Whether or not you work in a corporate environment or own your own business, you need to have adequate writing skills. Though it is critical to be a good communicator in the workplace, written communication is often overlooked.
Depending on your line of work or business model, written communication may be your first point of contact for clients and colleagues. In order to ensure that you are communicating effectively it is important that you ensure you build and maintain strong writing skills.
This article will give you some practical tips on how to improve writing skills and allow you to be a better communicator.
Why Does Communication Break Down?
In our previous blog post “How to Improve Communication Skills” we discussed the importance of communication through verbal and nonverbal language. Though written communication such as emails and text messages are convenient it often leaves out context that we would otherwise gain during verbal communication. For this reason, a lack of writing skills can often lead to a breakdown in communication.
HAVE YOU EVER RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM A FAMILY MEMBER IN ALL CAPS? Though they might just be giving you information about an upcoming family reunion, they come off as excitable or even angry. Their information may be well organized and contain all the details you need, but the message may be lost due to how it is written. Communication in writing breaks down as without proper care our message can be lost in its delivery system.
The assumption that communication has taken place is often the reason why communication fails. In written communication it is important to be clear, concise, and to the point. This allows for the recipient to understand exactly what you are trying to relay. Always consider the reader’s perspective when writing to help avoid a breakdown in communication.
Does Grammar and Spelling Really Matter?
We know it is important to be clear when writing but how important is grammar and spelling in written communication?
Proper use of grammar and spelling goes a long way towards establishing credibility. Even without ever speaking with someone in person, we can pass judgment based on the use of written communication.
Consider the example below;
Nice seein you at the mall yesterday. When r u going to be in town next? C u soon.
This example is possibly appropriate for communication with a friend in an informal setting. But in a professional setting this message would likely come off as unprofessional.
Using proper grammar and correct spelling allows us to present our self in a professional manner. This can be especially important to young entrepreneurs who are working hard to be taken seriously in the workplace. There are many things
What Writing Skills Should I Have?
There are multiple areas in which we can improve our writing skills. In the workplace you are likely to encounter email, letter and report writing. All of which require different considerations when writing.
- Email Correspondence – Sending emails is a daily occurrence for many professionals. Emails should typically be short and contain only necessary information. Some variance in the level of professional is acceptable based on the context of who you are talking to. Avoid using acronyms when wishing to come off as professional. Emojis are also best suited for more informal communication. The Government of Canada has great tips on how to stay professional while writing emails.
- Letter Writing – Letter writing is less common in some professions but is still an important skill to have. From writing cover letters to sending letters to clients, letter writing is a crucial skill. Consider that letters are more formal than emails and should be written as such. Use formal names and pay attention to the structure of your letter.
- Report Writing – Report writing is are not necessary in every profession. If you are required to write reports it is important that they contain all the necessary information in a clear, easy to read, and efficient way.
How Can I Improve My Writing Skills?
There are a variety of ways to improve your writing skills. As discussed above one of the simplest ways to make a dramatic improvement in your writing is to improve your grammar. Use these tips to improve your grammar and be a better writer;
- Read more – the more you read the more you are exposed to proper grammar.
- Proofread out loud – often you can spot your mistakes if you take the time to read what you’ve written out loud. Add this to your editing process.
- Brush up on common mistakes – take time to review common mistakes and apply what you’ve learned.
In addition to grammar, it is important that you ensure your writing is accessible to your reader. Below are some tips to help you make your writing easier to read.
- Use common language – speak to your audience. Don’t use jargon or complicated words if they are not necessary. Keep your message simple in order to avoid confusion.
- Make it easy to navigate – long paragraphs are not easy to read. Use bullet points, simple sentences and bold or italic texts to make your point clear.
- Consider the reader’s perspective – always ensure that your try to write in a tone that won’t be misconstrued. Understand that you cannot control the readers mood and try to set a neutral or friendly tone to your writing.
- Use correct spelling – misspelled words or typos can lessen your credibility. Always ensure you have proofread your work and you have not made any errors.
Will Better Writing Be Good for My Business?
Good writing skills are part of the larger puzzle that helps you to be taken seriously as an employee or entrepreneur. Just like verbal communication skills, writing skills are critical to your success. Though you may not recognize it, your writing plays a part in how people perceive you.
Are you struggling with being taken seriously in the workplace or are wondering how to be taken seriously as a young entrepreneur? It may be a great time to reach out to an entrepreneur coach. Don’t be afraid to get help with identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Hire a good entrepreneur or life coach to help you reach your goals now.