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In Business, Writing Well is a Necessity

You can all relax. This is not a grammar lesson.

It is not enough to do a good job. You must also give the appearances of doing a good job. That is why writing well is so important. Writing well is not an add-on to your job skills. It is a central part of it. Your writing must communicate you doing a good job. Many who read your reports will never meet you. Yet they have powerful influences over your career. Their only vision of you is through your writings.

Since only your writings are available to them, the writing must be outstanding. You are outstanding. Your writing must reflect that.

Just what are we trying to achieve when we write? The US novelist Robert Stone said it best: “What you’re trying to do when you write is to crowd the reader out of his own space and occupy it with yours, in a good cause. You’re trying to take over his sensibility and deliver an experience that moves them just from mere information.”

Writing is thinking on paper. Anyone with a clear logical mind can write well. You have such a mind or you would not be here. Writing well is a three-step process. And you have already mastered the first two:

Knowledge.

Without knowledge you cannot convince anyone to do anything. Our knowledge tends to be disorganized. We learnt a bit here, a bit there and a lot from some place else. It’s all good stuff but gathered then stored in a random pile, so to speak.

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Navigation.

You must plot a logical course leading the reader from A to B to C to your conclusion. Do not worry about the verbiage at this stage. Just have the logical sequence laid out Point form, broken sentences, whatever. Your readers will not tolerate your logic wandering. You cannot be like the man who rode his horse backwards. His friend said, “That is remarkable. You have visited all those wonderful places, yet you only ride your horse backwards! Just how do you do it?” “Oh, that’s easy,” he replied, “I only want to go where the horse wants to go.”

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Salesmanship.

This is what we consider as “Writing,” putting the words on paper. The task is to guide and comfort the reader. At the end of each sentence they must have the feeling of “that makes sense, that’s logical, that was easy to grasp, I’ll carry on reading.” Actually, it’s writing and thinking. The tough part is the thinking. What is the next logical step? Think. What is the reader expecting next? Think. Is what I said what I meant? Think.

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