The way you write says a lot about you. Whether you are a college student, responsible for churning out a top-notch essay, or you are the one writing proposals for your Fortune-500 company, writing skills matter. If you want the material you draft to be engaging and understood by those reading it, it is necessary to write well. Thankfully, there are many options available to help you improve.
Why is Written Communication Important?
When others read what you have written, they draw conclusions. And if you have problems knowing when to use commas or your spelling is not what it should be, this can cost you, whether a job or a coworker’s respect. It can cause you to make an embarrassing mistake in an important email or contribute to lost readers of your online blog. Fortunately, there are many ways to tweak your writing skill and your knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and capitalization to become a better writer. We have a few suggestions to get you started.
Qualities of Effective Written Communication
There are five “Cs” of powerful writing:
- Connection: how well do you connect with your reader
- Clarity: how clearly do you get your point across
- Cause: why you have written the document someone is currently reading
- Conciseness: your ability to avoid rambling
- Correctness: how well you nailed the mechanics, such as spelling and punctuation
If you master these five Cs, you will be amazed at how well your writing is perceived. And it is not that difficult to become a better writer, regardless of where you begin. The key is to write more and write often. The more you practice your new skills, the more routine they will become. It is also helpful to find someone to edit your work, whether it is a tutor or a friend for whom writing has always come easy. You can even enter your passage into online editing software to get suggestions such as how to avoid passive sentences and how to use tricky punctuation like commas, semi-colons, and dashes.
How to Communicate Clearly
You may be wondering how to improve your writing skills or increase your effectiveness of written communication in business, and the answer is practice, practice, practice. And then practice some more. Find out where your trouble points are, and concentrate on fixing them in the following ways:
Strike the Fluff
A key skill to adopt in writing is learning how to avoid fluff. Fluff adds length to your passage and increases the word count, but it does not add information the reader needs. Good examples include phrases such as:
- The reason why is that (because)
- In spite of the fact that (although/though)
- In a hasty manner (quickly/hastily)
- The question as to whether (whether)
- Member of the student body (student)
Eliminating all instances of fluff in your writing process results in a passage that is easier to read. This means readers are less likely to get mired down in your word usage and more likely to make it to the end of what you have written.
Create an Outline
The second rule of thumb for improving your written communication skills includes planning what you want to say before you write it down. Outlines are your best friend when it comes to crafting long articles or essays. Before you ever put pen to paper or your fingers on the keyboard, make sure to have your main idea in mind. Your main idea comes first and afterward come your supporting details.
Avoid Overly Passive Writing
Be succinct. This usually means using the fewest words to get your point across. Instead of writing, “the car was bought by Jake,” say, “Jake bought the car.” The former is an example of passive writing that drives editors (and English professors) crazy. It makes your writing more difficult to read, as well. Ideally, it is good to have a balanced mix of active and passive writing, especially in creative writing. But a balanced mix always means less passive, and more active.
Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Writing Skills
The number-one, most important way to become a better writer is to write and write often. After you write, read back over your paragraph and edit it. Fix any mistakes you find. If you are writing content that is important to your work or that will be published for the public, enlist a second set of eyes before you release it into the wild. The spelling should be perfect. Punctuation should be spot-on, and you should have a solid grasp of grammar. Other suggestions include:
- Running your work through an online editor such as Grammarly
- Enlisting the help of a tutor, especially for academic writing
- Taking a continuing education class in English writing
- Making entries in a blog or journal in your spare time
- Joining an online critique group
- Taking advantage of other resources nearby, such as a writing or tutoring center
Need Help? Reach Out to the Post Writing Center
Students at Post University in Waterbury, CT, have an ideal resource in the Post Writing Center. The Post Writing Center is part of the Center for Academic Success. There are several ways for students to get help with grammar, writing strategies, and more. Contact the Post Writing Center to learn how our service can help you level up your writing.
If you are interested in pursuing your degree at Post University, there is a whole world of resources waiting for you to explore. Contact an admissions advisor today to apply, or take a virtual tour of our scenic campus online. You may also use the convenient, online contact form to request more information on all Post University has to offer new students.
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