How to Improve Written Communication Skills
Utilize Your Leisure Time
Nowadays, we waste our time without any reason. Smartphone addiction is one of the main reasons to give up writing regularly. We do not want to utilize our leisure time properly. As a result, we can not improve our writing skills. Suppose sometimes you don’t have anything to do, then you may start writing something. It can be any topic or incident. Your primary purpose is to improve your writing skills.
Practicing your targeted language through spoken will help you make yourself a good writer. Many people face the problem when they learn their targeted language only because of spoken practice. A fluent speaker always gets a lot of ideas by speaking with different speakers. Let’s try to improve your speaking skills.
Find a friend or a partner for speaking practice. Sometimes when you get a chance to start a conversation with him. Here you get two benefits: you can improve your speaking skills, and another is you can get many ideas from your friend. Later, it will be effortless to write something about the topic you choose for a conversation with your friend.
Try to Use Simple Sentences
The purpose of your writing is to convey information to your readers. But if your readers fail to understand your sentences, will it make any sense? Absolutely not. Your sentences should be simple and easy to understand.
Sometimes we are getting scared of whether we will be able to improve our writing skills. In some cases, we become frustrated and give up writing, and unfortunately, it happens because of the lacking of confidence and consistency.
We need more patience to improve our writing skills. However, these ten easy ways will help you improve your writing skills in English easily and accurately. Just try to implement those steps in proper ways.
Things to Improve 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
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.
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.
2. Think in English (any language that you want to master)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn how to identify bad writing.
Nowadays, when most writing applications offer Autocorrect and Grammar Check features, you might expect ‘bad writing’ to have gone extinct. Yet plenty of bad writing still exists, because there are a lot of ways to write badly—even if your spelling and punctuation are perfectly correct. For example:
The northern United States and Canada are places where herons live and breed. Spending the winter here has its advantages. Great Blue Herons live and breed in most of the United States. It’s an advantage for herons to avoid the dangers of migration. Herons head south when the cold weather arrives. The earliest herons to arrive on the breeding grounds have an advantage. The winters are relatively mild in Cape Cod.
Harvard professor Steven Pinker offers this example of bad writing in his book The Sense of Style. Can you identify the problems in it? The grammar, spelling, and punctuation are all correct, so what’s wrong? (Read it again and try to identify the problems, then see Professor Pinker’s explanation.)
So many things can go wrong in a passage of prose. The writing can be bloated, self-conscious, academic. The passage can be cryptic, abstruse, arcane. The syntax can be defective, convoluted, ambiguous. Even if every sentence in a text is crisp, lucid, and well formed, a succession of them can feel choppy, disjointed, unfocused—in a word, incoherent. We don’t know why one clause follows another.
To better understand all of the writing problems he mentions above, I highly recommend reading Pinker’s book. In 300 pages, he carefully explains each way that writers (even highly educated ones) can make mistakes. I’ve read his book three times, and I notice improvements in my writing after each time I do. It’s like an entire Harvard writing course, packed into a book.
However, if you can’t afford to buy the book, you can still practice this simple exercise: When you come to something that is confusing to read, stop and try to identify what the problem is. Ask yourself these questions about each sentence:
Questions to Ask of Confusing Writing
You can do this exercise with any text you read, but you should also do it with your own writing. Put yourself in the shoes of your target Readers, and try to read your text from their perspective.
Your ability to identify bad writing also makes you a more valuable writing partner. If your feedback isn’t more helpful than a Grammar Checker program, your text-based language exchange won’t much benefit your partner.
Analyze writing that you enjoy reading.
While reading, you should look for useful words and phrases (and collect them for your writing). You should also be attentive to bad writing (and try to identify what the problems are). But you should also pay attention to really good writing, the sort of writing you wish you could write.
Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found. It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophecies, the unknown, the unfamiliar; it’s where their work comes from, although its arrival signals the beginning of the long disciplined process of making it their own. Scientists too, as J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked, “live always at the ‘edge of mystery’ — the boundary of the unknown.” But they transform the unknown into the known, haul it in like fishermen; artists get you out into that dark sea.
This paragraph comes from an essay by Rebecca Solnit, which I’ve written about in another blogpost about techniques you can’t learn from writing courses, techniques you can only learn by reading slowly and carefully.
Let’s analyze this paragraph–but instead of looking for problems that create confusion, I’ll try to figure out why I liked reading this paragraph, what made these four sentences so interesting to me.
- The writing in this paragraph is a lot clearer than the paragraph about Great Blue Herons, even though the sentences in this paragraph are longer and have more complex grammar.
- The basic message of the first sentence (the unknown is what must be found) is abstract and academic, and while the extra words in the sentence don’t add specificity, they create a poetic rhythm that urges you to keep reading.
- By contrast, the last sentence in the paragraph offers a vivid picture in your mind. Instead of vague words like idea and form, we have fishermen and a dark sea.
- Unlike the text about herons, this writer avoids using different words to describe the same thing. She repeats the words artists and the unknown several times, and this repetition helps the reader to follow her thoughts, despite all the abstract words and pronouns in the paragraph.
These are just a few ideas, after a few minutes of analysis, that I can try to use in my own writing. These are not Universal Rules, but little tricks and techniques that can make my writing more interesting and unique from writers who read all the same books.
Professor Pinker’s Explanation:
“The individual sentences are clear enough, and they obviously pertain to a single topic. But the passage is incomprehensible. By the second sentence we’re wondering about where here is. The third has us puzzling over whether great blue herons differ from herons in general, and if they do, whether these herons live only in the northern United States, unlike the other herons, who live in Canada as well. The fourth sentence seems to come out of the blue, and the fifth seems to contradict the fourth. The paragraph is then rounded out with two non sequiturs.” Return to example.
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