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7 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing, like any other skill, is something you can get better at with time and practice. Learn how.

[Featured Image]: A woman with curly hair and wearing a white long sleeve shirt, writing in her notebook, while sitting in front of her computer.

From sending emails to preparing presentations, writing is often a day-to-day task in many professions spanning diverse industries. Writing skills go beyond grammar and spelling. Accuracy, clarity, persuasiveness, and several other elements play a part in ensuring your writing is conveying the right message.

What are writing skills?

Writing is a technical skill that you use to communicate effectively through the written word. Though these may vary depending on what you’re writing, there are several that transcend categories. Writing skills can more specifically include:

Sentence construction

Research and accuracy


Each of these components can influence the quality of writing.



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Why are writing skills important?

Being able to write well is a form of effective communication , which many employers see as a crucial job skill . In fact, strong communication—spanning written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual—is among the nine common employability skills that employers seek in job candidates.

Regardless of your role, with good writing skills, you can clearly transcribe your thoughts into meaningful messages, enabling you to share your ideas, build relationships, and strengthen your professional image.

Learn more: Important Communication Skills and How to Improve Them

How to improve your writing skills

Writing, like any other skill, is something we can get better at with time and practice. Here are some strategies for developing your own written communication:

1. Review grammar and spelling basics.

Grammar and spelling form the foundation of good writing. Writing with proper grammar and spelling communicates your professionality and attention to detail to your reader. It also makes your writing easier to understand.  

Plus, knowing when and how to use less-common punctuation, like colons, semicolons, and em-dashes, can unlock new ways to structure sentences and elevate your writing. 

If you’re looking to strengthen your grammar and spelling, start by consulting a writing manual. The Elements of Style by William Stunk and E.B. White has long been considered a staple for writers. You can find similar resources at your local library, bookstore, or online.


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2. Read what you want to write.

Knowing what a finished piece of writing can look like can guide your own. If you’re trying to write a humorous short story, read humorous short stories. Writing a book review? Find a few and take note of how they’re structured. Pay attention to what makes them good and what you want to emulate (without plagiarizing, of course). If you’re working on a school assignment, you can ask your instructor for examples of successful pieces from past students.

Make reading a part of your everyday life to improve your writing. Try reading the news in the morning or picking up a book before you head to bed. If you haven’t been a big reader in the past, start with topics you’re interested in, or ask friends and family for recommendations. You’ll gradually begin to understand what subjects, genres, and authors you enjoy.

3. Proofread.

While it’s tempting to submit work as soon as you’re done with it, build in some time to revisit what you’ve written to catch errors big and small. Here are a few proofreading tips to keep in mind:

Set your work aside before you edit. Try to step away from your writing for a day or more so you can come back to it with fresh, more objective eyes. Crunched for time? Even allotting 20 minutes between writing and proofreading can allow you to approach your work with renewed energy.

Start with easy fixes, then progress to bigger changes. Starting with easier changes can get you in the rhythm for proofreading, allow you to read through your work once more, and clear distractions so you can focus on bigger edits. Read through your work to catch misspellings, inconsistencies, and grammar errors. Then address the larger problems with structure or awkward transitions. 

If you could say something in fewer words, do so. Being unnecessarily wordy can cloud your message and confuse the reader. Pare down phrases that are redundant, repetitive, or obvious.

Read out loud. Reading out loud can help you find awkward phrases and areas where your writing doesn’t flow well. 

Should you use computer spelling and grammar tools?

Many computer-based tools—like spell check on your word processor, or Grammarly — can help you find and fix simple spelling and grammar errors. These tools are not perfect but can help even the most seasoned of writers avoid mistakes. Take note of any frequently highlighted words or phrases so that you can avoid the same mistakes in the future.

4. Get feedback.

Whether you’re writing emails or essays, asking for feedback is a great way to see how somebody besides yourself will interpret your text. Have an idea of what you’d like your proofreader to focus on—the structure, conclusion, the persuasiveness of an argument, or otherwise. 

Approach a trusted friend, family member, coworker, or instructor. If you’re a student, your school might also have a writing resource center you can reach out to. 

You might also consider forming a writing group or joining a writing class. Find writing courses online, at your local community college, or at independent writing workshops in your city.

5. Think about structure.

Grammar and spelling keep your writing consistent and legible, but structure ensures the big ideas get across to the reader.

In many cases, forming an outline will help solidify structure. An outline can clarify what you’re hoping to convey in each section, enable you to visualize the flow of your piece, and surface parts that require more research or thought. 

Structure might look different depending on what you’re writing. An essay typically has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A fiction piece might follow the six-stage plot structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement. Choose what’s best for your purposes.


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Like many skills, one of the best ways to improve your writing is to practice. Here are a few ways you can get started:

Start a journal or a blog.

Join a class or writing workshop.

