Chances are good that if you work in an office environment, writing is a big part of your day and reflects on your professionalism. It can affect promotions, future clients and career opportunities.
Anita Bruzzese offers some tips to improve your style and prevent embarrassing communications errors.
- Verify the facts. Double-check facts, dates and spelling.
- Let it sit before you send it out. Taking time away from what you’ve just written allows you to look back with fresh eyes and spot mistakes.
- Keep it concise. Get right to the point, but don’t be so terse that you appear rude, dismissive or overly informal (think a one-word text that says, “thx” or “k”).
- Be consistent. Don’t switch back and forth between a person’s first and last name, and don’t change between full words and abbreviations.
- Keep it relevant. Only include necessary information.
- Do a read-through. Read aloud what you’ve written, and if you stumble over sentences or can’t finish them in one breath, rewrite them.
- Show examples. Concrete examples can give readers a visual image to make your words stick.
- Use visually appealing formatting. Bullet points, graphics and subheadings can help catch readers’ attention and make your writing easier to read.
- Incorporate transitions. Words such as “furthermore,” “however” and “in addition” help move writing along.
- Watch for typos. Mistakes are common, especially in communications sent from a smartphone, which can make you look sloppy and lead to misunderstandings.
— Adapted from “10 Ways to Improve Your Professional Writing,” Anita Bruzzese, Intuit’s The Fast Track blog.