Writing Skills

Writing is the best way to communicate, and oftentimes the only way to get your message across.

Write With Necessary Caution

When writing, be mindful of the fact that once something is in written form, it cannot be taken back. Communicating in this way is more concrete than verbal communications, with less room for error and even less room for mistakes. This presents written communicators with new challenges, including spelling, grammar, punctuation, even writing style and actual wording.

The Importance of “Style” – Some of the most basic tips to remember when writing include:

  • Avoid the use of slang words;
  • Try not to use abbreviations (unless appropriately defined);
  • Steer away from the use of symbols (such as @, /, &);
  • Cliches should be avoided, or at the very least, used with caution;
  • Brackets are used to play down words or phrases;
  • Dashes are generally used for emphasis;
  • Great care should ALWAYS be taken to spell the names of people and companies correctly;
  • Numbers should be expressed as words when the number is less than 10 or is used to start a sentence (example: Ten years ago, my brother and I…);
  • Quotation marks should be placed around any directly quoted speech or text and around titles of publications;
  • Keep sentences short.

Letter Writing Hints

When writing letters, it is best to address the letter to an individual. When beginning the letter with a personal name, be sure to end it with an appropriate closing, such as “Sincerely yours”. If you cannot obtain an individual’s name, consider ending it with a more generic (less personal) closing, such as “With kindest regards”.

For normal business letters, your letter should start with an overall summary, showing in the first paragraph why the letter is relevant to the reader. It’s not a good practice to make the reader go past the first paragraph to find out why the letter was sent to them.

The body of the letter needs to explain the reason for the correspondence, including any relevant background and current information. Make sure the information flows logically, ensuring you are making your points effectively.

The closing of the letter is the final impression you leave the reader. End with an action point, such as “I will call you later this week to discuss this further”.

The Importance of Careful Proofing

  • The most important thing to remember when writing a letter, memo, proposal is to check it thoroughly when it is completed. Read it at least one more time – even when you think it is exactly what you want.
  • Use both the grammar and spell check on your computer – paying very close attention to every word highlighted. You should also have both a printed dictionary and thesaurus nearby to double-check everything your computers editing tools highlight, as these tools are certainly not always reliable, for a variety of reasons.
  • When checking your written communications, make sure the document is clear and concise. Is there anything in the communication that could be misinterpreted? Does it raise unanswered questions or fail to make the point you need to get across?
  • Can you cut down on the number of words used? You do not want to waste the reader’s time with unnecessary words or phrase;
  • Is your written communication well organized? Make sure your written communications are easy to read and contain the necessary information, using facts where needed and avoiding information that is not relevant.
  • Close appropriately, making sure to include your contact information.  This is sometimes overlooked and can make your written communications looks amateurish and thus can diminish your chances of meeting your written communication’s goals.

Read more @ http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/WritingSkills.htm

Comments are closed.