How Long Does it Take to Learn Business Writing?

Looking to advance your career with clear and concise business writing but worried about the time commitment for classes? Discover how business writing classes can be brief and rewarding, enhancing your career and communication skills in the process.

Key Insights

  • Business writing is a specialized form of communication, emphasizing concision and clarity. It's essential in today's workplace for internal and external communication.
  • Good business writing skills can enhance your overall writing quality, improve your oral presentation skills, and may even advance your career.
  • The time it takes to learn business writing can be brief, with an average of around 30 hours of classroom time. However, this depends on your existing writing skills and familiarity with English grammar.
  • The depth of your business writing goals, your ability to learn new linguistic concepts, and your logical thinking skills can all impact the speed of your learning curve.
  • Free online courses, such as those offered by Udemy and Coursera, can provide an introduction to business writing.
  • Noble Desktop offers comprehensive in-person and online business writing classes, which include hands-on exercises, small class sizes, and a free retake option within a year.

You realize the importance of clear and concise business writing to advance your career, but perhaps you’re unsure about a class because it might take too much time. The good news is that business writing conventions aren’t all that hard to assimilate and classes aren’t all that long. The bad news is that that presupposes that you’re already a capable writer with a good grasp of the mechanics of the English language. If you’re not much of a writer at this point, you’ve got a longer learning curve ahead of you. Read on to learn more about this important aspect of learning business writing and a few pointers that will help you accelerate the process.

What is Business Writing?

Business writing is a specialized writing style for written communication, both internal (inside your own company) and external (as with a client.) It’s a very different discipline than academic writing (let alone any other writing in which personal style is paramount), substantially limited in the creativity department, and designed to make practical points as quickly and straightforwardly as possible.

The qualities upon which business writing today most depends are concision and clarity. Learning to express oneself within those confines is an invaluable workplace skill, given that email has become the preferred inter-office communication method. There’s no office worker who doesn’t have to read and write emails; a study quoted by GreggU calculated that the average businessperson has to deal with a whopping average of 80 emails daily. And that’s just email: there are business letters, memoranda, reports, and proposals that all need to be written in business language as well.

Read more about what business writing is and why you should learn to do it.

What Can You Do with Business Writing?

Business writing is, in today’s commercial landscape, inescapable. Consider its most frequently encountered application, the email. A generation ago, people made internal calls for quick inter-office communication. They used to have secretaries who could return calls at the recipient’s convenience. Today, those calls have all but been replaced by internal email. Whether or not you perceive that as faster or slower, it’s an inevitable fact of life. Suddenly, people must be able to write in the language of business.

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Above and beyond, emails, memoranda, reports, and client proposals all call for business writing that can impress the recipient. Little can make you look better today than being able to write well in the idiom of commerce. Learning how to write a good piece of business English has several other advantages. It will teach you how to organize your thoughts, which, in turn, will help you when it comes to oral presentations. You’ll also become a better writer in general: your social media posts will improve in quality and correctness, and who knows? You may even be able to write a convincing love letter that will capture the person of your dreams.

Average Time it Takes to Learn Business Writing

Assuming that you’re a capable enough writer of the English language, you won’t need long to get the hang of business writing. To that end, most business writing classes are relatively brief. Even the ones that run for multiple weeks only call for a few hours of work each week, so around 30 hours of classroom time isn’t much time to learn the fundamentals of the topic. Some classes go over the material faster than others, and some classes are more thorough than others, so that figure is going to vary depending on the provider you choose.

Other Factors

The above guidelines are estimates, of course, and everyone’s mileage will vary to some degree. That said, a few factors will definitely impact the length of your business writing learning curve. Those include your abilities with written English, the depth of your business writing goals, your ability to learn new linguistic concepts, and your ability to think in a logical and linear fashion.

Experience Writing in English

Although all business writing classes go into some aspects of grammar and point out some of the traps the English Grammarians laid for speakers of the language, you’re not going to get a complete grammar course along with the coaching in concision and clarity that make up a business writing class. Business writing classes usually teach the subject by comparing the conventions of business writing with those of expository or academic writing, which the class presupposes you know. Thus, if your general writing skills and grasp of grammar are on the shakier side, you’ll probably need more than just a business writing class to become adept at writing for work. Fear not: such classes exist – everything from grammar brush-ups that take a few hours to longer courses that go into the subject in more depth.

Business Writing Goals

Your business writing learning curve is also going to be affected by how deeply you want to delve into the topic. This can be a factor of where you are in your career: you may, for the time being, only be writing emails at work. Learning to write convincing emails can be done more quickly than learning to write entire reports, and, for some people, the latter might not seem (nor perhaps ever be) necessary. You may need a more basic class, and leave the more advanced ones for later in life. Or you can learn to do more than your role currently calls for and be ready for that big writing opportunity when it presents itself.