Practice free writing.

Write letters to friends or family.

Put together an opinion piece for your local newspaper or publication you like.

7. Know some common fixes.

Even if a text is grammatically correct, you may be able to make it more dynamic and interesting with some polish. Here are some common ways you can sharpen your writing:

Choose strong verbs (for example, “sprinted,” “dashed,” or “bolted” instead of “ran”).

Avoid passive voice.

Vary sentence length.

Cut unnecessary words.

Replace cliches with original phrasing.


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Showing your writing skills in a job search

Your writing skills will shine throughout the job search process , whether or not you intend to show them off. This is because job applications are largely written materials, including your cover letter , resume , and email communications . Use these opportunities to demonstrate your writing skills to prospective employers by submitting clear, accurate, and engaging materials.

Additionally, if you have specialized expertise, such as experience with legal writing, medical writing, technical writing, or scientific writing, you can note that in a resume skills section and further detail that experience within your cover letter or during your interviews .

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Whether you’re a scientist or a product manager, journalist or entrepreneur, writing effectively will enable you to communicate your ideas to the world. Through practice, exposure, and familiarizing yourself with basic rules, you’ll be able to use your writing to say exactly what you want to say.

If you’re looking for a structured way to expand your writing skillset, explore writing courses on Coursera —the first week is free.

Give your team access to a catalog of 8,000+ engaging courses and hands-on Guided Projects to help them develop impactful skills. Learn more about Coursera for Business .

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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How to Improve Your Written Communication Skills: 8 Tips for Success

Improve Your Written Communication Skills

This article includes:

Are you looking to improve your written communication skills? Writing is an important and necessary skill, no matter the field of work or industry. It requires practice, focus, and comprehension of your audience. In this article, we will provide helpful tips to boost your written communication abilities: from understanding your target and researching your topic to choosing your words wisely, revising thoroughly, and incorporating feedback. We’ll also discuss how to consider the recipient’s point of view and choose a writing style according to the knowledge of your readers. Ready? Let’s get started!

Understand Your Audience

The most important element of successful written communication is like a puzzle piece that fits perfectly into the bigger picture. It requires taking the time to evaluate who will be reading the document and what is in it for them, as well as understanding their level of knowledge on the topic. This helps create effective writing by using stylistic devices such as metaphors, similes, personification, and alliteration to grab readers’ attention and specify desired action from them. By doing so, one can ensure that their message is verbal communicated clearly and effectively.

1.1. Try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes

When researching or writing a document, it is essential to consider the reader’s point of view. What do they need to know? What should they do? What are their expectations? By using rhetorical questions and active voice, you can engage readers and make them think about their own situation.

Readers should be aware of what is expected from them when reading this document. They should also have some background knowledge of the topic in order to understand its contents fully. With these considerations in mind, readers will be able to gain valuable insight into the subject matter at hand.

1.2. Do your research

In addition to trying to put yourself in the reader’s shoes, it is also important to consider the audience when selecting the appropriate tone and formalities. Before putting pen to paper, do your research. Who are they, and what kind of audience are you working with? Are they may college students or corporate executives? Their background and knowledge matter. Do not assume everyone communicates the same way—tailor the message to individual members of your team based on their wants and needs.

Consider the purpose of the writing, the formality of the language, and the tone needed. If there are any assumptions that the writer is making, state them within the text so the reader can know, assess, and understand the context. This will help avoid misunderstandings and result in readers retaining the intended message.

While developing documents, approach each piece as if you are the receiver, not the sender. Read single sentences aloud in order to check for clarity, and read the whole document to ensure there aren’t any common mistakes or potential issues. This is key to engaging your readers and proofreading the document before sending it out. Ask for feedback from colleagues and friends. Lastly, practice makes perfect. The more you write, the stronger your writing skills will become.

Keep It Simple

Simple writing is essential for effective communication but can be difficult to master. Keeping it simple requires focus and clarity. Writing should be as brief, clear, and unambiguous as possible without sacrificing accuracy or information.

2.1. Use short, simple sentences

Using complex words or long sentences may sound fancy but ultimately make the message harder to understand. Keep sentences simple and concise; aim for no more than fourteen words in a sentence. Longer sentences should be reserved for cases where leaving the information out would not adequately express the point.

2.2. Avoid jargon

Jargon is industry-specific terminology that can hinder understanding, especially when dealing with a general audience. Try to use plain language instead of buzzwords or acronyms to ensure everyone can understand your message. If jargon is necessary, define it and explain its relevance. This way, everyone will know exactly what you are talking about.

Use Active Voice

Active voice is a style of writing that makes a statement clearer, stronger, and more engaging for readers. Sentences can convey meaning in a more concise way when written in an active voice. Instead of passively saying, “The letter was sent by me,” in the passive voice, the active voice states, “I sent the letter” – more straightforward and simple than using two words. Active voice requires an important component—the subject—a person or entity which is performing the action stated in the sentence. Without it, the reader does not know who or what is making any given statement, leading to confusion.

