The 5 Best Ways To Improve Your Written Communication


Do you envy a colleague who can effortlessly fire off an email that’s well-written and well-received?

The good news is that great communicators aren’t born; they’re made through deliberate practice. And that practice is worth it: your ability to communicate effectively helps you connect to others, enhances your relationships, builds trust, and paves the way for career success by bridging gaps between you and your clients, colleagues, and partners.

Here are five tips to improve your written communication:

1. Keep it simple

Written communication is rife with unnecessary complexity. Maximize the power of your words by simplifying them.

Clarity is the foundation for effective communication. When you’re not clear or use industry acronyms and buzzwords, you’ll force others to do the difficult work of guessing your intended message. As a result, they’ll most likely get it wrong or be left scratching their heads. And when you confuse people, you’ll lose people.

But when you’re clear, everything becomes easier. People understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, how you can help them, and how they can assist you. Clarity helps others know, like, and trust you. Swap jargon for plain language to increase the odds of your message being received and understood.

2. Aim for concise

If every email you send includes a “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read) summary, you’ve got some work to do. Meandering signals that you’re unorganized and unsure. Worse, you’ll lose your audience’s attention—and the opportunity to communicate.

When preparing a piece, think concise and compelling. It becomes unnecessarily complex when you try to cover too much ground in your communication. A good rule of thumb is that each piece of written communication should have one clear takeaway. This forces you to get specific about and home in on your message. Instead, when you want to deliver a message, make brevity your friend by eliminating extraneous material and getting to the point.

3. Consider your audience

Communication is only effective if your audience receives your intended message, so remember this golden rule of communication: it’s not about you.

Far too often, we assume that everyone communicates the same way we do, forgetting that our intended audiences may not live and breathe in our business world. Also, consider that even two members of the same team may require a slightly different message tailored to the individual. So, before you fire off that email, take a beat to put yourself in your audience’s shoes, consider their wants and needs, and adjust your communications accordingly.

4. Choose your words wisely

Your word choice sets the tone and elicits an emotional response, two things critical for effective communication.

Consider writing the way you speak for the most natural communication style, especially in non-technical formats. Incorporating your everyday language into your repertoire opens you up to a more descriptive, interesting lexicon that allows you to infuse a bit of personality into your writing, capturing your audience’s attention and ensuring that your message will be more memorable.

Remember, too, that how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate. Action-oriented language conveys a strong, clear tone and propels people to do something rather than remain idle. Where possible, minimize passive language and use active voice to add more power and intention to your words.

5. Proofread before sending

Ever sent a message only to realize later it was full of typos? Ugh. Mistakes happen, but if they’re more the norm than the exception for you, they’ll weaken your ability to communicate.

Protect yourself against communication mishaps by proofreading. Before you post, use online tools like Grammarly to review and improve your writing, or enlist the help of an editor to put your best foot forward.

But be forewarned: even if everything is grammatically correct and contains no misspellings, you could still have problems with using the wrong word (writing “pubic” when you meant “public,” for instance). So to stave off those embarrassments and catch any unintended word choices, read your written communication out loud before hitting the send button.



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