Text messaging has made us brief. But the real risk in brevity is that you are going to miss things and not be able to fully convey what you want to say, particularly within a business environment.
Getting exposed to poor writing is a big source of frustration for many people who work in professional fields. And there are errors and risks to people and to systems if we can’t communicate well. You’ve likely seen medical malpractice cases caused by miscommunication.
The ability to write fluently in an easily understood manner is not going to go out of style. Typos are distracting.
Poor writing makes us take a few seconds away from what we are reading in order to filter that through the editor in our minds. When writing is done beautifully, you don’t notice it; when it’s done poorly it jumps out and it distracts you from the message.
Tips for Improving Your Writing Skills
1. Do a lot of reading. Sit with a book. Notice how the author forms sentences. Do the words flow? Your skills improve when you are exposed to fluent writing. Conversely, reading poorly written material is painful. Very painful.
2. When you write a report or essay set your material aside for a day and then proofread and edit it. Look for places where you can compress the sentences and improve word flow and clarity.
3. Ask someone with good writing skills to be a copyeditor to help you improve. A copyeditor enhances word flow in addition to proofreading.
4. Study how the copyeditor changed your material. Incorporate those revisions into your writing style.
5. Take a writing course. There are dozens on http://udemy.com.
6. You can always improve. Learn from others’ writing or critiques of your writing. Develop a thick skin and graciously accept criticism so you can learn from it.
7. Read books on writing. One of my favorites is Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, a truly funny book about grammar. Also read The Language of Success by Tom Sant or Plain Style: Techniques for Simple, Concise, Emphatic Business Writing by Richard Lauchman.
Patricia Iyer MSN RN LNCC is the former president of Med League Support Services, Inc., an independent legal nurse consulting firm she started in 1989 and sold in 2015. She coaches LNCs through www.LNCAcademy.com. She is the author or editor of over 800 books, chapters, articles case studies, and online courses. Along with Dana Jolly and Angela Duke Haynes, she presented a webinar course called Polish Your Writing Skills.