You could say being an excellent writer and communicator has never been so important.
When it comes to the modern workplace just think of all the in-depth reports, sales proposals, marketing materials, user manuals, and presentations that need to be delivered across every sector.
Not to mention social media posting where one wrong turn of phrase can cause you real problems!
Put simply, you are going to struggle at work if you cannot get your message across accurately and effectively with the written word.
Why words are power
Each bit of original content has a motive. A well-written business proposal lures in investors. Clear, concise and persuasive emails can impress potential clients and customers. Well-crafted reports can delight your boss.
Leading jobs website Career Addict puts it this way: “When it comes to surviving and thriving in the cut-throat business world, professional courtesy can take you a long way. You may not think that people notice, but your colleagues will appreciate that you took the time to compose cordial, well-written, and error-free text.”
In today’s corporate environment – where face-to-face interactions are being phased out by Slack meetings, emails, and Zoom calls – showing courtesy through your writing can help you build strong relationships with your colleagues, clients, and managers. That’s why global employers place such a high value on sharp writing skills.
Indeed, spelling and grammatical mistakes are among the top reasons a job applicant's resume gets deleted. Even before you start your career, a nicely worded university application can give you a real edge over those with typos and bad sentence structure.
Assess your own writing level
If you feel your writing abilities need work, the first thing to do is properly assess them. Try using an online program like Grammarly to review your work and identify trouble spots. It checks up to 250 elements of grammar in any text and will point out punctuation issues, poor sentence structure and contextual spelling errors, and even help build your vocabulary.
You can also test your writing with a feature that’s built into Microsoft Word – the readability tool. Simply go to the File menu, select Options, then Proofing and check the boxes beside “Check grammar with spelling” and “Show readability statistics.”
Read as much as possible
If you really want to improve your writing skills, you need to read more! The Kingdom has a wealth of globally revered writers to enjoy.
Get inspired by “Creative Saudi’s”, a list compiled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to celebrate the works of Saudi writers, poets, and artists.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading news pieces, educational content, non-fiction or fiction – the activity will give you an appreciation for quality writing.
Also look for leading online blogs that use a professional writing style, or websites that cover business and current affairs. Read newspapers, read magazines, read interesting reports.
As you consume more quality writing each day, you’ll soon develop an ear for what reads well – and what doesn’t!
Get support from other people
A great idea for boosting your writing skills is to seek out writing workshops in your area, or join online professional writing groups. These communities will encourage you to share your writing with others and get critical feedback – you’ll also see where other people are having difficulty.
Try writing a short essay for your family and friends to read. Ask them to give you their thoughts and opinions on your style. Ask what they liked and what they didn’t understand. Let’s face it, no-one is better at giving unfiltered opinions than our loved ones!
Another good exercise is to critically assess emails or written correspondence you receive. What was the impact on you of the message? How did the tone come across? Did the writer leave out important information? The more you develop these critical skills the easier it will be to see your own weaknesses.
Top tips to start improving your writing today
Improving how you write can start immediately if you follow a few expert tips:
- Make use of wide vocabulary
It’s easy to find yourself repeating some words – this is common. However, using fillers and duplicating words throughout a document will annoy your readers. Try to use a varied vocabulary, synonyms, and antonyms to make the content fresh, effective, and readable.
- Write for your audience but know your own voice
This applies to everyone whose job role requires business writing skills. Whether you’re writing a report or drafting an email, having a strong understanding of your personal style as well as your target audience will help you tailor your wording accordingly. For example, an email to the CEO of a big company should sound different from one to a familiar office colleague.
And THE most important tip…
- Edit and proofread!
How many times have people hit send on an email only to regret it later? The first draft is never perfect. Every writer needs to edit and proofread their content. Do a spellcheck, grammar check, and sense check. Then read the whole thing through again – and again.