Writing skills are a must when it comes to office correspondence. Most people take a casual approach to writing memos, interoffice notes, emails or anything else that their peers and managers read. This can prove to be a mistake that is hampering your chances for advancement or a raise.
This should not come as a surprise. Office communication often starts with an email or a memo and serves as a first impression in many cases. Research shows that 70% of people interact with business associates via email before they ever get a chance to meet in person.
This is why written office communications are a slippery slope. They set the tone for most of the interactions you have at work. You might feel the need to be funny or friendly, especially if you’re writing to a colleague you interact with often. Avoid doing that because office communications are monitored and you never know who else might be reading your emails.
Be clear and concise
Regardless of what type of document you are writing, make sure it is easy to understand and that it gets straight to the point whenever possible. The best way to ensure your writing is clear is to know what you want to say before you sit down to write it. If you’re not sure about what you’re saying, how can a person reading your email or a proposal be?
Use proper vocabulary
This is an important one. First off, refrain from using abbreviations or street jargon, and makes you look unprofessional. Also, consider the audience. You can get technical with your peers and colleagues if they are working in the same department and have the same background as you. However, refrain from using technical terms if you’re uncertain that everyone who needs to read it will be able to follow. If they are absolutely essential, make sure to include an explanation of terms in an appendix.
Also, make sure to proofread everything. Frequent grammar and spelling errors will start hurting your credibility and, while your colleagues might get a laugh out of them, you’re hardly doing yourself any favors in front of your boss.
Also, you can check out some of these online writing tools. Using them will help you communicate more effectively and even teach you a thing or two.
Grammarly – Use Grammarly to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. Bad writing skills are a sure way of undermining your authority so make sure you’re sending out proofread and spell-checked writing. This free tool will make all that easier for you.
Thesaurus – If you’re writing a lot of emails, chances are your writing is drab and boring and that you’re using the same words all the time. Using this online tool will help you expand your vocabulary and find the right words for your content.
Gorgias – Gorgias allows you create email templates and works with Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo. If you’re losing time on writing, essentially, the same stuff, kick up your productivity with Gorgias and start sending out emails written in just a few keystrokes.
AussieWriter – Sometimes, your writing skills just won’t be good enough. Whether it’s an extensive business plan, a speech or a client pitch, you will have to enlist someone to help you out. AussieWriter is a reputable writing service that can get the job done affordably and quickly.
Enloop – If you need some help with writing a killer business plan, this online tool will prove to be a great asset. It automates the process, and gives you a step-by-step plan to follow that will eventually result in a great business proposal.
MailMentor – MailMentor is a free online tool you can use to check the readability of your emails. It will let you know if your writing is too long, too complex, or too difficult to read and offer actionable advice on how you can improve it.
Stick to the point
When writing an email, think of a single point you want to communicate and stick with it. If you need to have a lengthy discussion with someone, either schedule a meeting or set up a call, don’t write a mile-long email. This is because busy people don’t have time to read your musings. When you start veering off the topic, they start losing interest.
Include a clear call to action
Sometimes you want people to react to an email or an internal memo a certain way. Most people assume others will know how to react. Don’t bet on it. Include a clear call to action, specifying what the next steps are and are there any deadlines to be respected. Removing guesswork out of the equation gets things done much faster.
Be courteous but professional
Don’t allow your emails to saw discord and start office-wide hostilities. Always maintain a professional and courteous tone throughout your written communication. If you have some bad new to deliver, think about doing it in person or in a call. If you have something unpleasant to write to a colleague or a subordinate, make sure to do it in a tactful and unaggressive way.
A bit of courtesy will get you a long way, but avoid getting too personal or friendly in written communication, regardless of how well you might know someone. It gives an impression that you cannot separate your personal from your professional life and reflects poorly on you.
These tips will help you communicate better in both your professional and personal life. They will also go a long way in making sure that everything is communicated in a clear manner so to avoid any misunderstandings.
Being a coach, Amy Cowen has a great experience of work with students and young people – from providing assignment writing help at Galaxyessay to giving career advice. She often writes for different blogs in her free time.