It’s not surprising that I place high value on the ability to communicate well. I have completed four years of undergraduate English Lit, and two graduate creative writing seminars. Word nerds are not the only ones who believe writing can be a valuable skill. It will help you succeed in any career.
Many business executives and technologists believe that strong writing skills are crucial for success in any role, even technical. However, some experts say bad corporate writing can be a sign of deeper cultural and strategic problems with writing. Jeff Bezos made narrative longform writing the core of Amazon’s strategy planning.
Writing has been valued for its value and often overlooked, but it is more so in today’s world of hybrid work.
Respect is shown by clear writing.
Erica Dhawan recently explained the reasons in a section of her book Digital Body Language. This excerpt is featured on TED Ideas’ blog. The author outlines how clear writing can make it easier for employees to feel valued and heard, even when they are far away. This is in an age where more people rely on online communication and less on face-to-face interaction.
She insists that writing well is an important mark of respect. You show respect by taking time to form your words and showing that you care enough about the feelings and time of the receiver to avoid misinterpretations, vagueness and brusque language.
You don’t need to write like a snooty professor or never make an error that would cause your high school English teacher to reach for her red pen. A quick Slack message with three emojis and no capital letters can be well, or poorly, written. There is no one style that the standard should be. The standard is whether the words you use match what they are intended for.
Dhawan suggests that if you are the boss, you should be careful about writing down half-baked ideas. And when you do write them down, make sure you separate them from your real marching orders. Don’t be ashamed to clarify questions if you are not the boss. Clarifying questions are less awkward and more time-consuming than poor work products later.
However, a typo or omission can cause problems. Dhawan says that a lot of misinterpretations of emails are caused by a misspelled word or a misleading punctuation. The solution to this problem is easy: proofread all emails. Make it a point of pride to send clean, unambiguous communications.”
For writing that is instantly more effective, there are simple principles.
This was good advice in 2019, when nearly no one had heard of the term ‘coronavirus. Yes. Dhawan’s determination to pay attention to the art of writing is far more crucial now than ever, as many people rely so heavily on email, text messages and Slack.
Fear not if you are still unsure about your writing skills. Harvard’s Steven Pinker and other veteran writers have offered a handful of dead simple principles that, if you keep them in mind, will almost instantly improve your writing.
It is easy to make a piece more clear, clarify, or respectful by simply taking the time to read and select your words with care. Good writing is the first step in becoming a great writer. It’s time to stop working remotely.
Publiated at Wednesday, 4 Aug 2021 9:20:05 +0000