Writing and Business Success: How Intertwined Are They?


Many people don't understand why writing well is difficult, and they may not understand the link between writing and business success. After all, writing is just like speaking, and we all speak every day, right? If we can be personable and articulate enough to chat with our friends, shouldn't we be able to express ourselves in the workplace?

As it turns out, no. They are very different skills, even down to how we process them. As linguist Steven Pinker points out, "Writing and speaking, as far as the brain is concerned, are different things." Writing is a formal skill, and like any skill, it's acquired through study and practice. With a clear correlation between writing and business success, it's a skill that's well worth the time and effort to learn.

The authors of The Business Style Handbook surveyed the communications directors of 50 Fortune 500 companies. What they found was revealing. Although not all the directors recognized the importance of good writing skills —though over 50 percent said the skill was "very" or "somewhat" important, and most of the rest said that writing skills are important in some positions—84 percent said that the writing skills of their senior executives are good or excellent. Each of these Fortune 500 companies had people at the helm who could communicate well in writing. 

Quality writing skills may also be the key to a promotion. A National Commission on Writing study found that more than half of the companies surveyed consider writing skills when considering promotions for salaried employees. 

With companies maintaining multiple offices; managing large quantities of internal data; working with partners, clients, and suppliers in various sectors; and presenting themselves to the public more and more through media such as websites and emails , the link between writing and business success is stronger than ever. 


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