Communication is a part and parcel of everyday life. We cannot not communicate. It is one of the most essential and integral part of our existence, and the absence of communication can lead to many problems and misunderstandings. In order to have an effective dialog, it is necessary that effective communication skills be developed. Communication can be divided into verbal and non verbal.
Verbal communication means any communication that involves spoken words or sounds. Non verbal communication includes any communication that does not use oratory media for communication. Written communication comes under non verbal communication. Having good written communication skills is a pre requisite for almost everyone today. Read ahead on how you too can enhance your skills and reap the benefits.
Importance of Written Communication
Written communication involves the use of written words to send a message from one point to another. Given below are some points highlighting the importance of written communication in day-to-day life.
- Written communication is important for any business entity to carry out the daily business activities.
- It helps in maintaining records of business transactions.
- Written communication like brochures and catalogs help companies to showcase their products effectively.
- Print advertisements help to market products.
- Contracts, inter departmental memos and notices, emails and other such intra-organizational communication serve as a permanent record of the business communication that takes place.
- Written documents can serve as evidence in a court of law if and when required.
- Written words are believed more than spoken words. It's just human psychology to believe something that we see in writing (even if it may be false) than something someone says (which may very well be true!)
- Personal written communication like letters, emails, post cards, greeting cards, etc., have their own charm and special meaning to the ones sending and receiving them.
How to Improve Written Communication Skills
The importance of effective written communication skills cannot be stressed enough. Written communication plays a major role, especially in the corporate world. Hence, it is doubly important to have good written communication skills in the workplace. Business writing or any other form of written communication can be very simple for those who follow the guidelines that are given below.
Keep your audience/reader in mind before you begin writing the piece. The audience is mainly what determines the content to be written. Once you have an idea about who is the intended audience, you can judge for yourself what other necessary steps need to be taken to ensure the completion of the communication cycle, which is, after all, the intention of any piece of communication.
The basics of communication should be covered in your piece of written communication. The 5 Ws and 1 H - Who, What, Where, When, Why and How (either completely or at least the ones that need to be) should be in your piece. This is basically almost the entire information that you wish to give the reader. How ever you present the data, these points need to covered, only then is it an effective way of communication.
Deciding the tone of your communication depends on the audience to a large extent. You must be able to gauge what kind of tone you should use to ensure maximum comprehension and retention by your audience. For instance, you cannot use a condescending tone with a person who is at a higher post than you at work. Nor can you use an arrogant tone for something that is meant to reach a large number of people at one time.
Another instance, is letter writing. If you're writing a letter to a customer to remind him (for the third time) to pay his bills, your tone will be slightly more stern than the first or second letter of notice that you must have written to him. Tones can vary from casual, semi formal to formal, depending on who you're communicating with and what you intend to communicate.
This forms one of the major chunks of written communication that one needs to develop. This does not mean that you need to have a flair for writing. It simply means that you must be well versed with the fundamentals of the language. These include grammar, spellings, figures of speech, parts of speech, punctuation, etc. Following the basics of the language is more than enough to be a decent writer. Of course, this is just the case with formal writing. In the case of creative writing like copywriting for ads or storytelling in any form, it is essential that along with the basics, you must possess a flair for writing and a creative sense as well.
Knowing when to stop applies to written communication as well. You can't just keep rambling on and on, when not required. The beauty of effective written communication can be seen in its presentation. How well and how concisely you manage to accommodate all the information that you need to give is what shows how proficient your written communication is. The key, as the old adage goes, is to be 'clear, concise and correct'. But this does not necessarily mean that you cut short on something that requires to be explained in detail. So, in short, you must be able to estimate how much you need to write about something. And, if you feel something's getting too long, break it up into parts. This makes it easier for you as well as the reader.
These were some pointers on how you can improve your written communication skills. These are just basic guidelines and writing tips which need to be paid attention to. There are many more intricacies involved in every style of writing, which can be mastered only with in-depth study and regular practice.