Professional communication is an essential aspect of most careers, from communicating with clients or coworkers to writing company reports for your employer. Even if your job doesn’t explicitly require it, professional writing skills are an incredibly valuable tool to have.
With that, here are eight tips that can help you improve your writing skills, regardless of your current position.
1. Make Sure Your Information Is Accurate
Regardless of what you’re writing, credibility is a crucial component that can only be sustained by providing accurate information. As such, you should always gather your research from sites you can actually trust, like those managed by government agencies (.gov) or educational institutions (.edu). Always do your own fact-checking before going to cite another source or study in your writing. Stay away from regular websites that are not managed by institutions, as they often have incomplete or incorrect information.
2. Keep It Brief
While I don’t mean you should only focus on making your writing as short as possible, even at the cost of its information, you need to keep mind that everyone leads busy lives. No matter who you’re writing for, the best way to catch and keep people’s attention is by making your writing brief and to the point. Not only will shorter paragraphs and sentences make your text easier to read, but you can draw more attention to your main points by adding them to the start. As for longer documents, remember to use headings and formatting tools (like italics and bold font) to emphasize key ideas – within reason, of course.
3. Find Parts that Might Confuse Your Audience
After getting through a draft or version of your writing, it’s a good idea to take a step back so you can find any flaws that you may not have seen earlier. Make it a practice to reread what you wrote from the perspective of the audience. If you having trouble following along, you might need to add some transitional phrases or use better sequencing. If there are confusing or vague phrases in your writing, you’ll want to use more precise words/descriptions to express your thoughts. Always check your work to make it as clear as possible before submitting it or sending it to someone.
4. Find Tools Online to Improve Your Writing
The internet is your best friend when it comes to developing your skills, and professional writing is no exception. There are plenty of tools out there to help you improve your writing. One tool I use frequently is Grammarly, which helps me with my grammar and spelling in almost everything I type online. Of course, there are also many writing guides for anything from an informative article to an email that you can find with a simple Google search. I recommend checking State Of Writing for their helpful guides.
5. Don’t Leave Out Any Details
This is especially important when you have to send emails to coworkers or clients. If you leave them in the dark when it comes to details, they’ll have to ask you to clarify with more information. This leaves a bad impression – your work is not much use when it is unclear. Not only that, but your audience will be confused and not understand your main points as clearly if you leave out information.
6. Be Mindful of Tone
The tone of your writing can greatly impact how your readers receive it, just as it affects how others perceive you when you talk to them in person. A negative, unfriendly, or disrespectful tone is easy for others to see, and it puts your writing in a bad light. Always use a friendly and inviting tone that will engage your readers and leave them with a better impression of you and your writing.
7. Always Gauge the Situation
This might be a bit counter-intuitive, but it is important to recognize when a written message isn’t the right approach. At times, phone or video calls are better when trying to get in touch with someone. Other times, you might have a message more appropriate for an in-person meeting (which I would not recommend for a while). In any case, whenever you plan on writing to someone, think about whether that is the best way to deliver the message.
8. Constantly Proofread and Edit Your Work
You might be rolling your eyes here, but you wouldn’t believe how often professionals forget to do this. By frequently proofreading and editing your writing, you’ll guarantee that there aren’t any mistakes in it before you send it. This saves you from a lot of embarrassment down the line. Keep in mind you can’t just breeze your paper a few times – you need to carefully read through it several times. You also shouldn’t rely on tools like spellcheck, since they won’t catch everything.
Using these tips, you can give a strong impression on your boss, coworkers, or clients with your writing. I highly recommend searching for other writing guides online, as there are many more steps to writing more professionally that are out there.