Have you ever stopped to think about just how much of your job involves writing?
If you give it some thought, you might be surprised by the answer.
Workplace communication has changed and for many of us writing fills a bigger part of our working lives than we realise – just consider how much of your day is spent on email.
Typically, we spend 11 hours of the working week on email, but the writing doesn’t stop there. Many of us will also need to write presentations, reports, memos, letters and notes.
The good news is that our writing skills can be improved.
The advertising tycoon David Ogilvy once said: “Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.”
Here are five reasons why you should improve your business writing.
Writing is more important than ever
When people think about workplace writing they tend to only consider the formal styles, like official reports, announcements and letters.
But you don’t need to have a writing role to do a lot of writing. Most of us, as we have already mentioned, will spend considerable amounts of our working lives writing emails, whether it is sending them to customers or co-workers.
Many workplaces also use instant messaging software and, of course, there is social media. Whether we like it or not, the modern worker is more likely to send a message than pick up the phone and there is a growing trend for modern workers to use written communication more than verbal.
And if you want this time to be spent wisely, you need to be able to write in a way which is persuasive, clear and concise.
Everything you write, whether it is an email, a memo, a short message or something more formal like a presentation or a report, will have an impact on how you are perceived.
It affects your personal brand.
If your writing skills are poor, sloppy or inconsistent you could lose credibility with those who read your work and lose opportunities.
Good writing, however, can make you appear confident and credible and can suggest a keen eye for detail.
We can probably all relate to being sent a report or perhaps an email which is long, wordy and has no obvious point or message.
If you’re anything like me, you will groan, or more likely swear, and put it to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list. And there are no guarantees from there that it will ever see the light of day again.
Good writing skills enable writers to instantly grab the attention of their audience. And this in turn means they will get their message across and their writing will have the desired impact.
Building a reputation for having good writing skills can make you an indispensable member of the team.
If word gets around that you are the go-to person for accuracy, persuasion and clarity then it will only enhance your reputation and your career and could see you being given more responsibility.
Writing is a sought-after soft skill and good writing skills will help you stand out from the crowd.
And the more people who write well, the less time an organisation will need to spend on subbing and changing written content.
Bad writing costs
There was a report a couple of years ago which suggested poor writing costs American businesses around $400 billion a year.
It argued workers are wasting large amounts of time trying to find the meaning in poor writing. The argument was particularly worrying when presented with the statistic that American workers spend 22 per cent of their work time reading.
And it makes sense. If you are spending time struggling to understand what someone means in their email, report or memo then you are not being productive. And ultimately your organisation’s processes are slowed.
Need help with your writing skills?
We are communications training specialists with a team of experienced trainers, each with decades of experience working as journalists. They are ideally placed to help you improve your writing and produce attention-grabbing content whatever the format.