Presentation on theme: "Everyone Writes E-mail dire warning in 2002: Four hours a day 50 work-related messages Up 50 percent from 2001 Overall writing: From 2003 - 09, the amount."— Presentation transcript:
Everyone Writes E-mail dire warning in 2002: Four hours a day 50 work-related messages Up 50 percent from 2001 Overall writing: From 2003 - 09, the amount of written documents workers deal with increased 600 percent.
Everyone Writes Two-thirds of workers are now expected to produce professional e-mails, memos, letters, business cases, reports and more.
Importance of Writing Well “In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive world, clear and concise writing is no longer a specialized skill – it’s essential.” -- Richard Sterling, executive director of the National Writing Project.
Importance of Writing Well 81 percent of survey participants say their high school graduate hires were deficient in written communications. 47 percent report that two-year college graduates are also deficient. Source: Conference Board. “ 2006.
Importance of Writing Well One-third of today’s national workforce does not meet the minimum writing requirements for the jobs they currently hold. The greatest deficiency about readiness of skills in the workplace was written communications (memos, letters, complex technical reports). Source: Conference Board. 2006.
Importance of Writing Well Businesses now spent more than $3 billion in writing-related training every year. Over 40 percent of companies offer or require such training for salaried employees. Source: Conference Board. 2006.
Does It Matter? Does it really matter how well an e-mail is written? A letter? A report? All can be considered legal documents. But there is more to consider.
Does It Matter? Dear Ms. Jones: We want to inform you we are making several changes to your automobile insurance policy. First off, we are increasing your deductible from $500 to $750.00. In addition, if you still want to carry your boat on the policy you will have to fill out a new registration form and then we’ll add it as a rider to your current policy. Thirdly, we are adding a new benefit: we will pay for towing for your car if you have any problems when you are driving. This benefit is available once a year and we believe you will find it it will be a helpful addition to your policy.
Does It Matter? Grammar, Punctuation Dear Ms. Jones: We want to inform you we are making several changes to your automobile insurance policy. First off, were increasing your deductible from $500 to $750.00. In addition, if you still want to carry your boat on the policy you will have to fill out a new registration form and then we’ll add it as a rider to your current policy. Thirdly, we are adding a new benefit: we’ll pay for towing your car if you have any problem when your driving. This benefit is available once a year and we believe you will find it it will be a helpful addition to your policy.
Does It Matter? More Than That It gives bad news upfront and good news at the end. It doesn’t provide a way to get more information. It doesn’t explain where to get the registration form. It doesn’t really explain how the new benefit works. It doesn’t answer whether Ms. Jones’ premiums are going to go up.
Does It Matter? E-mails It’s not just the grammar and the punctuation. It’s how the information is presented. It’s how easy or difficult it is for your readers to find the information they need. It’s whether all the information they need is included. It’s how fast they can get the main points.
Does It Matter? Here’s the thing: We don’t notice good writing; we notice poor writing. We immediately make assumptions about the writer, the organization, and the message when we read something not written well.
ROI of Business Writing Skills More than typos or transposition of numbers that can cost a company millions of dollars. Veteran’s Administration Life Insurance Division – $500,000 Analysis Group (AG) -- $268,349 Carlyle, Inc. -- $64,667 Snohomish County Public Utilities District -- $107,154
ROI of Business Writing Skills Why? Productivity Customer satisfaction Employee morale Reputation Legal issues Competitive edge Global marketplace
ROI of Business Writing Skills But writing well takes time, right?
ROI of Business Writing Skills “The time it takes to create written communication is a huge hit on the corporate payroll, and a critical component of how corporations and brands are perceived. “If companies can maintain a high-quality standard writing style across internal and external communications, they can effectively use written communication as a strategic tool to win sales, garner partnerships and evolve their image.” --Brain Hanington, CEO of BackDRAFT
ROI of Business Writing Skills Companies either need to have writers and editors who can review every document that goes out to the public OR Train their employees to be better writers and editors.
ROI of Business Writing Skills Companies with writers on staff can still have problems: A lot of writing is done by committee Seen the document too many times Need an unbiased eye Or written by employees who have enough on their plates and shouldn’t have to worry about the finer details involved in checking or improving written pieces.
Teaching Employees to Write Better People waste time in the writing process: Don’t understand their audience or purpose Start writing without a plan Edit as they write Have to look up spelling, grammar, punctuation, correct style, etc. Unsure about structure Make documents difficult to read Don’t include all the information or put it in incorrect order Edit with themselves, not their reader(s), in mind
Teaching Employees to Write Better Don’t include all the information or put it in incorrect order Edit with their reader(s) in mind Can’t organize their thoughts Spend time knowing the document sounds right, but don’t know how to fix it. Make the same mistakes over and over again.
The Good News Most people can become competent business writers: No magical writing talent – more craft than art Not high-school grammar or even college term papers Set skills that can easily be learned Tricks of the trade
The Even Better News Employees who understand how to write well can reduce the amount of time they spend writing by 30 percent.
The Even Better News What does that mean for your company? Number of employees who write: 8 people Amount of time per week they write: 10 hours Average pay: $20/hour 5 people x 10 hours/week = 80 hours 80 hours x 52 weeks = 4,160 total hours 4,160 total hours x $20/hour = $83,200 annual investment $83,200 annual investment x 30% savings = $24,960 First-Year Savings
Best Approach Helpful and supportive, not rigid Not elementary school grammar classes Not high school or college writing techniques
Best Methods Online In-person classes Coaching Adult students learn better through experiential learning, especially for topics generally seen as dull or boring.
Best Methods “With the fast pace of today’s electronic communications, one might think the value of fundamental writing skills has diminished in the workplace. Actually, the need to write clearly and quickly has never been more important than in today’s highly competitive, technology-driven global economy.” --Joseph M. Tucci, chair, president and CEO of EMC Corp. and chair of the Business Roundtable’s Education and Workforce Taskforce.