When was the last time a business email where someone used ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ or ‘to old’ instead of ‘too old’? Despite the amount of technology available (or perhaps due to it), poor writing is more visible and undetected than ever before.
However, do you realize that others judge you based on your writing?
Everyday, we compose numerous emails, text messages, letters, reports, and proposals. Each piece of correspondence either enhances or erodes our professional credibility as communicators. How many times have you been left wondering about what a colleague actually meant in either their extended ramblings or abbreviated text message language? Misinterpretations often lead to wasted time and unnecessary conflict.
To some, the fundamentals of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure may seem like outdated concepts. However, clear and concise business writing ensures that the reader interprets your message without misunderstanding and you are perceived as an effective communicator.
Here are some tips to help you write better this week:
- Write using the active voice instead of the passive voice. The active voice creates accountability and makes the sentence strong and direct, e.g., “I sent a notice about the new date,” versus, “A notice was sent about the new date.”
- Convert nouns into verbs to simplify your meaning and to use fewer words, e.g., “The manager made a suggestionfor improvement,” versus, “The manager suggested an improvement.”
- Ensure that your word selection matches the intended meaning and context of your sentence. Take care using commonly misused words, such as: affect/effect, imply/infer, principal/principle, their/there/they’re, and to/two/too.
- Use simple words versus complicated words to ensure your correspondence is easy to read, e.g., instead of “initiate,” “subsequently,” and “disseminate,” use “start,” “next,” and “send.”
Focus on writing your way to improved credibility this week!
These tips are taken from one of the twenty STAR Management System® Programs created by Shaun Hopkins Seminars Ltd in Canada that I deliver throughout CARICOM.