Basic Writing Skills Are Essential
Copyright © Craig Warren
Why Basic Writing Skills are Essential for Your Business
Few organizations exist in order to communicate. Most have
another purpose…to sell a product or service, to supply
a social need , to implement plans and policies. Yet to do
those things, organizations spend an enormous amount of
time, energy and money communicating.
People in organizations communicate in many ways :
face-to-face in two person discussions, in informal groups,
in meetings, by email, in old-fashioned letters or memos
and in reports.
All of these methods are verbal communications, or
communications that uses words. Nonverbal communication
does not use words . Pictures, computer graphics and
company logos are examples of non – verbal communications.
Interpersonal nonverbal signals including smiles, who sits
where at a meeting, the size, location and window access
of an office and how long someone keeps a visitor waiting.
Studies have found that people generally spend 70 to 85 %
of their work time deliberately communicating, writing,
reading, speaking and listening. Often most of an
executive’s day is spent in communication modes.
Your technical skill whether it be in accounting, marketing,
sales or computer technology may get you your first job.
The ability to speak and write effectively may help you keep
it as well as prosper. A major study showed that the inability
to write was a major reason that accounts were fired As you
rise in an organization, technical skills matter less and
more general skills including the ability to write and speak
will determine how fast and far you go.
Most students understand the importance of effective oral
communication skills. But some are not convinced that they
need to be able to write well to succeed professionally.
They may think that a secretary or technical writer will
do their writing, or think that they can use form letters
if they have to write. Each of these claims has fundamental
flaws in their logic.
Today, many workers in business and government still have
their letters, memos and reports typed on a computer by
However this situation is changing rapidly as more and more
business’s realize the economy and simplicity of the
prevalence and standardization of computerized office
You may be lucky to still have someone else type out your
letters. However this is not going to last long. And the
best secretary, cannot compensate for fundamental errors
in organization, logic, audience, analysis or tone.
Sometimes you may finish a letter after five o’clock.
Sometimes you may need to work on weekends or be ” on
the road “. You will most likely need to put the
finishing touches on a report that is due at 9 a.m.
Monday. The ability to write well makes you much more
independent and versatile.
You may think that you can use form letters that are
widely available for the office software packages.
A form letter is a pre-written fill-in-the-blank setup
designed to fit standard situations. The writer can
personalize a form letter or report by having it
individually filled out with the recipients.
Using a form letter is Ok but some of those available
are dreadful and will leave a very bad impression
of you .
Even good form letters cover only routine situations.
The higher you rise in your organization, the more
frequently you will face situations that are not
routine and demand creative and more specific
solutions. If you develop the skills necessary for
good writing and original thinking, you are far more
likely to realize your potential and reach your career
Many people in business and government routinely write
from 10 pages of letters and memos a week and in some
cases it not uncommon for 20 to 35 pages a day. Most
people find speaking easier than writing. The phone is
faster and usually cheaper than a letter or memo.
Email is of course is among the cheapest means to
communicate both in time spent in delivery,
effectiveness and cost.
People in organizations put things in writing, rather
than depend exclusively on oral communication to create
a record, to convey complex data, to make a message
to multiple recipients succinctly, efficiently and
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