It is important to be able to write professionally. Remember that your writing represents your company and business and your level of communication skills. In an article in the National Public Accountant , Max Messmer, chairman of Robert Half International (RHI), reviews how to write professionally by using these critical thinking steps necessary for maintaining a high skill level in your writing.
Messmer says, “Before you begin writing, think carefully about the purpose of the communication.” To ensure that you hit the main points, create a plan by determining the approach you’ll use based on the information you want to present. “Do you want to inform,” Messmer asks, “or are you trying to make a persuasive argument? Each goal requires a different approach.”
Design an Outline
To write professionally, you need to create a format. “When preparing a lengthy or complex document,” Messmer says, “create an outline or, at a minimum, a list of main points.” This outline will help the reader to follow the path you’ve created for the document.
Depth of Information
The depth and amount of detail you include are also important. Sometimes, lots of detail is necessary, while in other cases the focus should be on getting to the point quickly; this decision depends on your reader. “Busy professionals will be focused on the bottom line, so avoid providing too much history.” When deciding how much material to include, Messmer says, “You do not have to be particularly creative to encourage others to pay attention to your message.”
Pique their Interest
Piquing the reader’s interest can be especially important in workplace writing. From the beginning of the document, Messmer says, “You want to capture readers’ attention immediately so they will continue reading.” One way to do this is to show readers how the information will impact them: “Let them know up front why the topic you are addressing is of interest to them.”
Reach Your Audience
To effectively reach your audience , consider the terminology you use and the information you include. “Be sure to take into account the backgrounds of those who will be reading your documents,” Messmer argues, because “while your primary contact at a client company may be familiar with accounting terminology, others who will see your information may not be.” Using known terms and clearly explaining information allows the reader to better understand the document.
Finishing the last sentence is not the end of the writing process because professional writing is reader-, not writer-, centered. “Regardless of how careful you think you have been in writing your memo or report, always take the time to proofread.” Be certain that your audience understands the topic; in addition, understand that “spelling and grammatical errors reflect poorly on your attention to detail and your overall skill set,” Messmer adds.
Writing professionally means producing well-received document by using your critical thinking skills in planning and writing. Because the writing you do in the workplace is critical, ensure that you’ve written a document that helps your reader understand the main points and the importance of the information. A customized onsite writing course can help your employees learn how to use their critical thinking skills to write more effective documents and, in the process, enhance your organization’s image.