Some people are natural born writers who can easily string together concise messages with little to no effort. The rest of us are “writers-in-progress” who know it takes time to craft an effective business message. The best approach to strong business writing is varied and based on the several things:
- Solid research
- Editing skills
- Turning critiques into coaching tips
Government communications continues to incorporate plain language, 508-compliant materials as well as solid research to create accurate messages. Consequently, your writing needs to be fact based and verifiable so that senior leaders can trust the messages they are about to convey are credible. It is important to conduct a thorough search regarding your writing topic by viewing diverse data sources to obtain the complete picture.
Moreover, the ability to generate good written products also relies on accepting feedback from multiple editors and then making the changes as necessary. Some of the feedback from editor’s including your boss may be hard to accept. Yet, there is always a lesson to learn from hearing the “hard stuff” at the office regarding one’s writing skills. In addition, sometimes speeches require writing from a team of communications professionals making one cohesive message from a diverse pool of resources. When they collaborate and develop a cohesive message it is the result of everyone agreeing that no one person “owns” the speech. It is a group effort.
Channel writing critiques into lessons learned:
- Listen to feedback and then walk away to absorb the critique
- Ask questions if you do not understand the suggested changes
- Be honest in your coaching
- Learn to be more receptive to input, the bad or otherwise scathing
- Avoid “group think” by using the “tenth man rule” so that you can openly object if everyone simply agrees to maintain harmony
- Cut yourself some slack on the self-criticism
- Try writing a variety of products to enhance your skills
Tracey Batacan is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.