How To Build Effective Written Communication Skills In 2021

Written Communication means the sending of messages, orders, or instructions in writing through letters, circulars, reports, manuals, telegrams, office memos, bulletins, et cetera.

Written communication is aimed at engaging your reader and conveying your message clearly. 

The majority of roles required for effectiveness in the workplace will require written communication skills to some extent. Some of these roles may include writing emails, taking meeting minutes, or producing reports. 

Effective written communication is what can enable an individual to get into the workplace in the first instance, in the form of a CV and cover letter.

Having strong written communication skills is important in the work environment and a good way to capture the attention of recruiters. So, it’s worth putting time and effort into working on them in line with the saying that goes, what is worth doing is worth doing well.

In this article also, we will be discussing why written communication skills are important and will also share some tips and examples to help you build effective communication skills.

Are Written Communication Skills Important?

The written type of communication is an essential element of communication. This is the case because verbal communication unless recorded doesn’t last. Written communication, however, lasts and can be referred to in the future.

With written communication skills, you are sure to put your perspective or ideas into words in a way that can be easily understood. These skills also ensure that the impact which will stand the test of time easily of your written communication may leave on its audience is the desired one.

It is possible that your job may not need you to do a lot of writing which requires written communication skills, how you come across when you do need to pass information by way of communication through writing is relevant. Being equipped with written communication skills can be of huge benefit to your career and many other areas of your life as well.

What Are The Essential Elements of Effective Written Communication?

In talking about written communication skills in 2021, you are to take note of essential elements of effective communication.

The constituents of good written communication will be dependent on a few things. These may include, who your audience is, the topic of discussion, and the reason behind the communication, amongst other things. 

Be that as it may, four essential elements form the basis of all good written communication and they include:

  • Connection
  • Clarity and Conciseness
  • Cause
  • Correctness

1. Connection

One of the building blocks of effective written communication skills is being able to make a connection between yourself and your reader. To effectively connect with your audience your writing must engage them and keep them so. There are a few methods that we would recommend for achieving this which may include giving your audience a feeling of ownership, creating a tone of familiarity and cordiality, and generating a sense of urgency.

2. Clarity and Conciseness

While there is the place of creative and overly expressive writing, it is usually not the business environment. Written communication skills have to do with the ability to communicate specific information in a clear and concise manner. This communication is done through the precise choice of words and sentence structure. Don’t beat around the bush. Let your focus be on getting your point across without the inclusion of excessive amounts of consciousness.

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3. Cause

The time they say is money. Especially in the workplace. Many individuals will not have the luxury of time to sift through your writing in search of its objective. To communicate the cause, you need to have an in-depth and personal understanding. You should relate the cause of your written communication earlier on in the piece. If you need your audience to take a specific action, this also needs to be clearly spelled out.

4. Correctness

Part of the thing that makes written communication skills effective is their correctness in every sense. This correctness includes the correct use of tone, language, grammar, and formatting. It’s a good idea to never have a sole reliance on spellcheck for correctness because there’s a lot more to getting it right beyond spelling and punctuation alone.

See 15 Ways On How To Be a Good Conversationalist in 2021

Tips For Improving Your Written Communication Skills

Effective written communication skills play out in the presentation of information in a way that your intended audience can have an understanding of what you are trying to communicate and act upon with ease. 

Below are a few tips and examples that will enable you to improve the way you communicate through writing:

  • Clearly define your goal
  • Use plain English
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Use active voice
  • Get the grammar right
  • Avoid over-styling

1. Clearly define your goal

To clearly define your goal through written communications, you need to have a deep understanding of it. So, don’t kick off with writing a piece before you have an end goal in mind rather have an end goal in mind before commencing the writing. This will enable you to maintain clarity and focus during the process of writing. Whether the goal is to make the reader aware or act on it, make it known as close to the beginning of the message as possible. 

Commence with key information and lead on with the details required to comprehend or act on it. By structuring your written communications this way, you are sure to have your point passed across, even if it is skim-read by the reader.

Example:

“Dear Alice,

I hope this meets you well.

Recently I spotted a job advertisement for the position of marketing coordinator at ABC Corp on Indeed. As I am aware you’ve been working there for a number of years, I’m hoping you may be willing to give me a referral for the role.

I was elated to see that the position involves working closely with you and your team on campaign development. I have gained measurable experience in Google Analytics and best SEO practices since we last worked together at XYZ Corp. It is my utmost desire to put these skills to good use at ABC Corp.

Attached is a copy of my resume. Please let me know if you need any further information or if you’d like to cite examples of some of the projects I have worked on.

Yours sincerely,

Carol Dayes”

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2. Use plain English

Using ‘plain English’ guarantees you a lot of things time and space to be saved in your written communications. 

