Learning to read and write is something we all do in school, and it’s something that can open a lot of doors if you have a talent for it. Many people think that writing skills are something that only authors and playwrights need in their arsenal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Writing is an essential life skill that allows you to get your point across, be persuasive, and communicate with your friends and colleagues. Being able to convey what you mean quickly and efficiently will make all the difference to your ability to pursue a fulfilling and successful career.
The Importance of Precision
Even something as simple as a work email or a text message to your boss needs to be well written if you’re going to get your point across. Nobody likes to have to try and interpret a vague email that doesn’t quite seem to get its point across. Sometimes you’ll get away with it because the person reading it already knows what you’re talking about. What you’ll find is that that will be the exception rather than the rule.
As you come to discuss ideas and projects with people you’ve never met or don’t know outside of the workplace you’ll need to sharpen up your language. The secret is to be able to do it in a precise way which leaves no room for doubt. You’ll also need to ensure that it isn’t longwinded and drawn out.
Being Concise Really Matters
Precision is one thing, but without your messages being concise at the same time you’ll soon find that your emails fall on deaf ears. You may think your 2 page memo that exhaustively covers every possible eventuality is just what you need but think about if you were to receive one from someone else.
No one wants to spend 15 minutes reading something that could be said in 15 seconds, so don’t be the person that writes like that. Getting your point across quickly without sacrificing clarity is exactly what you need to do. The way to do this is to reread your messages before you send them. This will allow you to filter out any superfluous sections so that your email is to the point and doesn’t repeat something simple that only needs to be said once.
Writing is About Doing Your Ideas Justice
Bosses soon learn who their go-to people are, and they’re virtually always the ones who get stuff done without any needless back and forth. If you have a reputation for being someone who can ask incisive questions with minimal fuss then you’ll go far. The key thing to remember is that more and more interactions are being carried out over messaging platforms. Whereas 50 years ago everything would be over the phone or face-to-face, today email and instant messengers are just as big if not bigger.
Take the time to spell out your latest idea or proposal so that you do it justice. By remembering that people can ignore you a lot easier over message than they can in person you’ll be able to put yourself in the position of the recipient. This will allow you to reflect on whether your message does a good job of getting your point across or not.
Communication Is a Valuable Skill
Remember that not everyone who has a talent or aptitude for writing decides to be an author or script writer. Think of writing as nothing more than communication, rather than an art form in its own right, and you’ll be able to gain a better appreciation of why it matters.
By taking the time to develop your writing skills you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently get your point across. This will be invaluable if you want to convey information to your colleagues in a way that speeds things along as opposed to causing my confusion.
When your employer sees that you have a talent for writing they’ll be more than happy to look at ways of expanding your role. Additional responsibility can often feel like you have a load of extra work but think of it as a chance to open up some new avenues. Often the best way to progress your career is to be promoted to various different roles and levels within the same large organization. Because you will already be known to your prospective new head of department you’ll find you can make progress in your career and gain a glowing reputation.
A Well Written Report Gets Around
Word of mouth referrals are great but it can be easy for your original idea to mutate and change as it gets passed from one person to another. The great thing about a succinct report is that it can be passed around the office with the click of a button. Other people will be able to read it and take onboard the core message as if they were speaking to you directly. This means that you can create something which propels your career forward without you having to directly trade your time to do so.
By developing a reputation as someone who can communicate complex topics clearly you’ll be able to expand your remit. Ideal if you’re looking to explore your options so that you can gradually develop a role that’s unique to you.
Poor Writing Quickly Gets Noticed
Just as good writing gets around, bad writing will also draw an audience. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and there’s nothing wrong with not being a natural writer. What you need to do however is find a style that fits the task at hand if you want to take your career to the next level.
You can learn from your colleagues and peers by reading examples of their work. This will give you a much clearer idea of what’s expected so that you know what you should be aiming to produce. Pay particular attention to the way explanations are worded and you’ll be able to quickly add some useful stock phrases to your vocabulary.
Writing is far more than a vocation for the chosen few. It’s an essential lifeskill that you need to master for the sake of your career. Poor writing gets noticed at first and then ignored if it persists. This means that your voice will be less likely to be heard and your ideas are more likely to be dismissed.
Finding a style that works is all about understanding your audience and the task at hand. If you can do that then you’ll find that writing will take you a long way in your working life.
Written by Pauline Farris –
Pauline speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian and currently she works as an interpreter for TheWordPoint. She travelled the world to immerse herself in the new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.
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