Happy New Year! I hope you’re starting off 2014 feeling refreshed and energized.

Many of us, myself included, want to improve a few things about the way we live and work this year.

Improving your professional writing won’t help you lose weight (sorry), but it can certainly make or break your career. Sloppy reports, emails laden with mistakes, and poorly-written presentations chip away at your image and reputation. There’s very little doubt about it : bad writing weakens your career.

The good news? By taking small, simple steps, you can improve your professional writing relatively easily. Soon, you’ll become a more conscientious writer at work, where how you express your ideas is just as important as the ideas themselves.

Improve your writing at work this year by:

  1. Reading about professional writing. Check out a few books from your library or through the professional development department at your corporation. Subscribe to relevant blogs (including this one!). Reading about writing will immediately raise your awareness about your professional writing.
  2. Reading stellar examples before embarking on a project. When you’re about to begin an important project, find a successful example from the recent past (you may need to search outside of your organization for this). Study how the information was packaged and what exactly made it so successful. This way, you’ll be well prepared to start the writing on the right foot!
  3. Reading your writing aloud whenever possible. You’ll feel silly at first, but this is the absolute best way to improve your writing quickly. When you read out loud, you’ll “hear” mistakes, awkward sentences and areas for improvement.
  4. Asking for feedback. As a supervisor or mentor to review your emails, presentations, reports, and any other writing. Ask them how you can improve your writing, especially your tone, for success within your organization.
  5. Keeping a reminder of your common mistakes nearby. Do you frequently misspell the word “definitely,” mix up “effect” and “affect,” or forget (or misplace) apostrophes? Once you’ve identified your most common errors, create a reminder for yourself and keep it close.

 

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