We’ve put together a list of tips for quickly improving your written communication skills to get you started. Check them out.
1. Develop a daily writing habit.
Practice makes perfect, so set aside just 10 or 15 minutes each day to free-write. Free writing is a healthy daily habit that lets you get your thoughts down on paper without worrying about outlining or proofreading your ideas.
2. Try to read every day.
In addition to writing each day, a daily reading habit is also crucial to increasing your vocabulary and expanding your writing repertoire.
3. Capitalize when you’re supposed to.
Notice how the University of Florida published that study referenced in the previous tip. And notice how the “University of Florida” is capitalized.
4. Avoid using exclamation points.
“Don’t ask punctuation to do a word’s job,” warns Beth Dunn, chief writer, and editor on HubSpot’s product team. “It dilutes your message.” Instead, she suggests working on making our words convey more precisely what we want to say.
5. Always think about your audience.
You can be casual with your coworkers and peers, but when communicating with management or clients, it’s a good idea to write using more formal grammar.
6. Cut the filler phrases and buzzwords.
Wordy phrases such as “because” should be swapped out for their more superficial, straightforward synonyms.
7. Sign up for a free writing course online.
You’d be surprised what you can learn from a free online writing course. Massively open online courses (MOOCs) are only multiplying, and you can find free courses offered by Coursera, Udemy, and edX, as well as universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.
8. Use writing templates.
Templates can save you some serious time and effort. Create a template with customizable fields if you have to send out similar letters or memos regularly.
9. Make sure you address people correctly.
Avoid accidentally insulting someone by triple-checking names, gender, personal pronouns, and titles.
10. Study commonly misused words and phrases.
Is it “peek,” “peak,” or “pique”? Which one is correct: “first-come, first-served” or “first-come, first-serve”? There are a lot of commonly misused words and phrases out there that you should know.
11. Drop the word ‘very’ from your vocabulary.
Florence King once wrote, “‘Very’ is the most useless word in English and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen.”
12. Read your writing out loud.
Before you send anything important, read through it out loud quickly. It may seem a little strange, but reading your writing out loud is one of the most effective ways to catch typos, grammar errors, and awkward phrasing.
13. Ask for feedback from your peers.
It is perhaps the most important tip for becoming a better writer. If you read your writing enough, it suddenly becomes just a wall of words playing in your head with no real meaning.