The Importance of Writing Skills in the Workplace
What are the words you write revealing about you? Are they saying I am a well educated and smart business person or are they screaming that I am an ignoramus? The way you write reveals so much about you and your business skills. Your writing tells the reader about your educational background, whether you have pride in your work and your level of business expertise. Any company with employees who write clearly and concisely has a competitive edge over other companies whose employees are still struggling to communicate. The lack of good writing skills in the business place can lead to excessive turnovers, loss of profits and high costs unless remedies are established. In our fast-paced workplace, precision and conciseness are essential. It is crucial with any documents or presentations that we don’t send the wrong message. One report states in Employers urge workers to improve writing from Madlen Read concludes, “majority of U.S. employers say about one-third of workers don’t meet the writing skills required in their positions”(25 ). In another report E-mail exposes the Literacy Gap from Mary Anne Donovan concludes, “E-mail is propelling most organizations to move from oral to written communications with their customers and clients. But managers are discovering many of their employees don’t have the writing skills for the job”(15). By those results it is coming to be a major concern with all U.S. businesses. We are failing to communicate properly through electronic e-mails, office memos, and letters. We are sending messages that are not clear and concise and we are losing our credibility among our colleagues. Some of the problems that we encounter as writers are simple mistakes such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity. In the world of computers today, with spell and grammar check, it is so easy to let your writing skills lapse. The computer will scan for the correct spelling of the word, but has a homonym been incorrectly used thereby giving the wrong meaning for your sentence. The computer may send an error message to the reader that either isn't understood, they don’t have the writing skills to differentiate, or they were too lazy to check it out. Often a word may have been spelled correctly, but has not been used properly, or double typed. Another issue in using words is that the reader doesn’t know the meaning or the writer misuses the word themselves. Keep your writing simple and current. Write to your audience, using their level of knowledge on your subject. Be aware of certain crutches such as industry jargon and clichés. Don't fall into the trap of using them. Be concise and remove any buzzwords that would lead the reader to misunderstand your document. You must keep up with today's business practices and expectations. You also don’t want to give the impression that your writing is too formal and outdated. Many of times we type what we want to say, rather than what we needed to write. Slipping into abbreviated dialogue is very easy to do instead of expressing a complete thought in your sentences. Perhaps, because we are telephone oriented, the keyboard becomes an extension of our voice mail. Our messages are dominated by incomplete phrases and the reader is left to fill in the blanks. This type of abbreviated writing may indicate poor language skills and business knowledge to your reader. This will leave your reader with a poor impression of you and your company. Your writing abilities could also affect your bottom line. If you send a poorly written document to a potential customer they probably won’t tell you about it, they just won’t give you their business. It could also affect your current business if you can’t communicate well. In today’s market, business is so competitive that even a miscommunicated letter can cost you; loss of customers, loss of profits, and strained relationships. The emergence of...
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