Several years ago, I wrote a paper for school where I was supposed to convey a message. I felt like this would be an easy assignment because I had great writing skills, or so I thought… I got done with the paper and felt like I had done a great job. My thoughts changed, however, once I received it back from my teacher. After writing the paper, I realized that I had a long ways to go to improve my writing skills. My teacher read my paper and marked up many places where I had made small grammatical errors or other mistakes. Luckily that was at the beginning of the semester and my writing skills improved by the end of the semester. During that semester, my teacher taught me a lesson about the importance of having great writing skills.
In leadership and business, writing skills are very important. When you have strong writing skills, you are able to effectively communicate your message to your intended audience whether that is the board of directors, stockholders, employees, or anyone else.
Two Steps To Improve Your Writing Skills
Writing skills are essential for communicating in a professional environment. There are two steps you can take to improve your writing skills with little effort.
Make an Outline
Before you write any type of communication, you can organize your thoughts by writing an outline. When you write your outline, start out by putting everything down on paper. On first pass you don’t need to worry about misspellings because you are only creating an outline. Your outline can include the major points you are trying to make as well as any applicable sub-points. If you are writing a long document, you can get very detailed in your outline, whereas when writing a small document additional detail may not be necessary.
The outline will be very useful when writing your document because it will provide a framework for all your writing. It will help to answer questions like, “Why am I writing this? What message am I trying to convey? What points am I trying to make?” Answering these questions will improve your writing skills by helping you more effectively connect with your audience. Overall, the outline will guide you, so you can write effectively and concisely.
Proofread your writing
Proofreading your written communication is extremely important. When you proofread what you have written, you can correct small and large errors that you may have overlooked as you wrote the document.
There are many techniques that people use to proofread their work. Some people write the document, email, or other form of written communication in one font and text size and then enlarge it and change the font so it doesn’t look the same. By doing that, the mistakes stand out more. Others read their writing very slowly to catch any errors they may have made. The key to effective proofreading is to find and use a style that works for you. Remember to ALWAYS proofread before completing your written communication. The little effort to proofread will go a long way.
I can’t tell you how many times I have received emails, letters, or other forms of written communication that contained misspellings, incorrect sentence structure, or grammatical errors. The creator of the written communication had good writing skills, but they were in a hurry and failed to either outline their writing or proofread what they had written.
As you practice writing an outline and proofreading your documents, your writing skills will drastically improve with little effort. Have you seen these techniques improve your writing skills? What were the most notable improvements? What other suggestions do you have for improving your writing skills? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!