How To Improve Your Writing At Work
By Deanna deBara Posted November 16, 2020
Writing is involved in every aspect of work. For example, if you’re working on a client project, you may need to write a proposal or project notes. If you’re managing a team, you’ll need to write annual reviews. And no matter what role you’re in, there’s not a day that goes by that you won’t have to send at least a few emails to colleagues, co-workers, or clients.
Writing is an integral part of a business—and if you want to excel at work there's a great way to do it: Work on improving your writing skills.
But how, exactly, do you do that?
Let’s take a look at a few strategies you can leverage to improve your writing at work (and improve the results you’re getting at work in the process):
Why is improving your business writing so important?
First things first—before we jump into how to improve your writing at work, let’s talk about why improving your business writing is so vital in the first place.
Improving the quality of your business writing can have several positive effects on your business. Effective writing—whether you’re drafting a marketing email, writing a presentation to deliver to your leadership team, or writing a blog post for your company’s website—can help you build credibility with your co-workers, management team, and your clients and customers. (It might not seem obvious, but chances are, your customers care about your writing abilities. For example, one study found that 59 percent of consumers wouldn’t work with a company with obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on their website.)
Ineffective writing can also have a negative impact on productivity—both for yourself and your team. Research outlined in a 2016 Harvard Business Review article surveyed businesspeople who write as part of their jobs—and found that a whopping 81 percent said that poor writing wastes a significant amount of their time at work.
Clearly, improving your writing at work is a must if you want to succeed—no matter what stage of your career you’re in. But what steps can you take to improve your writing skills at work?
Review the basics...
Chances are, it’s been awhile since you’ve reviewed basic grammar—things like punctuation, sentence structure, and the difference between active and passive voice.
But while it might seem tedious to review, revisiting the fundamentals will help you lay the foundation for better writing at work—and will make your writing feel more organized, credible, persuasive, and effective.
Online education platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and edX offer a variety of grammar courses (many of them free). Invest the time in relearning the basics—and setting yourself up for more effective business writing in the long term.
...and take the time to learn the writing skills necessary to thrive in the digital space
Learning (or, more accurately, relearning) the basics of grammar is an important part of becoming a better writer. But if you’re trying to improve your writing specifically for work purposes, it’s also important to learn what it takes to write effectively for the digital space.
For example, if you want to write better sales copy, invest in a copywriting course that teaches you how to write more persuasively. If you want to write a more effective copy for your business’ website or mobile app, take a course in U/X writing so you can create a better experience for your customers. If your manager asks you to assist with an email marketing campaign, do some research on crafting more effective emails.
The point is, a huge portion of your business writing will ultimately live in the digital space—so if you want your writing to be received well (and drive results for your company), focus on learning (and improving) your digital writing skills.
Organize your thoughts before you start writing
Whenever you write something for your business—whether that’s a quick email to a colleague or a 2000-word blog post announcing the launch of a new product—you’re trying to get a specific point across.
But if you don’t take the time to organize your thoughts and get clear on what you’re trying to say and how you’re trying to say it, chances are, the final product isn’t going to get your point across effectively.
According to the 2016 research study, when asked “in the material you read/write, what problem occurs frequently enough to make the material significantly less effective?”, 65 percent of businesspeople said poorly organized writing.
So, if you want to improve your writing, make sure you’re taking the time to organize your thoughts before you start the writing process. Things like outlining an article or drafting bullet points for an email before you actually start writing will ensure your final product reads as clear and organized—and your writing will be more effective as a result.
Use an editing tool
Even great writers make mistakes. So, if you’re really looking to improve your writing at work, an editing tool can help get you there—and catch any mistakes in your writing before you hit “send” or “publish.”
Editing tools (like Grammarly or ProWritingAid) will scan your copy for grammatical mistakes—then let you know where those errors are so you can correct them before sharing your writing with your team, clients, or customers.
When you use an editing tool, you don’t have to worry about accidentally switching “there” for “their,” misusing an em dash, or inadvertently switching tone and perspective throughout your writing. It will catch those common errors before you put your writing out into the world, which will improve your writing quality and improve how that writing is received by others.
Become a better writer, build a better business
Whether you love to write or it feels like a chore, there’s no way around it—writing is a part of business. And If you want to build a better career, becoming a better writer is a great way to get there.
And now that you know how to improve your writing at work, all that’s left to do? Get out there, start writing, and use your writing skills to take your business to the next level.
What has helped you become a better writer at work? Let us know in the comments.
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