Take, for example, “The letter was sent.” It is unclear without knowing who or what sent it. Instead, stating “I sent the letter” is direct and clear about the action taking place. Using active voice emphasizes the message’s point with the subject performing the action. This makes reading much easier and more effective as its purposeful succinctness drives the point home.

By keeping statements short and more straightforward, intentions are made clear to the audience. Active voice engages readers by showing them what is happening instead of struggling to make sense of a distant description.

Examples of written communication suffering from too much passive voice: – The rules were changed by my boss – Announced a new incentive plan last week – Rewritten have been the contracts.

The same phrases could be written with more clarity in active voice: – My boss changed the rules – Last week a new incentive plan was announced – The contracts have been rewritten.

The active voice keeps sentences succinct and simpler for understanding. In order for written communication to be clear and beneficial for readers, it is important to write using an active voice. With language devoid of confusing jargon and technical words, and factually relevant information, messages are interpreted effectively. Using imperative attention and brevity, the clarity of written communication will tangibly improve with an active voice.

Focus on Clarity and Concision

Clarity and concision are two important elements of any written communication. Clarity ensures that the reader understands the message, while concision helps avoid long-winded explanations, thus making your text more efficient. Clarity and concision can be achieved by using simple language, avoiding jargon or slang, and keeping sentences short. Additionally, by using active voice instead of passive voice, you can communicate your statement more clearly and concisely.

4.1. Read aloud to check for clarity

Reading something aloud is a great way to identify errors such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It also allows you the opportunity to pause and evaluate your phrasing to ensure the words flow naturally from one sentence to the next. Reading aloud also helps keep you mindful of the purpose of a given document, which will help make sure it remains clear and succinct.

4.2. Edit your work ruthlessly

Editing your writing is essential for producing quality written communication. Clarity and concision are two principles that should be applied when honing content, as taking the time to review and proofread makes you look more professional and informed. To ensure your message remains clear yet concise, construct well-formed sentences, eliminate extraneous words, and double-check for accuracy. Before sending out any written communication, put yourself in the reader’s shoes, so your message resonates with clarity and brevity. It’s like painting a picture with just enough detail to capture its beauty without overwhelming the viewer.

If you want to learn even more about interpersonal skills here you can check out our latest article: 10 tips how to develop interpersonal skills

Choose Your Words Wisely

Crafting well-written communications is an art that requires a few key ingredients: understanding the audience, keeping your message simple and to the point, being clear and concise in your word choices, using an active voice, and leaving time for feedback. To go beyond good written communication, one must unlock the power of words. Words are the fundamental building blocks of any well-crafted writing piece, email, report, or blog post.

The impact of carefully chosen words can be transformative, giving life to a story, eliciting emotion from readers, and changing the tone of any communication. When crafting words for your audience, consider their point of view- what is it that they care about, and how will this communication benefit them? Frame your message from the perspective of “what’s in it for me?” With that understanding, content creators should write within an environment where accuracy and relevant context have been provided.

When researching material for your communications, avoid plagiarism at all costs, as fudging facts undermine credibility, and cross-reference statistics to ensure accuracy. Writers should supplement resources like Wikipedia with current, primary sources when possible.

In addition to communicating accurately, try to tap into a reader’s emotions with everyday language, yet refrain from overt manipulation. Take great care to avoid euphemisms that stray too far from reality. Writing that is too polished, perfect, and formal can ultimately appear dull and lifeless to readers.

Tap into your own speaking style when crafting language. Incorporating active voice creates powerful statements and maximizes intent while streamlining run-on sentences keeps the focus on clarity and concision.

Despite best intentions, many writers forget the fact that writing is an iterative process. In the same way reworking code during software development leads to better performance and higher quality; the same can be said about restructuring text for better readability. Constant revision and editing are required even for first drafts, in what novelist Anne Lamott calls “shitty first drafts.”

Any completed work needs to be proofread by a fresh pair of eyes, seek out reviews from respected sources who can provide helpful structural advice and links, and check data and factual information yourself.

Choosing the right words to communicate effectively and command an audience’s attention is a challenge many writers face. Many highly successful authors and communicators attribute their success to thoughtful, considered choice of words. They take their time creating content – developing ideas and exploring new angles to sharpen and refine their writing before sharing it with an audience. With that in mind, take your time to craft a powerful narrative and hone your written communication skills. Every day you can get closer to mastering the art of written communication.

Here you can learn how to deliver bad news to your boss ,

Proofread and Revise

Good written communication skills are essential in many aspects of life. Before sharing any document, it is important to make sure it is error-free and professional looking. Proofreading is an important step that needs to be done every time you write or review a document, regardless of how long it is. It is the final check to ensure the document is ready for the readers and helps ensure accuracy.

