How important are good written communication skills?


Written communication skills are very important because they are a fundamental part of effective communication, both professionally and personally. Written communication is essential to facilitate understanding and can have a huge impact, especially when these writings are shared.

How good do you think your written communication skills are? Do you consider yourself a pretty good writer, but you could always use a refresher to pick up a few new points? For example, did you know that punctuation and grammar conventions can change and evolve over time?

Or are you on the other end of the spectrum (or somewhere in the middle) and sometimes struggle to express yourself clearly in writing? Do others often misunderstand or misinterpret what you have written? If this is the case, or if you avoid writing tasks, you could benefit from improving your writing skills.

There are many ways to improve your writing skills, and here are some ways:

1. Use reference tools and resources – there are many online tools to help you supplement and improve your writing, such as Grammarly, which checks for grammar, punctuation, spelling and style errors. And also books – I particularly like Style elements by William Strunk, Jr. and EB White!

2. Take a writing class (in person or online) – these types of classes can provide structured instruction in various writing techniques. Your organization’s training team can offer courses. Other options are schools and online platforms like LinkedIn Learning. Depending on the type of writing you want to improve, find a course that fits and will meet your needs.

3. Practice writing – set aside time to simply write, such as journaling or creating content. Read it aloud again to make sure it is clear and well organized. As with other things, the more you practice writing, the better you will become.

4. Solicit feedback – seek feedback from others. For example, if you have an important report to send to your boss, ask a colleague to read it first.

Know your audience

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You need certain skills to communicate effectively and express your ideas clearly and concisely. Organize information so that it is logical and easy to follow using proper spelling, grammar and punctuation.

One of the most important aspects is knowing your audience. Are you writing to a friend, a client, a colleague or your boss?

You can have different levels of formality depending on your audience, from an informal writing style if you write in a personal or casual tone (like an email or blog) to a formal writing style where a tone professional is used (like an audit report).

There are different writing styles that can be used for specific types of audiences. For example, in advertising/marketing, a persuasive writing style can be used to persuade the reader to take a specific action. A technical writing style can also be used if the content is complex or requires technical terminology or knowledge. Be careful when using technical jargon or industry-specific acronyms.

Whether you’re creating an email, marketing campaign, user manual, or status report, it can lend itself to different writing styles.

Understand your audience

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You may need to personalize your message for specific audiences such as visually impaired people. Or maybe you have a more global reach and need different keyboard layouts to switch between different foreign languages. When you understand who your audience is and can accommodate their needs and perspectives, your message will be more likely to be received effectively.

For more information on the importance of written communications, follow me on LinkedIn!

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