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Importance of Written Communication Skills

In today’s workplace, email is the most widely used form of communication with most people reading and writing an average of 123 emails per day according to Forbes. It’s clear that non-verbal communication such as emails, online tools like Slack, and texts are only going to become even more prevalent as future technology driven generations move in to the workforce.  The outcome of this is that our written communication skills are becoming increasingly impactful and how well or how poorly you communicate in this manner can have a profound impact on your career.  So it’s imperative to consider factors such as relevance, length of communication, tone, language, and response time when communicating non-verbally.

As the age-old saying goes: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” One of the major disadvantages of non-verbal communication is that the person on the receiving end can’t hear the tone of your voice, read your body language or see what your facial expressions are.   Remember too that sarcasm or a dry sense of humor are not as easily conveyed non-verbally so be careful trying to interject that in to your professional communications.   Miscommunication in some cases can upset or offend the recipient unintentionally. Make sure your work communication conveys a professional tone and steer away from being too casual unless you know the recipient very well and what their sense of humor and personality is like. Another key to effective communication is to keep you emails clear and concise.  Especially in the world we live in today, people’s attention span is more limited than ever and you can almost always assume that 75% of the time the recipient will be reading the message on their phone. Lengthy communications have a tendency to be discarded or over looked when the recipient is reading on the go. Simply put, keep your emails concise and to the point. If you have a lot of really important information to share, this is the time to pick up the phone or set an in person meeting instead of writing it out in an email.

One tip to being a strong writer is to write for the reader. Always have your spelling/grammar check on and proof your email before hitting send.  I’m sure everyone reading this has sent something without proofing it and then realized that there was a word in the message that although it was spelled correctly it was not used in the context they intended.  Being a strong writer with the ability to communicate your ideas effectively, make counter-points without offending and relay information in a concise and professional manner will undoubtedly position you for accelerated career growth.

If you feel like you could use some help in this area there are a lot of resources available. Many are even free and online such as LinkedIn’s business writing course below.

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