Proofreading involves reading through your writing several times and carefully checking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, as well as trying to catch minor grammar and content mistakes. To give yourself the best chance at catching small errors, it is important to read your document aloud or have someone else read it. A fresh set of eyes can often detect subtle issues with clarity or tone that may not have occurred to the writer.

In addition to careful proofreading, using writing tools can help identify typos and grammatical errors. Microsoft Readability Assessment and Grammarly are examples of specific tools that can help improve your written communication. However, relying solely on these tools is not enough as they are only alert to typos and inappropriate tones, not factual errors like incorrect names or dates. Furthermore, these tools are only as useful as the person using them. Hence, even if you are using a tool, a careful eye is still required for complete accuracy.

When proofreading, other than typos, double-check the names, titles, places, features, and other information to make sure they are correct. Also, look out for any inconsistencies in grammar, checking, for example, if all verbs are conjugated correctly and in the right tense.

Editing plays an important role in improving written communication. Proofreading and editing are two separate processes. Editing is a process of transforming text that aims to change the structure and message of a piece, while proofreading is a final check before the communication is sent. Both elements of the process are critical for being perceived as professional and trustworthy. Having someone else read through your written work and provide feedback can help hone your skill over time.

The process of writing well is an iterative one. Allowing time to edit, rewrite and refine a piece is an essential part of the process. Acknowledging the first version is not always the finished version can reduce the intimidation of starting from a blank page. With practice and dedication, you will be able to improve your written communication and create documents that clearly and accurately get your point across.

Ask for Feedback

A confident writer takes the initiative to reach out for help and improvement. Asking for feedback is an essential step in the process of improving written communication, and it’s one of the best ways to ensure an effective outcome of any written work.

The person receiving reviews should remember that constructive criticism means that the content should be challenged rather than attacked. Developing a thick skin is important when dealing with feedback. Receiving feedback can also be a great way to learn how to communicate better with certain audiences.

It’s important to tailor each message to key recipients considering their points of view. For example, if you are writing a marketing piece or company-wide email, consider what questions are at the top of the reader’s mind. Is it related to product functionality, pricing, or other unique benefits?

When asking for feedback, make sure to spend some time talking about what you need and why you are looking for it. Additionally, explain the reason behind wanting to improve your written communication. This could be related to your business proposal , or it could be a passion of yours.

It helps to have someone else look over your writing just to catch those small errors and gaps in knowledge. Whenever possible, solicit the advice of someone who is well-read, good at communicating, and experienced in writing. Together, you can make sure your written communications get a better response, elicit a certain emotion from your readers, and hit home without being too wordy.

If you’re not comfortable getting feedback from someone directly, you can always join a writing workshop, find other aspiring writers online, or search for relevant content marketing groups on LinkedIn. Writing is a craft that can be learned and improved through practice. You can start by finding someone with more writing experience whom you trust and ask them for advice on how to write, how to practice, how to stay motivated, and how to stick with it when it’s difficult. Make sure they understand that the need for written communication may differ from their own.

At the end of the day, consistent practice will eventually lead to improvement. Aim to challenge yourself with either quality or quantity. Read something every day, write something every day—it can be as simple as a notebook review of the day’s best-written communication or a formal essay, report, or blog post.

Monitor your progress monthly and seek out friends who are better at writing than you are, and use them as sounding boards. Ultimately, writing is usually a solitary activity, but experienced writers often get feedback on their work as part of their creative process.

If you want to improve your written communication skills, practice is key. Don’t expect to become a great writer overnight, though—writing well takes time and dedication. Writing every day helps develop writing structure, syntax, and organization. Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes each day, spending quality time journalling can help strengthen your writing muscles. When tackling larger projects like essays or client communications, reading and writing should reinforce one another: utilize material from the readings when crafting your writing or vice versa.

When practicing written communication, use what you already know about target readers and craft pieces at their level. Always consider the reader’s point of view; it’s important to address what they will care about. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes as you write and frame communications from a ‘what’s in it for me?’ standpoint. Besides writing something every day, consciously read more blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc., to accustom yourself to new knowledge and trends.

The next step after writing is editing. Editing isn’t just catching typos; it is an essential part of writing well. Set a personal word count goal and strive to reach it. Make sure that a few words are used to communicate the message clearly. While editing, carefully read your writing from the reader’s point of view to see if everything is clear. Carefully choose words to solicit certain emotions in the reader or to build up a case for something. Also, revise your text to make sure its length won’t be too long—aim for concision.

Finally, don’t forget to ask for help. Whether it’s a critical review from a friend or professional assistance from an editor, it’s important to get a different perspective on your writing. Feedback from peers can give you valuable insight into both communication styles and areas that need more detail or explanation. Constructive criticism can make us better writers, as long as we approach it in the right way. Professional editors may benefit by having access to a greater depth of professional knowledge and experience; they can also help tighten messages and make them more effective.

