Improve Written Communication Skills
People, who have never written anything in their life, think of writing as an alien activity. But when they dive deep they realize that there is nothing so overwhelming about writing. If you can speak, you can write. And to add more weight-age, if you can speak well, you can write well.
The title of this article is about how to improve the written communication skill. That means it can be assumed that you already have a certain level of written communication skill and you would like to improve it.
Things to Improve Your Written Communication
Improving means there are few things you would like to improve in your written communication.
- When we talk about improving written communication skill, we generally talk about improving the clarity. The way you write should convey a message that’s clear, precise and relevant. If not, your written communication will lose its grounds.
- While reading your writing the readers should feel fluent. There shouldn’t be any gap or disconnection between your previous and current sentence.
- When we talk about improving your written communication, you may want to improve your style of written communication. Maybe currently your style is complex and you write to impress people with gigantic words. You would like to make it simple, down-to-earth.
- A call-to-action. Many of you would like to write copy for organizations who sell products/services or you want to sell your services or products to your customers. No matter what you want to do, you want your readers to take an action.
These are the four basic fundamental points to improve in your written communication. Like any other skill, you can realize that written communication can be improved only by practice and knowing better information which you can apply in your practice.
Written Communication Tips
In the following section, you would learn 10 most important ways to improve the above four so that you don’t have to worry about the results.Let’s get started.
1. Write every day
It may sound obvious but it’s not. People, who are not attached to writing as a profession or for passion, don’t tend to think that they can write every day with ease. Yes, you can write with ease, every day.
You don’t need to write 1000 words per day. You don’t even have to write 500 words a day. You only need to write super small – as small as 3 sentences. Can you do that? We bet you can. Anyone can write 3 sentences per day.
The trick is writing so small that you cannot say no to it. You would say – Would I improve my written communication just by writing 3 sentences a day? Yes, you would.
Why so? Because in the beginning, you need to make a pathway in your mind which will tell you that writing is easy. Soon enough within weeks, you will start writing 5 sentences a day, then 10, then 20, then a whole page and then may be the illusive 1000 words.
And after a while you will see that when you sit to write words come naturally to you; you don’t need to think much to write. When should you start then? Right now. Write.
2. Think in English (any language that you want to master)
If you’ve ever learned a new language, the language instructor always reminds you that to learn the language first, all you need to do is to think in the language.
Yes, it’s tough, if you’re new to it. But if you do that long enough, the language learning would become significantly easier. Same with written communication.
While writing, don’t try to think in your native language and then translate; rather think in English to write English. If you’re beginner, it’s tough in the beginning, but stick to it for some time.
Per day, all you need to do is to think 3 sentences in English and write them in your notebook. Can you do that? Yes, you can. Anyone can. And this simple tweak will help you become good in written communication.
3. Ask for help from friends who are better in writing
There is no harm in asking for help. Most of us think too much before asking for help. No-one is expert in everything. Asking people who are better than us can teach us things that we cannot learn by ourselves.
So, go out and seek friends who can tell you something about written communication. Writing is a craft. And judge a friend who has been practicing this craft more than you.
S/he can give you advice about how to write, how to practice, how to get motivation when going gets tough and how to stick to it when something doesn’t seem good.
Written communication like speaking is a skill and you can improve it simply by listening to your learned, writer friend and applying them in your own writing.
One thing you need to remember while asking for help is that your need for written communication may be different for your friend’s need for written communication.
Tell him/her why you would like to write? Is it for written communication business purpose or simply to follow your passion? Both have different approaches and if your friend knows your reason behind improving your written communication, s/he would be able to help you better.
4. Read a book on grammar
People who know the rules well can break them. So, if you don’t know the rules, it would be difficult to use it in your own advantage. Have a basic grammar book handy with you so that if you need to go back and consult, you can have a glance and correct your course.
You don’t need to begin with a comprehensive one right away. Take an easy one which covers almost most of the things. If you know 90% of all the rules of grammar you would be better off in writing correct English.
And you can also break some rules if you want to make it more effective. For example, when we speak we don’t adhere to all the rules of grammar. The best way to write is to write like one speaks. Thus, conversational way is the best way to write.
5. Carry a Journal
What if we would tell you that there’s a magic formula to make your life 10 times better? Would you listen to it? Would you do it? Most of us know all to make our life better but very few would do it.
