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How to Improve Written Communication Skills?

Learn effective communication with our comprehensive blog on How to Improve Written Communication Skills. Discover valuable tips and techniques to enhance your writing, from grammar and clarity to audience engagement. Whether you're a student, professional, or simply aiming to communicate better, our insights will empower you to convey your message with precision.


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According to Project. co , more than 62% of businesses use email as their primary form of communication to interact with customers and clients. When you are writing an email, drafting a report, or crafting a social media post, your writing serves as a first impression. In this blog, you will learn How to Improve Your Written Communication Skills to increase efficiency in both personal and professional settings.   

Table of Contents  

1)  Importance of improving Written Communication Skills 

2)  How do you improve Written Communication Skills in general? 

3)  How can you improve Written Communication Skills in the workplace? 

4)  Enhancing Written Communication Skills in English 

5)  Conclusion 

Importance of improving Written Communication Skill s  

Written Communication Skills are essential in every field and almost every aspect of daily life. In this section, you are going to learn why enhancing one's Written Communication Skills is crucial:  

Importance of improving Written Communication Skills

1) Professional credibility: In the professional sphere, the quality of your Written Communication often dictates the impression you make. Well-composed emails, reports, or proposals not only convey the intended message but also reflect a sense of dedication, attention to detail, and competence. Sloppy writing with grammatical errors or unclear directives, on the other hand, can detract from one’s reputation and perceived capability. 

2)  Practical expression of ideas: Written Communication can be reviewed, refined, and edited until the communicator feels the message is just right. A honed skill in writing ensures that complex ideas are conveyed with clarity, eliminating ambiguities that could lead to misunderstandings. 

3)   Strengthened professional relationships: Clear and effective Written Communication reduces the chances of misinterpretation, which is a common issue in the workplace. When teams, partners, or collaborators understand directives and feedback clearly, it creates an environment of trust and mutual respect. Improved Written Communication can be a catalyst in building professional relationships. 

4)  Global outreach: B usinesses and individuals frequently interact with peers from different parts of the world. Written Communication, especially in a widely recognised language like English, bridges the geographical divide. Strong writing skills ensure that even in the absence of face-to-face interactions, collaborations happen seamlessly, and ideas transcend borders. 

5)  Empowerment in the digital age: The rise of social media platforms, blogs, and online forums has given a voice to millions. What distinguishes one voice from another in this vast sea of digital content is often the quality of Written Communication. Those who articulate their thoughts coherently and persuasively find themselves better heard, their ideas gaining more traction. 

6)   Personal growth and reflection: Beyond the professional domain, writing is a tool for introspection. Journaling, a practice embraced by many, aids in processing emotions, experiences, and ideas. Improved written skills make this process more rewarding, enabling more precise thought structures and a deeper understanding of oneself.  

7)  Learning and knowledge retention : Documenting, a significant component of learning, requires adept Written Communication. Whether it's making notes during a lecture, writing essays, or composing research papers, the ability to articulate thoughts on paper enhances comprehension and retention. Moreover, well-written pieces serve as valuable resources for revision and future reference. 

8)  Boost in confidence: With enhanced writing skills, the hesitation to put one's ideas forward, be it in the form of emails, reports, or even creative expressions, diminishes. This increase in self-assurance can lead people to tackle challenges they previously avoided.  

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How do you improve Written Communication Skill s in general?  

Written Communication Skills are about more than just stringing words together. It involves crafting meaningful messages that resonate with the reader. Here's how one can elevate their Written Communication Skills: 

1) Regular practice : The more you write, the better you get. It's essential to make writing a daily habit, be it through maintaining a journal, drafting articles, or even indulging in creative writing. This consistent practice helps in refining language skills and finding one's unique voice. 

2)  Diverse reading: Exposure to various writing styles and genres, such as novels, newspapers, academic journals, and blogs, can enrich vocabulary, help you grasp effective writing techniques, and understand language nuances.  

3)  Seek constructive feedback: Writing, while a personal endeavour, can benefit immensely from external perspectives. Sharing your work with peers, mentors, or writing groups can provide invaluable feedback. Constructive criticism highlights areas of improvement, offers diverse viewpoints and sometimes reveals overlooked mistakes. 

4)   Edit and revise: Good writing often involves reworking, editing, and refining. This process helps in eliminating redundancy, correcting errors, and enhancing the flow of thoughts. Tools like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor can assist in polishing your work. 

5)   Expand vocabulary: A rich language allows for more precise expression. However, expanding vocabulary is about more than using difficult words; it is understanding the subtle differences between similar terms and employing them aptly. Tools like thesauruses or apps like 'Word of the Day' can aid in this endeavour.  

6)  Master the basics: Before delving into sophisticated writing techniques, it's imperative to have a solid grasp of grammar, punctuation, and basic writing conventions. These foundational elements ensure clarity and coherence in Written Communication. 

7)    Structured writing: Organi sed content enhances readability. It's essential to structure your writing, beginning with a clear introduction, followed by the main content, and concluding with a summary or final thoughts. Using bullet points, subheadings, and short paragraphs can make the content more scannable and digestible. 

8)   Empathy in writing: Understanding the reader's perspective is a hallmark of effective Communication. When writing, consider the reader's knowledge level, cultural context, and expectations. This empathetic approach ensures that the message is tailored to the audience, increasing its impact. 

