If you were to contact your eighth grade teacher, would he or she be impressed with your success? Or, would your teacher smirk with an “I knew it” kind of look.
Even if we never paid attention in our early learning years, it isn’t too late to learn how to write effectively and engagingly using active language and good grammar.
Good writing skills are important for professional advancement.
Being able to get your point across clearly with good grammar and clean writing may be the difference between getting promoted or being passed over.
The days of writing email with all lower-case letters are long past. If you want to be taken seriously, all your writing and communications should be professional, including email. Think of every missive as though the CEO of your company will see it.
All business professionals in finance, research, and marketing managers should develop excellent writing skills. Writing is how you convey ideas and concepts.
You are what you email
Given the relative informality of email, it may surprise some to know that email’s ubiquity is a major reason writing skills have become so crucial.
Email is global and used to communicate not only in the workplace, but in non-business communications which are just as important. However, email is replacing the telephone as the primary communications venue. Poorly written emails reflect heavily on the hapless writer.
Helen Willkie, an expert on writing and communication, says there are multiple problems with poor writing skills, among them are that poorly written communication can lead to lack of understanding of procedures which can seriously affect the bottom line.
“Ineffective email messages, which often took too long to write in the first place, can create a poor company image, wasted time, bad customer or supplier relations, lost customers — and lost profit,” Willkie wrote in a blog post.
Your career can be short circuited from the start with a badly written cover letter. Even if you have good skills, you may never get the chance to show them as you may not get past the resume stage.
Speaking of email, Kyle Wiens, CEO of the online repair community iFixit, wrote up of how important good communications are in an article in a Harvard Business Review post:
“I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.” He said early in his career he had a boss who used ALL CAPS in his emails to him. He said it felt like he was ALWAYS SCREAMING AT HIM.
Writing Skills are More Important than Ever
Blog posts are no longer relegated to the back of the writing heap. If you want to be noticed and taken seriously, be sure your grammar, punctuation and spelling are perfect on your post, no matter the subject matter.
If you don’t have time to write and proof read your blog, get someone else to do it for you. If your blog is on your business Website, it better be perfect.
Remember in high school and college the papers required at the end of the year? We were taught to write a formal, even scholarly fashion. Our vocabulary and readable style were critical for a good grade. Many of the same rules apply.
- Clear, Concise, and Simple Prose
Keep to the point. It is not necessary to give complete background on what you are trying to explain. Two examples:
- I’m finding it necessary to revisit our last proposal to company A. While it was comprehensive, the details and deliverables were beyond our capability to achieve. Therefore, we must go back and consider our mission in order to accomplish the goals we outlined for the company before we submit our proposal.
- I’m unsure our latest proposal to company A does not convey a realistic outcome to our goals. I think we should get together and discuss this further before we go forward.
- Use graphics to convey your point
If applicable, try and use visuals to convey your point. If you need charts and graphs, there are many tools available. A graphic can save a lot of prose.
- Know who you are writing for
Who is your audience? Are you writing for a technical audience, social services or marketing? These points will help dictate your point of view and your vocabulary. You want to get the attention of your audience, so understanding their point of view should make a difference on how you frame your position and terminology.
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling are not a thing of the past
As writing long missives may not be in style, it doesn’t mean your writing discipline will change. Even a short note should have the same writing standards as a long letter to an important client. There really is no excuse for sloppy writing.
There are an abundance of aids to help us all be more clever in our communications. Use them. In a world today of instant and available amounts of support for information and visual aids, there is no reason not to punch up your