Three Tips for Effective Written Communication
In today's environment of Twitter and texting, quality writing has begun to fade as the norm. While a lack of quality may be acceptable in the social media arena, it is unacceptable and often embarrassing in the workplace. Try these three things to help you improve your written communication skills.
Help Coworkers Edit and Proofread
Often, a writer tends to make the same mistakes repeatedly. That writer may never see the mistake in their communications, but will immediately see it in another person’s writing, which, in turn, can help them stop making the mistake. One way to do this is to have one person read aloud while the other reads along; reading out loud will help you hear mistakes. Another technique is to read the document from the back to the front, as this allows you to see the document with fresh eyes. In addition, when you read the document backwards, the document should make just as much sense back to front as it does front to back. Helping a co-worker edit or proofread can also help you be more cognizant of the errors in your own documents.
Organize Your Thoughts before Writing
Write an outline, jot notes, or use an online tool such as yWriter, but be sure you focus your thoughts before you take to the keyboard. A cluttered mind on a busy day could lead to confusing information presented poorly. The simple act of writing an outline or doing some freewriting can focus you and your writing and help you organize your thoughts; this may even relieve some of the stress of the day by forcing you to slow your pace and think carefully and critically. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethesaid, ''If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts.''
Clearly State the Purpose of the Email, Then Deliver
State your intent clearly in subject line of an email, as doing so allows the reader to quickly and easily understand several things: the importance of the email, what the email is about, event the action that’s required by the reader. Doing this can help create goodwill on the part of the reader; that is, because you’ve helped the reader do his/her job more effectively, s/he may be more inclined to open the email, read it, and complete the required action. In addition, they may be more likely to read other emails from you. In addition, readers expect emails to be brief, so you should deliver your message quickly and concisely. Experts suggest that many readers lose focus within about eight seconds, leading them to discard a document that doesn’t deliver the promised information or that is simply too difficult for them to find the information they’re looking for.
In the fast-paced world of business and science, clear written communication is key. These tips will help you achieve your goals and ensure that your writing stands out.