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PUT IT IN WRITING! © Rhoberta Shaler, PhD www.OptimizeLifeNow.com
Ever been asked to 'Put it in Writing.'? Sure, you have. Did you immediately go to your desk and effortlessly record your thoughts and suggestions? Or, perhaps, you struggled and anguished? For most folks, producing useful, credible and appropriate written communication requires careful thought. Those folks are wise. Written communication is an excellent opportunity to showcase your communication skills. Writing something down not only clarifies an issue, it tends to gives the idea longevity, and, sometimes, a life of its own. Write carefully!
Written communication can be a double-edged sword, can't it? Well done, it can positively influence your career. Poorly, quickly or thoughtlessly done, it can work against you repeatedly. In a way, it IS written in stone. There it sits for everyone to see...and revisit.
Caution: Avoid putting negative information in writing! Absolutely do not put negative information in writing unless it is accurately supported by verifiable fact.
If you want or need to convey your opinion or perception, do so orally. Say it, rather than write it. Things have a tendency to be scrutinized much more closely when they are in writing. Folks look for inaccuracies and 'fodder for blame' in written communication. Written words scribed in the heat of the moment can sit in someone's files and become inadvertent weapons for years to come. A negative written communication can become a time bomb just waiting for the wrong person to detonate it. In 'Getting Promoted', Harry E. Chambers says: "Enemies created in writing tend to have long life spans." Be careful.
There are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind before you put pen to paper or allow your fingers to touch those keys. Sure, the important thing is the message itself, however, how that message is conveyed is a message in itself! Grammar counts. Poor grammar detracts from the message. You do not want anything to get in the way of your important message, do you? Your computer may be a help as it suggests grammatical changes, but, it is not infallible. You need the skills to catch errors. You know that your spell checker is limited otherwise it would not have left this poem intact:
Eye halve a spelling chequer It came with my pea sea. It plainly marcs four my revue Miss steaks eye kin Knot Sea. Eye strikes a key And type a word And weight four it two say Weather eye am wrong oar write It shows me strait a weigh. As soon as a mist ache is maid It nose bee fore two long And eye can put the error rite Its rare lea ever wrong. Eye has run this poem threw it I am shore your pleased two no Its letter perfect awl the weigh My checker tolled me sew.
(borrowed from www.virginiawater.co.uk/webnews/webnewsapr00.html Thanks.)
Make your writing concise. No one has the time or desire to read a novel about your topic. "Just the facts, Ma'am." That's what's needed. Quality, not quantity, is best. Winston Churchill is reported to have said to an aide placing a three-inch-high report on his desk, "That report, by its very size, demands that it will never be read." Be sure to read what you write before you send it. No one needs an exercise in endurance to capture your point.
Take every opportunity to put positive information in writing. Thank and congratulate folks. Report on all successes, major and minor. Recommend solutions. Provide updates. When you've got something good to say, Harry Chambers says: "Insure accuracy, provide proof when available or necessary, and distribute the communication as widely as possible." Being the author of good news can put your name in a positive light when promotion time arrives, too! This has got to be good!
Write as you speak and speak thoughtfully. This is the best guideline for written communication at work.
© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD All rights reserved worldwide. ============================= Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, speaks, coaches & conducts seminars for entrepreneurs & professionals who want the motivation, strategies and inspiration to achieve, to lead and to live richly.
Dr. Shaler speaks to thousands of people each year giving them and their organizations The OKs to SUCCEED!" --the Optimization Keys to lift their sights and elevate results from acceptable to EXCEPTIONAL. She is the author of 'Optimize Your Day! Practical Wisdom for Optimal Living. Her book as well as her free ezines are available from her website, www.OptimizeLifeNow.com .
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