Writing is a useful skill in just about any position, but it’s one that few professionals feel confident with.
Without realizing it, most of us do a lot of writing in a day. It could be as simple as emails or social media posts, or it could an essential part of your work. Many professionals are required to write proposals, strategy outlines and technical writing projects. It’s a skill employers value highly and one many professionals struggle with. If you feel your writing has room to improve, have a look at some tips for becoming a better writer at work.
Know your purpose.
Before you write a single word, ask yourself “why am I writing?” It might seem like a simple question but actually give it some thought. What is your purpose of writing this? To inform a situation? To introduce a new idea? To provide a guide? Know your purpose and the content will come much easier.
Know your message.
Regardless of what you are writing, the whole thing should be able to be distilled into a short, succinct message. Certainly, there’s a lot of important information that can back-up your message, but you need to know what the main takeaway is. When the reader is done, what should stick out in their mind? Keep it simple, concise and clear.
Know your audience.
As with giving a presentation, your audience will inform a lot about the content you write. Your message needs to be tailored to your specific audience. Don’t look at the content from the perspective of the writer, but rather as the audience who will read it. This will dictate the tone you use, the technical jargon and the structure in which it is delivered, among many other things.
Cut the fat.
When you read your first draft, even the most experienced writers will cringe. That’s okay. Now that you have your ideas out, you can start to edit them down. A good practice is to attempt to use as few words as possible while achieving the same message. Cut out the unnecessary bits so you are left with a lean and straight forward piece of content.
Read it aloud.
Readability is essential for the success of your writing. You might have all the right information laid out, but if the reader is having a difficult time reading the content, the message will be lost. A good trick is to read the piece aloud to yourself. And I do mean aloud. Hear the words you’ve written. This will help identify those awkward sentences and unclear ideas. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes to understand the accessibility of your writing.
Like most any skills, putting in the necessary time and effort will make you a better writer. As your skills develop and strengthen, you’ll find it comes more naturally. It’s a very helpful skill to have so take it seriously and keep it sharp.