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Proper Business Correspondence Skills: The Often Forgotten Core of Corporate Communication
I came across a memo several days ago and begun to read. Once, twice, thrice and at the nth time, I gave up. I had to call the author of the memo and discuss what she wrote. This is a sample of a memo that just did not work. What is communication when you can’t understand one another? The importance of effective communication in a business should never be taken lightly. In fact, effective communication must be given considerable attention. Unfortunately, communication skills seem to be a scarce commodity nowadays.
So why are there lapses in communication?
Although correspondences and communication within a business organization have become faster, it does not mean it has become flawless. The culprit of poor business communication is the person himself. The lack of communication skills cancels out the advantages technology provides. In many instances poor communication has cost companies millions.
Again, we are faced with the same question: What is communication when we cannot understand one another?
Creating effective communication within the organization
A business organization’s success relies on the quality of information passed within its ranks. Without proper communication skills, vital information will be lost. To ensure the quality of the correspondences being passed from one person to another, several questions can be asked.
Who is the recipient?
The person or group of people reading the memo, letter, report or proposal is very important. The language used in the must match that of the reader to ensure understanding. Jargon and technical terms may complicate the message for someone without technical background. Also, consider the amount of time the person has when reading your correspondence. A 30-page discourse on your request for a leave will be met with tragic results for you.
Understanding who will read is a fundamental step in writing a letter, memo a report or a proposal.
Is this the right method of communication?
Communicating your thoughts properly entails using the right method. Many individuals have a difficulty understanding when to send an e-mail, a memo or a letter. Although emails have replaced the conventional business writing method, it still follows the same grammar rules. Moreover, many hide behind the idea that emails are unlike memos which have to be documented and stored. Many miss the crucial fact that even emails can be stored and retrieved. So be careful what you send through emails.
Are the details up to date and relevant?
When a business organization thrives on the latest information, fresh data is imperative. The author of must ensure that the information being shared is updated and relevant. Otherwise, time will be wasted. Being competitive in the business world relies on people communicating effectively and efficiently. More importantly, it entails communicating relevant information so that the decision makers can act immediately.
Is the content complete and concise?
Complete and concise business writing is essential to the organization. Every piece of information is vital so that the right course of action is made. Moreover, correspondences have a nasty habit of beating around the bush making it harder to understand. When writing a letter for business purposes you should strip it down to the essentials. This way, you focus on the most important and do away with clutter.
Have I proofread my work?
One sin that many individuals make is not proofreading their work. From grammar to mechanical errors to word usage, your correspondences must be impeccable. Of course you can always hit the F7 on your MS Word but it’s not a guarantee. You cannot guarantee you can weed out all typos and improper word usage using this method but it is a start. You can always run proofreading software with better accuracy if you have time. You can always do it the old fashioned way – read it again and revise as you go.
Proper grammar, sentence structure and word usage are essential in rendering information into words. So take the time to check your work before sending it.
The core of corporate communication is proper communication skills. This goes beyond speaking eloquently or using highfalutin words. It’s not about impressing the reader but informing him/her. If it takes several tries to understand your correspondence, sure enough you need to work on your writing style at once. The earlier you become aware of your correspondence mistakes, the earlier you can correct them.