Why Businesses need WritersPosted by Jessica Oman
Many people consider writing an arduous task. Some people are just not good at it, and others are capable of excellent writing, but it’s painful and takes forever. Still, many people underestimate the importance of good writing to business. Writing is a crucial form of communication that, if done well, can help people understand their work and their colleagues better and makes it possible to get the job done. If done poorly, it can lead to miscommunication, animosity and even lost productivity and low morale.
For example, there is a way to write a negative letter, such as a complaint, in a way that will invite the reader to help you find a solution to your problem, rather than make them feel guilty or angry towards you. Even rejection letters shoud focus on the positive; you never know when the person you didn’t hire one day could become a valuable partner the next. It’s important to use positive language. Avoid negative words like “can’t”, “failed” or “refused”.
In a multicultural work environment, which is becoming more and more common as multinational companies and emerging markets gain strength in the global economy, writing and print material must be meticulously checked for messages that may be misunderstood by certain cultures. This Kwintessential article gives some examples.
Sometimes poor writing can harm your professionalism. Take Global TV BC, a station that has received awards for excellence in journalism, yet routinely spells “BC” with a hyphen on their headline ticker (yes, B-C), causing punctuation sticklers like myself, and probably anyone else who is paying any attention, to sigh and change the channel. How can I take them seriously if they can’t correctly punctuate the abbreviation for our province? And this is just one example (hey, Global – give me a ring anytime if you need an editor).
Other times bad writing or unedited writing is just plain funny. I’ll never forget reviewing a resume from a job applicant that stated she paid excellent attention to “detial”.
The point is, it’s important (and refreshing) when businesspeople recognize that good writing is important for improving relationships with both internal stakeholders and external clients. It’s important to help people follow instructions accurately and do a job the right way. And, it’s important to recognize when writing is not your greatest strength, and let an expert step in to help. People might not take note of good writing, but they are almost guaranteed to recognize bad writing.
“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.” – Mark Twain