Even before the pandemic, you wouldn’t have to look far for a successful executive ready to bemoan falling literacy standards among the modern workforce. Commentators on all sides get very hot under the collar over the reasons behind this perceived fall in written communication skills – many point to the emergence of social media and the vernacular shorthand of text messages and emails as the main culprit. Whatever the reason, their value has been thrown into stark relief by the modern technologies companies are using to survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. If your business communication skills aren’t up to scratch, there are more ways than ever to show yourself up in front of your colleagues and managers.
Why has the importance of communication skills increased?
Suppose you’re one of the many people who have transitioned to remote work since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. In that case, text applications will be one of your primary means of communication. Although video conferencing through Google Hangouts and Zoom will significantly influence your communication skills, written correspondence will also play a huge role. And, unlike a video call, your written work will be an easily accessible matter of record on your company’s hard drives.
Taking all this into account, it’s clear that practical communication skills are essential today and will be for the foreseeable future. The good news is that many options are available for people who want to polish their writing ability. Reading literature for pleasure or completing a crossword every morning to completing a communication skills training course could be anything from reading literature for pleasure or completing a crossword every morning. But why is it so important nowadays to have good communication skills to fall back on? According to TopUniversities, Good communicators are valuable assets to an organization and it’s a skill that can easily set you apart from the competition when applying for jobs. In fact, 73 percent of employers want candidates who possess strong written communication skills, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
The power of written communication
If we cast our mind’s back to office life before the pandemic, passing critical information is something that would often be carried out by management and co-workers face to face. Much of this kind of content has now transferred to platforms like WhatsApp, where your literary comprehension of written communication defines your ability to read between the lines and decipher crucial nuance from an email or task sheet.
Conversely, poorly written communication leads to breakdowns in understanding throughout your company structure, with critical details getting lost in the mix. If you can’t communicate effectively, you become a weaker link in the chain and make it harder to contribute to the collective efficiency of your team. This case goes doubly for any departments who have taken on new members during the pandemic, where your written skills will make it easier to bring others up to speed effectively. According to Great learning, written communication skill expands the connexion between employer and manager, service provider and customers, and the chain continues. Well-known writing conveys our message or information with 100% clarity. Written communication skills are more effective because they appropriately convey complex information by arranging simple words.
Company workforces are more diverse than ever, which means more of us work in teams composed of individuals worldwide whose first language may not be English. No matter the members’ communication skills, the odd crossed wire or misunderstanding in these situations will be inevitable. However, excellent written communication can prove vital in providing clarification at these times. Your communication skills resume will carry a premium in the job market and is something employers seek at the highest level.
Writing vs. other types of communication skills
If you’re working in a distributed team, everyone must stay on the same page. Just like in the pre-pandemic world, your team’s effectiveness will often hinge on how quickly you can respond to emerging challenges on the job. What’s more, video conferencing cannot offer the same speed or impact as written communication.
Have you ever been stuck in a meeting wishing that you could just be getting on with your work instead of chit-chatting with your colleagues? This predicament still stands for remote staff. Writing is simply more efficient: an informative piece of written communication can be composed, distributed, and absorbed unilaterally among a whole team much faster than you can organize a Zoom meeting.
Our new digital workplaces also privilege written communications for a straightforward reason: it’s searchable. Written work can be digitally archived, indexed, and retrieved with a few mouse clicks, making it easier to implement in different situations. This fact also empowers every single worker on a team to access the same resource base from anywhere on the planet.
How written communication skills shape our thinking
Writing helps with the basic articulation and critique of our ideas and approaches. Verbal communication skills help with linearly sharing ideas, but writing forces us to map out our thoughts logically that we can defend. If we can’t formulate an idea coherently on a page, there’s a good chance the idea itself may not be precious. And, fundamentally, we can edit, revise, and improve our written work in a way that a conversation or live presentation cannot.
Many problems at work come from misunderstandings caused by poor communication skills. Written materials that can easily misinterpret are the leading causes of such inefficiency, so great writing is essential. It helps navigate tone and get different parties to see an issue from the same point of view. In the case of an idea or proposal that is especially risky, an excellent written pitch can help convert the doubting Thomases in the room and elevate the rewards while mitigating the dangers. To write well is to persuade others of your ideas, which is crucial in getting a team to get behind a project.
How to improve communication skills when writing?
Excellent communication skills will always matter, whether sending updates to your colleagues or crafting a daring new pitch from scratch. Communication that is consistently clear and informative will help give people confidence in the ideas you’re trying to transmit. Before hitting “Send,” consider whether your writing is meeting these standards:
a. Is this message to the point?
Brevity is an essential skill for an excellent writer to grasp. The term “brevity” refers to the aesthetic judgment of the reader, audience, or user regarding wordiness and unnecessary information in a text. Details can provide helpful context in writing, but they mustn’t distract from the focus of your message.
b. Is this message overwhelming?
Now more than ever, your colleagues may probably feel bombarded with messages all the time. Stick to the “need to know” information and make sure the essential takeaways are easy to decipher. According to Mallory.com, great communication can fosters brand loyalty. According to one survey, 65% of customers become emotionally attached to a brand that communicates a caring attitude.
c. Are you framing your ideas correctly?
You need to develop great instincts for employing the right tone to match your audience and your message. Using the appropriate tone can help convey information while also speaking to your audience’s emotions to help them clearly understand your point of view.
How can our interpersonal communication skills help foster connections?
Communication isn’t just the transmission of raw data, and it’s the building blocks of trust and interpersonal relationships. Whether you’re a manager or team member, consider how you can improve communication skills to strengthen connections with other colleagues. For distributed teams working remotely, this is especially important to help people replace the sense of camaraderie that would otherwise be formed by working in the same office together. Consider how the following considerations can help you nurture these relationships with your writing:
a. Write with warmth and empathy:
Every message you write presents an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the reader. Empathetic writing will help win your colleagues’ trust and provide a positive influence at work. According to 1huddle, a survey revealed that a majority of CEOs believe that empathy is the key to success. Why? Because empathetic leadership leads to increased trust in management, prevents a toxic work environment and helps companies with improving their employee retention.
b. Strengthen existing relationships:
When people know that they’re being addressed personally, they feel considered and appreciated. Whether congratulating someone on their work or responding to personal information, specific communication makes people feel recognized as individuals.
c. Express your personality when it’s appropriate:
Finding the right time to inject your personality into your communication reminds people that they’re working with other human beings and not mindless automatons at the other end of an internet connection. A little humor or fun can also boost team morale and help other people express themselves more confidently.
Written communication skills do remote work… work
Even after the coronavirus pandemic passes, lots of the changes forced on us look likely to remain. Many people will have discovered that they enjoy the convenience and flexibility offered by remote work. However, unless remote work can prove to be equally efficient as going to the office, it will not survive as a viable alternative. Much of this efficiency will hinge on team members’ written communication skills to fill the vacuum left by face-to-face interactions.
That’s why it’s so crucial for all of us to work on producing the best-written communication skills examples we can, whether we’re composing a WhatsApp message or a team-wide briefing. If you had doubts about the quality of your written work, now is the time to improve these vital communication skills since employers will be putting more weight on this skill set as time goes on. Have you encountered any challenges with your written communication skills since you started working remotely? Tell us how you handled these in the comments section below.
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