Improving your writing skills is essential for successful communication in the workplace. Whether you’re speaking with coworkers or clients, the messages you send need to be clear, concise and free of grammatical errors. Professional writing skills are important in areas as simple as sending an email or as grand as a formal business research paper. In this article, we discuss why writing skills are important, list various types of business writing and provide an in-depth list of steps for improvement.
Why are writing skills important?
Polished, professional writing skills make you a better communicator. It’s just as important to communicate your ideas through emails or newsletters as it is in person. Excellent grammar, spelling and verb tense instill confidence in your reader and earn you more credibility as a professional.
Types of business writing
Business writing is used in the workplace to communicate with coworkers, stakeholders and clients. It provides a means of sharing information through text rather than speech. Business professionals send ideas, deliver corporate news and explain changes in the workplace through written correspondence. This makes writing skills an essential component to many jobs that require clear, concise and effective messaging. There are four main types of business writing. They are:
People use instructional business writing when changes occur within the workplace or when managers need to provide directions to an associate. These messages often break the task or set of tasks into a series of steps that are easily understood by the recipient.
Informational writing is a type of business writing that does not require action on the recipient’s part. It usually pertains to creating formal documents for reference or record keeping. Businesses require exceptional informational writers who can mark progression toward goals, predict changes or fluctuations in future work and comply with legal obligations.
Persuasive writing is a type of business writing that seeks to persuade consumers into making a purchase. This form of writing is most common in sales or marketing settings and is often direct, focusing on a particular good or service the company offers. Persuasive writing also helps in building and maintaining customer relationships over a long period.
Transactional writing is a type of business writing that involves common, daily communication. It’s most often seen in the form of emails but also includes official letters, invoices or other business forms. Human resource departments make use of this writing, as well, to deliver complicated information to employees regarding employment.
How to improve writing skills
The following list of steps outlines how you can improve your writing skills:
1. Research basic writing principles
One of the best ways to begin improving your writing skills is to research some of the basics. There are plenty of helpful resources online that cover basic to advanced grammar, spelling and general writing. Take time to study these resources thoroughly, especially any provided examples. If its coverage of a topic isn’t helpful enough for you, research more on that specific area from other sources. Engage with others in online writing forums, ask any questions you have and participate in ongoing discussions.
2. Practice as much as you can
Once you have a basic understanding of what you learned in your research, reserve time to practice it. Writing is a hard skill that develops over time the more you use it. Implement what you learn within your emails, announcements or any other written correspondences you create at work. If you ever encounter a word, phrase or whole sentence that doesn’t sound correct and can’t find a solution, revert to step one. Look up your specific issue and find a new way to write it.
3. Read as much as you can
One of the best methods of improving your writing is to read. Look for online blogs that use a professional writing style. Sites that cover business resources are great places to start. Scour their content and take note of their verb tense, sentence structure and other stylistic elements. Additionally, seek out possible mistakes. There’s no better way to test your skills than to identify errors in others’ work and determine a solution.
4. Seek out writing workshops in your local area
Learning with others is another great way to improve your writing skills. Joining a workshop doesn’t require you to be a novelist. However, sharing your work with others, editing and learning alongside them can only benefit your overall writing skills. Working with others also builds confidence as it involves sharing your work or presenting it aloud.
5. Consider everything you write as a story
Stories have a proper beginning, middle and end. Even the most basic emails follow the same structure if you break them down. All messages you send out need to tell a story to be engaging. They answer questions such as who, what, when, where, why and how as necessary. Within the previous step, you may be exposed to minor story-telling techniques. Take note of them and implement them into your writing. Study the following example:
My name is Andre, and I am the head of Marketing located one floor above you. I’m reaching out to set up a meeting to discuss new coding changes to the website. I want to ensure your changes work well with our current design and don’t interfere with our digital marketing initiatives. I’m free tomorrow after 2 p.m. Let me know when you can meet in my office.
Head of Marketing
Victory Global Solutions
The provided example above tells a story. It answers who the message is from, why they sent it and when the best time for a meeting would be.
6. Edit your work
Even the most seasoned writers make mistakes. Remember to edit all written material before sending it out or publishing it. For example, after drafting an email, read through it several times to identify any potential grammar issues. Sending out material littered with minor mistakes can have a significant impact on your credibility, so make sure to review your work with tools and also the help of a friend or colleague.
7. Consider omitting unnecessary words
Omit unnecessary words, phrases or whole sentences that take away from the message. Write in a more direct tone and get to the point of your message. Write clearly and effectively to avoid such wordiness. Doing so makes your content easier to read and understand. This is especially critical when sending complex information to employees or clients.
8. Download helpful applications
There are many available applications for both mobile and desktop that monitor your work. As you type, they outline misspelled words and phrases that have better alternatives. This can be helpful, especially when you’re writing on a deadline. While it’s still a good practice to edit your own work, using an application to help find errors speeds up your process.
I hope you find this article helpful.