Writing in the Workplace – The Lost Skill?
Editor’s Note: Though our guest posts typically come from established business professionals, this post gives a voice to an aspiring future business professional, as she explores her take on the importance of solid writing skills to success in your career.
In our current era of 140 character tweets, quick status updates and instant messaging, one might assume that writing skills have taken a backseat to efficiency and expediency. Unfortunately, those hoping to someday write their business reports in emoticons will have to wait a while longer. If you’re one of the many that feel technology has replaced the need to be a good writer, think again. Writing is as important now as it has ever been.
Unfortunately, writing isn’t held in such high esteem as it once was. Many view it as a necessary evil of the workplace instead of the invaluable communication tool that it is. When we think of improving our communication skills, most of us think about speaking abilities or ways to improve our listening skills. Good writing skills can help us in a number of ways, from improving our credibility in the workplace to improving our persuasiveness.
There are more ways than ever available to us for communicating our ideas through the written word. We have emails, texts, Tweets, letters, notes, reports, presentations and more. If you think about it, we spend a large portion of our time at work communicating to one another through writing. Our writing skills or lack of them are on display every day to a wide audience of co-workers, customers, managers, and stakeholders. Below are some tips for improving your writing skills in the workplace.
Be clear. Eschew obfuscation. That is, avoid confusion. While you want your co-workers to think you’re intelligent, don’t use big complicated words when simple ones will do. On the other hand, nail down the exact message you’re trying to convey by drawing on a large vocabulary. Consider your audience and drop the jargon.
Be persuasive. A big part of your writing efforts are aimed at convincing others to do something you want. Sales and marketing professionals are particularly adept at using this skill. But it is an essential skill at every level of the company. Pay attention to the tone of your writing. Be energetic and positive. Use the active voice.
Be courteous. Don’t become too abrupt in your messages to others. While some forms of communication require you to get straight to the point, this abrupt method shouldn’t be used in every form of written communication you send. Be aware of the sort of language you use and again, consider the audience you are addressing.
Be complete. Don’t leave out information that may leave the recipient with lingering questions. A well written message should be self-explanatory. It should contain enough information so that the person receiving it won’t have to ask for further instructions or information.
If you have effective writing skills then you are viewed as more credible in the workplace. This is a no brainer. Think back to a time when you received an email from a co-worker that was full of grammar mistakes and typos. What was your impression? Chances are you focused your attention on the mistakes rather than the message. At the very best, you assumed the writer was sloppy and didn’t take the time to check their work. At the worst, you viewed them as incapable and perhaps less intelligent. If you want to earn credibility in the workplace, make sure your writing is clear and free of grammatical errors.
About the Author: Jasmine Lloyd is in her senior year of college and looks forward to entering the business world after graduation. When not studying she is often blogging for Essay Edge or working on her writing skills.