Ability to Learn New Ideas

The speed of your learning curve when it comes to business writing will also depend on your aptitude for assimilating new concepts. That’s one way of saying how fast a learner you are, although you can be a very slow learner in math and still grasp new linguistic concepts quickly. Some brains are wired for language – they’re often the ones that learn foreign languages quickly, although that’s not always the case. If that sounds like you, you may have an easier time learning business writing, much of which is nothing more than a written dialect of Standard American English. 

Logical Thinking Skills

This one may seem strange, but being successful at business writing also depends on your ability to think logically. Clarity in writing is at least 50% a matter of organizing your ideas, and that kind of thinking isn’t something at which everyone excels. Some people see a bunch of ideas and thoughts and know how to sort through them. You’ll be taught how to do that in a business writing class, but if you’re already good at sorting through ideas and creating outlines, you’re going to be a few steps ahead of the game. If you look at that same bunch of ideas and only see a hopeless jumble, don’t worry. Logical and organized thinking can be taught, even to the most right-brained thinkers.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

Learning to write for business can be relatively easy or relatively difficult. The question is what kind of a writer you are in the first place: business writing classes are generally brief affairs that don’t leave a lot of time for teaching the basics of English grammar and syntax. If you’re already an acceptable writer (and most corporate email hasn’t set that bar very high), you should be able to quickly pick up business English conventions.

On the other hand, if your writing skills aren’t all they should be, you will have to put some energy into improving them before you tackle a business writing class. There’s no shortage of resources for that, but it does mean you’ll have to put in some extra effort if you want to reach your goal.

Because business writing classes are generally brief, they will not set you back thousands of dollars. Given the pervasive nature of business writing in today’s workplace, they're also one of the best investments you can make in your future. Moreover, class tuition is pretty much the only expense you’re going to have. Of course, you need a computer with an email and a word-processing program, but that’s really all. That’s one more reason why business writing classes represent a good use of your education dollar.

Read about how difficult it is to learn business writing.

Watch a Free Business Writing Online Course

If you’re teetering on the verge of taking a business writing class but aren’t quite sure about taking the leap, you might want to consider a free online course. You can’t complain about the price and have nothing to lose. Udemy, for instance, offers a free “Better Business Writing in 35 Minutes” video that is designed to improve your skills quickly (and to tempt you to take one of Udemy’s more in-depth paid classes). Coursera offers an audit-type free option for its writing classes as well.

Those are only the tip of the iceberg. Type “business writing” into the YouTube search box, and you’ll come up with a modest plethora of videos that range in duration from a few minutes to an hour and a half. Some of these are better than others: with some of them, you get what you pay for, and with others, you can come away with a lot of good practical advice that might make you decide to take a more structured class. 

Read more about free business writing videos and online tutorials.

Learn Business Writing with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

An excellent way to learn business writing is to take an in-person course such as those offered by Noble Desktop, a tech and IT school in New York City that offers in-person and online classes. Noble provides its students with expert and experienced instructors who are always ready to answer students’ questions, whether they’re posed in the physical classroom or online. 

Noble Desktop’s classes offer several features, including small class sizes that guarantee you’ll receive ample attention from the instructor. The curriculum is hands-on, meaning that you’ll be making practical use of what you’re being taught while you’re still in class with exercises that allow your instructor to check on your progress. There is also a free retake option that enables you to repeat the class at no charge within a year of your first taking it. Far from just a means for those who fell behind to catch up, the free retake option makes it possible to cement what you’ve learned firmly in your mind. Classes are fast-paced, and you’re likely to discover that there’s some handy detail you missed the first time around.

Noble offers a Business Writing Bootcamp that begins by reviewing key points of grammar over which people are wont to stumble today. The course then delves into the hows and whys of written business communication in the contemporary world, be it for emails, reports, or other essential documents. And be aware that business writing is only one aspect of the business training classes offered by Noble Desktop.

Key Insights

  • Becoming a competent business writer doesn't take too much time: 30 hours of classroom time should be more than enough to get you along on the path.
  • A business writing class isn’t going to be an English writing clinic. Iif your writing skills are shaky, you need to refine them and brush up on your grammar before you tackle the conventions of business English.
  • Other factors affecting the speed of your learning curve include the extent of your business writing goals, how readily you absorb new linguistic concepts, and how well you organize information.
  • An in-person or live online business writing class from Noble Desktop is an excellent way of getting up to speed quickly.

How to Learn Business Writing

Master business writing with hands-on training. Business writing consists of written communication in emails, memos, reports, and other business documentation.

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