Writing at work requires a different skill set to writing academic essays or fiction. Here are five of my favourite quotes, from writers and business leaders, to help you get your point across more effectively.
1. You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere – Lee Iacocca
Many of us who were schooled during the 1970s and 1980s didn’t learn English grammar formally. The liberal education policies of the time stressed that what you wrote was more important than how you wrote it.
I think this was a mistake.
I meet many brilliant, educated people who struggle to reach their potential at work because they lack confidence in their writing. This is bad news for them and their employers, resulting in a huge waste of talent.
The good news is that it is never too late to invest in your written communication skills. In fact, doing so will pay dividends throughout your career.
2. Writing is an art. But when it is writing to inform it comes close to being a science – Robert Gunning
You don’t have to be a Dickens or a Bronte to write well at work.
Business writing and technical writing are skills that can be learned. And there are now software tools that can help you polish your grammar and style as well.
3. Writing comes more easily if you have something to say – Sholem Asch
Know what you want to say before you start writing. Use Mindmapping and Word Outline to structure your document with headings and subheadings.
Once you’ve got a structure in place, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to fill in the text.
4. You know, everybody’s ignorant, just on different subjects – Will Rogers
Most work documents have multiple readers, with different functional, cultural and educational backgrounds. Don’t assume they all know, or care, as much about the subject as you do.
What are their priorities? What do they know already? What do they need to know?
5. Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them – John Ruskin
Keep it simple and concise. Enough said!
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