According to the US Department of Labor, employers rate “soft skills” such as communication as essential to success. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review indicates that the need for soft skills goes straight to the top. The authors’ research showed that C-suite job descriptions that required strength in soft skills increased by almost 30 percent between 2005 and 2017.
In fact, the research indicated that boards considered communication skills equally or more important than financial or operational prowess. Clearly, businesses have faced the hard reality that speaking, writing, and listening are make-or-break attributes for success in any field.
Some people consider writing a “soft skill” – one that is nice to have but not a necessity. This assumption can cost a person a sale, a promotion, or a job, because in reality, being a good writer is more important today than ever before.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73.4 percent of employers want a candidate with strong written communication skills. People who write well are more likely to get hired, promoted, and succeed.
Among the so-called soft skills, writing skills hold outsized influence, because someone wrote everything that is read – and a lot of reading goes on in every businessperson’s day. Whether it is an investment prospectus, a project report, a whitepaper, a board letter, or a simple email, written documents require a level of skill and attention that employers often struggle to find.
Because being a good writer is so important, you can catapult ahead in your career by doubling down on developing your written communication skills. Here are three ways that being a good writer will make you more successful in 2023.
1. You will be more confident
Just as knowing you have the right outfit on gives you more confidence to enter a crowded room, knowing that you can express yourself effectively on paper gives you the self-possession to stand out at work. Feeling secure that your words have captured your meaning along with your nuance enables you to present your ideas with confidence.
2. You will have better relationships with colleagues and customers
We all know the person whose messages we dread to read.
Maybe they indulge in a habitually snarky tone; maybe they take fifty words to deliver a five-word point; maybe they write with so many errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation that we are hard-pressed to know what the heck they’re talking about. In all these cases, the individuals sabotage their relationships by the way they write.
As a good writer, you do the opposite. You maintain a pleasant tone, get to the point and proofread before you send. These are simple habits, but they benefit you in a thousand ways. Let’s face it: When you write well, people are happier to hear from you.
3. You will be more competent
Clear messages get things done. As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos tells his staff, succinct messages lead to success. If your writing is concise and to the point, you continually move work processes forward. Your firm-wide missives show your staff how they fit into the bigger picture and inspire them to follow your lead.
Your emails invigorate readers and tell them what they need to know to take the next step in your projects. When you express yourself clearly and authentically, your readers are more apt to accept what you say.
Yes, speaking is also important; however, the spoken word vanishes as soon as it is uttered, while writing endures forever – to inform, inspire, and engage. That is why, in 2023, you will do well to double down on developing this fundamental competency.