There was a time when people used to think that only journalists and digital marketers must have excellent writing skills. But now, thanks to the growing importance of communication, you require effective writing skills in almost every industry and for every job.
Don’t you agree? Think of the reports, sales proposals, marketing copies, user manuals presentations you have to draft regularly as a part of your work responsibilities. And, of course, how can we forget the very first step to applying for a job: a resume or CV.
There’s no doubt that how well you have written your CV decides your future for that job role. A precise, neat, and engaging resume that highlights the milestones of your career, capabilities, and achievements grabs the attention of the recruiter within seconds.
Once you start work, every day at the office starts with writing as we are required to send emails to peers, managers, and clients. And that’s when your writing skills come in handy. So, let’s understand the basics of writing skills.
What are writing skills?
Writing is the art of expressing our views, ideas, and thoughts. Though writing seems easy while thinking about it, many times, it results in unorganized and scattered pieces of information on paper. This often creates confusion or sends a wrong message.
Effective writing can be a daunting task as it demands much more than mere correct grammar. You need to gain knowledge about sentence structure, develop your vocabulary, and build other basic writing skills.
Importance of developing writing skills
Good writing skills are essential for success in the workplace. Whether it’s emails, project reports, or sales proposals, content full of typos, grammatical errors, and poorly constructed sentences suggests a similar attitude towards work.
Thus, along with improving communication, understanding the significance of writing skills can also influence how you are perceived at the workplace in terms of:
- Being Professional: With effective writing skills, your message can be understood by your peers in a better way. Writing clear messages makes it easier for others to understand your ideas and thoughts.
- Proving your ability at the workplace: Whether your job requires a lot of writing or not, people may remember even a few grammatical errors and spelling mistakes from your content. And these minor mistakes may make you seem less capable at the workplace.
- Boosting professional confidence: Each content piece has a motive. A well-written business proposal entices investors and probable partners. Clear and to-the-point emails can further impress possible buyers. And your well-crafted reports will fascinate your manager.
Every time, when with your impressive written communication, you create another happily and successfully finished project, you grow more confident, positive, established, and inspired.
Five important writing skills you should have
Now that you have understood the importance of writing skills, let’s look at the important writing skills every professional must develop.
- Strong grammar skills: It happens to most of us. You have a great idea that popped up in your mind. But just because of a poor grasp of spelling or grammar skills, you may fail to express your ideas and convey the message convincingly and correctly. Try to use auto spell-checkers to aid with correct grammar and spelling usage.
- Research: While writing reports or creating marketing copy or proposals, you may come across a topic you don’t know much about. Your ability to research, find suitable information, and pick up only relevant information quickly plays a crucial role in creating effective reports and other written business communication.
- Technical writing skills: If your job entails working on instructional and supportive documents for technology-related tasks, having dependable technical writing skills becomes essential. These skills are necessary to convey complex technical information in a user-friendly manner.
- Think of user manuals as an example. If your work involves getting feedback or creating FAQs, charts, and training documents, then you must focus on learning technical writing skills. Along with strong communication skills, your writing skills, and command over vocabulary and grammar should be exceptional.
- Collaboration and communication: Writing is an art. And art often seeks collaboration to explore ideas, express your thoughts, and convey a message through writing. Thus, whether it’s creative writing or business writing, you must be able to work effectively in a team.
- Assessment skills and active listening can lead you toward building a positive rapport with your customers and colleagues.
- Word Processing Software: Most employers nowadays require using certain word processing programs, collaboration apps, and file-sharing services. Find out the popular apps and software and try to get a hold of their working and features.
- The more you know how to use these platforms, the more convenience you can bring to your daily tasks at the office.
Important steps for writing
One cannot create a presentable copy just by developing creative writing skills and fine vocabulary. Here are some common and important writing steps that will ensure you create effective content every time.
- Research: Whether you are writing a project report, sales proposal, or creating marketing copy, research as much as possible. Think from your reader’s perspective and note all relevant information, ideas, and thoughts.
- Organizing content: The next step is organizing your ideas and relevant information in the proper sequence. Or in other words, create a draft or outline you further want to elaborate on. Outlining helps you in writing a long piece of content by fixing the proper flow and breaking information into paragraphs to make it more meaningful and effective.
- Writing: Now is the actual time of writing. Always use direct language and choose words suitable to the objective of your document. The division of paragraphs, headings or subtitles, and relevant statistics can make it easier for readers to understand.
- Editing and proofreading: Once you have finished writing a report or drafting an email, it’s time to edit, format, and proofread for spelling, grammar, and sentence and paragraph structure. Remember, your readers may take simple grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes as signs of negligence towards your work.
How to improve writing skills
- Make use of wide vocabulary: While you are practicing your writing skills, you will find yourself repeating some words. You are not alone. Almost every writer has their own favorite words, which they like to use often. However, using fillers and repeating words throughout the document will annoy your readers. Instead, make use of varied vocabulary, synonyms, and antonyms to make the content fresh, effective, and readable.
- Write for your audience: This applies to everyone whose job role requires business writing skills. Whether you are writing a blog or drafting an email to your client, having a strong understanding of the intellectual and reading levels of your target audience will help you tailor your text accordingly.
- Creativity: People are always bombarded with more information online and offline every day. This often makes your readers fickle, especially when they are forced to read 10-page long reports or manuals. Thus, it’s your chance to show your creativity and present the same information in fewer words without affecting the credibility and meaning of the content.
- Edit and proofread: The first draft is never perfect. Whether you are just starting or have years of experience, every writer needs to edit and proofread their content. Try to write down your ideas and relevant information in the first attempt. Go with your natural creative flow. Don’t pause to edit and correct your mistakes as you can do it later on.
Writing has become an important part of every professional’s life. The way you convey your message, ideas, and thoughts to your peers, managers, and clients affects your chances of climbing the career ladder. So waste no time and start developing effective writing skills online with Harappa’s Writing Proficiently course.
Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about skills related to the Communicate habit such as Report Writing and Interpersonal Skills.