I came across this article from Fast Co., "Four Essential Elements to Becoming a Better Writer," and thought I'd share it as this week's writing tip. It's a quick three-minute read so go ahead and check it out, then come back to see what I would add.
Collaboration, getting out of your comfort zone, and conversational tone are all crucial elements. (I'm eschewing the fourth element only because business writing rarely requires the use of headlines, but Humphrey's advice is still sound.)
But I'd also add one more critical element here:
Never send your very first draft.
Sure, those quick back and forth emails are usually fine to type and send in one fluid motion. But when you're writing anything longer, or literally anything that's going to a potential employer or customer, you should always revise your first draft.
Revision doesn't have to be extensive, either. It could be as simple as typing up that email, then saving it as a draft. Take a couple minutes to get up and refill your coffee while you think about how you could make that email clearer, more relevant, or more concise. When you come back with fresh eyes, you're bound to catch at least one improvement (especially typos or a confusing sentence structure).
I spend several minutes on every piece of writing I send out, going through each word and making small changes. And honestly, all of this revision only takes an extra couple of minutes. Time well spent, if you ask me.
I hope you'll go back and read numbers 1-3 in that article and reflect on how you can use these elements every day as well.