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Barriers to Effective Written Communication
Effective written communication could mean the difference when you're trying to land your dream job; prevent your promotion after you land the job; or prohibit your success in the academic world. To break down barriers in written communication, don't rush when writing because writing too quickly often leads to errors that cause misunderstandings. Avoid misunderstandings by reviewing your writing before you submit it. Clear written communication is an important aspect in any business or academic correspondence.
Incorrect grammar or spelling errors may seem a trivial detail in correspondence such as an e-mail, but lazy writing can distract the reader from the point you are trying to make. While it's unavoidable to make an error on occasion, when your text is full of them, negative consequences such as job loss or course failure can follow. Minor errors can indicate that you are uneducated or careless. For example, avoid common spelling mistakes, including using "to" instead of "too," and "loose" instead of "lose" when referring to something that's lost. Know when to use "their," "there" and "they're," for instance. Always remember to spell-check your work, and, if possible, find someone to edit your work before you submit it.
Topic of the Correspondence
Writers often include useless information instead of focusing on the target, but the message is communicated more easily by leading with the topic of the discussion. Follow the text by details about the topic. You can clearly communicate any additional information by using the word "also" or the phrase "I should also note." Separate your writing into paragraphs when writing about side topics. By breaking your text into chunks, the reader can more easily follow the flow of your discussion.
A misunderstanding can occur when the receiver of the message misinterprets the intention of the writer. Words mean different things to different people in various contexts. An example in Flat World Knowledge cites a Japanese manager of inventory at a small business who wrote to his employee that he wanted any shipment in excess of 25 packages delivered to his store in Japan. The person on the receiving end thought that if there were 28 packages shipped, the manager wanted all 28 shipped to him in Japan. The manager actually wanted only the excess packages shipped to him, which comprised just three packages.
Formatting your correspondence correctly is important for effective communication. Without a subject, your name and specifics about what you are referencing, you can fill the text with communication barriers. For example, an e-mail to a professor from a student that doesn't have a name in it can pose a problem for the professor to address an issue the student has. In his e-mail, the student complained that he couldn't complete the task by the deadline. The professor had no idea what to say because the student didn't identify the class or himself.
Phillip Chappell has been a professional writer in Canada since 2008. He began his work as a freelancer for "Senior Living Magazine" before being hired at the "Merritt News" in British Columbia, where he wrote mostly about civic affairs. He is a temporary reporter for the "Rocky Mountain Outlook." Chappell holds a Bachelor of Journalism in computer programming from University College of the Cariboo.