On this page, we are going to detail discuss effective written communication and the principles of effective writing which should follow to make written communication effective.
The following steps are to be taken for effective written communication:
Plan for effective written communication.
- Need for planning: Effective writing, like any other purposeful activity, requires planning. Planning answers the questions “What do we want to? Accomplish?” and “How can it best be accomplished? Planning provides direction for the message, increases the chances that the purpose of the message will be achieved, and makes the writing task easier.
- Steps in Planning: In the planning stage, the writer thinks through all the important elements of the communication situation: What the goal of the communication is, who the audience is, what is to be communicated, how best to communicate the message, and what the content of the message should be.
If the message is nonroutine or difficult) you should make complete notes during the planning stage, followed by a detailed outline. If, however, the message is routine or simple, you may not need to put your planning steps in writing at all; with experience, you may be able to plan the entire message mentally.
The average message requires at least some planning. Written notes and notations can make the process easier and the results are more effective.
The first step in preparing to answer any correspondence is to read it carefully. Highlight key points-dates and places, actions requested, or taken.
As you read the letter or memo you are to ask:
Why was this written? If a reply is required, what does the writer want to know? Does the message need a written reply or will a telephone call be as effective? What questions should be asked if you are not certain what the writer requires?
You may need background information before you can respond. Some sources of information are
- Company files of previous correspondence.
- Your own knowledge of prior actions and relationships.
- Information is provided by other people both within and outside the Organization.
- Various types of reports.
Implementing the Plan
With the plan-write-revise approach, once the planning stage is completed implementation can begin.
When you have described your message, you should be sure that you have answered, as appropriate, the questions who? What? When? Why? Where And.”>? and how?
For example: Why am I writing this correspondence? How should I present my message? What background information do I need? Where should I tell my reader the unpleasant news? Who needs to have this information?
You should also check the arrangement of the information within the message to be sure that the information appears in the order of its importance
Time spent in the writing process may be divided as shown in the pie chart in the following Figure. Note that only 25 percent of the time is spent in the actual writing process; 75 percent of the time is spent preparing and perfecting the message. Revision means being objective about your writing and analyzing the message in order to strengthen it.
You get a clear idea about effective written communication from the image given below. Click on the image to see it large.
Principles of Effective Writing
The effective writer uses the five C’s of writing: clear, concise, complete, correct, and courteous. Is the message clear? Is it concise? Does it include? All the information needed? Is it grammatically correct? Finally, is the letter courteous?
1. Is the Message Clear?
Will your reader understand what you are trying to communicate?
- Unclear: Our company has a suggestion program in which employees provide suggestions and are paid if they are adopted. (Does this mean that only adopted employees are paid for suggestions?)
- CLEAR: Our Company has a suggestion program in which employees are paid for suggestions that are implemented.
2. Is the Message Concise?
Concise writing eliminates irrelevant and unnecessary words. Business writing should convey messages as efficiently as possible. The messages should be brief, with clarity and courtesy.
- WORDY: Did you have an opportunity to make a decision regarding the job offer we spoke about by phone several weeks ago?
- CONCISE: Have you decided to accept our job offer?
3. Is the Message Complete?
Complete writing involves thinking about your reader and the reader’s purpose. You must also consider how much information the reader requires to have his or her questions answered or to understand the intended message.
- INCOMPLETE: We plan to meet on Tuesday at eight in the conference room.
- COMPLETE: We will meet at 8 am on Tuesday, April 16, in the conference room in Darbar Hall.
4. Is the Message Correct?
Is the information factual? Is the message grammatically correct? To ensure that the message is correct, pay attention to details. Learn and practice proofreading techniques. Check for typical errors, including errors about time, place, and people. Refer to any previous correspondence and verify the information.
- INCORRECT: You will not be affected by this change.
- CORRECT: You will not be affected by this change.
5. Is the Message Courteous?
Letters convey the company’s image as well as the writer’s to people outside the organization. Letter writers have a responsibility to create and maintain goodwill. Letters must convey the same tone of courtesy and respect that would be expressed in face-to-face communication.
- DISCOURTEOUS: I do not believe you have made an attempt to pay your bill. If you have a good reason, you certainly have not communicated it to us.
- COURTEOUS: You have a good reason for being unable to meet your obligation. If you wish to arrange a payment schedule. Please phone me at (804) 555-1616. If not, may we expect your check for the balance by June 1st?
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