Between Writing Skills and Talent.
Talents are intrinsic, and are developed
through usage and application. Skills are teachable and can be learned.
While writing skills are not usually spelled out in job descriptions,
it is assumed that you have that skill.
two most useful subjects in school are English Composition and Plain
English Writing. [Note: Business English is now dated and not
recommended in contemporary correspondence.] It is through these
subjects that you learn effective writing skills, which you will apply
in every area of both your business and personal life. No other skill
is called for across such a wide spectrum of activities.
will, at different times, be called upon to write letters, proposals,
sales literature, short and long letters on complaints, requests,
acknowledgments, and so on.
How Do You Apply Writing Skills To
primary step in developing writing skills is to organize Your
Regardless of what you're writing about and what
form the written document takes, you need to clearly decide what
information you want to express. How do you achieve this?
Make a list of all the topics you need
to include. Use brief leading headers for this.
Arrange them in order of declining
importance. Make brief annotations if this will be helpful. Usually,
this is not necessary unless the correspondence is long and complicated.
In your first paragraph, summarize the
Amply the contents of the first
paragraph. Do not introduce new topics here. Confine yourself to each
item listed in step 1. Also, do not assume the recipient is familiar
with whatever you're referring to unless this is a follow-up
In your closing text, clearly describe
any action that needs to be taken by the recipient, or any that you
plan to initiate or expand.
Writing skills, as stated earlier, are
learned. For effective writing, certain guidelines must be followed.
Write for your recipient. Use simple
words. Most people are familiar with only about 3000 words of the
several hundred thousands the English language composes of. Using long
uncommon words or foreign phrases will not impress, but frustrate your
Be concise. Most people have to handle
several tasks simultaneously, and are not receptive to unnecessary
information. When I acknowledge anything through an email, my usual
choice is confined to - 'thanks' and 'done'; or Noted. Will do by
use the active voice. It generates
shorter and more powerful sentences. In active voice, the subject
should come first, the object after.
Avoid verbosity - unnecessary or empty
words. It is no use using 20 words to express something that could be
done in 8.
Watch your grammar. Also, have a
dictionary and a thesaurus on hand. There are so many online resources
for these that a hard copy is hardly necessary unless you choose to
Do not use cant or jargon your
recipient may not understand. Usually, if your recipient is not versed
in the same field as you are, use common words or explain jargon in
parenthesis. Unfortunately you will find that advocates and solicitors
break this important rule with impunity.
Avoid redundancy...which is repetition
or a using a sting of synonyms or adjectives.
Cliches are not chic. They come across
as contrived and affected.
Edit and Proofread.
Editing and proofreading are most important for
effective writing. No, the spell check or grammar check tools included
with most word processors are not enough, and rarely do the job
well. If time allows, proofread your writing later, or even
better, the day after. This is because you read with your mind, not
your eyes, and the mind reads in whole words. See overview for more
information on editing and proofreading.
Writing Skills |
Effective Writing Skills Summary
Compose an outline, listing each
thought you plan to express
Arrange them in order -- in declining
Collect information to substantiate
what you plan to say.
Request comments from others who are
involved in the project you're discussing, to include in your document
In your first paragraph write a brief
summary of your document.
Expand on each item listed.
In your last paragraph spell out
Proofread your document
us here if you need to outsource your editing jobs.