How Writing is Key in Business and Why Millennials Struggle With It

By: Bill Kelso

On average managers at a business spend three months each year writing. 80% of managers say their employees need to improve their writing skills. Although, most employees believe their writing skills are much better than what their managers think. So where is the problem?

Precise Content

Today everyone loves to include exactly what they are thinking when they are writing up something, but what we think is more than what we need to type out. Getting your point across is the most important thing to do when writing. Using the least amount of words to do that is actually the best way to keep readers engaged. To be precise with your content you must include details, specifics, support, logical flow, and information value. The best way to do this is to write what you are thinking, and go back to take out all the unneeded thoughts you included. You must avoid generalities and vagueness while also being aware if you are providing enough details for your reader.

To be precise with your content you must include details, specifics, support, logical flow, and information value. The best way to do this is to write what you are thinking, and go back to take out all the unneeded thoughts you included. You must avoid generalities and vagueness while also being aware if you are providing enough details for your reader.

Concise Content

Employees think more highly of their writing abilities than their managers do. This is because when Millennials write they love to repeat points over and over again. Yes, we understand you had a good point but the reader did not need to hear about it three times in one paragraph. To be a concise writer you must avoid redundancies. This means no word repetition even if you are using synonyms. The point will still be the same idea no matter how you word it. Writers must avoid complex sentences. Complex sentences only confuse the reader or turn them off from the writing. A simple way to determine if a sentence is too complex is if you read it over and feel you have to go back and read it again to understand what you said. Then the sentence is probably too complex. To be a strong writer in business you must avoid verbosity. Think of Twitter, if a business can get there points across in 140 characters then it shouldn’t take you 60 words to complete a sentence. You need to get your point across in as little of a number of words as possible.

A simple way to determine if a sentence is too complex is if you read it over and feel you have to go back to understand what you said. Then the sentence is probably too complex. To be a strong writer in business you must avoid verbosity. Think of Twitter, if a business can get there points across in 160 characters then it shouldn’t take you 50 words to complete a sentence. You need to get your point across in as little of a number of words as possible.

The Editing Process

The most dreaded part of writing is the editing process. Mostly because when we finish writing we are so pleased with ourselves that we could not have possibly done anything wrong. Your writing is never perfect the first time around. In most cases, it is actually pretty bad. Just imagine the first time you drove a car. You probably thought this is not hard, I am actually pretty good at this. While the car behind you has their foot a centimeter away from the brake because you are the worst driver they have ever seen. This is how managers see Millennials writing skills today. As strong writers, we must eliminate stigmatizing writing by editing and tweaking our writing.

Writing Mechanics 

The most important part of editing is our mechanics. You know the easiest lessons you ever had in high school are actually the downfall of your writing. Writers need to check spelling and do not let Word do it for you. This actually requires you to read through every word to see what you have misspelled. You need to have proper grammar and punctuation. This includes all that boring stuff you learned about like subject-verb agreement, prepositions, verb tenses, appositives, and a lot of other mechanics that your bosses all know you learned.

The most beneficial thing you can do when writing is to have someone else read your work. Fresh eyes see things in your writing you would have never seen yourself. If your colleague reads your writing and thinks it is bad, there no doubt that your boss will think it is too. There is no reason as a writer to take criticism to heart. You must take it as advice and fix it. Writing is key in business and by going through these steps Millennials will improve their writing and business as a whole.