Tag Archives: writing skills

Tips to improve your writing and communication skills

Communication and writing Skills
One way to accelerate your career or business is with good writing and communication. In any business today, good writing and communication skills are required in a myriad of ways, including email, advertising copy, and presentations. A deficiency in writing and communication skills can hold you back and even damage your career ambitions.

By using simple, clear, precise language–and following a few other basic writing rules–you can become a better communicator. Whether you are finance guru, web developer who dreams in code, a secretary, or front desk receptionist, good writing and communication skills is required for the success of the business.

Most business professionals have little or no experience or training when it comes to writing. Those with business degrees probably did a bit of writing in school, however writing is rarely stressed in business programs. To be a good communicator your need to use simple, clear, precise language and follow a few basic rules.

Here are few tips to improve your writing and communication skills:

  • Less is more
  • Avoid using metaphors
  • Use simple clear language
  • Insert a call for action
  • Delete all those needless words
  • Focus on lucidity or clarity
  • Always write and use active verbs
  • Make sure you answer all questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?
  • Save a copy of successful templates for future prototypes
  • Pay special attention to names, titles, and genders
  • Understand the difference between “affect” vs. “effect
  • Use English and avoid all forms of jargon
  • Properly insert your periods when using a quotation.
  • Avoid exclamation points
  • Confirm whenever possible and respond to emails with a confirmation.
  • Short sentences are best
  • Sign off in a professional way
  • Match your subject to your pronoun and verb
  • Use correct grammatical structure and complete sentences
  • Try avoid using too many adverbs
  • Use your spell check
  • Proofread your work
  • Read it out loud
  • Write once, check twice

Good writing and communication skills may require a talent that few of us have, but effective writing and communication is a skill that can be mastered with training or short course. If your business writing isn’t up to snuff, follow the tips above and see if you can’t improve it.


The do’s and don’ts of Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette

Email is an integral part of our lives. It is amazing to find that in this day and age, how many individuals and companies have still not realized how important their email communications really is. So if you don’t have great email etiquette you will be in trouble.

Over the years we have used email as part of our day and lives, how many of us stop to check ourselves and see if we using it the best way we can.

Subject Line – When you write this, make it exciting if you applying for a job: “Ranked as #1 Sales Leader for 5 years running”, this will make anyone sit up and take note. Make a summary of who you are to get attention. In todays world, everyone gets huge amounts of mails daily, you have to differentiate yourself.

Email Tone – When you reply to a mail from a potential Employer, reply conservatively. Be polite and to the point. Remember people hire people and 80% of a decision is if you are a culture fit, so how you engage on this platform is critical. Be smart in this regard. You do not know what email program they are using, so do not embed logos etc. It may come out looking shocking.

Email Length – This mails purpose is to get them to read your CV, so treat it as a cover letter. Keep it short, sharp and to the point. No long winded essays, this will just be deleted.

Read Receipt – Be careful when you use this. Rather save your sent mail and follow up with a mail or call. Read receipts do suggest a level of mistrust, so be careful when using this option.

Urgent Delivery – This is a definite thing not to do! Lots of people are applying for that job. Separate yourself out by tour contents and subject line. Not by making this urgent! It is not urgent to the prospect employer and can only cause irritation. Even if you have the very best intentions.

Use these simple guidelines and you will be rewarded. Email is the first introduction to you, so make it count.


Simple ways to improve your business writing skills

Effective Business writing skills

Given the growing popularity of email in our personal and professional lives today, we all need to pay more attention to our writing skills and have to write intelligently. To improve our communication, we need to use simple, clear and precise language techniques. Here are a few tips and advise.

Avoid using metaphors – Stop using common metaphors, similes, or common figures of speech that you read and see in daily print today.

Use simple and clear language – Make every effort to avoid the use of long words. It is far better and more effective to use simple short words. Make sure your writing techniques is simple, clear and precise.

Delete all needless words – Self police yourself and be ruthless with the words you use. If you do not need a word then simply delete.

Active is better than passive – Rather use active verbs instead of using passive verbs. Active verbs are far better and energize your writing.

Use proper English – Stay clear of using jargon, foreign phrases, or scientific words when you can simply use and everyday english word instead. Jargon is a sign of lazy writing and it distorts the message you are trying to express. Never try to show off and use foreign language words.

