Promotion Killers: Poor Writing Skills

Good writing will set you apart from the crowd and put you on the road to career success. Most unsuccessful people are poor writers. They are unclear. They ramble. Their e-mails, letters and reports are a series of long sentences filled with big words that don’t really say anything. You can’t catch people’s attention by writing this way. You need to write in a clear, crisp, concise manner in order to get that promotion. Your objective in writing at work is to communicate – not to impress others with your vocabulary. Make sure you write with your reader in mind. Sometimes it’s a good idea to read aloud what you’ve written to get a feel for how it will sound to your reader. Write in short, simple sentences. Use the simplest words you can to get across your point, while still being accurate. Write fast. Get your thoughts on paper or the computer screen as quickly as you can. Then edit and rewrite until you’ve said exactly what you want to say. One of my first bosses always told me that rewriting is the secret to good writing. Spelling counts, too. Correct spelling does two things for you. First, it shows that you have a good command of the language. Second, and more important, correct spelling demonstrates that you respect both yourself and the reader. Misspelled words stand out like sore thumbs to readers. Don’t just spell check your documents. Proof them. Spellcheck often won’t pick up improper usage in words like “your” and “you’re,” “hear” and “here,” and “their” and “there.” The same holds true for punctuation. Make sure that you know how to properly use periods, question marks, commas, colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, quotation marks and apostrophes. If you’re not sure about punctuation rules, spend a little time on the Internet learning proper usage.

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