Writing is an iterative process, so don’t be afraid to let go of the idea that your first draft should be the final version. Acknowledge that what you write today might not be perfect; instead, aim for improvement over time and allow yourself time to edit. The work won’t always be glamorous, but writing every day is the best way to perfect your craft and Fine Tune your writing, so it commands attention and results.

ways to improve written communication skills

Good written communication is essential in almost every aspect of life, whether one is writing a professional or personal email, an essay, or a blog post. Writing is a skill that can be honed and improved over time, so with the right approach and some helpful tips, one can become a better writer. The key to success is understanding your audience, doing research on their wants and needs, and keeping your written communication concise, clear, and engaging.

When writing, use an active voice for more strength, and choose your words wisely. It’s also important to read aloud and edit your work ruthlessly to ensure accuracy and avoid confusion. Lastly, practice makes perfect – read, write consistently, and get feedback from peers or professionals. With the help of these eight tips, you can become a better writer and communicate effectively regardless of the purpose.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are 4 examples of written communication.

Written communication is essential in any professional setting, and there are a variety of forms, such as emails, memos, bulletins, faxes, and written advertisements. Despite being a widely-used form of communication, it can often lead to misunderstandings and cause people to read between the lines or feel that there are hidden implications behind the words.

What is good written communication?

Good written communication focuses on conveying relevant information in a clear and concise manner, using appropriate language and formatting, and with accuracy and correctness. It should also have a friendly, professional, and enthusiastic tone to engage the readers.

Why are written communication skills important?

Moreover, effective written communication skills are a crucial part of success in all facets of life, as it reflects one’s focus and professionalism. Answer: Written communication skills are essential because they help clarify our thoughts and efficiently convey complex concepts to any audience. Conclusion: Written communication skills are essential for success in business, academics, and life in general. They are valuable tools to help us connect with others, express ourselves clearly, and expand our understanding of the world.

What improves the effectiveness of written communication?

To improve the effectiveness of written communication, it is important to be direct and use concise language. Avoiding unnecessary buzzwords or jargon can help make sure that your main message comes across. Additionally, editing for readability, tone, grammar, punctuality, and fluidity can help ensure that the purpose is clear to the reader.

If you are interested in more info about improving internal communication in company check out our latest article!

What is written communication?

Written communication is the exchange of information, ideas, and messages through written formats such as emails, letters, memos, and reports. Its importance lies in its ability to convey meaning clearly and succinctly while preserving a record of the conversation for review in future.

ways to improve written communication skills

Professional consultant and project manager in software houses. He has over 8 years of experience as a project manager for key clients. Currently mainly works on business consulting and communication with strategic clients. Privately a fan of good food, board games, and cycling. He loves to share his experience with new people!

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How to Improve Your Written Communication Skills

Mary Cullen

Writing is an everyday activity for many people. So, you’d think that written communication would come almost naturally. Unfortunately, it is an ongoing challenge for writers and their readers. Messages can be misunderstood or missed entirely, even when they seem so obvious. Fortunately, there are many straightforward ways to up your writing game and become a better communicator. This article will explain why it’s so difficult to convey information in text and ten valuable tactics to improve your written communication.

Why is written communication so difficult?

Excellent communication in any format is easy to understand and allows the reader to respond appropriately. When we communicate in person, verbal communication dominates the exchange. However, these words are supplemented with non-verbal communication. The tone of voice, hand gestures, and body physicality can clarify messages, even when speech is not entirely clear. In parallel, the audience can immediately respond to the information with their own non-verbal communication. Looks of confusion or boredom tell the messenger that their material is not translating, and the speaker can adjust their efforts in real-time.

Alternatively, in written communication, the words have to do all the heavy lifting. If the reader furrows their brow in confusion, there’s no additional clarity available. Therefore, the entirety of the message must be conveyed through the text. That’s a big job.

A persuasive writing  myth further compounds the challenge: fancier writing is better writing. Many writers have been led to believe that verbose writing with snazzy vocabulary comes across as clever. However, this writing style makes for poor communication. The reader often struggles to find the core message when it is meandering in excessive wording and jargon . Remember: the best writing is clear, direct, and concise.

Anyone can be an excellent written communicator with practice. To support your written communication efforts, we've outlined our top ten tactics to strengthen your written communication.

Ten tactics to improve written communication

Stop writing, starting thinking..

Effective written communication starts before you type your first word. To write clearly, you have to think clearly. Therefore, before you begin writing, step back, and align your thoughts on the communique. This process can be an internal thought process resulting in a rough outline for simple texts or a thorough mind-mapping exploration resulting in a structured framework for more complex work.

