If you communicate largely through the written word, then please practice your writing skills
To be a functional adult in any society, you need to communicate. To function like a normal person, you need to communicate your thoughts effectively.
The premise of communication is to transform your thoughts onto a medium which the other person can understand. This typically involve visual, audio, or both. Effective communication is usually done via audio-visual methods. Which is why face to face meetings, presentations, videos are the preferred format for important things.
Audio. Usually music, audiobooks, radio, podcasts, voice mails, and phone calls. It’s one level down from audio-visual but you are still able to let a hint of emotions via your voice. Also, you are able to receive feedback during a phone call which allows some level of control.
What about just visual? You have art, pictorials, written word, and the likes. There’s little to no feedback unless you setup observation counters. That leaves your material to stand on it’s own. How well your message is received depends on your skills.
Experts in visual communication fields are often called visual artists. They are trained like a craftsman. They undergo years of training and apprenticeship before they truly make good art.
“What about people like us who aren’t on any apprenticeship on any craft?”
Then we have to be mindful on how we communicate via the written word. Either via email, text messages, or social media messages. I feel that much of the intention gets lost if it’s poorly written. It’s such a waste when we have good and genuine intentions only to get affected by poor writing skills.
How do I get better then?
I have a couple of questions that I ask myself each time I write (note: not exhaustive and not all are applicable):
- What is my point?
- Am I asking the question or am I replying to a question?
- Did I get my point across?
- What is my tone? (or should be)
- Are there any action items I, or the recipient need to do? Are they made clearly?
- Is my email getting too long winded? (Short and simple is always the goal, it’s not an essay.)
- If it’s more than a few paragraphs, have I proof read it?
- If there needs to be a description of a problem/event/idea/etc, is it clear in my writing? (What if I insert a picture with markups? How about having a phone call to further elaborate?)
- Can a neutral party understand what’s going on without contextual background knowledge?
Like any skill, it’s all about practice. The more you practice, the better you get. Good writing is a skill anyone who aims to earn his place should acquire.
Visual communication photo via HubSpot