How To Improve Written Communication: Practical Tips And Useful Tools
In the era of the Internet, we spend a large portion of our time communicating online. Most of such interactions come in writing. You have to deliver a clear message to achieve your goals, convey desires, and answer questions. However, for many people writing several sentences is a hard task.
Today we will talk about how you can improve your written communications, what advice to follow, and tools to use.
We are not talking about the so-called 10,000 hours rule. But the idea is pretty clear – writing is hard for those, who do not practice. Do you know why we think that the people of the past were much better writers? They were not, but many people practiced a lot, by keeping their diary for example.
For today you might not have that much time, writing a 1000-word essay requires a lot of dedication. But if you develop a habit of writing at least three sentences per day, after a while, you’ll see a boost in your skills. It might be a Facebook post, thoughtful comment on the article you liked, whatever.
The main idea behind this approach is to learn how to fight the writer’s block. As time goes, you will learn how to translate your thoughts into sentences that are readable enough for others to understand.
Also, when you face a need to write something bigger than your usual Facebook comment, say, an essay at school, or a blog post at work, there are also tools to help you. Refer to our Template Library available for Premium users, to get templates of dozens of texts – then you can just will the gaps and get a finished copy.
So, the main thing is practice. Write as much as you can, and soon you won’t need any help to create a killer piece and convey all your thoughts with style. This is the only way to improve your written communication.
Think about your reader
An important thing often overlooked by inexperienced writers. The basics of successful writing (whatever you consider a success in your case) is based on using words and notions suitable for the target audience of your text.
You will use formal language when sending an email with a quarterly report to your manager or working on a cover letter for your CV. And vice versa, when you are commenting on your friend’s Instagram post or sending a WhatsApp message, you won’t be too formal, as it will look weird.
Also, you should remember about complexity and readability. If you are writing light content you’d like even a kid could understand, you should avoid complex expressions and long sentences.
Run your text via specialized writing enhancement tool to find out its readability level, and fix it if needed.
Do not misuse words
One of the hardest things about writing is picking the right word. Often you might just mix the meaning of one word with another, or become confused by homophones (there are a lot of them in English), or forget the right meaning at all.
As a result, your writing may seem strange, irrelevant and unprofessional. To avoid such problems, use automated tools likes Vocabulary.com. This website has a pretty impressive approach to conveying a word’s meaning. It is not only written like in a dictionary, but there is a complete break up of different meanings the word can have in multiple situations. All explained as if you were at school and talking with your teacher.
Though experts are still arguing about shrinking/not shrinking attention span of the nowadays readers, they agree on the fact, and it does not exceed 10-15 seconds. So, to achieve a goal of your writing, you need to get straight to the point ASAP, or the reader will switch to something else.
The information overload is a huge problem, and people always have multiple options of content consuming: they can watch YouTube videos, scroll social networking feeds, read articles posted by media outlets. If your message is too long, or hard to read, chances of people wasting their time to understand, what you were about to say, equal to zero.
Don’t try to impress people with bright metaphors, complex phrases, and surprising facts if these things are not 100% relevant to what you want to express. Otherwise, cut all these unnecessary decorations.
Use the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach:
- if there is a big report, include a summary of key points in the beginning;
- use bullets to separate points;
- avoid industry-specific jargon;
- do not overuse abbreviations.
Structure your texts
Some life hacks could skyrocket your writing readability. One of the most effective is structuring. Here is how it works:
- Begin each paragraph with a so-called topic sentence. This is the main idea of the whole section. If you want to improve your writing communication, it is the best approach you can follow, as you’ll grab the reader’s attention right away.
- Follow with the body sentences to dive into the topic. Once you’ve told what you will write about, add more details and describe the matter of your topic. Here you insert quotations, images, links to the external data, etc.
- Add a conclusion sentence. Your idea should have the beginning and the end, as well. So don’t just jump to the next idea, until you’ve not finished the previous one. Wrap up the narration, outline main idea, consequences, etc., and only then move forward.
Find a human editor
The best way to improve your written communication is to have someone who will tell you when you could do a better job. There are websites like Fluent Express where you can order human editing services. However, there you can’t discuss the piece in the real-time.
Finding a person who knows your writing style and standard style errors, and is available for discussion is much more effective. But how to get such an editor? It is super easy. Just use websites like Upwork to hire an experienced freelance editor.
There are lots of such specialists, and you can easily find people who are native UK, US, Australia, New Zealand speakers. The good thing is you can negotiate the price for the proofreading, and build a long-term relationship.
future discounts, explain your idea behind any part of the text – shortly speaking; you definitely need Upwork for professional content creation.
Double check everything
Another important thing which people often overlook is proofreading. And even if you’d score yourself a human proofreader via Upwork, he or she still be human and can skip some mistakes.
However, nowadays there are professional writing enhancement tools like Textly.AI which finds much more mistakes than a regular spell checker. So, when you think you’re finished, and BEFORE sending your text to a human editor (or a friend for a second look) run your text through the tool.
It will eliminate typos, find punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes. That way, you’ll be sure that your writing is clear as a whistle. Then, send it to your human editor, and, when he or she returns the text, run an additional check via Textly.AI. This will help in fixing potential new typos arrived after the editing, and new mistakes the editor might make.
The good thing is that the tool works as a super convenient Chrome extension. This means, you can edit texts right on WordPress or Medium, Gmail or Facebook, and it is super comfortable that the extension checks everything on the fly. No need to Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V and paste anything.
Final advice: don’t try to save time on writing
Delivering clear written communication takes time. Nothing good will happen if you’ll try to save time on writing. Chances are you’ll end up with typos, errors, and unclear message. It is absolutely normal to spend several hours crafting an email, and several days for polishing the blog post or essay.
All steps of improving the written communications including evaluating the readability, checking there are no misused words, running a grammar check, and human editing, will require some time. Do not try to skip any of these steps as they are crucial for getting a clear message.