A common writing mistake is to work out your thoughts while writing the text. Expecting writing to clarify your thoughts is putting the cart before the horse. The writing process will take longer than necessary. It will result in a document likely confusing structure and message, required an extensive edit. Planning your written text will save time and produce better results.

Write for your audience.

Written communication follows the same rule as all communication: audience is everything.  As you plan your writing, take the time to understand for whom you’re writing. Why is she reading this document? What’s in it for her? What do you want her to do? How much does she know about this topic? Your written communication is not for you; it is always for the reader. Writing with the reader in mind will produce more effective written communication.

Tools are valuable but imperfect.

Writing tools , like Microsoft Readability Assessment or Grammarly , are great supports to improve your written text. These tools will alert you to errors ranging from minor typos to inappropriate tone. Yet, these tools are only tools. They are only as useful as the person operating them. Integrate tools into your workflow, but remember that you are ultimately the writer and editor. Tools do not catch all errors, and a careful eye is still required.

Keep it simple, silly.

In writing as in life, the simplest solution is generally the best one. The simplest, most direct way to write something is best. Don’t use eight words when two will do.  Aim for short sentences and short paragraphs to keep the information digestible and accessible.

Simplicity also applies to any request or call to action. If you’re writing to ask a colleague or friend to do something, be polite but direct. Some writers tend to sidestep a direct ask with meandering wording and conditional phrasing that water down the message. To ensure the request is conveyed, be direct.

State your assumptions.

Misunderstandings in written communication often arise from assumptions. As a writer, you may be required to make assumptions. For example, you believe that your reader has read the same report, received a certain work directive, or is familiar with the latest policy change. However, if these assumptions are incorrect, he may misunderstand and even take incorrect action. A strong understanding of the audience will minimize assumptions. They can be entirely avoided by stating any assumptions you make within the text. He can then make their own assessment of the context they need to understand the written message. 

Know that the first draft is a first draft.

Writing is an iterative process. Good writers do not produce great work on the first try. Good writers have a robust editing process that allows time for the text to become great. So, as you begin to write, acknowledge that this version is not the one your reader will receive. This thought process forces you to integrate time to edit. In addition, it can make a blank page less intimidating because even if your first iteration is terrible, it can always be improved.

Write and read often.

Writing, like any other aptitude, requires practice. Aim to write daily to keep your written communication skills fresh. If your regular daily work does not include writing, set a personal word count to achieve each day. Whether it’s 100 words or 1,000 words, consistent practice will hone your skills.

To gain inspiration, read excellent writing. Find writers or topics that intrigue you and enjoy the written word. Analyze a great article or report to understand what made it so accessible. Perhaps the article was structured particularly thoughtfully. Maybe the author’s variation in sentence structure kept the report engaging. Seek out first-rate writers and emulate your favorite practices (without plagiarizing, of course). 

Edit fiercely.

Editing is vital to improving written communication. Your draft text must go through a rigorous editing process to ensure that it is as clear as possible for your reader. Take a break from your document and re-read it with fresh eyes. Read the text out loud; if it’s awkward to say aloud, then the text requires revision. Look for excessive wording or repetitive sentences and sculpt them into a more cohesive thought. Review your text’s structure and see if the order is logical and appropriate.

If you’re unsure how to edit – ask for help. Solicit a friend or colleague to read the text for you. Their fresh viewpoint will highlight areas for improvement. Take their constructive criticism well because external feedback is the best tool to understand your writing and how to improve it.

Put yourself in your reader’s shoes.

At the risk of repeating myself: put yourself in the audience’s shoes. The audience should be top of mind in the final edit to assess if the text communicates the correct information. Return to the original prompt, whether it’s an email request or a proposal, and verify that the original goals are met, and initial questions are answered.

Actively look for reader misunderstandings. See if your sentences could be interpreted in different ways. If so, compose more precise phrasing. Spell out acronyms and remove jargon, even if you believe it is a common language. 

Don’t forget to proofread.

Editing is a process of transforming your text into the best version of itself. Proofreading, on the other hand, is a final check before written communication goes out the door. Proofreading is as critical for a brief email as a 280-page report because it makes sure the text is error-free. Look for typos, double-check names, verify grammatical consistency, and other steps to make sure that your well-edited document is final and truly ready for the reader.

Improved written communication has its benefits.

‘Excellent written communication’ is listed as a desired quality across disciplines and career paths. As more workplaces move online , written communication is becoming even more essential. Integrating these tactics will not only hone a high-value skill but will also strengthen your current interactions with colleagues and clients.

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How to Improve Written Communication Skills at Work

Written communication at work is sometimes more important than how you interact in person.

How to Improve Written Communication Skills at Work

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At work, we're writing to our colleagues more than ever. On top of email, we've got project management software, chat, note-taking apps , cloud-based project documents, and whole slew of other places where we write posts, comments, and updates every day.

