Poor written communication and its crippling effects on business

Poor written communication

Poor written communication and its crippling effects on business

Communication is the glue that holds together the daily operations of your business. For clients, customers, and employees, a lot of communicating is done via writing. If done successfully, everything seems to flow and run smoothly. But failure to communicate properly within the workplace can create problems that are difficult to fix. These failures in the written word can vary from obvious to subtle and should be addressed with the respect they deserve.

The psychology of being ‘above-average’

The tendency to think of ourselves as ‘above average’ is a psychological phenomenon known as illusory superiority. Studies ranging from professors to drivers have shown that the majority of people rate themselves as doing above-average work - 90% in some cases. It’s statistically impossible for the majority to be above average, yet most of us think we are.

Writing is something the majority of us have done practically every day since we were children. It should feel like second nature and something that we all excel at. But with poor communication at the heart of many problems in a working environment, are we championing illusory superiority in our attitudes to writing?

Poor written communication skills

It’s all too easy to miss or ignore poorly written communication. It may seem like the least of your priorities as a business. These often subtle problems can persist and exacerbate confusion, doubt, and bad feelings within a company. This can lead to the degradation of morale, project delays, and the burning of important bridges between members of staff or clients. Let’s take a look at some common problems with written communication:

1. Lack of clarity

Confusion is not something you want to leave your readers with. Writing that has too many details, big paragraphs, and lengthy sentences should make way for organised and concise work. After all, written communication is supposed to eliminate doubt and confusion rather than create it.

2. Failing to consider how the receiver interprets your language

Be cautious of the language you use; others can perceive and interpret it in a number of ways. In unfortunate cases, it could cause offence which you never intended.

Unless you have established a solid working relationship, it’s best to refrain from humour or sarcasm until you have a conversation on the phone or face to face. We extract meaning from verbal cues in every conversation we have throughout the day. Emails give absolutely no verbal cues, leaving room for incorrect interpretations and potential blunders. It’s best to keep it professional if there are any doubts.

3. Slowing operations with poorly written emails

In a working environment, ignoring basic email etiquette is likely to slow everything down. When they aren’t given proper thought and attention, emails can make project communication slow and inefficient. This starts to burn through company money if the root cause is not addressed.

Put yourself in the receiver’s shoes and provide the relevant information to launch them into action. When these subtleties are not considered, the receiver will most likely be confused and possibly alarmed when they have no idea what they are supposed to be doing. Further clarification is needed in the form of meetings or more emails, and both yours and their time is wasted.

Some much-needed reflection and detective work is necessary to get to the root of written communication problems within a business. The reward of fixing them is worth it - emails will cut through the clutter and actually solve problems rather than create them.

If you need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Coster Content. Our experienced team knows how to use the written word to grab your audience and grow your business with the power of content marketing. If you would prefer to do it yourself, our consultants can teach you and your team everything you need to know to bring your content strategy to life. Give us a call today on 07462 455 894.

Alia Coster