Yesterday’s blog entry had a title that Words Are Easy … and in the context of THAT blog entry it made sense. The basic message was that it is people’s actions that define them, not their words.
However … in a different context I find that words are not as easy as I might have assumed. There are an amazing number of people who can’t string two sentences together to save their lives. When you compound their lack of writing skills with a propensity for “text speak”, our future ability to communicate effectively is in question. Will future CEOs only read shortened sentences, gleaning context from the shorthand of the instant message world?
Communication is complex, and the use of the written word is one of the key ways in which we deliver our ideas, describe our offerings, our feelings and thoughts. If people are unable to write effectively, and hence communicate effectively, it will create real problems.
Perhaps a good command of your language, and the ability to use it effectively, will be a great differentiator for the future employee.
Here are a few thoughts for anyone who wants to get serious about improving their written skills, and hence their employability.
1. Read more … and it should be “meaty”, “wordy”, “thought provoking” content, not just “trashy novels”.
2. Practice your writing … compose messages that are more than just a couple of sentences. Decide what your are trying to communicate; create an opening that leads the reader into your message; then create a body that explains your message; and finally finish with a conclusion that ties it all together.
3. Always use spellcheck.
4. Add to your vocabulary … do crossword puzzles, read books that use a varied vocabulary (and understand them).
5. Always re-read your message before sending … ensuring that your words will be read the way that you intend them to be read.
6. Understand and learn the rules of your language … in English do you know when to use their, there and they’re?
7. Subscribe to a newsletter from someone who writes … I get Ron Jette’s very informative newsletter which gives some great tips for the prospective writer.
8. Read blogs of people who write well. Seth Godin is able to communicate interesting and intricate ideas, effectively and in a few words!
There is a real opportunity for people early in their career to leap ahead of their peers, merely by improving their use of the written word!
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” … George Bernard Shaw