Given how much of it we do, for most desk jobs, written communication at work is probably as important, if not more important, than how you interact in person. Even if you think you're already pretty good at writing emails, making Word docs, or using Slack, if you want to be more successful, writing is a fundamental skills you'll want to cultivate.

To improve written communication skills, all you need to learn are some flexible principles. This isn't about any kind of rigid adherence and memorization of grammatical and stylistic rules. Rather, it's about being aware of how your writing is being received, and making it as easy as possible for your co-workers to get what they need from written words.

Why is written communication so important?

In 2004 Jeff Bezos banned the use of PowerPoint at Amazon . He insisted on well-structured narrative text instead, because, he said, it “forces better thought and better understanding.”

[Good writing] forces better thought and better understanding. —Jeff Bezos

Bezos recognized that, when executed well, written communication leads to more high-quality ideas because it enables critical scrutiny of these ideas, both for the writer and the audience. 

But it’s not just internal memos that are important. It’s comment threads, Tweets, posts, instant messages, text messages, emails and more. Now more than ever, communication teams must use a strategic mix of various channels. ‍

And knowing how to write and be understood on at least some of these channels is critical.

Unique challenges with written communication at work

The real challenge with writing is not to be technically or stylistically perfect—the challenge is to communicate clearly . More specifically, your challenge with written communication follows these three Cs. You must be: 

Being concise, clear, and considerate has gotten much harder with the rise of so many new channels for written communication. But why?

Think back to a recent project you were involved in. 

What communication channels did you use to communicate with your colleagues, clients, and project stakeholders? Even a relatively simple project’s written communication might span across email chains, message threads, comments on a task, and project documents.

This creates a new kind of communication complexity.

Tips and examples to improve written communication

Since your main challenge with written communication is to be clear, concise, and considerate of your audience, our tips are centered around those three areas. 

How to Be More Concise

Remove repetition from your writing.

To be a more concise writer follow the advice of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and “omit needless words”.

As Strunk and White explain, “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences.” 

As it turns out, many common expressions violate the principle of omitting needless words. So following this rule requires diligence.

For example, in the sentence “He is a man who likes watching sports,” the phrase “he is a man who” can be rewritten as “he” without changing the meaning of the sentence. 

When you proofread your writing, look for opportunities to remove words, sentences, or paragraphs without changing the meaning of your message.

Choose Communication Frequency and Volume Carefully

To write well, you need to choose carefully when to communicate, how much information to provide, and in what form you should communicate.  

For example, if you’re submitting a deliverable you created to a client or boss, you’ll need to provide the proper context to enable them to provide useful feedback. 

At the same time, you don’t want to provide so much irrelevant contextual information that your reader becomes overwhelmed. 


How to Write More Clearly

Using shorter sentences.

The American Press Institute showed that when the average sentence length is 14 words, readers understand more than 90% of what they are reading.

This doesn’t mean every sentence you write must be 14 words or less. But you should try to limit the number of sentences you write that are longer than 25 words. 

An easy way to do this is to break up long sentences.

Take this wordy example.

"Burgundy is the smallest of the famous wine regions of France, and its greatest wines all come from a narrow strip of hills in eastern France.”

Make it easier to read by breaking up sentences:

“Burgundy is the smallest of the famous wine regions of France. Its greatest wines all come from a narrow strip of hills in eastern France.”

Avoid Unnecessarily Complex Words

Another way to improve your writing is to avoid using a complex word when a simpler one will work. For example:

How to Be More Considerate of Your Reader

Contextualize and clarify your message.

You shouldn’t expect your audience to remember all the background information relevant to your message. But you should expect, and allow time for, clarification. 

So put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself:

What other information might your audience need to understand or react to your message? Do they have access to that information? What critical information should you reiterate to ensure your audience’s understanding?

Focus on Action Items

Typically, the reason you write at work is to help someone else make a decision and/or take action. To be more considerate of your audience, structure your writing around those action items or decision points.

That way, your audience can focus any clarification questions around the information they need to take action. 

Speaking of focusing on action items, try one of our free agenda templates to create a well-written, action-oriented agenda for any kind of meeting.


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How to Improve Your Written Communication Skills at Work


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How to Improve Your Written Communication Skills at Work

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Now, more than ever, the bulk of our personal and professional communication is happening through a screen rather than in person. Whether it is an email or instant message, it is important that we effectively communicate our messages.

Challenges of Written Communication

There was a day when you met regularly and in-person with your team. While in-person teams still exist, it is more common to have remote or at least partially remote teams that include people you may never even meet in person. This opens up a new world of possibility when it comes to talent and diversity but poses a unique challenge that goes against our human nature and our ability to interpret body language and micro reactions in our communications.

