The Skill of Written Communication

Writing skills are crucial in every profession. In IT it is important to be able to write clear requirements, specifications, test documentation and user instruction manuals.

Nearly everybody in business writes emails and other forms of communication to fellow workers, managers and customers. Good writing skills are, therefore, valued in the workplace, and people who are good writers appear to be more capable, intelligent, responsible, and credible compared to their colleagues, even in the same office, who send emails full of typos, poorly constructed sentences and grammatical errors.

Many people ignore the importance of good writing skills, yet good writing is a critical productivity skill. Good writing skills not only ease communication in the workplace but also positively affect careers. Here are some of the reasons why writing skills are important to our jobs.

It’s unlikely you can get your point across using only a couple of sentences as the basis for a Technical Specification which is part of a complex modification.

None of us are mind readers, and time spent trying to figure out what those two sentences mean would be greatly reduced if you had written more, using detailed, concise sentences.

But also consider that when you write, it is important to keep in mind the type of audience that will be reading your document. For example, it’s better to use simple words in a technical document rather than trying to impress with longer, obscure words.

That old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” really works here. The addition of a diagram or a screenshot to complement your carefully chosen words will make it a lot easier for readers to understand your message.

So, in summary:

  1. take time when you are writing
  2. use concise words
  3. consider the audience you are writing for
  4. make the points as easy to understand as possible
  5. add diagrams if possible

If you produce well written documents you will spend a lot less time dealing with the results of misunderstandings.

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