Web sites, blogs, and chat rooms have given people more opportunities to write, but don’t equate that to better writing. People can engage in an activity for years but if they don’t get guidance and instruction along the way, their work will still lack polish.
Company memos have numerous flaws, and one reason is because many people still think there is a difference between everyday e-mail and a memo, which is viewed as more formal, official, and important. Today, many e-mail messages are memos because they cover significant information, and writers should give them the appropriate attention.
“Look sharp so you make a good first impression” is commonly heard advice. Society might be more informal and relaxed these days but initial impressions still have a lasting impact, and that is certainly true in writing. A bad first impression caused by sloppiness in the text or a poorly written headline can prompt a reader to wince and move on.
The thought of grammar might make some people squirm, but it’s important for two big reasons: to ensure the clarity of your message and to help maintain your credibility. Contrary to what some people think, most people do still care about the language. They cringe at the sight of glaring errors, and those people might be important to your career. Mistakes often appear in important documents, such as cover letters, resumes, and memos to executives.
Your business success depends on your ability to craft messages and stories with clarity, efficiency, and focus. Whether you are writing a persuasive e-mail to an executive, an entertaining story for your intranet, a news release, or a disappointing message to a colleague, your writing needs to be precise, interesting, and convincing.
The Writing With Clarity workshops have helped thousands of professionals worldwide at such companies as Chevron, Visa, Oracle, Campbell’s Soup, Raytheon, Sprint, John Deere, Burson-Marsteller, and Fleishman Hillard.