Guest post by Sophia Anderson
With all the wonders of technology, most of us have forgotten what our handwriting used to look like. The problem is: we have also stopped trying to write strong, meaningful sentences with no shortcuts and grammatical errors. We are under the impression that, in the world of the Internet, writing skills no longer matter. Let other people write; we will read only what we need to read.
That impression that writing skills don’t matter changes as soon as our boss asks us to write a report or take part in a social media campaign. Even if you’re only writing emails to workplace peers, they should be really good. Eventually you come to realize that you can write your way to the top.
Why Business Writing Skills Are Important for Career Progress
It’s strange to see how much convincing some people need before they start working on improving their writing skills. You need reasons? No problem! Here are a few of them:
- Proper business writing skills help you land a job. Start out with a great LinkedIn profile and an outstanding resume. You’ll also have to write personalized cover letters for each position you apply for. You’ll need to present yourself as an authoritative online persona; one way you can do this is through blogging and related social media updates.
- When you know how to communicate properly in written form, you leave a good first impression on potential employers and business partners. You only have one chance at making a good first impression.
- How can you convince someone to become your customer? Through an effective marketing message, which you need to write. Every ambitious person in business needs to learn persuasive writing skills.
- Once you acheive success, people will expect you to share your wisdom through a book. Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Eric Ries… all these names mean something in the world of business. Their books only cement their authority as experts.
Writing a Business Document Is Easier than You Think
Each business document or important official letter goes through three stages:
- Defining the purpose and audience: Exactly who are you writing for? What goal are you trying to acheive? You need to ask yourself those two questions before generating any content. It’s important to address the right people and convey a clear message to your intended audience.
- Achieving proper structure and style: It’s important to write in clean sentences using simple words. No reader will use a dictionary to understand what you’re trying to say! Your style will benefit from a personal touch, which presents you as a unique individual whose perspective is important.
- Editing and proofreading: This is the stage most often neglected. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a business report, an official document, a presentation, or a simple email – your work always needs critique and proofreading. Editing should always focus on the style and logical flow. If you notice any information gaps, make sure to cover them. Eliminate useless words, sentences or paragraphs. Finally, you’ll need to proofread the draft to make sure there are no remaining grammatical and spelling errors.
If you doubt that you’ve achieved effective format, style and language, you can always get professional writing help that will improve the quality of the overall text.
Tips on Improving Your Business Writing Skills in the Workplace
Imagine a world where you’ve already graduated from college and you no longer have professors giving you assignments. How do you work on your writing skills when you don’t have such guidance and control? We’ll give you a few tips to follow:
- Start with a plan: Outline what you want to achieve with this message. What main points do you need to cover? Your plan should help you maintain a clean writing structure.
- Always get straight to the point: Next time you’re writing an email to someone important, start with “I am writing to…” right after the greeting. In business writing, it’s important to state the purpose right at the beginning. You can then elaborate on the main points from your outline.
- Take an online course: If your employer doesn’t provide training, you can always gain skills through an online course. High-Impact Business Writing from Coursera is a nice place to start.
- Support everything with facts: You’re not writing a personal essay. If you want to gain authority through your written messages, you have to provide proper support. Find up-to-date statistics, case studies, and other authoritative information to use as a reference when making your points.
- Get some feedback: If you’re doing this all by yourself, you should notice some progress. There will be an improvement, but you never know how good your work is unless you get substantial feedback.
Find a mentor who knows what great writing is all about; someone who understands your industry and the effect you want to achieve. Such a mentor could be your boss, a coworker, or an important contact from your industry. If you have an important business presentation to give, make sure to get key feedback before editing your work down to its publishing form.
Now you know: business writing skills are important and there are simple ways to improve them. With enough practice and feedback from the right people, you’ll begin to notice a huge difference in the way you express yourself in written form, and reap the financial rewards as well.
Sophia Anderson is an associate educator, a freelance writer and a blogger. She is passionate about covering topics on learning, writing, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development. Get in touch on Facebook.