Curb your enthusiasm – Never overuse exclamation points and always be professional when signing off. Instead of signing off with ‘xoxo’ rather use regards for example.

 Match your subject to your pronoun and verb – This might seem an obvious statements but you will be surprised how often individuals get this wrong. Remember the number of the subject should determine the number of the verb.

Be aware of the number of adverbs you use – Make use of strong and simple verbs instead of weak verbs and adverbs.

Know how to use the word “that” and “which” – “That” is generally used when introducing essential information and referred to a ‘restrictive clause. “Which” should be used when attempting to introduce extra information in a nonrestrictive clause.


The importance of literacy, reading, and writing in modern society

literacy skills 1

In order to succeed in modern life, your career, and improve your quality of life, it is vital to have good literacy skills. It is more than just being able to read, but rather how you use written information to function in modern society. We can all agree that being able to read and write effect our daily live in so many ways. It has an impact on the way we think, career progress and earning potential, and helps us to fit into our environment and social circles.

Literacy is helps us to communicate through reading and there is even a literacy day set aside by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to help promote the importance of literacy.

Being able to communicate, read and write is a priority and the ultimate investment we can make for our future. The goal of Unesco and literacy day is to one promote literacy such that one day every child will have the ability to read and in turn be able to use these skills to gain independence and autonomy. Individual with good literacy skills are far more likely to find good paying job, earn a decent salary, and have access to training opportunities. On the other hand, individual with weak literacy skills are more likely to find themselves unemployed, and if they are employed, it probable that the jobs are low paying, offer poor hours or working conditions.

Research done by Unesco Institute for Statistics show that there are roughly 774 million adults who cannot read or write of which almost 60% are women. Unesco Institute for Statistics estimates that some 123-million youths are illiterate and that only 87% of females have basic literacy skills compared to 92% of males.  Statistics for South Africa estimate that roughly 8.5 million adults are illiterate according to Unesco. Local research done in South Africa estimate that about 4 million people have never attended school. Even with these bleak statistics, the number of students graduating from universities is growing year by year.

literacy skills 2

There is no doubt that literacy is a fundamental tool to achieve success and further career opportunities and, on a whole, improve the quality of life individual and communities they live in. Having the skills to communicate, read, and write is vital for social and economic development. It allows individuals to expand their knowledge and understanding of society.

Literacy is not simply the ability to read and write, but rather the ability to use these skills and communicate effectively. In modern society and our globalized world, literacy is far more diverse that simply reading a book and understanding what we have read. Digital literacy, for example, is the ability to understand and use information across multiple formats from computers to the internet and cellphones.

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media in a variety of forms. Cultural literacy is the ability to understand and appreciate other cultures. It requires a person to examine and understand the different beliefs, values and traditions of others.
Having a population with high literacy skills also helps a country as a whole and improved the ability of a nation to tackle different social challenges it faces. Countries with strong literacy skills generally have a better standard of health and outcomes for individuals. Highly literate populations and communities are in a far better position to deal governance in a highly diverse society.

Literacy is a fundamental human right and the basis for any individual’s ability to learn. It is essential for social and human development and provides individual the skills and empowers them to transform their lives, in turn, an improved standard of health and ability to earn a higher income.


South African Government expands local skills development

The Department of Higher Education and Training has launched the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS3) in order to assist prevent unemployment as well as generate employment opportunities.

The programme is planned to be carried out via the Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) from April.

The most important motivator associated with the project is generally to enhance the overall performance along with efficiency associated with the skills development system.

The project would definitely at the same time link skills development to career paths and development and additionally “promote sustainable employment and in-work progression.”

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga made the announcement last week during a press briefing at Parliament in Cape Town.

The briefing comes after President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address last week, during which he emphasized job creation as one of several key government priorities this coming year.

Motshekga stated that the focus of the NSDS3 is generally to “make it possible for individuals who do not possess appropriate technical skills or sufficient reading, writing and numeracy skills to gain access to employment opportunities.

“Key to the goals and objectives of the NSDS3 is without a doubt enhanced placement of both students and graduates, in particular from the FET colleges and university of technology,” she mentioned.

Several of the popular features of the programme included a decrease in mandatory grant rates to 40 percent as well as the introduction of a 10 percent PIVOTAL (professional, vocational, technical and academic placement) allowance to make up for this reduction.

Source: BuaNews, xstrata.com, gtz.de