Most business communication is done in writing, usually via email and chat messages. According to data from Radicati, there are about 124.5 billion business emails sent and received each day. Writing skills are important.
Being able to communicate your thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively through writing is an essential workplace skill that’s often overlooked. Misspelling, grammatical errors and poor sentence structure can paint you as unprofessional and potentially unintelligent.
Effective business decisions depend on clear communication whether it’s internal or external. That’s why it’s important that you have sharp writing skills and follow the proper communication etiquette at work.
Below are three tips for improving your writing skills plus three more for crafting better emails and chat messages.
Install the Grammarly Browser Extension
If you’re someone whose job requires a lot of writing and you lack grammar skills, Grammarly is the perfect tool. Grammarly is an online tool that automatically detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing.
Grammarly’s Chrome extension connects to your browser, correcting mistakes wherever you’re writing online, including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Docs and Tumblr. Not only does the tool correct thousands of critical grammar and spelling errors, but it also cuts down on time spent re-reading and rewriting documents and emails.
Find a Writing “Mentor”
Find someone whose writing you admire and ask for some tips and tricks. Let them know what you find particularly great about their writing so you can get actionable advice. Come ready with specific examples, for example: ask them how they handled communicating bad news to a client or a team member.
Another great tip is to save emails that display exceptional writing skills. Having an inventory of emails to refer to will help when you encounter writer’s block or you’re unsure on how to phrase something.
Take a Business Writing Course
Don’t worry if you have poor writing skills. They can be improved with a little training and practice. There are hundreds of online business writing courses, like this one from Udemy that will teach you how to write clear, simple and concise business emails, memos, and letters.
If you don’t have the money to fund a course, ask your employer to cover the cost. You can pitch the course as professional development training that will benefit you as an individual and the company. Once the course is complete, offer to share with the team what you’ve learned.
Tips for Writing Better Emails and Chat Messages
If you’re already a good writer, but want to put together better emails, or communicate more clearly via chat, use these simple tips.
Ask someone to read it first. If you’re sending a long and complex email to a customer or lead, always ask someone on your team to read it first. An extra set of eyes will ensure that you haven’t missed any important points or glossed over any grammatical errors.
Provide your colleague with a quick background regarding the goal of the email and what you’re trying to communicate to give them some context. This way they’ll know what they should be looking for when reviewing the email. The feedback can help on the specific email, and with your writing in general.
Be clear with your words. When crafting an email, avoid run-on sentences and complex business jargon. Not only is it unnecessary, but fluff and jargon words can cause misunderstandings and confusion. Instead, use simple and effective language and structure your email in a way in which it’s easy to read.
For example, use bullet points to separate topics and bold text to emphasize an important question or statement.
Make your ask clear. Let’s face it, everyone is busy. Odds are your email isn’t the only one sitting in your colleague’s or client’s inbox. Therefore, it’s important that you compose your message with a concise request that’s easy to identify and understand. Without being pushy, lead with your request first. The goal is to get the readers’ attention and for them to take an action.
Ask someone to read through your email to make sure that your ask is as clear as it seems. If your colleague can’t tell you, then you should go back to the drawing board.
Improve your writing skills at work
Anyone can be a better writer. Just look for helpful tools, like Grammarly, and invest in a little training. Don’t forget to ask for advice from colleagues and be ready to re-write emails that aren’t clear.
In the end, your business writing will improve, you’ll look more professional and get what you need to do your job well.