Why written communication at work is important
Imagine that you’re deeply focused on a task, when the phone starts ringing, so you need to interrupt whatever you were doing. A colleague announces that he will send you an email in a few minutes or he asks for help in a minor issue. On the other line, someone else keeps calling. Meanwhile, a collaborator from another department shows up near you, waiting to step in with a question. Once you’ve managed all these requests, you realize that what you were doing before was more important on your priority list. Trying to resume your work, you discover that you’ve lost the initial rhythm. Does that sound familiar? At some point in our career we have all faced situations like this.
At the crossroads of many processes within an organization, effective communication is certainly a masterpiece. The good news is that you can achieve it by educating your employees to follow some basic principles in any form of communication: clarity, concreteness, consistency, commitment. A formal, but kind and polite language is also recommended, in order to maintain a professional and creative work environment.
Among various communication methods used in any organization, the written one is gaining more and more attention today. As remote work and asynchronous teams transform from a necessity imposed by the social conditions of last year into an inspired and profitable business strategy, it is in the interest of employers to encourage effective written communication skills within their companies.
By providing a permanent storage of ideas, written communication has a number of specific advantages:
- It offers transparency and reaches instantly all recipients of a single message.
- It eliminates misunderstandings and ambiguities. It allows asking questions and giving answers in a precise and documented manner, which can be easily re-accessed if needed. Studies have shown that in one hour we forget about 50% of the fresh information, in 24 hours 70%, and in a week about 90%. If we educate our employees to use written communication, we eliminate the risk of missing out essential information.
- Written communication builds well-organized discussion frameworks. Each participant understands better what needs to be done, what is expected of him and how to synchronize with the rest of the team.
- It allows everyone to prioritize their activities. Most employees are involved in multiple projects at once or have to deal with multiple processes within the same project. Instead of interrupting each other with chaotic phone calls or time-and energy-consuming office visits, we can manage our work much more efficiently if we focus on written communication.
Since this type of communication brings so many benefits, how can we obtain it? What would be appropriate to pursue and encourage in the writing style of our employees?
- First of all, we need to establish precise, concrete and to-the-point communication standards, easy to understand by all recipients of a given message. In the business environment there is no room for vague, abstract or metaphorical language.
- Consistency is another key to effective written communication. If we stay concise and use as few words as possible, we will save precious time. Short sentences and familiar words should be used.
- Efficient writing is logical and complete as well. We say everything we have to say, and our reader is not left with the impression that we will come up with later amendments.
- The language should remain polite and constructive, open, honest, positive, so as to encourage free communication. If every member of the team feels that his voice is heard, his involvement and work satisfaction will increase.
- A well-written message encourages teammates to start acting. Truly effective communication produces measurable consequences and stimulates participants to take a stand.
In nowadays highly dynamic business environment, effective written communication allows deadlines to be met, objectives to be achieved, necessary feedback to be provided on time, new ideas to be shared more easily, and a permanent improvement of results. All this without the necessity for team members to be in the same place at the same time. Written communication brings many people together at the most appropriate moment for each of them.
Have you ever considered how productive this type of communication can be, how much time and resources it can save?