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Scared of writing?

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in Workplace Communication

Q. I supervise five bank tellers at a busy branch. My boss has hinted to me that I’m in line to receive a promotion to branch manager. While I’m excited, I’m also scared because the new position would require that I submit detailed written reports every month on my branch’s performance. I’ve never been a good writer, and I’m afraid I’ll embarrass myself when I turn in those reports. Now I’m almost hoping I don’t get the promotion. What should I do?

A. Some employees dread promotions that require more presentations because of their fear of public speaking. But fear of writing? The last thing you should do is what it sounds like you’re currently doing— avoid writing. The best way to alleviate your anxiety is to combat the challenge head-on. Here’s how: Draft a memo to your boss that spells out your ideas for improving operations or summarizes the major issues you’re addressing. Before sending it, have another manager sit down with you and critique it. You may even want to hire a writing coach or professional editor to give you some pointers—some work on a free-lance basis for reasonable hourly rates. Also, get into the habit of sending handwritten notes or short memos to your staff more frequently. The more you write, the more you’ll refine your skills and gain confidence that you can express yourself effectively in print.

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