We probably write more now at work than ever before. This is primarily due to the fact that most of our communication is through Instant Messaging and email. So how does your writing reflect on who you are? Write well at work and you will be viewed in a more positive light. If you are not confident in your own writing (and really, who is), look for resources to help you ensure your writing is of a quality that will be noticed by those receiving your messages.
Why Does It Matter?
We, as people, are judgmental in nature. Writing for a living puts me in a position where I have seen this more than most. Every line I type is judged by editors and readers for quality. The same is true for a simple email you send to a coworker. If it is written poorly, it will reflect poorly on you. Here is a prime example of what is being seen more than ever these days:
Hey did u get the update about the project think it will be done b4 we leave?
If you plan on texting a friend, that may be just fine. At work, that is going to be viewed very negatively. Instead, something like this is going to give you a positive reaction:
Did you get the update about the project? Do you have an estimated time of completion? If you could have it done by the end of the day today that would be fantastic.
Even if you are good friends with the recipient, keep the habit of writing in a professional and proper style. That ensures you won’t accidently send some less than ideal writing to someone you are not as close with. Besides, practice makes perfect.
How Can You Learn?
I’ll be realistic here and say that you don’t need to go study writing in your free time. You went to school and already know many of the rules. What you may need is a refresher on some more complicated aspects of writing professionally. Personally, I have found Grammar Girl found on QuickandDirtyTips.com to be a great resource for all the quick answers you may need.
With that said, study how others write to you. Judge them just as you would be judged. If you can’t find mistakes, then they are either writing well enough, and you should emulate that, or you need to brush up a little more.
Proof read what you write before you send it. Often times we rely too heavily on spellcheck. However, a spell check won’t catch the difference in a sentence or a number of other similar words. Keep an eye on what you write. Make sure it conveys the message you want to send and take my advice – don’t over use commas. I use them entirely too much. I write as if I were speaking and I use commas any time I pause to think. This will drive some people crazy.
What are your horror stories of messages from coworkers? Are you the type of person that proofreads your communications over and over until they are perfect? Share your stories in the comments below and follow me on this site for daily articles about success, leadership and making the most out of your life.