5 Ways Writing Well Will Boost Your Career

Jun 6, 2017 | Better Writing

Writing well gives you an edge in business and in life. The people I coach understand that, or they wouldn’t be spending their money on me, but not everyone understands how important writing is. Here are five reasons why writing well will make you more successful.

People Judge You by Your Writing

Sometimes, the only way that people can get a sense of who you are is through your writing. That’s true if you write a blog post or a report that’s seen by people that don’t know you. But even people who know you judge you based on what they read.

Usually, mediocre writing gets no comment at all. People just wade through it and try to get the point. They may complain that you’re not clear, but that’s more about your thinking than your writing.

Bad writing sends the message to many people that you’re either stupid or uneducated. That’s not the impression you want to leave. But, you don’t want people to praise your writing either.

The fact is that the best writing is transparent. When you write well, people don’t praise your writing. They praise your thinking. That’s why the best writing is persuasive.

Good Writing Persuades

“When Cicero speaks they say, how well he speaks. But when Demosthenes speaks they say, let us march.”

It doesn’t do you or your career much good if people think you write beautifully. But persuasion, getting others to march, is the essence of leadership.

Writing Sharpens Your Thinking

Jeff Bezos does something that may be unique at his staff meetings. The meetings begin with everyone reading silently the memos that they have all prepared. Why not the usual oral briefings or PowerPoint? Here’s what Bezos told Fortune magazine.

“Full sentences are harder to write. They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively-structured memo and not have clear thinking.”

The fact is that the act of writing out your thoughts will force you to sharpen them and think more clearly. That will give you confidence when you need to defend your ideas.

Writing Well Gives You Confidence

When you sit down to write a lucid memo, email, or blog post, you must put your thoughts in logical order. You’re more likely to gather supporting data and identify stories and examples that support your ideas. Andy Grove thought that the effort and analysis that went into writing was the most important thing. He put it this way in High Output Management:

“Writing the report is important; reading it often is not.”

The act of writing is a powerful tool for analyzing and conveying ideas. It’s also a powerful self-analysis tool.

Writing Improves Reflection

The leaders who develop the fastest master the skill of reflection. If you develop the habit of reviewing your performance and reflecting on it, you can improve the process by writing down your thoughts.

Writing your self-critique gives you the same analysis-sharpening benefits that you get when you write out a report for someone else. As a bonus, you also have a permanent record of your thinking that you can refer to later. If you’re using a development tool, like my Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time, writing can help you evaluate your growth.

Bottom Line

Learning to write well can boost your career. You can learn to write so that you leave a good impression when you can’t be there yourself. If you work on your writing skills you can become a more effective persuader, a better thinker, and a more confident and successful person.