Effective Written Communication

Whilst it’s not the only way to communicate, but effective written communication in the workplace is extremely important and relevant. ‘Time is money’ and the more time wasted on inaccurate and lost messages, the more money a business loses. For example, lack of detail in a memo or email could mean that a piece of work must be completely redone, doubling the time spent on a project.

What written communication doesn’t give you, is the personalisation of the message. It lacks the assistance of body language and vocal articulation. Careful thought needs to go into written communication because without the personalisation of verbal communication, it leaves peoples interpretation and perception of the message open to huge costly misunderstandings.

When sending out written information, it is expected that the people reading the information understand what is being said or asked of them. Still, often than not, some confusion or misinterpretation can lead to inaccurate interpretation. Consideration should also be given to the length of sentences. Studies show that the longer the sentence (over 25 words or more), understanding becomes much more difficult.

Think about what you want to say, then say it. Be as specific as possible. It will look shorter because there aren’t as many words, but it will contain more information and increase the chances of the message getting through.

Short words, short sentences and short paragraphs help to make the content more readable. Cut your word count in half, and then in half again.

Use the simplest words you can, make sure your grammar, spelling and punctuation is correct and avoid jargon, repetition and general ‘waffle’. A clever idea would be to get your written piece proofread by someone else which would help to highlight any issues.

Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.” – George Orwell

The Survey Initiative is an experienced employee research company. If you would like to know more about how we can help your organisation with any employee research matters or would be interested in a FREE Employee Engagement Consultation, then give us a call on +44 (0)1255 870735 or contact us via our website.