Communication is the backbone of the growth of any endeavor where more than one person is involved. With verbal and written communication reigning as the two significant forms of communication, written communication has been majorly used in a business set up for official communication. In simple terms, written communication is the type of interaction that uses the written word to pass information.
The main reason businesses prefer written communication is due to the fact that they can communicate through it faster and still maintain records. A business can communicate projected developments, legalities, and future expectations to other businesses, employees, and stakeholders in the outside world.
What Has Changed?
Traditionally, hard copies of written communication were mainly used to disseminate information. Business letters would be handwritten or typewritten or typed and printed, then delivered by postal services from one business to another to maintain communication.
Today, emailing and online communication has taken over the written communication world, though not rendering the traditional options obsolete. Business letters are now majorly written in soft copy and delivered by mail quickly and efficiently. Businesses can now communicate much more easily by delivering multiple emails to employees, business partners, and shareholders cheaply and more conveniently.
Written Communication Skills
As a leader, either in business or other factions of life, your communication skills have to be great. Excellent communication skills have placed even the least respected in society to raise the ranks of respect and admiration. A great example is an outstanding group of black women writers in the US who, through their writing communication skills, managed to leave a great impact on the USA's culture.
Here's a collection of some outstanding written communication skills you must have to be a great communicator through writing.
1. Writing Clear Pieces
Since you will not be communicating using signs, body movements, and facial expressions, the only way to drive your written information home is by being clear. Being clear in your writing helps your reader understand whatever you are saying and enables them to ask precise questions for any clarifications.
2. Ability to Write Concise Pieces
Communication entails getting to pass your intended message fast and simple to the target audience. That means you should get straight to the point as soon as you begin writing your business letter. It saves your reader's time and allows you to pass forward your targeted information as soon as they start reading.
3. Ability to Control the Tone
Since you will be writing to business partners and your staff mostly, your business letter's tone of voice ought to be official and one that portrays professionalism. However, based on your relationship with the targeted audience, you can always have some touch of formality and friendliness.
You should be able to maintain a less harsh tone when passing negative news that doesn't make the reader feel targeted when reading.
4. Communicate in an Active Voice
Using a passive voice to communicate with your readers leaves them in the dark, guessing whether it's them you are targeting or someone else. Active voice gives your readers an easy time following your instructions than when you use passive voice.
5. Good Grammar and Punctuation Skills
This is the most basic of the writing skills that you should possess. However, the use of proper grammar and punctuations greatly depends on how formal the writing needs to be. This, however, doesn't mean your informal writings should be written in poor grammar and punctuation.
Writing a Great Business Letter
You need to communicate with your business partners or suppliers, and the most viable form of communication is writing a business letter. How do you go about it? Here is a breakdown of the steps to writing an effective business letter.
1) Identify Your Reader
Identifying your reader or target audience is more about knowing what they expect from your business letter than knowing them in person. Strive to understand what questions they expect you to answer in the letter, what tone is great for them, etc. Having the right information about your reader helps you to choose a suitable format for your business letter.
2) What Is the Purpose of Your Writing?
Determine why you are writing before you start the whole process to help you bring your main points together. Regardless of who you are targeting, whether it's a business owner or a customer you are convincing to buy your products, establishing the purpose earlier puts you in the right place to communicate effectively with them.
3) Select the Best Format
There are numerous formats of a business letter that you can choose from depending on your intended message. Some of the most common formats include the following:
● Complaint business letter
● Thank your business letter
● Cover letter
● Adjustment letter
● Bad-news letter
● Response letter
● Congratulatory letter
4) Research Well on Your Topic
Researching thoroughly on a topic you intend to write about gives you the basics and details that you should cover in your letter. You acquire all the facts and figures that you must have in your letter to hit and drive the information home.
5) Stick to a Specific Topic
It is best if you focus on a topic per business letter to help the reader focus on the specific information you wanted to pass across. Mixing ideas can reduce the effectiveness of your main message leaving your readers confused.
6) Proofread Your Work
Lastly and most importantly, do not deliver your letter before going through it yourself or using editing tools to identify and correct any grammar mistakes. Your grammar mistakes might draw your reader's attention from the main message or even communicate something opposite of what you intended.
Importance of Using Written Communication in Businesses
Opting for written communication in your business has the following advantages over other forms of communication. Have a look.
● Written communication is a great way of keeping permanent records. All your ideas, facts, and proposals communicated in written form become a record for future reference.
● A written document or business letter identifies your brand to customers and other users. Therefore, well-written letters define your business positively and maturely.
● Written communication gives you a more comfortable option of delivering information. This is especially true if you need to disseminate information to a large number of people. You can easily reach everyone's email inbox within a short time with the same message.
A lot has changed in the way people communicate today, not only through written communication but also through verbal communication. Most of the changes implemented in written communication are for the good of the parties communicating, with faster electronic means of communication and a reduced need for a paper to deliver written communication, even the environment smiles.
However, to move with the changing times, you need to embrace the skills and techniques needed for effective written communication.