by Dianna Booher
Face-to-face and phone communication is fading fast from our everyday experience. We work, love, and live now by writing—Facebook posts, tweets, LinkedIn messages, Google+ posts, blogs, white papers, website copy, emails, sales proposals, activity reports, résumés, job offerings, performance reviews, reports, and recommendations.
The good news: Great writing skills will give you the edge for career advancement. Having made authorship my life’s work for three decades and having presented hundreds of business writing and technical writing workshops during the same span, I’ve discovered these distinct differentiators between good and great business writers:
Good writers may organize, draft, think, reorganize—in whatever way works best for each project. They may end with a well-written document, but it may take them a while to do so.
Great writers have a repeatable system. They typically spend more time thinking about their writing than actually drafting.
2. Word Choice
Good writers select clear words. They avoid ambiguous phrasing that has different meanings for different people.
Great writers choose precise words. They tickle the ear with eloquent phrasing so that their sentences beg to be reread.
Good writers get to the point.
Great writers get to the point—but they never sacrifice clarity for the sake of brevity.
Good writers consider grammar important; they want to get things right. They know when sentences sound right.
Great writers understand the link between grammar and clarity; they insist on getting the grammar right. They know the rules—and which “rules” are only style matters.
Good writers convey their message (even a sensitive email about a negative situation) in a clear, straightforward style.
Great writers communicate their message in a clear, straightforward style—but with an upbeat, conversational warmth.
Good writers edit their work to spot weaknesses.
Great writers rarely trust themselves to edit their own work. They welcome other opinions.
So let me paraphrase Ben Franklin as I sum up: Either do something worth writing about or write well about something you’re doing.
Can you add other differentiators in the “Comments” section below?
© 2013 Dianna Booher. Booher Consultants, a communications training firm, works with business leaders and organizations to increase effectiveness through better oral, written, interpersonal, and enterprise-wide communication. Founder Dianna Booher is the author of 46 books, published in 26 languages. Her latest titles include Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader and Communicate With Confidence! The Revised and Expanded Edition. www.Booher.com