Which Business Writing Training Format Is Right for Me?

Compare Learning Methods: In-Person, Live Online, On-Demand, and Tutorials

Business writing is an indispensable skill for any professional in today's digital age. From emails and reports to client proposals, mastering business writing can greatly enhance your career prospects and professional image.

Key Insights

  • Business writing is a unique blend of hard and soft skills, requiring both concrete knowledge of grammar and the ability to convey ideas clearly and concisely.
  • Effective business writing skills are essential for all professionals, given the ubiquity of email and other written communication in modern workplaces.
  • There are various training formats available for learning business writing, including in-person classes, live online classes, and on-demand self-paced classes.
  • Several schools and platforms offer business writing classes, including Noble Desktop, which offers a comprehensive Business Writing Bootcamp.
  • Teaching yourself business writing is possible, but most people benefit from the guidance of an expert teacher who can provide real-time feedback and up-to-date insights.
  • Business writing skills can significantly enhance your professional image and open up new career opportunities, regardless of your industry or role.

Business writing is a ubiquitously important business skill: you can’t have a job in a company today and get away without having to write an email. It sits curiously between so-called “soft” and “hard” skills, as it involves both some absolutes (like grammatical rules) along with some stylistic intangibles. As such, it can be tricky to teach – and learn. There are several teaching modalities out there at your disposal. If you’ve decided that you want to learn business writing, you’ll have to select one teaching method over the others. Keep reading for advice on making that choice to have the optimal business writing learning experience.

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.

Training Formats for Business Writing

There are three different means of learning business writing – or most any skill – today. You can attend a class in person, a live class online, or sign up for an on-demand self-paced class where you lose the advantage of direct contact with the teacher but gain the advantage of being able to work entirely at your own pace.

In-Person Business Writing Training

Learning in a classroom setting is likely second nature to pretty much everyone in a developed country. It is an excellent way to learn everything from organic chemistry to business writing. This would be a very short essay if that’s all there was to it, but live teaching involves a few potential drawbacks to be considered. The most obvious of these is the expense of tuition and the issue of getting to a school that teaches a class in what you want to learn in the first place: there may not be a school that teaches business writing anywhere near where you live. So the matter isn’t as cut-and-dried as all that.

To complicate matters further, you’ll also discover that many schools teach business writing, and if you’ve decided upon live instruction, you’ll have to choose from these. Your choices will be more abundant in major metropolitan areas, so you’ll find live classes from New York City (schools like Noble Desktop and NYIM Training Centers) to Los Angeles (where schools include Sonic Training and Academy X). Classes are also to be found in smaller places. For instance, Central Wyoming College in Riverton offers many in-person courses in business communication.

Live Online Business Writing Training

A highly valid alternative to a live in-person class is a live online one. You may not be within commuting distance of a school that teaches classes in the subject, or you may just not be interested in trudging to school for an evening class after a hard day at work. There’s a lot to be said in favor of being able to learn in the peace and quiet of your own space as opposed to a classroom which comes with the inevitable distractions that come with putting a group of people (more or less motivated) in a room together. Mix that all together, and you discover that the online class is the best of both worlds.

The success of the live online teaching modality is borne out by the wide variety of live online business writing classes from which you will be able to choose. With the world as your campus, there is an extensive selection of schools since you can take one from anywhere. Different classes have different spins, depending on the type of writing covered: emails, letters, reports, and even grammar brush-ups. You’ll also encounter classes for beginners and some for people who need to polish up skills they already have. The selection may strike you as enormous, but the bright side is that if you do a little research (and weed out the classes in languages you don’t speak), you’re very likely to come up with a class that is precisely suited to your needs.

Free Online Courses & Tutorials

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 offers a complimentary “Better Business Writing in 35 Minutes” class that runs for 35 minutes. This course offers “simple tips for writing that’s easy to understand and achieves results.” Over at Coursera, there’s also an extensive selection of courses that can be audited for free.

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.

On-Demand Classes

For their part, on-demand classes have their share of advantages, especially for highly busy people with schedules into which they can’t manage to cram a live class. With asynchronous learning, you’re working with business writing videos and written materials provided online for you to follow at your own pace. Some classes offer quizzes and teacher supervision, while others don’t. A further form of asynchronous class is the instructional videos that abound on YouTube, although these leave students completely to their own devices. 

Read the full guide on how to learn business writing.

Comparison of Business Writing Training Formats

When all the options for learning business writing are properly sorted, you’ll have three piles in front of you: Live and in person, live online, and self-paced. 

The fact is that little can improve upon live learning, be it in-person or online. These are far more engaging than on-demand learning because there’s a human being teaching the class with whom students can interact. You can ask questions in real time and get real-time answers in response. A wise teacher can also adapt the lesson to the rate at which the students appear to be assimilating the information and take note of (and, one hopes, help out) someone who looks especially lost. Other advantages include the ability to interact with fellow students so that you can help each other with the material covered in class, for networking opportunities, or even just socially.

On the other hand, some people may find the idea of having to sit in a classroom again to be mildly infantilizing. Others may worry about the commute, especially after work in rush hour in large urban centers. Others still may balk at the distractions that come with a live classroom: you can have someone distracting sitting next to you (you need to come up with something better than gum-cracking this time around), or not be someone who can sit comfortably in a plastic school chair. The live online class is an excellent option for people who cannot attend an in-person course. You get to study in your own comfortable space, which can be a relief at the end of a long day. 

Although it lacks the human engagement of live teaching, on-demand learning does have some advantages. It’s usually more affordable than a live class, which can be a deal-breaker for many. It also has a convenience factor that can’t be beaten, something that people with multiple commitments (work, family) are sure to appreciate. On the other hand, sticking to a self-paced learning program is notoriously difficult. You need a lot of self-discipline to keep up with it, and it’s very tempting for a mind to wander while looking at a lesson recorded by a teacher who knows how long ago. 

That brings up another problem with video tutorials (especially those on YouTube): there’s no way to keep them up-to-date, and while business writing doesn’t evolve as quickly as, say, software, you still want the latest advice with which to go forward. Perhaps the best place for on-demand learning and video tutorials is for those seeking to get their feet wet with business writing and testing the waters before committing time and money to a live class.

Is it Possible to Teach Yourself Business Writing?

Yes, you can. And no, you can’t.

Some people are very disciplined and can teach themselves just about anything by buying a book (or, in today’s world, watching on-demand videos). So, if you’re wired for that kind of learning, you should be able to teach yourself to write for business. That, however, doesn’t describe most people. For most people, learning from an expert teacher who understands the subject is still the best way to acquire a new skill, be it business writing or how to sew patchwork quilts out of old cafe curtains. 

Being in a classroom (live or virtual) offers you the option of asking questions and getting answers in real time. You will probably even benefit from questions asked by your fellow students. A live class will also be up–to–date on all the latest conventions of business language, whereas a “canned” video course can have been sitting on the virtual shelf for years. The self-taught student also has no one to guide them through all the different videos and books that claim to contain the secrets of effective business writing, and can quickly learn something wrong; a live teacher is far more reliable.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Business Writing

To borrow the answer from Socrates, the best way to decide the best way to learn business writing is to know thyself. Having spent quite a few years in school, you should know by now how you’re most apt to learn a new skill, be it in a live class, online, a self-paced class, or just getting the book and figuring out business writing on your own. Odds are that one of those teaching modalities appeals to you more than the others, and you should bear that in mind as you continue reading about a few other factors to consider.

If you’re new to business writing and unsure whether to invest in a live class, you should probably begin by looking at some of the free resources on the web. These resources will not give you a complete education in how to write for work, but they will at least give you an idea of what business writing is and how it’s taught. There’s no risk involved, and you may even stumble upon something that proves highly useful.

Should you be more serious about business writing (and pretty much everyone has to be in today’s business world), you will likely want to commit to a live class. A few of these are of brief duration and don’t cost a fortune, which will put you on the right path. If your ambitions, for the time being, aren’t that enormous, such a course may suffice to get your writing up to snuff.

Finally, if you want to take your writing skills as far as you can take them, the best advice for you would be to enroll in a more extensive class or a so-called “bootcamp” that covers the subject in depth, from grammatical and spelling pitfalls to how to organize your thoughts and then your words for a formal report or other large written project. Given the importance of business writing to just about any career, committing to a longer class may be the best choice of all: you’re probably going to get better value for your money, and the skills you’ll learn almost certainly won’t go wasted as you progress in your career.

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.

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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