where the organization seeks to persuade the buyer to make a purchase. The communicator may also intend to direct the recipient to take a specific action, explain a previous action, or request an action.

Business Writing: Definition, Format, and Style


The audience is the most important component of business writing as knowledge of the recipient determines the format, style, and message sent. The communicator must have a readable and comprehensible message for their specific target. For instance, writing a business letter in English to a French client is a waste of time. Knowing your audience will determine not only the language of your writing but also the diction, sentence structure, and length of the document.