How often do you consider how you come across to colleagues in writing? Maybe you spend time thinking about how you want to be perceived as a leader, in person. Perhaps you want to be seen as confident. Generous. Authoritative. But hand to heart: does your writing style reflect that?
Chances are you’re like most of us: you let writing slip a bit in internal e-mails, using casual abbreviations like “no prob” or “BTW,” forgetting about greetings and spellchecking. Maybe you are guilty of using complex words or sentences to appear more authoritative or knowledgeable. But what kind of message does this send about you? Your personal brand?
Want to gain respect as a leader? Read this!
If you want to come across as a thoughtful and considerate leader, here is a foolproof formula to follow:
+ CLEAR HEADLINES
+ POSITIVE, GENUINE LANGUAGE
– OVERLY FORMAL WORDS =
strong leadership writing
Let’s take a quick look at the components of that formula.
Bottom line at the top
Let your readers know your main message right at the start. Inform them what your point is and why they should read on. What do they need to know? Stick to that. You’ll come across as confident while saving your readers’ valuable time.
Headlines on almost every paragraph
Just as you want to guide your team in general, you need to direct or influence your readers when you write. This shows you are a clear thinker with a distinct message. Think of your e-mail as a newspaper article: your readers should be able to take a quick look at the headlines and get a feel for the basic story.
Positive, genuine language
If you want to be seen as genuine and thoughtful, you must use a style and tone that reflects that. In other words: choose your words wisely! Take out overly formal words, and limit abbreviations and complex sentences. If you want to connect with people, you can’t come across as an institution or a verbose robot.
Taking it one step further
Many leaders come out of our business writing workshops seeing the potential for improved productivity and enhanced employee engagement. They say: “Now I want to bring this skill to the rest of my team!” It’s not a bad idea.
When you use reader-centered, personable writing, your brand says effective leader. When your entire organization starts using this reader-centered writing, people will speed up their writing and reading time, and managers will spend less time reviewing documents. This may sound like an incredible positive outcome for everyone, but it is very achievable. Consider a business writing workshop for your team! You won’t regret it.