In a survey of recruitment priorities, written communication skills ranked at third place, with leadership and teamwork taking first and second place.
This research highlights the value in boosting our writing skills and ensuring our written communications hit the mark.
Let's take a just some of the ways that these skills can boost our credibility:
a. The way we write gives the reader many cues about ourselves and our backgrounds. For example, a professionally written report, which is succinct and to the point, presents the writer as someone who thinks clearly, can drill into the necessary detail and is in full control of the situation. In this respect, clear writing infers clear thinking.
b. Individuals with great written communication skills are more likely to get people on side and get their buy in. By using different levels of ritual greetings, personal endearments and friendliness, they are well placed to communicate without fear of causing offence or creating a message that falls on deaf ears.
c. Communications produced by someone with good written communication skills are typically more productive. Using the right tone to influence and persuade, requests with clearly written directions, are more likely to receive the required response.
d. Employers can trust individuals with good written communication skills to communicate in a way that protects brand reputation during exchanges with third parties. As such, individuals with these skills are more likely to be trusted to interact with higher value clients.
Unfortunately, someone who lacks these skills is unlikely to enjoy these same advantages.
Consider a report that is littered with grammatical errors and which rambles without getting to the point. This report may well present the writer as someone who is unprofessional, not in control of the detail and lacking basic language skills.
These shortfalls may even go so far as to impede promotions into management roles, or create barriers for this individual to communicate directly with important 3rd parties.
There are many reasons why someone might lack good writing skills and it's certainly not related to intellect or business acumen.
By building your writing skills you will find that you are better able to express your ideas and influence outcomes. You're more likely to be considered an expert in your subject area and to gain the trust and respect of others. This, in turn, boosts recruitment prospects, increases the chance of promotions and – of course, makes pay increases more likely.
There are many ways to build your writing skills:
1. Challenge yourself by reading books that you wouldn't ordinarily read. This is a great way to build vocabulary, grammar and punctuation skills and to appreciate different writing styles.
2. Use your morning coffee time to play word games such as Scrabble or Wordle. These apps go a long way to helping you acquire and consolidate new vocabulary.
3. Arrange for a colleague with proven written skills to read your draft communications and talk you through areas which might be improved.
4. Write about topics you enjoy for the sheer pleasure of doing so and try to incorporate new grammar, vocabulary and writing styles.
For that extra advantage, why not consider formal learning?
At Training Southwest, our 'Essential Business Writing Skills Course' equips groups and individuals with the skills and insights to improve their writing skills.
We cover important areas such as:
However you choose to develop your writing skills,be patient with yourself and commit to bite size daily activities to help you on your writing journey.
Like any skill, writing takes daily practice to really evolve. As your skills develop, it's likely that your passion for writing will grow too and that you no longer see it as a chore.
This in turn will drive personal benefits, which are not just limited to the workplace.
Photo by Sam Lion