Revising Business Messages

Learning Outcome

  • Revise a business message for tone, message, and correctness

Once you’ve written your message beginning to end, you may be feeling pretty proud of yourself and ready to move on to your next task. Well, not quite. It’s time to clarify, refine, and reorganize to make sure your message is exactly what you want it to be.

A circular diagram depicting the "Revise" stage of the writing process. Within the circle are the words "grammar, proofreading, verify purpose".

The Art of Re-Seeing

Revising is the rearrangement and fine tuning of a fully developed—if not totally completed—draft so that the thesis or hypothesis is aligned with the writer’s purpose, the audience’s needs and characteristics, the development of the argument, and the persuasive conclusion.

A Critical Step

Revising, for many writers and teachers of writing, is the most critical step in any writing process. It is also the step that often frustrates many writers because it can be hard to maintain objectivity and focus when looking so closely at your own work.

Many writers find it beneficial at this stage to have someone else read the document they have been working on, since it is too close to the writer’s thoughts and emotions. Remember that when you ask someone for a critique of your work, you are not asking for praise for your brilliance but rather asking to have your work made even better and more effective for its purpose. Also keep in mind that just because someone makes a suggestion doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Unless that person is your boss, of course.

The need to revise acknowledges the likely scenario that no one’s writing is perfect as presented in the latest draft. Willingness to revise means that the writer recognizes the dynamic nature of communication and that revisions are required in order to clearly articulate ideas and meet the expectations of the audience. Effective written expression is the result of careful revisions.

Practice Question

Revision Skills

A Two-Step Revision Process

In the revising process the writer does two things:

  1. Ensures the final messages accomplishes the goal identified in the planning step. This is content evaluation.
  2. Ensures the grammar and proofreading step has corrected any errors. This makes sure the wording is easy to read for the receiver and that the writer’s reputation is well-served by a professional document.

Proofreading Skills


As the final readings of the message, short or long, completes, make sure there are whole sentences.


On the other side of fragments are sentences that go on and on and on. Beware the run-on sentence.