Take a scroll and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel and concerning Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day.Jeremiah 36:2
Is able to write clearly and succinctly in a variety of communication settings and styles
Communicates a clear message or theme
Can get messages across that have the desired effect or impact
Writes in such a way that captures the attention of the reading audience and that is relevant to them
Uses an appopriate variety of communication vehicles to get a message across (i.e. email, newsletters, presentations, brochures, SMS, and social media)
“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”
– Samuel Johnson
Not a clear communicator in writing
May be hard to tell what the main point of the communication is or what people are being asked to do
May be too wordy (or too short), use poor grammar or spelling, or be boring and un-inspiring
May not organize a logical argument well
May not adjust to different audiences; may have a single style of writing
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
– Flannery O’Connor
Causes of Weakness
Lacks writing skills or experience
Too busy to take the time to think through written communications – doesn’t review what one writes before sending it
Has a difficult time getting a point across quickly and with few words
Unskilled at clarifying the main point of the communication
Doesn’t know how to structure a message into an organized and logical format
Has poor grammar or spelling
Writing in a language that is not one’s first language
“The secret to becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing.”
– Ken MacLeod
Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.
OUTLINE: Preparing an outline before you write. What’s your objective? What are your main points? Outline your main points to support the overall objective. What are five things you want your audience to know and remember about each main point? Who is your audience? How much do they already know that you don’t have to say? How much background information should you include? What questions will the audience have when they read your writing?
WRITE: Follow your outline. Clearly state your main message or purpose in the first paragraph. Think of a 3-step writing process. 1) Tell them what you are going to tell them – using a brief introductory paragraph. 2) Tell them what you want them to know – expanding out and using examples to demonstrate each of your main points. 3) Tell them what you told them – using a final summarizing paragraph. Think of a creative way to grab the readers attention in the first paragraph. Coud you use an interesting, funny or shocking story, fact, comparison, quote, photo, or cartoon? Try to cover no more than 3-5 main points. More than that will prove difficult for your audience to remember.
REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCE: You may have to adjust the length, tone, pace, style, and even the message and how you present it for different audiences. For example, if you are writing something for a senior leader, they often prefer things to be brief and to the point. Financial supporters might need details matched with stories. Your team may need things explained using examples. Your lawyer or accountant may need lots of details.
READABILITY: Don’t provide more details than your readers need. It will bore them. Use easy to understand words and wording. Most people don’t like to have to think too much to be able to comprehend what you are trying to say. Re-read your writing before you send it and consider having someone else proofread it for you. Spelling and grammar mistakes are a major turnoff for most readers, although readers are usually more understanding of second language people. Replace common words like ‘very’ or ‘great’ with more creative words or consider if the words are needed at all. Make sure your sentences aren’t too long. Using multiple commas in one sentence is an indication.