In today’s world, there are very few people who can go through a day without some form of written communication. Texts, emails, and social media dominate the way we interact with friends, family, and coworkers. For many, writing at work is a demanding part of the job and sometimes intimidating. When it comes to writing at work, it is essential to present information in a way that not only communicates various data but also does so in a professional manner. How you write may impact a client’s perception of you or your company, good or bad. If you’ve ever struggled with knowing if you have the right professional tone, message, or if your writing is grammatically sound, there are easy tricks you can employ to proficiently improve your words before sending out an urgent email to a client or a memo to your staff. These tools will help you hone your message to a specific audience, find the right tone, and ensure your words have clarity.
Stick to a Thesis
With all of the daily communications bombarding everyone, it’s best to keep them simple and focused on one or two points. For example, if you are sending an email and want someone to read your entire email, keep it as short as possible and focused on the subject of the email. That will allow a client or coworker to retain specific information better, and they will be far more likely to respond immediately. There’s a reason that news articles and blogs are a lot shorter, people have less time and more and more things demanding their attention. So, if you can approach business communication with respect for the recipient’s time, you will likely get a better response.
Remember the Audience
As you form a specific topic for an email, social media post, or memo, always focus on the audience to whom you are sending the message. For example, responding to an inquiry from a potential client on social media about a service should generate a different response than what you would send to a loyal customer with a similar question through email. Not addressing a known, regular client with consideration of what previous services they have used and with respect for their loyalty may make them feel unvalued as a customer. Remembering the different needs of different audiences in your professional writing will help keep your message on point. It will also make those you are responding to feel like you care about their specific needs.
Take Emotion Out of It
While attempting to meet client’s needs, there may be times when failures make emotions run high. No business is perfect. Interactions with coworkers and subordinates can also be tense at times. It’s essential for a company’s and employee’s reputations to keep written communication civil and professional. A professional tone in writing should be emotion-free. It should be to the point and factual, while being considerate to varying audiences (as mentioned above). One of the best tools for taking negative messages out of your professional communications is to read out loud what you’ve written while listening for things like sarcasm, slang, accusations, or profanity. In most instances, removing these things from your communications in the workplace will ensure your writing stays professional.
Take Time to Edit
Reading out loud what you’ve written is the first step to editing. Looking for misspelled words and adding basic punctuation will make your writing easier to understand, and it will make it appear professional. Missing commas and periods can cause a lack of clarity in a sentence, and the last thing you want is your client to misunderstand what you are saying. Additionally, to keep your messaging clear, avoid jargon that is specific to your business. A lawyer who speaks only legalese to a client isn’t going to have a client who understands what he or she is saying. It’s important to use simple and clear language and to edit accordingly. Taking a few minutes to edit a message will ensure you present things with clarity, keeping your presentation professional. There are a lot of free grammar checkers online that can help you in this process.
Using each of these simple ideas will go a long way to ensure you always come across as professional in your written interactions. Keep it simple with a focused thesis, think of your audience as you write, remove emotion, and take a few minutes to edit everything you plan to send to someone. Customers and coworkers will have more respect for what you say and respond more quickly as a result.