Academic journal article Manager

How Stylish Is Your Writing?

Academic journal article Manager

How Stylish Is Your Writing?

Article excerpt

When you are talking to someone faceto-face, you have lots of visual cues to help you - your tone of voice, gestures, movement and of course, your eye-contact It may not be fair, but in the everyday world, we are judged and influenced by all these criteria and more - even our occupation, height, dress and the way we look. Like it or not, it is through the way we speak and look that we earn trust and confidence.

So, with none of these visual cues present in our written communication, how do we earn trust and confidence when we write letters, reports or e-mails?

In written communication, especially e-mail, we have to find other ways to evaluate the person who is 'speaking' (i.e. writing). So how do we do that? Well, we do that by looking at 'style'.

How can you improve your 'style'?

Style in written communication means attention to proper spelling and punctuation, proper sentence construction instead of non-sentences and full spellings instead of abbreviations suitable only for SMS messages. Style means being creative in what you write and how you write. It also means making your communication look visually attractive (i.e. leaving a line space between paragraphs, using numbered points or bullets and being consistent). Style also means considering appropriate tone and structuring your message logically.

I recently did a follow-up workshop for a client who had run my two-day businesswriting workshop two months earlier. I asked the participants what had changed since we met. They told me proudly:

1 We get straight to the point, using everyday language instead of beating about the bush with oldfashioned, useless phrases

2 Our messages are structured more logically so that the reader can clearly see the action needed

3 We try to avoid all the passive phrases we used to use like 'Please be advised', 'Please be reminded', 'Please find attached'

4 We seem more approachable because our language is less formal and more friendly, as if we are having a conversation.

What are the benefits of 'stylish' writing?

These participants told me that paying attention to how they write has saved their time and increased efficiency. They felt that being more organised in their writing has helped to enhance understanding, avoid miscommunication and increase their professional image. In particular they felt relationships had improved, and there was much better rapport with both internal and external customers. …

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