Business writing process prewriting

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In terms of the 3 × 3 writing process, prewriting belongs to phase one of the writing process. Prewriting focuses on how to properly convey the information in a message by analyzing its purpose, anticipating the audience's reaction and adapting the content of the message to that audience. Examples of methods that may assist you in your pre-writing phase include: free-writing, planning, research, outlining, storyboarding or clustering.

Business writing is different from other types of writing because it needs to be purposeful, economical and reader-oriented. It is important for business writers to focus on expressing their ideas rather than impressing the intended audience. The goal is to get the message across in a clear and simple manner.

The 3 × 3 writing process is divided into three different phases. This chapter focuses on Phase 1 which involves analyzing, anticipating and adapting. Phase 2 requires research, organization and composition. Finally, Phase 3 includes revising, proofreading and evaluating. In the case of short messages, writing can be done relatively quickly by spending a small amount of time on each phase. However, for longer documents, it is better to spend a good amount of time working through each phase of the writing process. It is also possible to rearrange the steps in the process and even repeat some steps if necessary. The writing process is recursive rather than linear so the writer is free to revise the text at any point.

Business writing often involves collaborating with others, such as when working in teams. Generally, team members get together in the beginning, during Phase 1, to exchange ideas. During Phase 2, each member can work separately to do some writing. Once that's done, members can meet again for Phase 3 to revise the document as a team.


Analyzing, which is the first step of the prewriting process, focuses on both detecting the main goals of the business message and choosing the most effective way to express the information to the audience. Finding out the main goals of business writing requires considering and summarizing the needs of the audience, would all be conveyed by: email, instant message, business letters, memos, reports, etc. Only when the information presented through the writing matches the demands of the audience will it attract the audience's attention. Generally, most business writing can be devoted to informing and persuading the audience. However, it is just as necessary to establish a good relationship with the audience.

Choosing the most appropriate way of conveying information is fairly significant for improving efficiency of expression. Delivering a message in the proper way depends on a few factors. It is helpful to note the importance of the message, the feedback needed and the cost of the method of delivery.


Anticipating includes profiling the audience and learning to adjust the message according to its recipients. Profiling the audience helps the writer establish the proper tone and language of the message. It also helps with choosing the right method to deliver the message. Another benefit of profiling the audience is identifying the possibility of a secondary audience. More information might be needed if the message is also intended for a secondary audience.


Adapting involves using certain techniques to tailor the message to the intended audience. When writing a message, it is essential to pay attention to the tone because it is a good indicator of how the reader will feel while reading the message. Words that are chosen improperly can contribute to an overall negative tone and can make the message sound unpleasant. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose words that will have a positive impact on the tone of the message. One technique involves putting the focus of the message on the receiver. This can be achieved by using second-person pronouns throughout the text and it shows that the writer has empathy towards the reader. Another technique involves using bias-free language which means the message should be free from gender, race, age and disability bias so as to not offend anyone. It is also recommended to use a professional yet friendly tone to make the writer sound professional and approachable at the same time. It is a good idea to use positive words and avoid words that have negative connotations. Finally, it is in the writer's best interest to be polite, use simple language and words that are precise.

It is the responsibility of the writer to use language that is ethical for the purpose of avoiding litigation. When writing messages about stocks or financial services, it is important to follow the laws that protect investors. Also, regarding safety information, it is essential to write warnings on dangerous products as clearly and succinctly as possible. Messages that are used in sales and marketing should not have any false or misleading information. The messages should not be written in a way that will deceive customers. The use of proper language is also helpful regarding employee evaluation. In letters of recommendation, it is best to use positive language and stick to information that is related to the job.


  • Guffey, Mary Ellen. Business Communication: Process and Product. First Custom Edition. Nelson Education Ltd. 2012, Canada.