When it comes to leadership skills, one might place writing skills low on the totem pole. But writing is a pivotal way for business leaders to communicate information and needs to be utilized to its fullest potential. In an article for TechRepublic, Patrick Gray gives five tips you can use to sharpen your writing:
- Consider your objective.
- Take the time to write a shorter letter.
- Consider your reader.
- Validate before sending.
- Consider the medium.
Whipping Up the Right Words
The first step to improving your writing is to consider your goal for writing whatever it is you have–an email, a instant message, etc. Decide if your aim is to simply inform, or if there is a call to action you must relate. You can find better ways to structure your writing around this goal so your reader will understand exactly what is wanted of them once they get to the end. At the same time, your writing will probably become more concise. Being overly wordy and beating around the bush are easy ways to lose your reader.
Just as you are trying to consider what words to use to shorten things up for your reader, you can similarly take the reader into consideration when crafting your message. Someone across the world who speaks English as a second language may not pick up on certain subtleties of the language the way a native speaker would. Your writing is selling an idea to your reader, and you want it to be as digestible as possible.
Gray also says to reread what you wrote to validate what was said:
Before hitting the send button, I always reread my written communication from the perspective of the reader, asking a few key questions along the way:
- What action am I, as the reader, going to take after reading this communication?
- Does that action match my objective?
- What questions might I naturally ask that could be readily addressed in this communication?
- Is there anything I can remove or clarify?
[If it’s important,] I might repeat this exercise a dozen times. While this might seem excessive, the process rarely takes more than five minutes, and those five minutes pay significant dividends when I can accomplish my objective with a single communication.
In addition to these points, the medium itself will also play a factor in how you communicate. A quick sentence or two might get lost in an email inbox, but is perfect for IM and vice versa. And if the information feels too private to have in a message, then it might be better to discuss it over the phone or in person.
You can view the original article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/five-tips-for-writing-more-effectively/