For the selected few here’s the advice – carry a journal. It will not only make your life amazing, it will make your written communication skill superb.
When you watch a leaf quivering in mild breeze, you cannot remember it; but what if you write down in your journal about this beautiful observation! You would eventually be able to express yourself more beautifully.
Written Communication is a combination of beauty, truth and expression. If you can master these three, you would surely communicate at a level of mastery. Having a journal to write quite often helps you do the same.
Simply buy a journal that suits you and write whenever you feel you’ve an urge. The best is to write once a day or twice a week whichever suits you. After a month of writing in your journal, go back and read previous posts.
It will give you an idea about your life the earlier month. It will intensify your experience and written communication. It will give you the gifts of language which can hardly be got by any other means.
6. Participate in any Writing Opportunity
Most of the time, when new writers have the opportunity to showcase their talents, they step back and say – I’m not good enough. But thing is until you do take such chances you’ll never be good enough.
You need to take risks by allowing yourself to participate in various opportunities. You may fail. But so what? To get a momentum, you need one win. And eventually you would get it if you keep on keeping on.
Look for different opportunities – magazines, newspapers, publications, blogs, websites, and companies and submit your story/article/essay/letter. There are more opportunities than you think you have.
You’ve to look for it. Even if you’re scared apply for it. Even if you’re not sure about your written communication skill, participate. Even if you’re pathetic in constructing something big, enroll.
The simple act of putting your feet forward will allow you to get an edge and gradually you will reach a level where you will be proud to call yourself a writer.
7. Take Criticisms Constructively
When you aim to begin something, you’ll be criticized. No matter what you try to do, you would be criticized and ridiculed. But what beautifies your attempt after the critics do their job is they show you the area/s where you need to look at again.
If you pay heed you would see this is a great improvement tool. Critics find out the areas and you take advantage of it. People call that your writing misses humor; you go out and work on that.
They say that your writing is very hard to read; you go out and make your writing a little bit easier for general public. There is more than one area where you can improve, if you want to improve your written communication.
All you need to do is to listen to the critics and use the criticism as constructively as possible.
8. Do a Review Every Month
Review is reflection and the art of looking back. This simple act will help you understand where you stand and how much you’ve improved so that you can plan for future improvement steps.
How do you review? As in the beginning, we proposed that you should write every day. So for writing every day, you should have a notebook. Once a month is over, look at notebook.
Read the notebook and find out whether your written communication has improved or not. If you don’t find any difference, you can ask anyone who is better than you in writing to check your notebook.
Listen to the person whose guidance you’re taking. Ask him/her what can be the first step to implement what s/he is saying? And then go on to work on that first step. Once you begin to do a review every month, you would be able to improve your written communication very fast.
9. Do an Impromptu in your Writing
To improve our speaking skill we are asked to speak on any subject for 2 minutes. What if we apply the same rule to written communication? Simply take a topic and write 10 sentences without delay.
Or simply take a topic and write for 2 minutes straight. Take the help of a stop watch to keep a record. Then go back and judge the merit of the sentences you wrote.
If you do this long enough, any topic would be given to you and without any fear or writers’ block, you would be able to instantly write. Take a time out from your schedule every day and then sit for 15 minutes.
Make sure you’re not disturbed during this time. You shouldn’t allow any distractions. Sit and open any English book and pick a word and start writing for 2 minutes. Do it 5 times. Within weeks you would see that your written communication will drastically improve.
10. Don’t Give Up Yet
Even after trying for a period of time, if you think it’s time to give up, don’t give up yet. Most probably, this is the time when you need to stick to your laurels and keep on writing.
It’s said when we give up, that moment is very crucial. Because if we choose to go beyond that phase for little more, our expectations would get fulfilled. Every individual is different and the pace of learning and improving are also different.
So each individual should be given required time and space to master any craft. Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself some time. Practice some more. Learn some more.
And then let go of seeking any results. Eventually you will see your written communication getting improved without your notice.
Written communication like any other art is a craft too. Without practice it’s impossible to get good at it. There’s a simple way to get good at it. It’s simple but not easy. Here it is – Keep writing until you’re good. Remember this word ‘until’ can change your written communication and life.