How you write says a lot about who you are. It’s that simple.
When an email reads: “Do you have a 5 minutes time today for discussion of our product?” the immediate response is an emphatic “NO!!!!” The topic of discussion is irrelevant. No one who writes poorly in a sales email is going to get the meeting, never mind the sale. It’s that simple.
When a note from the lead engineer to the department VP reads: “Our tests show that customers difficulty with the function in question are due to there incorrect installation irregardless of our very careful written instructions” then the VP is definitely NOT going to ask that lead engineer to be the one presenting at the next management meeting. Engineers who can’t communicate effectively aren’t the ones who have their ideas and innovations adopted by their companies. It’s that simple.
It doesn’t matter what your function or role may be within any organization, excellence in written communications is an absolute requirement. Why is this true? The reason has less to do with the specifics of writing than what it says about you as a professional, and even who you are as a person. Consider the implications when a potential employer, a potential investor, or a current supervisor sees errors in your written communications. As Lauren Simonds says, these people “…might wonder what else you’ve failed to learn that might be useful.”
There are only two reasons for less-than-stellar writing: (a) the writer’s lack of knowledge, or (b) the writer’s lack of attention to detail. In either case, the conclusion that the reader will reach is detrimental to a person’s career. If someone hasn’t taken the time to learn proper grammar or spelling, which are fundamental building blocks of any skill set, then the implication is that there will also be significant gaps in the rest of their professional knowledge base. If the reason is that they did not pay enough attention to detail, then the implication is that this is exactly the kind of result that should be expected in other areas of their work.
People do not overlook bad writing. They may not comment at the time, but they will not easily forget, and their subconscious impressions of the writer will already have been formed. Behavioral psychology has proven that those impressions are almost impossible to reverse, regardless of future performance.
The lesson here is clear: Take the time and effort to become a great writer. It will pay dividends many times over in all aspects of your career.
Original article can be found on Gavin Finn’s LinkedIn.