Whether you’re writing an e-mail, a memo, a newsletter article, or a report, it’s crucial to understand the elements of effective communication. Once you’ve nailed them, you can expect to achieve better results. In general, there are 5 elements of effective written communication.
1. Be clear about the readers.
Who are the targeted readers? Laypeople, financiers, or engineers? The public or the members of the board of directors? Be clear about who they are, their level of education, and their professions. The targeted readers should understand the concepts, jargons, and vocabularies used.
After all, the best piece of writing isn’t one that showcases how intelligent and how sophisticated the writer’s ideas are, but one that caters to the readers well and is understood by most, if not all, readers. Aim at this.
2. Be clear about the purpose.
Before writing an essay, you must be clear about the thesis statement and the questions to answer. In business communication, you’d need to understand the purpose of the e-mail or the report or the white paper. Is it to announce something? Or, is it to ask about the new project? Be clear from the first paragraph, so the readers don’t need to guess and read all the way to bottom to find out.
3. Be clear about the outcome.
A purpose is the intention of the communication, while an outcome is what you expect the reader to do after reading it. In marketing, it’s also known as “call to action.” If you want the readers to do something specific, spell it out. If you want them to think and be ready for the next announcement, also mention it explicitly. Every communication has a purpose and requires a specific outcome, remember.
4. Write in simple and plain language.
Nathaniel Hawthrone once wrote, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Simple writing requires a lot of thoughts and considerations. Delivering a complex concept in simple conversational writing is much more complicated than it looks. But it must and can be done with practice and the right tools.
5. Edit and proofread before submission or distribution.
Edit, revise, rewrite, and proofread before using, and disseminating the piece. For this purpose, a professional editing app like ProWritingAid can be very handy. It’s available as a Web-based editing platform, Chrome extension, Google Docs plugin, Microsoft Word add-on, and a desktop or Mac app, which makes the whole editing process much more convenient. It comes with 25 reports that polish your works to the professional level.
In conclusion, the 5 most essential elements of effective written communication are understanding the target readers, conveying the purpose, explaining the outcome, writing it in plain and simple language and terms, and editing and proofreading it before submission or distribution. Using a professional editing app would simplify the whole process.
About the Author
Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is also a digital strategist for several e-commerce and app companies. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, Positively Positive, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com.