Great leaders have a full package of highly-developed skills and one of those skills makes the basic precondition of success. Namely, all leaders are able to communicate openly and wisely. That’s why many experienced professionals claim that the failure to lead is essentially the failure to communicate.
And it goes both for the verbal and written communication. Though many leaders are actually introverts by nature (remember Bill Gates or Barack Obama?) they found the way to perfect their skills by following a well-thought strategy. You don’t really have to be a talent to succeed – all it takes is a little effort. In this article, I will explain how to improve your writing as an essential leadership skill.
Practical tips to enhance writing
It’s alright not to practice your writing if you want to stay an average Joe. I mean, we all know how to write, no? But in case you want to grow into the full-time leader, make sure to upgrade this skill as well. Luckily enough, it’s not really a rocket science and you can learn it through 9 practical steps. Let’s check them out.
- Know what you want to say
You don’t start a conversation unless you really have something meaningful to say. Therefore, the most important element of good writing is to keep in mind your final goal. Always ask yourself some questions: What is my message here? What do I want to achieve with it? Does it have a conclusion? If your answers to these questions are clear and straight, your message will serve its purpose. If not, try to re-write or give it a different context.
- Write concisely
Leaders are individuals who handle things efficiently and this trait is important in your writing as well. Stay concise and don’t burden the readers with redundant text. It’s best to write using journalistic style and the 5W+H rule. Pay attention to answer the basic questions in your message: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you have it all covered, rest assured that the receiver will understand your message and act according to your instructions.
- Don’t exaggerate with jargon
Sometimes the only way for business partners to get your point is to express yourself using professional terminology. You probably can’t avoid jargon while writing but you can try to keep it to the minimum. First of all, you don’t want to sound like a robot or an industry textbook. Secondly, broader vocabulary will prove that you are eloquent and well-educated outside your primary field of expertise. This is a great way to make people respect you and follow you as a genuine leader.
- Use visualization tricks
People don’t read a lot, which is a sad fact of the modern world. That’s why most of them cannot keep focus and attention on your writing for too long. In order to keep them interested, you can use a few visualization tricks. Our eyes are scanning text on computers or mobile devices and the more segmented the text, the easier it is to read. It’s always good to make lists, bullets, and numbers. You can bold and emphasize the most important conclusions or highlight a question. Whatever makes your writing more impressive will do well.
- Provide back up
People believe in their leaders but they will trust you even more if you give them additional evidence to support your claims. Include backup elements in your writing – infographics, tables, schemes, etc. It will make your writing more attractive visually and also provide the proof that your statements are based on empirical research. It’s a superb way to show that you as the leader always prepare well for the communication with your team.
- Use online writing tools
Leaders don’t only practice writing to be able to communicate with their colleagues. They also write plans and strategies that determine future moves of their organizations. In case you need to be sure of the outcome, there are many online writing tools to assist you. For instance, Business Plan Pro can help you complete a business strategy, while Really Good Emails can give you valuable ideas in case you lack inspiration at the moment. And there are many more options available, so you should take some time to explore them.
- Call to action
Whatever you may write, don’t do it just to describe the current situation or emphasize its importance. Instead, add a concrete call to action (CTA) to make sure that your writing will lead to new business moves and developments. Inspire your staff and make them more engaged. Your aim is to achieve certain goals and you should use your writing to send the message with CTA.
- Edit and proofread
The more you write, the more omissions and typos you make. It’s completely natural to make writing mistakes but it’s not professional to leave it like that. Therefore, you have to edit and proofread your messages and other writings. There are some very convenient online tools that can help you in that regard, too. If you don’t have too much time to proofread yourself, just copy/paste your text to Grammarly and you’ll see what needs to be changed.
- Get some extra help
You may be the leader but it doesn’t mean that you are perfect. If you simply don’t have enough time to hone your writing or feel like other skills have a higher priority at the moment, you can get professional help. There are organizations such as Xpert Writers that can offer you all sorts of highly professional writing services. All you need to do in this case is to provide them with precise instructions and let them do the rest.
There are all sorts of skills that make a great leader but writing is definitely among the most important. No matter what your field of expertise might be, you need to improve and polish written communication to become successful. There are many practical solutions that can make you a proficient writer but nine of them that I described above will do just fine for the beginning. Make sure to use these tips and let us know in comments if you have any valuable suggestions to share with us.