Albert Mehrabian, a body language researcher, found that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words. He later clarified that his research was based on the communication of single words associated with emotion and is not entirely conclusive to full sentence communication. Thankfully, this common misinterpretation of his finding has led to even more research on this topic that shows anywhere from 60% – 70% of communication is nonverbal. That is a far cry from 93%, but the point still stands that a significant chunk of communication is done non-verbally.

That begs the question… how much of our communication abilities are lost when we are communicating solely through text? The answer is a lot.

Fear not! It may be more challenging but there are ways to improve your written communication and clearly convey your message.

Three C’s of Communication

Three C’s of Communication

One may think that a big part of communication is grammar and spelling. While it certainly won’t do you any favours to send an email riddled with typos, it’s more complicated than that.

In an effort to be more concise, ensure that you’re not needlessly adding words to your message. Note the word count and challenge yourself to share the same message while reducing the number of words you need to convey it.

Consider your medium – If you are using a message board that follows a stream of related conversations, there is no need to provide context with each reply. On the other hand, if you’re communicating an update with a client or management, it makes sense to add a bit of context.

In being concise also consider correctness. While you want to be sure to only include the words that are needed, the words used should accurately convey the tone and message behind the communication.

Clear and concise may sound similar but there is an important difference. In an attempt to write clearly, you want to be considerate of the actual words you use. Resist the urge to sound “smart” by including less common descriptive words when a more common one exists. It also helps to keep sentences short.

If your communication involves an ask, make sure it is undeniably clear. For example:

“Please draft a 200 word summary of the project for Client 1. Send it to Jane for review by Wednesday at 2:00 pm.”

This message includes boundaries (word count), context (Client 1), action (send to Jane) and a deadline (Wednesday at 2:00 pm). A clear message was sent with less than 25 words.

Be Considerate

One of the best ways to be considerate of the reader is crafting the appropriate message based on the platform. For example, if you are communicating via instant message, keep it short and likely more informal.

Part of being considerate is another “C” word – courteous. A little courtesy goes a long way in written communication and can get lost in the quest to be clear and concise. Showing gratitude is never a waste of space and does wonders to communicate respect for the reader’s time and attention.

Tips to Improve Written Communication

10 Tips to Improve Written Communication

With the three C’s of communication fresh in your mind, consider the following tips to improve your written communication abilities.

Read It Out Loud

It may feel silly and I highly recommend that you are alone when you do this, but reading your message out loud will make a big difference. It is much easier to catch mistakes and get a feel for the tone when the message is spoken as opposed to silently reading.

Consider Your Audience

Are you writing a quick note to a friend or to the CEO? This will make a big difference in how you format your message and the tone that it may take. Save your emoji’s for less formal interactions with your team and spend a little extra time on communications with

Get In The Zone

One of the most common mistakes people get into is not really thinking before they write. Because a backspace is easier than whiteout, we are all guilty of just jumping in. You will see great improvement in your written communication when you learn to take a deep breath first and take a couple of minutes to get into the zone.

Make Use of Writing Assistant Tools

Grammarly is an excellent program that will add a layer of review on to your work. While it is not perfect, programs are getting better and better at noticing errors and even recognizing the sentiment behind a message.

Provide Context

If someone where to receive your email as a stand alone document, would they have any idea what is going on? No, you don’t need to include a full history of the project every time that you send an email but be clear enough that someone will not have to work backwards to remember what you are talking about. It can be as simple as including the title of the project or making use of the subject line.

Practice Makes Perfect

Okay, nothing is ever perfect but the sentiment is that you need to practice to be good at anything. Consider the amount of words that you write in a day. You can figure this out by copying and pasting everything you write into a word document and then using the word count function. Try this for a week and see how much you write and use that number to set a writing goal. The idea is to get a baseline and ensure that you practice every day.


This should go without saying but so often people type away and click that send button without even once reviewing their work. There is nothing worse than realizing you spelled someone’s name wrong when it was written correctly in their email address. If your document is longer, like a report, it’s extra important to factor in time to review it. A good tip is to have others read it first because they can spot things you have come to ignore having read it so many times. Another is to actually plan your time right that you can step away from the work for a couple of days and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Keep It Simple

There may be times when you need to step up your game but more often you will be writing less formally and for people you know. The goal is to get a message from point A to point B with as little resistance as possible. This respects your time but also the time of the receiver who also has things to do.

Back To The Basics

You didn’t think you were going to get through a blog about written communication without a reference to The Elements of Style , right? Originally published over 100 years ago in 1918 by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, the advice packed into these pages has really stood the test of time and is a must-have on your bookshelf.

Imitate Writing Styles

Can you think of anyone in your circle who already does a great job when it comes to written communication? Think of what it is about them that appeals to you and how you can apply that in your own written communication.

There are very few skills that span across industries but effective written communication is one of them. If you are looking to improve your skills, you can start by implementing any one of these tips and you will be well on your way.

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