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Managing better with better written communication

In the business world, written communication is inevitable. Emails, memos, proposals, and reviews are just a few of the things that you as a manager will need to know how to structure and write.

However, poor written communication can reflect negatively on you as a manager. Typos, sentence errors, and poorly-written forms of communication to your employees can send the wrong message to them and make you come across as unqualified to manage; after all, how can a manager be expected to manage an office if he or she has difficulty putting together a coherent document?

The following are some tips to help you manage better with better written communication.

Know when to use verbal communication and when to use written.

There are times when written communication is appropriate, and when verbal communication is preferred. For example, if you need to reprimand an employee, call him or her into your office instead of sending a detailed email of what they did wrong.

Written communication is the most appropriate when detailed instructions are required, when something needs to be documented, or when the person is too far away to easily speak with over the phone or in person.

Email is a lifesaver for many people, especially in the business world. If you rely on emails and memos to conduct your business, it's very important to portray a professional image. Don't use abbreviations unless they pertain to your field, and always use spell check and read over your email before you send it to make sure it's clear and concise. Emails should be brief and to the point.

Verbal communication is simply speaking. This can be done one-on-one, in a group setting, over the phone, etc. Verbal communication is a personal means of communication and should be utilized more than just emails or phone calls when possible. Being able to see the person you are communicating with face to face can help you gauge their response by reading their body language and actively participating in dialogue.

When you use verbal communication, be aware of your tone of voice, speed, and inflection. Avoid sarcasm or angry tones, as they can put the people you are speaking with on the defensive. When speaking to a group or your team, make sure you speak loudly and clearly so everyone can understand you. Arrange for a microphone if you are addressing a group in a large room.

Verbal communication is best when you need to discuss something in detail, or when complimenting or reprimanding someone.

Always proofread
Before sending out any form of written communication, you must make it a point to proofread it. This includes running spell check on your email or document as well as a grammar check to make sure you have used complete sentences and followed grammar rules.

It's also a good idea to have someone else look over your document before sending it around. A second pair of eyes can catch things that you may have overlooked when writing and rechecking your document. They can also help point out any areas of your written communication that is unclear.

If you find you are struggling, you may want to take a grammar refresher course or keep a basic grammar book in your office to consult.

You can't avoid written communication in the workplace; it's everywhere. Emails, memos, reports, and other written documents are all part of every day business life. You can manage better with better, more effective written communication by following some of the above tips.

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