Using ‘plain English’ does not only help get your message across, but it also helps you to see to making use of limited efficiency. 

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One of the powerful ways of getting noticed in the business world is by writing in ‘plain English’. 

Bureaucratic writing otherwise known as creative writing is not always simple to read. It can lead to the increment of the risk of your message being interpreted erroneously. Sometimes less is more and in written communications, it often is the case. 

Example:

“I’m writing about the job you advertised on Indeed” rather than saying “I’m writing to you with regards to the job advertised by your company on Indeed”.

3. Keep it short and to the point

One of the key elements of good written communication is readability. The readability of your writing can be increased through the use of a combination of short words, sentences, and paragraphs. 

Complicated words, long sentences, and never-ending paragraphs slow down the pace at which a reader should move. It’s important to not run off-topic. Stick to the point. Keep it important by avoiding buzzwords, cliches, repetition, and any other fluff. 

The longer written communications are, the more enticed people are to take up the skim reading approach. So, only include relevant information.

At the end of every sentence you write, there are good examples of quick questions to ask yourself and they include:

• Is there clarity in the message that was passed?

• Is this detail required for the reader to understand the message?

• Is this written communication presented in the most simple and most direct manner?

4. Use active voice

In communication, two grammatical voices exist and include passive and active voices. A key step to the enhancement of your writing skills is getting familiar with the use of active voice. There’s more ease in the understanding of sentences written using an active voice rather than a passive voice. When using an active voice, the verb’s action is performed by the subject of a sentence.

Example:

“The child ate the food” instead of “the food was eaten by the child”.

Get the grammar right

If you are not very good at the use of grammar, there are a lot of writing tools that can help you to have very good writing. It’s also beneficial to ask someone to check your written text for errors in spelling and grammar. Having another pair of eyes proofread your write-up is very advisable and recommended as such can be good at picking up things you may have missed or gotten wrong. 

To have good writing communication skills, there are some vital grammatical basics you are to take note of and they include:

• End every sentence with a full stop.

• Possessives should go along with an apostrophe, plurals do not need it (business’s vs businesses).

• Make appropriate use of American or Australian spelling (utilize vs utilise).

• Commas are used to signify pauses in sentences and should not take the place of a full stop.

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Avoid over-styling

When delivering formal written communications, avoid adding too much styling to your writing. Wacky fonts and wild colors can be a distraction for your reader while going through your message. In the same vein, excessive use of bold, capital letters, and italics can have the same effect as the aforementioned. If your written communications are non-personal, they should also be free of emoticons or any other kind of “art”.

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Where Can I Showcase My Written Communication Skills?

Having written communication skills is very important at every stage of your career, from securing a position to having an optimum performance in it. 

Some of the occasions where you can showcase your writing abilities include:

On your CV

Of all written communications, your resume should be easy to read and highly focused on the relevant information. Bullet points, lists, and clear headlines help communicate your strengths, experience, and achievements.

In your cover letter

Your cover letter is a provider of the perfect opportunity for you to show forth your written communication skills. This can be done by weaving key details into well-structured sentences with an engaging narrative. Cover letters are known to have more details than a resume. Be that as it may, they should still be less than a page long and able to tell your story with a defined purpose.

In your daily work communications

In many jobs, one of the very usual things is sending emails almost every day. 

When communicating to your colleagues via writing, it’s imperative that you put up effective written communication skills in order to come across as professional, credible, and friendly as possible. 

Your email should also bear specific information and spelled out instructions for any next steps required.

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In presentations and reports

Presentations and reports are among the occasions where you can showcase your writing abilities.

Here, you and your team can inform the rest of the company on what you have been working on, what you have achieved, and what your goals and future forecasts are. 

What makes a presentation or report great is the ability for everybody in the organization to understand it, even those who are in a different department.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I improve my written communication skills?

To improve your written communication skills, you are to do the following: Write daily, think in English, Ask for assistance from friends who are above you in writing, read a book on grammar

What is written communication?

Written Communication means the sending of messages, orders, or instructions in writing through letters, circulars, reports, manuals, telegrams, office memos, bulletins, et cetera.

What are the Top 3 Communication Skills for Workplace Success?

The Top 3 Communication Skills for Workplace Success include: Active listening, Awareness of Communication Styles, Persuasion

How can I communicate more effectively?

To communicate more effectively, you are to: Be an engaged listener, Be expressive as a person, Be attentive to nonverbal signs, Be in charge of your emotions, Choose language choices Intentionally

Conclusion

As you’ve seen here, building effective communication skills requires deliberate effort and we are sure that by conscientiously sticking to and practicing the information we relate to you here, you will be able to build effective communication skills and have them honed. See you at the top!

References

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