Effective Writing

Sara Orellana-Paape
October 20, 2020
Communication Skills
Business Growth
Organization
Personal Growth
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As business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs writing is a key method of communication we use daily. At times, the communication we do through writing can be the most important communication we complete in a day. And, yet, because body language, tone, and the subtle clues oral communication provide are missing, it is often the most misunderstood.

Emails

When sending emails, the subject line is the most important line. This is the attention grabber, the summary, or the indication the message can wait. Use the subject line effectively. If the email is over a meeting say, ‘Communication Meeting, Tuesday, April 6, 12:30pm Small Conference Room”. If your audience reads nothing else, they will at least know where the meeting is being held.

Keep the body of the email concise. As tempting as it is, in professional writing, adding a conversation will stop the workflow. Avoid the personal questions and simply outline the task or respond to the questions presented. Your goal is to clearly communicate what is needed, not find out how the other person is doing.

Remember, people will not read long emails. Use the pyramid effect. Place all the important information, who, what, where, when, and why, in the first paragraph, and then elaborate as the email progresses. Again, this will ensure the reader grasps the full message, even if they do not read the full message.

Tips to improve all professional writing

Always proofread your work. Make sure you fully explain what you mean, avoid jargon and abbreviations. Correct grammar and spelling mistakes. Nothing will distract more from the message than a misspelled word or blatant grammar mistake.

When you proofread your work, look for obvious potential misunderstandings. Try to understand what other people will understand. Remember, your tone and body language will not flow through the emails. It is very easy to misinterpret the written word.

When giving instructions, use sequence words. This will help people understand the order of the steps, and when one step ends, and another begins.

Understand when writing is the appropriate manner to communicate a message. Some messages must be delivered in person or over the phone.

Secrets to improving written communication

1. Practice daily

2. Work with a good editor

3. Learn to take constructive criticism

4. Stretch yourself, test your boundaries, and push harder

5. Train like you are training for an ironman competition

6. Read daily. Don’t just read, devour the written word

7. Learn to place yourself in the seat of the reader

8. Use active voice

Writing is a muscle; it is something you can improve and grow. In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a natural writer, it is a skill we choose to cultivate. Writing daily has helped me produce more work, has improved my work, and ensures my writing muscles stay in shape. Reading inspires my work and motivates me.

No matter what industry you work in, write daily.

About the Author

Sara Orellana-Paape

Sara Orellana-Paape brings well over a decade of leadership, writing, business management, and coaching to 3Raptor Consulting, of which she is the founder and director.