Good communication is vital for success in today’s workplace. It allows people to work together, solve problems and get things done – quickly and easily. It bonds and motivates teams, increases morale and boosts creativity. And in the digital age, 80% of communication is written. That makes great writing skills a must for any ambitious professional.
Just about every single one of us has to write as part of our job, but very few have received adequate training for it – or any training at all! The good news is, anyone can learn to write well, and that most certainly includes you. Brushing up this vital skill and your ability to craft clear and persuasive messages will give you a powerful advantage at work.
In fact, HR Managers consistently rank strong written communication in the top three most desired attributes in potential hires.
Here are some red flags that indicate it may be time to invest in honing your writing skills for the sake of your career.
Are you spending too much time writing?
Many of our students join our courses because they’re frustrated by how long it takes them to draft and re-draft their work. Time is our most precious asset, so savvy professionals know it’s vital to avoid wasting it.
When we asked our students why they were spending so long on writing tasks, these were the most common answers:
- I worry about making mistakes
- I’m scared of accidentally upsetting or offending people
- I want to make sure I sound smart and professional
- It takes me a long time to figure out what I want to say
- I dread writing anything because I know I’m not good at it
As you can see, much of their time was spent worrying, rather than writing.
Now a little time and concern are not always a bad thing. For example, an hour spent carefully crafting a high-stakes message designed to change behaviour, expose a problem or win over an important client, is an hour well spent.
But if you find yourself spending an hour writing and re-writing a straightforward email for any of the reasons above, it may be time to work on your writing skills. With the proper training, you can learn to hammer out clear and powerful messages, confidently and quickly!
Are your ideas going unheard?
Have you ever felt like your boss doesn’t hear your ideas? Like you’re repeatedly making suggestions that never get taken up by the company? That you send out emails and they just disappear into the ether? It can feel like banging your head against a brick wall.
It may well be down to your writing skills. As Kara Blackburn, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management says,
“You can have all the great ideas in the world but if you can’t communicate, nobody will hear them.”
There are many tricks and tips professional communicators use to cut through the noise and get their message read, absorbed and acted on. Once you learn to communicate your ideas powerfully, people will pay attention. With the right writing toolkit, you’ll never feel unheard again.
Are you upsetting colleagues or customers without meaning to?
Misunderstandings break relationships. And if your role involves building and maintaining relations (and almost every role does), great writing skills are vital for your success.
Several of our students have reported misunderstandings with important colleagues and customers that caused considerable stress. They’re aware there’s a risk of their words being taken the wrong way. They just don’t know what to do about it.
And it’s no surprise. Not only have most people never been taught how to handle difficult communications well, many of the rules they were taught are actually working against them. For example, many professionals believe they need to use a formal tone in their writing, but in fact this can create a disconnect with the reader.
The right words can repair all kinds of damage. The wrong words can break bonds that took years of hard work to form.
Are you getting overlooked for promotions?
It could be your writing! People make judgements about you based on the way you write. If you writing is scattered and unclear, they will assume your thinking is too.
By developing your writing skills and learning to craft clear, concise and powerful messages, you will not only achieve bigger and better results at work but you’ll boost your reputation. In fact, we believe improving your writing skills is the single most impactful thing you can do to boost your career and become indispensable to your company.
We’re always excited to see this in action with our own students. First their confidence grows, then the results start to roll in – new clients, better contracts and more influence.
Writing skills will help you get ahead in your career and forge a bigger brighter future.