Edition: February 21st, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
- Excerpts from article by Amy Blaschka, published on Forbes.com
Do you admire (or envy) a colleague who can effortlessly fire off an email that’s well-written and well-received? The good news is that great communicators aren’t born; they’re created through purposeful practice.
Your ability to communicate effectively has many benefits, such as:
- It helps you connect to others
- Enhances your relationships
- Builds trust
- Paves the way for career success by bridging gaps between you and your clients, colleagues and partners.
Here are 5 tips to improve your written communication:
1. Keep it simple.
- Written communication is rife with unnecessary complexity. Maximise the power of your words by simplifying them.
- Clarity is the foundation of effective communication.
- When you’re not clear, or use industry acronyms and buzzwords, you’ll force others to do the difficult work of guessing your intended message.
- But when you’re clear, everything becomes easier.
- People understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, how you can help them, and how they can assist you.
- Clarity helps others know, like, and trust you.
- Swap jargon for plain language to increase the odds of your message being received well and understood.
2. Aim to be concise.
- If every email you send includes a “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read) summary, you’ve got some work to do.
- When preparing a piece, think concise and compelling.
- It becomes unnecessarily complex when you try to cover too much ground in your communication.
- A good rule of thumb is that each piece of written communication should have one clear takeaway.
- This forces you to get specific about and hone in on your message.
- When you want to deliver a message, make brevity your friend by eliminating extraneous material and getting to the point.
3. Consider your audience.
- Communication is only effective if your audience receives your intended message. So, remember this golden rule of communication: it’s not about you.
- Far too often, we assume that everyone communicates the same way we do, forgetting that our intended audiences may not live and breathe in our business world.
- Consider that even two members of the same team may require a slightly different message tailored to the individual.
- So, before you fire off that email, take a beat to put yourself in your audience’s shoes, consider their wants and needs, and adjust your communications accordingly.
4. Choose your words wisely.
- Your word choice sets the tone and elicits an emotional response — two things critical for effective communication.
- Consider writing the way you speak for the most natural communication style, especially in non-technical formats.
- Incorporating your everyday language into your repertoire opens you up to a more descriptive, interesting lexicon that allows you to infuse a bit of personality into your writing, capturing your audience’s attention and ensuring that your message will be more memorable.
- Remember that how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate.
- Action-oriented language conveys a strong, clear tone and propels people to do something rather than remain idle.
- Where possible, minimise passive language and use active voice to add more power and intention to your words.
5. Proofread before sending.
- Ever sent a message only to realise later it was full of typos?
- Mistakes happen, but if they’re more the norm than the exception for you, they’ll weaken your ability to communicate.
- Protect yourself against communication mishaps by proofreading.
- Before you post, use online tools to review and improve your writing, or enlist the help of an editor to put your best foot forward.
- But be forewarned: even if everything is grammatically correct and contains no misspellings, you could still have problems with using the wrong word.
- So, to stave off those embarrassments and catch any unintended word choices, read your written communication out loud before hitting the send button.
Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)