Tag Archives: written communication

Ways to Improve Writing Skills

Writing skills are essential for achieving career and business goals. It is an important medium of communication. Unfortunately, today, these skills are being neglected. If one wants to achieve his goals, superior writing skills are imperative. There are a variety of methods to enhance and hone one’s writing skills. A little effort will go a long way to achieve your goals. This is what sets you apart from your peers.

Communication skills, including writing, are one of the most important transferable skills that workers possess. Most business professionals, such as marketing, finance, and research and development managers, need excellent writing skills to properly convey ideas and concepts. There are many reasons that writing skills are important in the business world.

  • Read in English

When you want to master a language, you can never read enough. Every new book, short story or article you read teaches you new words, new ways to formulate sentences, and more natural ideas on how to use the language. They go to your subconscious and slowly start becoming more natural to you, until one day you notice that you start to think in English and know that you’re on the right track.

  • Improve Your Vocabulary

A good writer has a good vocabulary — one that is both broad and deep — because a good vocabulary is essential to clarity, power, and precision. If you have a large stock of words, you can choose the most effective word. The more words you know, the easier your words will flow. Improving your vocabulary can come from incidental learning from context, direct learning, or a combination of these.

  • Listen to native speakers

Blogging is a form of public speaking, which is why one of the best tips for making your text come alive is to write as you speak.

But if you don’t speak English every day, this is a rather tricky advice to follow. So, one thing I have found useful in practicing conversational writing is to watch and listen natives speak.

  • Improve Your Spelling

Learning to spell is integral to good writing, because correct spelling ultimately helps you communicate your message to others. Since language is shared, then your spelling must follow the accepted standard pattern.

  • When writing in English, think in English

This is one of the most important tips that separate a decent foreign language writer from a lousy one. The lousy writer thinks in his own language and then tries to translate his thoughts to English. But that simply doesn’t work: the idioms, grammar rules, and cultural differences make text written in this manner sound clumsy and unnatural.

  • Improve Your Grammar

Good grammar prevents ambiguity. By contrast, bad grammar confuses your reader, slows their reading, and shows your ignorance, which can lose you respect, influence, and credibility.

Make sure you at least know the parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Find fun ways to learn the parts of speech.

  • Practice Writing

The best way to learn anything is by throwing yourself out there and practicing. With writing practice is even more important. When you are just starting out with your blogging, you should write something every day to really get your writing routine developed.

  • Trust your gut

The human brain is an amazing machine. You put in the source material by reading, listening to people talk, and speaking. Then you start writing your own blog posts and tune in the mind set of writing in English. And all of the sudden, words just start flowing from straight from your brain to the keyboard.

  • Proofread

When you have finished writing your article and it seems nearly perfect to you, the next thing to do is to check it for typos, grammar mistakes, and just some plain weird sounding sentences.

  • Have English-speaking friends who are not afraid to correct your mistakes

The best way to learn to sound like a native is to hang out with them as much as you can. By paying a close attention to how they speak, you will learn the sayings they use, the slang, and even the jokes that they throw at you. All of this is important in making your English sound more natural and conversational rather than something learned from a book.

  • Relax

Last comes the most important tip of all: Relax, and enjoy your writing. To be a great writer, you have to put in a lot of effort, but it’s not going to happen overnight. So, while you are practicing, don’t panic. Just write the best content you can with the skill set you have right now.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Basics & Etiquette of Business Letter Writing

Writing a business letter is not simply a matter of expressing your ideas clearly. The way you write a letter and the etiquette you employ may have a significant impact on your success or failure in business.

Failure to observe correct business letter etiquette can result in your adopting an inappropriate tone, causing offense or misunderstandings, lack of clarity or purpose and hostility or soured relations.

The foundation of good business letter etiquette is ‘Think before you write’. You should be considering to whom the letter is addressed, how and why? This will then influence style, content and structure.

Here we cover some of the main issues relating to good business letter etiquette:

Addressing the Letter

Always make sure you have spelt the recipient’s name correctly. It may sound simple, but you would be surprised at how many people fail to do so. The recipient’s name should include titles, honours or qualifications if necessary.

Many people use the ‘Dear Sir/Yours Faithfully’ formula when addressing the receiver. Although this is acceptable for routine matters it is impersonal and should not be used when dealing with those you know, queries or complaints. With these the ‘Dear Mr../Yours Sincerely’ formula should be adopted.

Once a certain level of familiarity is reached it is not considered bad etiquette to use phrases such as ‘Kind Regards’ or ‘All the best’ at the end of the letter.

Confidentiality

If the content of the letter is sensitive, personal or confidential it must be marked appropriately. Marking the letter ‘confidential’ will suffice in highlighting this fact. If you only want the letter read by the receiver without the interception of a secretary or PA, mark it as ‘Private’, ‘Personal’ or ‘Strictly Confidential’. If you have received such a business letter it is good etiquette to reciprocate and ensure that all future correspondence is kept at that level of confidentiality.

Style

Proper business letter etiquette requires that a consistent and clear approach, combined with courtesy, be employed. As a rule of thumb, aim to keep all business letters formal in style. Even when the receiver is familiar to you, it is advisable maintain a certain level of business etiquette as the letter may be seen by others or referred to by a third party in the future.

However, this does not mean you should use long or uncommon words to express yourself. This merely looks odd and makes the letter unreadable. It is best to read a letter first and consider whether you would speak to that person face to face in the same way. If not, then re-write it.

Letters should be signed personally. It looks unprofessional, cold and somewhat lazy if a letter is left unsigned. However, having a secretary or PA sign on your behalf is not considered a breach of business etiquette.

Humour

Humour can be used in business letters but only when the writer is completely positive the recipient will understand the joke or pun. From a business etiquette perspective it may be wise to avoid humour. This is because firstly, the letter may be read during a crisis, after receiving bad news or on a sombre occasion. Any other time the humour may have been appreciated but under these circumstances it may dramatically backfire. Secondly, the written word is open to misinterpretation. Your sarcastic or ironic remark may be taken the wrong way. Thirdly, it is possible that the letter may be read by a third party who may deem the humour inappropriate and pursue a complaint of some sort.

Responding

Good business letter etiquette calls for letters to be responded to promptly or within certain guidelines. This may normally be considered as 5 working days. If this is not possible then some sort of acknowledgement should be sent either by letter, fax, phone or e-mail.

Always use reference numbers or clearly state the purpose of the letter at the top, for example, ‘Re: Business Letter Etiquette Enquiry’.  This allows the receiver to trace correspondence and immediately set your letter within a context.

When replying to points or questions the proper etiquette is to respond in the same order as they were asked.

Using business etiquette in all matters and especially in business letters will ensure you communicate effectively, avoid misunderstandings and maximise your business potential. 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized