It takes centre stage in a digital age! Emails / instant messages /social media posts: they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
But strangely, when most everyone’s writing, where’s the training?
These seven steps can help you level up with the biggest players
Embrace this essential, highly-prized skill
Business writing used to be seen as formal documentation, contracts, meetings minutes, bids etc. Sometimes staff were specialists, or hired secretaries who knew what was what.
But today we usually stand-alone, needing to be writing-savvy whatever size our organisation.
E-writing’s exploding. Make it work
Emails, instant messaging, and social media posts massively affect the communication landscape.
Everyone has a voice. For SMEs it’s great their voice can project as far as the big players.
Some starter tips to help:
- E-writing often seems casual but it’s still corporate communication. Stay professional
- Vet language. Watch out for slang/swearing/otherwise letting your guard down (easily done). Even banter may cause unintentional offence
- Avoid chit chat that leads nowhere. Businesses always need to get the right results
- Context matters. Messages can need background (or a link to it) so readers aren’t confused/even annoyed. Asynchronous messaging can need signposting
- Read all the points someone writes. Otherwise chances are you won’t systematically reply to them!
- Prepared to say to people what you’ve written? If not, don’t send
Naturally this list isn’t exhaustive: it would take a longer article. But see the levels involved?
What seems casual needs organising, and results need quantifying.
Have passion – know how to communicate that passion
Ever seen BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den? Entrepreneurs pitch ideas for investors’ capital. They’re full of passion – that’s why they’re selected.
Do they always succeed in getting investment? No, they don’t. The Dragons feed back that any pitcher’s inward-focused passion on their product/service must be equally directed outwards too – at the nitty gritty of running a business: costs, profits, performance, the competition, understanding and meeting customers’ needs etc.
Everything must follow through in the written messages that invariably follow on.
Writing needs reader focus
Readers can be external customers, stakeholders etc.
They can be your staff too. And tech-savvy newcomers may be more comfortable with texting over voice-to-voice/face-to-face communication. Their style may be more ‘casual-social’ than ‘professional-social’. Maybe they’ll need coaching to write successfully, blending the two.
Others may dread writing, scared about punctuation and grammar etc.
Another cohort may have neurodiverse needs e.g. dyslexia, autism, or Irlen’s syndrome (which presents visual disturbances).
Focus on everyone’s needs and offer support where required.
My #WordPowerSkills writing system helps you build your brand – and more
Major corporates identify their brand and target audience and tailor communication. You may do this intuitively, choosing your social media channels, with their different profiles. But how helpful to have a system that’ll assist you in all your writing tasks.
In a nutshell, a 4-step system I’ve devised is about boosting what I term ‘Word Power Skills’ so communication is:
- Correctly reflecting your values, what you do, why you’re the provider of choice, your purpose in each task – and mistake free
- Clear and concise – but not missing out context or appearing unfriendly
- Impactful / cutting effectively through the noise
- Reader-focused and covers equality, diversity and inclusion – in home and potential global markets, because that’s how far your voice can travel
You’ll be developing a style guide/writing policy too
They’re not just for large corporates.
Octopus Energy was a UK start up not many years ago. Why’s it catapulted to success? Well one aspect that sets them apart is their brilliant written communication. It’s conversational, engaging, cuts out jargon and assesses language afresh.
Keep up with the changes
Language evolves. Punctuation and grammar too. Noticed that? You need to: it can affect meaning. Tune in to how language is used across platforms.
EYES OPENED? Good, now act on your takeaway message
Tune in to and embrace the essence and importance of great business writing. The competition will be. Upskill your career, improve results, strengthen team collaboration and customer service.
What’s not to like? Effective writing gets results.