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The 5 P’s Of Powerful Business Writing: Audio Writing Tips

This month’s podcast (5 mins) explores powerful writing within the context of business writing, looking at 5 P’s that will help you to write with power, authority and confidence.

The 5 P’s of Powerful Business Writing

Purpose: Know what your writing and business purpose is and focus on that as you write. Your writing will take on a different quality as a result

Passion: We don’t often associate passion with jargon filled business writing, but if you focus on what matters to you about the business you’re in, the ideas you want to express, the way you want your clients or colleagues to feel, the difference you want to make - that will help to bring your writing to life, to give it more power

Plain English: Chose the plain, simple words and you’ll make it easier for others to follow. Plain English doesn’t clutter up or disguise: it provides you with the tools to communicate with clarity, to let the power of your message shine through

Presence: Concentrate on what you’re writing and why, on your writing purpose, on the difference you want to make and your readers will feel you present in your words. (Compare that with the machine like quality of so much business writing.)

Personality: Bring something of yourself to your words and writing - tying back in to your writing purpose, the passion you feel for your subject, your (personal) choice of plain words, and your choice to be fully present in your writing. People will notice the difference and your writing will be more powerful as a result.

As I was recording this I thought of another two: product (taking good care to finish and polish your writing) and pride (in your message, in a well-edited piece of work) but I’m sure there are more. What other P’s can you think of that contribute to powerful business writing?

Postscript: I need to add another P here, a postscript pointer to Karen Swim’s series on The Essential P’s of Business. Karen, I did write and record this post and podcast at the weekend before your series started, and I was loath to record another… Hope you don’t mind! Maybe it just goes to show how much we think on the same lines?


  1. cat says:


    I especially gained insight by your comments on purpose (focus on your purpose, not the individual words), presence (at times I have difficulty with pride and responsibility when the passion for what I do gets in the way). And not last, personality (knowing that everything wraps into the whole).

    “What other P’s can you think of that contribute to powerful business writing?”

    AwK! You always ask the difficult questions …

    Policy: Goes hand in hand with purpose, but keeps in mind the power of influence.

    What you write can have the power of swaying opinion and exciting action, so taking special care is advised (especially when the subject deals with a personal passion, such as working on spec in the design industry).

  2. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Joanna, this is incredible. I have been learning so much from you that I’m honored that we are thinking along the same lines. :-) I think my favorite tip is presence. As I read, I realized that presence ties it all together. I love the podcasts too and am glad we can look forward to them each month. Thanks Joanna!

  3. Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Cat, thanks for the reflections on these 5 P’s in relation to the themes you’re writing about.

    Although I feel most business writing is too passion-less there’s a balance to be struck when you’re writing about something you feel very strongly about, and I like the way you’ve woven in the other P’s and added an extra with policy - and thinking about the power of influence.

    Thanks for all these great comments Cat, you’re stretching my brain this morning too!


  4. Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Karen, thanks for the feedback on the podcasts! I think monthly will be a better pattern for me. It would be a shame to stop altogether, but weekly was just getting too much.

    I’m glad you weren’t offended at my 5 P’s appearing at the same time as yours! It did seem like a weird coincidence - we must be tuned into each other’s thought waves or something.

    I like presence too. Works on lots of levels. In fact I might use it as a theme for next year (need to start thinking ahead to my next 12 topics…)


  5. Terry Finley says:

    The power of P’s.

    Thanks for the info.

  6. Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Thanks Terry, I’m glad you found it useful


  7. Rebecca says:

    I agree with this 5 P’s analysis of good business writing, but I would like to add another component to this list. In the age of Web 2.0 I think there is a need to encourage customers to communicate with personnel, building an innate relationship that makes for reliable and long standing business. Showing you care about customer preferences in you writing will attract business. Take a look at this blog that deals with the importance of good writing today.

  8. Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Hi Rebecca

    Thanks for those additions. Maybe I could bundle them under another P: “People” - personnel within your business,and the people that you’re doing business with.

    Thanks for stopping by