For those of us who have left English 101 behind a long time ago, it may come as a surprise to learn that poor writing is one of the biggest problems in business today. That’s right, poor writing. Studies and surveys have shown that poor writing contributes to low productivity, inferior product quality, and poor customer relations. These business issues are building to crisis proportions, so it’s time to take a serious look at this most basic, and now rampant method of communication — writing.
If you think about it, our methods of business communication have changed radically in the last ten years. “Back in the day,” most business was conducted verbally, either by telephone or in person — meetings, visits, etc. Now we communicate by keyboard: we send email, we instant message one another, and we even meet in chat rooms. Often we never set eyes upon the person on the other end of the keyboard. What this means is: we are what we write!!
Let the facts speak for themselves:
One survey (200 Fortune 1000 companies) found that managers felt 34 % of their subordinates writing was below standard and of poor quality.
An incredible $225 billion is lost by business each year because of poor reading, writing, and math skills.
71 % of surveyed executives reported that good writing is critical to business success, yet just 26 percent offer any kind of writing training.
Poorly written manuals can conceivably result in customer death or injury, possibly bankrupting a company due to liability and court costs.
A contributing cause to the Challenger accident was a series of poorly written and misunderstood memos
As you can see, there’s too much at stake to overlook poor writing as a major contributor to your business problems. When a business is represented poorly in its written communications ï¿½” poor grammar, inappropriate tone, misspelling, ineffective format, and so on ï¿½” then everything else about that business is questioned. The logic goes something like this:
“If they don’t care enough about their written communications and correspondence, then how competent is their customer service and what is the quality of their products?”
I’m sure you can relate to the fact that it’s difficult to measure the impact of poor writing on business, and this is precisely why it has been overlooked for so long. But cease your search for the elusive Holy Grail, and look instead at the quality of your and your employees’ writing. You may be amazed at what you find!