Does Your Writing Speed or Slow Action?
Here is a major dilemma in many high-tech organizations: too much information and too little time. People think: I answered 100 e-mails today and sent out two proposals. Gee, I must be productive! Well, not necessarily.
What do you want?
Effective communication is about quality, not quantity. In the short run, it may feel good to get a number of e-mails out of the way, but what are you really gaining? Most messages leave readers with questions and fail to move the situation forward or achieve their goal. To make decisions, we need clear and actionable information. Unless your message provides that, it is a drain on resources.
How do you go from “drain to gain”? It is relatively easy. Introduce people in your organization to a true and tested method like The Six Steps to Reader-Centered Writing® to improve everyday writing. It is as effective for highly technical writing, such as detailed manuals or deviation reports, as it is for e-mails scheduling weekly meetings. The payback? You will notice an impact in the productivity of your business writing.
Why does it work?
The Six Steps to Reader-Centered Writing® help writers think strategically about their messages. They can inspire action by following these guidelines:
Identify purpose. Why are you writing this document? What action/outcome is expected? It’s worth taking a minute to figure out your precise purpose—even for an e-mail. It will prevent a lot of headaches later.
Pinpoint the audience. If it is a technical document, who are the readers—full-fledged engineers, or managers who never set foot in a laboratory or manufacturing floor? How much background do they need?
Keep writing clear and precise.
Sequence ideas for maximum impact. The general rule is: if a reader is receptive to the message, put the bottom line—your key message—on top! People do not have time to search for the gist of a message.
The moral of the story…
Average writing can create bottlenecks in the decision-making process and slow down productivity. When we think about writing as a strategic tool, rather than words on a page, we rise above average and have an easier time meeting deadlines and achieving goals. No objections? I thought so!