How to Improve Your Writing Skills
Communication skills are absolutely essential for professionals from all walks of life. Professionals need to communicate with fellow professionals ranging from their suppliers to their clients apart from their fellow professionals from within their industry as well as their organisation. Skill and talent are vital to moving ahead in one’s career. However, when two individuals are equally talented, what sets one apart from the other is his/her communication skills. So let us examine what are the various modes of communications that one would need to use.
Apart from speaking face to face or on the phone with a person, the other most common communication skill is writing. Whether one cherishes writing or not, memos, emails, reports are indispensable for professionals. While language and grammar skills, by themselves, may be inadequate to stand one in good stead, lack of these skills can greatly hamper one from achieving their career goals. The good news is that, like a lot of life skills, these skills are fairly easy to imbibe and hone through practice. Let us see how one can do that.
One particular problem commonly faced by those that are linguistically challenged is wanting to say something and writing something that is quite different from that. In an effort to impress the reader a lot of people use words and expressions that they themselves do not comprehend and which mean something that is comprehensively different. A case in point are the words humility and humiliated. If one wants to use the word humility to describe a person and uses the word humiliated the entire meaning changes and that particular individual could well be offended. Hence, even if one has fairly rudimentary vocabulary skills, one is well advised to adhere to the maxim “When in doubt, cut it out”. If you have even an iota of doubt about a word or an expression either look up its meaning or if that is not possible, use another word or expression that you are fairly sure of.
Another particular problem one faces while writing is failing to differentiate between formal and colloquial language. If you are writing to a friend or a family member the tone and tenor of your writing is going to be completely different from the one you would use while communicating with a fellow professional. We use terms like ‘can’t’ and ‘wouldn’t’ while speaking. However, while writing the same would need to be expanded to ‘cannot’ and ‘would not’. Using the colloquial expressions would dilute the message being sent to the reader, however, relevant it may otherwise be. Having taken these steps how should one structure the entire report?
While writing either a report or a letter or memo, it should be divided into three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introductory paragraph should state the purpose of the communication. Then the body of the report should build on what the writer wants to say with each paragraph dealing with a separate point. Lastly, the concluding paragraph should summarise what the writer has meant to say and sign off. Adhering to this rule would ensure that the writer is able to convey exactly what he has in mind to the reader. Now, how can one enhance the quality of the report even further?
In today’s world, where speed is of absolute essence while communicating with one another, committing solecisms is extremely commonplace. To minimise that, a simple re-reading of one’s writing post a check for spelling and grammar is extremely helpful. Committing spelling mistakes and/or grammatical and/or syntactical mistakes can lower the essence of the message the writer wants to convey. Conversely, even if the writer does not use highbrow words or expressions but at the same time, she does not commit any spelling or grammatical errors that can only enhance and reinforce the message, which she wants to send across.
By adhering to the above-mentioned guidelines one can improve the quality of one’s reports and enhance the seriousness and earnestness that one wants to convey. Hence, by improving one’s communication skills one can move ahead in one’s career much more easily.
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