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How to develop effective written communication

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Writing can be quite a task. And many do not realise this until they have to write.

I’ve seen a lot of corporate executives struggle with writing memos, proposals, reports or a simple official email. The problem most of the time is how to put the information they have together to make complete and coherent sense as well as achieve their intent.

With this post, I want to put across some tips and steps you can implement to succeed with all your written communications. And surely you need to know how to write more than you think you do.

Preparation

It is essential that you prepare properly before taking up a pen to write or typing the first word on your computer, especially for a business communication. This is the first step.
– At this stage, you determine exactly what you want to achieve with that email, or memo, or proposal. When the purpose is clearly defined, the idea-flow will be coordinated, saving you time and stress.
– The next thing is to assess your reader[s]. This will help you to avoid using words and grammatical constructions that are above the head of your readers, confusing to them, or even irritating to them. It’s always best to use words that are most appropriate for your readers. This why you need to understand and be clear about the person[s]you are writing to.
– Then, determine the scope of your coverage of the subject. You need to know where to stop so that you do not include useless facts in your write-up. This is most necessary for business writing, where focus and brevity are prime rules.

Research

Another stage of preparing to write is research. This is time to go fetch the information that will make up your write-up. This may include putting down the facts you know; interviewing people; checking printed sources; and browsing the Internet. In case you are writing an article, it might be necessary to check and get insights from write-ups you have written previously on the topic in question, especially those targeted at a similar audience.

Organisation 

After gathering enough information, you have to organise them in a way that will be comprehensible by the reader. Here you decide what method of development best suits the purpose of your article. For example, if you are writing the history of your organisation, you might have to make it sequential, starting from the beginning to the present. Other methods of development include: comparison, cause and effect, division and classification, spatial, and chronological.

Writing the draft 

Now it’s time to produce your rough draft. Just write. Quickly put down all the information that you’ve got, according to the method of development that you have decided to use. At this point, you don’t care about proper introduction or grammar. Just let the information flow until you are done.

Edit, revise

This is the point where you edit your draft. You check for unity or coherence, flow and transition from one idea to the next, clarity, etc. This is when you check grammar, spellings, punctuations, and remove unnecessary words and phrases. You generally polish your write-up at this stage.

When you are done, read through again and again. You can also give it to other persons to proofread for you [that’s if you have the time].

Mind you, your written communication represents you. Don’t make yourself look bad.

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