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Why writing well matters

Read about how writing communicates your professional identity.
© University of Southern Queensland

Writing well matters because it communicates your professional identity.

Whether you are writing reports, proposals, emails, or texts, the way you construct sentences, use tone, and adhere to grammar conventions will convey your professional identity. This is because our communication styles are a product of our education, environment, experiences, and capabilities. It is important to construct our communication styles carefully and choose how we want the recipient to view us.

For an example of how words can convey more than the message, have a look at the below messages where an employee is telling their boss that they are unwell.

Leave messages

Number three is the most professional, because it has a polite opening, a professional tone, uses correct punctuation and spelling, and has spelt the recipient’s name correctly. If you were to receive the other messages, what emotions would they evoke in you? Why do you think that is?

As you can see, a simple sentence can communicate a lot about your view towards the recipient, as well as your professionalism. Writing emails or messages that are clear, grammatically correct, and void of typos will communicate your competence, attention to detail, and professionalism to your colleagues.

Let’s look at another example. Below are two emails that have the same purpose of communicating to a collaborator, but are written with different levels of clarity, grammar, spelling, and tone.

Email 1 to Maya

Email 2 to Maya

There are many things that set apart these two emails:

  • Allison has greeted the recipient, which gives a more friendly tone to the opening of the email, whereas Justin gave no greeting.
  • Allison has outlined that she has completed her parts and identified it as a “draft”. This establishes a relationship as collaborators, whereas Justin did not identify what he had completed on this task or properly explain what Maya needs to do.
  • The use of “as we discussed in our meeting” is a great way to introduce what the other person needs to do, as the next part will not read as instructions but as a reminder of what they discussed collaboratively. The sentence Justin gave was very abrupt and doesn’t establish a relationship between them as collaborators.
  • Allison gives more detail about what needs to be done in the report with sufficient detail. Justin only gives the bare minimum of what needs to done, which could lead to confusion or further clarification if Maya had forgotten the details of her tasks.
  • Allison added a thank you and offered her assistance, which further established their roles as collaborators. Justin’s phrasing of “can you do that before tomorrow, thx” can come off as abrasive and demanding, which is not a positive way to speak to a collaborator.

From the way the emails are written, you can gauge the level of mutual respect and rapport Allison and Maya have compared to Allison and Justin. While both have the same purpose and meaning, the structure, language, and tone all convey much more than what needs to be done.

Everyday communication is just one example of how your writing can impact your work. Writing well in all forms of communication can assist you to achieve your professional goals, as it can help you get hired, communicate efficiently, increase credibility, and be more successful in your role.

© University of Southern Queensland
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Effective Communication Skills for Professionals

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