Are Your Employees Prepared to Write?
This may appear to be a silly question, but it is critical to the success and image of your business.
Our society has drifted from writing fully formed sentences in multiple paragraphs to texting partial thoughts using shorthand versions of common words and phrases. It might work informally among friends, but your stakeholders expect more. They expect your written communications to be clear, concise, grammatically correct and easily understood. Seems fair? Right or is it Write?
Research indicates that many current and potential employees have poor writing skills. You probably already know it. Where do you go from here? In the interviewing process you could screen for written communications skills. Check with an attorney to make sure your process is fair and not discriminatory.
Becoming an effective writer takes time. Be patient, but unrelenting until they master the skill. For those workers that need a little help, we share the following tips:
- Practice. Practice. Practice.
- Assign your employees two simple tasks – write a one-page report and draft an email to a customer.
- Provide comments in red pencil and ask them to revise. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
- Business correspondence is not about writing a novel.
- Proof read out loud. It helps to detect mistakes, comma usage, incomplete thoughts and awkward wording. Edit and revise.
- If you detect a common weakness in written work, consider hiring a communications instructor to provide your team with additional training.
Basic rules for business communications include:
- First paragraph indicates why you are writing
- One page
- Formatting should be visually appealing to the reader
- Don’t use big words when smaller ones will work
- Tighten your writing. Don’t make your reader wade through unnecessary words.
- Avoid the word “I”. Instead use “we”
- No excuse for misspelled words. Use spell check
- Grammatically correct
- Avoid run-on sentences
- Create another paragraph when a new point or topic is introduced.
- Use correct subject/verb agreement and tense