Be Clear for Your Peers

             

Writing for external audiences can easily take the lion's share of your team’s attention. Internal audiences (email recipients, project team members, document users) are often just as important — and the quality of your organization’s writing needs to reflect that.

Consider the types of content that you produce for readers inside your organization:

  • Human resources (HR) policies or manuals
  • Company rules and regulations
  • Project assignments or instructions
  • SOPs
  • Emails
  • Meeting agendas and minutes
  • Status updates

These documents might not seem as important as the content  destined for an outside audience; however, if these types of communicative documents aren't well planned and well written, the results can cause real problems.

Follow a plan
Good writing provides clear direction, improves efficiency, and even boosts morale. Internal document writers should follow similar guidelines as they would when writing  external content:

  • Plan well. Just as you analyze your audience before writing a deliverable report or other scientific, business, or technical document, you must evaluate the audience for your internal writing. You also want to pin down the primary purpose of the document. Is it informative? Persuasive? Decide before you begin writing.

  • Format for readability. Just because your colleagues are the intended audience doesn't mean you should skimp on ensuring clarity and conciseness. Remember, properly structured sentences and paragraphs, active phrasing, and the use of headings and subheadings can improve the readability of your document.

  • Maintain a consistent style. If your company has a style guide, use it. If not, find an off-the-shelf style guide and use it consistently. (Send us an email to request a list of style guides.)

  • Put on the polish. If you value your reputation among colleagues, don't skip the final step of creating content. Check spelling, grammar, and format before pressing “Send” or passing out a report.

Regardless of whether your organization’s employees are producing content for research groups, grant reviewers, or their peers,  good writing skills will benefit everyone they work with.

 
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