Shift your communication style from academic to business in six steps

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Shift your communication style from academic to business in six steps

By Kajsa Reed, Communications Coordinator

Changing the way you communicate is not easy, especially if you’ve had one particular style ingrained in you for the past four years.

In university, you use an academic voice designed to culminate to an ultimate proof and hit your word count so you can go do anything other than write a paper.

In business, it’s a different story. A lot of academic writing techniques are unnecessary, and even detrimental to writing in the business world.

To help you ease the transition, here are six tips on how to shift your communication style out of school, and into the world of business:

  1. Keep it simple. In the business world, it is more common to struggle to keep something short than it is to hit a big word count. Say goodbye to fancy adjectives and wordy sentences. As opposed to academic writing, writing for business is a language closer to the one you speak every day. It’s important to make a point and stick to it, which brings me to my next point…
  2. Remember your thesis (or key message). There is still an overarching key message to whatever it is you are trying to say. While you are keeping it simple, it is still important to focus on the one or two key messages you are trying to convey.
  3. Grammar matters. Grammar is a huge asset in business communication because it will help you sound polished and professional. Stick to the rules to ensure your communication is clear and easy to understand.
  4. Read. You thought you were done with homework? Think again. One of the best ways to improve your writing is to read. Sites like Forbes, Harvard Business Review and Huffington Post are great resources for you to stay informed on the business world, and improve your writing at the same time.
  5. Keep it professional. Although this style of communication is often more casual than academics, please leave the slang at home, including all emojis (unless the company you work for embraces them). Not sure where the line is? Try mirroring the communication style of your boss or client. This way, you know you’re hitting their threshold of what is professional and appropriate.
  6. Proofread. Read every assignment, every document, and every email, twice. You will save yourself a lot of embarrassment in the future by making sure your communications are going to the correct people, and that you haven’t misspelled any potentially disastrous words, like ‘cologne’ or “pencils.”


By remembering these six tips, you can excel in the information-driven business world of getting things done.

Class dismissed.



A fresh thinker and avid writer, Kajsa is a skilled content generator who loves tackling the multi-faceted world of business communications and marketing. In her spare time, Kajsa likes staying active by playing soccer and swimming. Learn more about Kajsa and the Six Words’ team here.

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