One of the most basic skills needed today is writing. It is an aspect of communication that allows a person to compose thoughts and ideas, and note it down for other people to read.
Importance of Writing
In any type of job, there will always be instances when an employee is required to write something- be it a memo, an email, a report, or even a handwritten reminder, which goes to show how very important and fundamental this skill is for every person.
While there are people who can make poems and stories, this can be categorized as a talent, which is something that may be desirable but not really required of individuals to have. What they need rather is writing skill, one that makes them effective in conveying information or message to another person or to a target group such as employers, colleagues, clients, and customers.
Contrary to another basic skill which is speaking, writing is more challenging in a sense that it is more difficult to write than to speak. With writing, one needs to be very careful with every word, punctuation, and spelling. Tone should also be appropriate because many things could be easily misinterpreted when the communicator is not physically present to convey the message. What is written and how it is written would affect the overall message and create an impact on the readers.
A person who can write well is perceived as someone who is well-educated, an effective communicator, and a professional, and this will always prove to be an advantage. In recruitment, for example, it is standard procedure to go over the resume and cover letter. The information placed there, as well as how these are constructed and created can create an impression on the interviewer and will be a determining factor on whether to call the person for an interview or not.
How to Assess Writing Skills
Teachers are proficient at gauging a person’s writing abilities. But when making a self-assessment, how does one exactly know if he can write effectively or not? Firstly, it is important to start with the technical aspect of writing which covers grammar, syntax, meaning, and word choice. To assess, one can begin by using free online language quizzes that will give any taker a good idea about which part he is weak on, based on the quiz scores.
The next area to assess would be content. Content would refer to the message and the tone of the message. A good way to assess content would be to write a sample essay or perhaps an email, and read it out loud. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Is the message clear and easy to understand?
2. Are the ideas and information accurate, direct to the point, interesting and relevant?
3. Is the tone appropriate to the target audience? (i.e. professional, formal, informal, friendly)
If the answers to these questions are all “Yes” then it means the writing skills are good. However, if there is a “No” to one or more questions then more improvement should be done.
In order to get a more correct and unbiased assessment, it is recommended that another person read the sample and give feedback to you afterwards.
How to Enhance Writing Skills
A very good way to improve writing skills is to read. Studies show that readers are marvelous writers, and this is because reading widens vocabulary as well as introduces people to new ideas all the time. If you want to enhance your writing skills, take time to read as often as possible.
Another suggestion is to always keep your message (and sentences) short and simple. The longer a message is, the more probable it is for readers to misunderstand or become bored with it. Less words means less mistakes although this may not always be the case. Additionally, it is recommended to use simple words; using complicated words does not make a person more credible and will only lead to confusion on the part of the readers.
Lastly, do not forget to proofread. No matter what it is you are writing, proofreading can eliminate errors and typos which a person often tends to overlook, no matter how careful he writers. As you know, errors and typos will often reflect one’s level of professionalism. When presenting a report during a meeting through a PowerPoint Presentation, it would be very embarrassing to have a typo in a slide for everyone to see.