Shirley's Articles / Business Writing

Writing 101: Write Well If You Want To Earn Trust And Confidence

When you are talking to someone face-to-face, you have lots of visual clues to help you – your tone of voice, gestures, movements, and eye contact.

It may not be fair, but in the everyday world you are judged and influenced by all these criteria and more – even your occupation, status, height, dress, and the way you look. And like it or not, it’s through the way you speak and look that you earn trust and confidence.

So, with none of these visual cues present in written communication, how do you earn trust and confidence when you write letters, reports, or email messages?

In written communication, especially email, you have to find other ways to evaluate the person who is ‘speaking’ (writing). People do that by looking at ‘style’ – that means paying attention to proper spelling and punctuation, correct sentence construction instead of non-sentences, and spelling out words in full instead of abbreviations only suitable for SMS.

Style Also Means:

  • Being creative in what you write and how you write
  • Making your communication look visually attractive by leaving a line space between each paragraph
  • Using numbered points or bullets appropriately
  • Using headings of a consistent style
  • Considering the appropriate tone in your writing
  • Structuring your messages logically

I recently did a follow-up workshop for a client who had run my business writing workshop two months earlier. I asked the participants what had changed since our workshop. They told me proudly:

  • We get straight to the point, using everyday language instead of beating about the bush with old-fashioned, useless phrases.
  • Our messages are structured more logically so the reader can clearly see the action needed.
  • We try to avoid the passive phrases that we used before, like ‘Please be informed’, ‘Kindly be advised’, ‘Please find attached’, etc.
  • We seem more approachable because our language is less formal and much more friendly, as though we are having a conversation

Bingo! This is how to earn trust and confidence!

Please leave me a note and tell me what steps you are taking to earn trust and confidence – and ultimately build better business relationships.

Give yourself an edge in this very competitive world by getting to grips with effective writing now!

To help you, I’ve put together a checklist of reasons why your writing style may not be working as effectively as it should.

This checklist also contains my top 10 strategies for improving the business writing style throughout your organisation.

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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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