Great business leaders are quick-witted, decisive, and analytical. They are decision-makers and influencers; their calculations sometimes impact hundreds of employees’ destinies. They are confident, straight-forward and empower their organizations and subordinates in more ways than one. However, some of them are horrible when it comes to written communication.
Yes, we said it. Some leaders have no idea how bad their writing is and how badly it reflects on them. Whenever anyone writes something, they are putting a piece of themselves inside that written word. The structure of their sentences, word choice, tone, and even word order; they all signal something about the author. Leaders need to be especially careful when writing. Sloppiness undermines image, and leadership is built on image and perception.
Great writing skills are imperative for people in position. Leaders communicate all the time and most of that communication is done via email. They are also frequently asked to contribute to certain industry magazines and publications. Fumbling for words and struggling to produce an article on a topic that you are an expert in will reflect badly on you and your company.
Ways to Improve Leadership Writing Skills
At one point or another, you will have to write up a rallying pep talk for your employees. Do you want it to sound bland and uninspiring? Of course not! You will want it to galvanize people, motivate them and charge them up. It is important to stay at the top of your game and to communicate effectively and concisely. Even if you are not the world’s greatest writer, there are things that you can do to practice that particular skill, so buckle up and get ready to learn!
First and foremost, get back to the basics. Your grammar, spelling, and punctuation have to be flawless. This does not mean that you have to attend evening writing classes, but brushing up on some elementary stuff is essential. It’s hard to position yourself as a leader and an expert if you are having difficulties spelling words. Bad grammar and poor spelling strip you of your authority and make it hard for people to take you seriously.
Luckily, there are some online tools that you can use that will save you a lot of time. Grammarly is one of those tools. Use it to check every email, every letter, and every article and form you write to save yourself the embarrassment of sending something riddled with errors.
Practice Makes Perfect
To get better at writing, you have to practice it as well. Set aside time to read your favorite authors, fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. Analyze the parts you like the best and try to learn from them. Next time you are writing something, attempt to mimic their style. It might work and it might not, but it will help you find your own voice and style.
Choose Your Words Wisely
Often, people tend to go off on a tangent when writing something. This is always a bad idea, especially in a business environment. Cut ruthlessly. Never use ten words if you can say something in five. Keep your emails concise and to the point and use short sentences. They will carry your message across better. Use MailMentor when you are drafting your emails. This great online tool tells you how readable your text is. Always aim to be somewhere on the 5th or 6th-grade level. No one likes to struggle with an email, believe us, and most often, people don’t even have the time for it.
Empower your writing. Use strong verbs instead of adverbs. They are more likely to push people into action, so be bold and daring, but always maintain a consistent level of professionalism. Today, business leaders try their best to include some fictitious buzz words into their writing, thinking that it will help them come across as knowledgeable and in-the-loop. Don’t do it. Buzz words are buzz words for a week after they emerge. After that, they become eyesores and clichés. Use Cliché Finder to track them down and eliminate them.
Get a Second Set of Eyes
If all else fails – meaning, you did your best, but you’re just not the wordsmith type – there is no shame in admitting defeat and turning to professionals for help. There are a lot of online services that offer experienced writers at reasonable prices. One of the best is Aussie Writer. Their services are especially useful if you find yourself in a situation where you are asked to contribute a piece of writing to a publication that deals with your industry. This is scary, even for seasoned writers. The good thing is that you are considered an industry thought leader. The bad is that nagging feeling that you will not be able to write the article properly and do it justice. Expert writers at Aussie Writer can tackle every topic for you and produce excellent content each and every time. All you need to do is provide a couple of ideas – and maybe an outline if you have one that you feel strongly about – and you can have your article ready in less than a day!
This doesn’t mean that you can get complacent and stop practicing your writing skills! You will need them in your everyday communication, and having a couple of expert writing tricks stashed away in your sleeve can yet prove to be useful!