Writing effectively is an integral part of running a successful business. Whether you’re writing emails to inform employees or writing ads to engage prospects, it’s important to communicate clearly through your writing. However, many businesses today are faced with employees who have poor written communication skills, and it is costing them a lot of money. In fact, some studies suggest that hundreds of billions of dollars are lost as a result of poor writing.
Examples of poor writing skills include spelling errors, incorrect grammar and confusing messaging. Review the written communication your business produces to ensure you’re not losing revenue as a result of bad writing.
Low Employee Productivity and Poor Performance
One of the most common effects of poor writing skills is a decrease in employee productivity. If your organization’s policies, procedures and processes are written in a way that is difficult to understand, it’s going to take employees a long time to get through them, and they may not be able to fully understand what you have outlined for them, causing them to make mistakes.
Employee performance can also suffer as a result of poor written communication. When employees don’t have the skills they need to share information through writing, they may not be able to do their jobs effectively. Poor writing skills may get in the way of their core functions. For example, if you’ve hired an employee with poor writing skills to manage your website and social media accounts, he may make grammatical errors and cause the whole company to look unprofessional.
Poor Customer Satisfaction
The way a business communicates with its customers affects the way it is viewed. Written communication through your website, ads, blog, social media, press releases, packaging and newsletters builds trust and credibility for your organization.
Imagine if you publish a blog that is meant to showcase your expertise in your industry. However, you mix up a few facts that result in a grave error in your content. Instead of looking like a thought leader in your industry, you may end up seeming like a novice who doesn’t have the expertise and experience needed to run a successful business.
Customers want to make purchases from people they trust. That’s why it’s critical that all your external communications are professionally written and present your best foot forward. You can avoid a damaged reputation by ensuring your writing is up to par.
Loss of Revenue
While the consequences of poor academic writing may be a few bad grades, the consequences of poor writing in business can cost you a lot more. Your business may actually lose sales and anticipated revenue as a result of poor written communication.
When writing an advertisement for your product, it’s critical to frame each feature as how it benefits the prospect. This requires finesse and expert communication skills because you have to see your product through the eyes of the consumer. Skilled writers are able to use their copy to join the conversation the consumer is already having rather than trying to start a new conversation. If you’re not able to capture your audience's attention with your ad, you may lose potential sales as a result.
How to Improve Poor Writing Skills in the Workplace
The best way to ensure your business looks established and credible in your written communication is by working with a writing professional. Hire a seasoned writer to create content for your website and other external-facing media. For internal communication, you may want to provide training for employees for whom writing is a core function. Hold business-writing workshops so your employees can get hands-on training for the kind of writing they need to do at work.
Like any skill, writing requires practice. Write every day and be sure to take time to edit your work. Never send out anything, even if it’s an internal email, without reading it over a few times to make sure it’s free of errors and communicates what you want to say effectively.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.