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When writing is important for business

Pen writing on a blank pageMaybe you don’t think writing is a key skill in business presentation, or that putting any old word on paper is good enough to make your point. Obviously I think good writing and clear communications are important but I just read an article listing some examples of when writing is more important than speaking for a business.

Even if you use someone else to write ad copy, website content, articles, blog posts and other obvious writing tasks, the following list shows that business writing is a necessary skill for any business owner or manager:

  • making a visual impact – spoken words alone aren’t always enough, even in a training session when visual aids and handouts are valuable. Seeing things in print makes them more believable and easier to remember, so writing can have a bigger impact
  • setting rules and guidelines, such as policies and procedures. Imagine having verbal policies in a large company – it would be easy for people to forget or misunderstand what they’re told, and some people would simply choose to do things their own way. Writing out procedures ensures consistency and forms a record of your expectations
  • making complaints have more power in writing – they are taken more seriously, are more likely to be followed up on and form a record for any future interactions. Further, it ensures your actual complaint is received as the person you complain to may not be the one who can act on it so a verbal message could be changed
  • responding to complaints is also good in writing – it shows you genuinely care about the customer’s experience with your business and gives you the opportunity to show what you have done to prevent the issue happening again
  • giving feedback and recognition has more impact if you take the time to write it down, and your written message may be kept for a long time. Whats more, if you make the written message public (including just on the business noticeboard or intranet), your compliments carry so much more weight and make people feel truly valued
  • complex ideas are not easy to grasp so a written explanation gives people the chance to reread it for understanding and have it as a reference later
  • written communications form a record of what was ‘said’ and needed. This has two advantages – it helps you remember details and complete a task correctly and it also helps protect from ‘he said she said’ situations
  • writing an agenda for meetings can save a lot of time and frustration as the agenda keeps everyone on track and they can prepare ahead of time. Likewise, minutes of meetings form a record and reminder of tasks to be done
  • involving new people becomes much easier if information is in writing – for example, if you change project managers part way through, the new manager will know what has been done and what to chase if they get written notes to follow

Again, some of these tasks can be handed to a business writer, but others you need to do yourself (in which case, hopefully my blog is one resource for helping you write effectively!)

Do you have other examples of when being able to write is critical in business?

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