Written communication is a significant aspect of daily business communication – from emails to reporting, it all has to flow, be succinct, consider the reader, and reflect professionalism and competence. Although every organization has its preferred writing style, there are a few things that every employee should know about professional writing:
Even the most English-literate among us make mistakes from time to time – luckily there are several amazing software tools available, in addition to Microsoft Word’s built-in spelling and grammar proofing function. Mistakes in this area could look unprofessional, make the writer (and by extension, the organization) seem incompetent, and have in the past been responsible for costing companies a great deal of money (Read: How companies lost millions due to spelling mistakes and typos). We’re all in a hurry to meet deadlines or to reply to emails, but taking a few extra minutes to run communications through a spell-checker could make all the difference to the reader’s perception of your work or your ideas.
The previous point links closely with this one – before sending out a piece of work that will be seen by others inside or external to the business, it’s a good idea to have a second pair of eyes on your work. The best formula is to i) review your own writing in terms of spelling, grammar, formatting, consistency, and relevance; ii) ask a colleague or project manager to review your writing; iii) implement their feedback where relevant; iv) do one final check before finalizing and sending.
With emails, make sure to read through your message before adding the addresses of the intended recipients to avoid accidentally sending out something you might regret later.
Information overload is at the order of the day, so ensure that your communications remain on-topic, read easily, and are written concisely. Not only does this ensure that people will actually read what you’ve written, but it might also help to elicit the desired response or outcome from the reader.
Always direct communications at the level of the intended audience. Communication with a client might be different than communication with a colleague, and some people might understand your industry’s lingo, while others might feel overwhelmed or lost when they encounter unfamiliar jargon.
Each organization has their own rules about content formatting, the kinds of information that may be shared, whether disclaimers about intellectual property rights should be added to emails or documents, etc. If your organization doesn’t have communication rules in place, it might be a good idea to set up some guidelines to be followed by all employees to ensure that all communications and messaging are aligned, consistent, and reflect the values of the organization.
There is a lot more to business communication than these five guidelines, but if you were lost in translation, these guidelines might help you to get on track. Coggno selected the following online training courses to delve deeper into the world of business communication and ensure that your employees have the writing skills necessary to reflect professionalism and competence:
• Course 1: Business Writing Skills for Employees (HTML 5) Course by TrainingToday Marketplace
• Course 2: Business Writing for Supervisors and Managers (HTML 5) Course by TrainingToday Marketplace
• Course 3: Writing to Get Things Done by Vado Inc.
• Course 4: Business E-mail Etiquette Course by Enspark
• Course 5: Save Time with Better Email by Lion’s Share Online
“Good writing is clear thinking made visible.”
— William Wheeler