9)  Limit distractions: In our multi-tasking era, distractions can hinder the writing process. Designate specific times for writing, free from interruptions. Applications that block distracting websites or promote the 'Pomodoro Technique' can help maintain focus. 

10)  Continuous learning : Engaging in writing workshops, online courses, or writer’s retreats can offer fresh perspectives, introduce new techniques, and nurture growth as a writer.  

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How can you improve Written Communication Skills in the workplace?  

Honing one’s Written Communication Skills is vital for success in the professional realm. Here's how to improve Written Communication Skills in the workplace:  

Improve Written Communication Skills in the workplace

1) Understand your audience : Every piece of Communication, whether an email, report, or memo, has an intended audience. Recognising this audience, understanding their expectations, and tailoring your message to suit their needs is crucial. A message meant for a colleague may differ significantly from one intended for a stakeholder or client. 

2) Clarity is key:   Your Communication should be straightforward, concise, and devoid of jargon, even if it's industry-specific and widely understood. Clear Communication minimises the risk of misinterpretation. 

3) Use structured formats: Especially in reports or longer emails, a structure can significantly enhance comprehensibility. Using bullet points, numbered lists, headings, and subheadings breaks the content into digestible chunks, making it easier for the reader to grasp key points. 

4) Active over passive : Using active voice often results in more precise, more direct statements. For example, "The team completed the project" (active) is more straightforward than "The project was completed by the team" (passive). 

5) Proofreading : Before hitting the send button or printing a document, always proofread. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or typos can detract from your message and appear unprofessional. Tools like Grammarly can help, but a personal review is indispensable. 

6) Feedback culture: Cultivate a culture where team members can give and receive feedback on their Communication. Constructive feedback can shed light on areas of improvement, ensuring continual growth. 

7) Stay updated with technology: Leverage technology to improve your writing. There are numerous tools and apps, like Hemingway Editor or Microsoft Editor, which can refine your writing by identifying passive voice, adverb overuse, or complex sentences. 

8) Professional development: Attend workshops or seminars focused on business writing or Written Communication. These sessions can offer insights into modern communication standards, expectations, and best practices. 

9) Tone matters : Written Communication doesn't have the advantage of vocal inflexions, making it essential to ensure the manner is appropriate. Depending on the content and recipient, adapt your tone to be formal, friendly, authoritative, or inquisitive. Always be respectful. 

10) Consistency : Whether it's the format of reports, the tone of emails, or the structure of memos, maintaining consistency in Written Communication sets a professional standard. Consider creating templates or guidelines to ensure uniformity in team Communications. 

11) Practice empathy: Understand that only some people in the workplace may have the same cultural background or language proficiency. Write with heart, considering the diverse backgrounds of your readers. This inclusivity can prevent misunderstandings and foster better workplace relationships. 

12) Continual learning: Languages evolve, and so do workplace dynamics. Stay updated with new terminologies, industry jargon, or evolving language norms. Continuous learning ensures your Communication remains relevant and effective.  

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Enhancing Written Communication Skills in English  

For non-native speakers and even for some native speakers, refining Written Communication Skills in English can open doors to broader audiences, clearer expression, and heightened opportunities. Here’s how to improve Written Communication Skills in English: 

1) Invest your time into reading: Immerse yourself in diverse English literature. From classics to contemporary novels, newspapers to academic journals, expose yourself to varied styles and tones. This not only helps in vocabulary acquisition but also familiarises you with different constructs of the language. 

2) Strong hold on grammar: English grammar can be intricate. Tools like Grammarly, online courses, and grammar workbooks can assist in mastering tenses, prepositions, and other grammar intricacies. Regular practice and feedback are essential. 

3) Engage in writing exercises: Consider dedicated writing exercises, like summarising articles, penning short stories, or even writing and rewriting paragraphs in different tones. This iterative process solidifies learning and improves adaptability in writing. 

4) Join English writing forums: Platforms like English Stack Exchange or various writing subreddits offer a space for writers to seek feedback, ask questions, and engage with a community of English writers, both native and non-native. 

5) Expand vocabulary: Utilise 'Word of the Day' applications or flashcards to incorporate new words into your vocabulary. Remember, it's essential to use new words in context to understand their nuances and appropriate usage. 

6) Write regularly: Much like any skill, consistency is key. Maintain a journal, start a blog, or write articles on platforms like Medium. The more you write, the more comfortable and skilled you become. 

7) Seek constructive criticism: Share your writings with peers, teachers, or mentors proficient in English. Their feedback can offer invaluable insights and pinpoint areas for improvement. 

8) Engage in English writing courses : Numerous online platforms offer courses tailored to English writing. These structured modules provide foundational knowledge, techniques, and peer interactions. 

9) Understand cultural nuances: English, though universal, carries regional flavours, idioms, and expressions. Whether it's American, British, Australian, or Indian English, being aware of these differences ensures that your writing resonates with your intended audience. 

10) Practice translation: For non-native speakers, translating thoughts from their mother tongue to English can be beneficial. It forces the brain to think critically about language constructs, fostering a deeper understanding. 

11) Listen and observe: Written Communication Skills in English can also be honed by listening. Engage with English podcasts, movies, or talk shows. It can be helpful to pay attention to the structure of sentences and the way ideas are expressed, as this can offer valuable insights. 

12) Stay updated: As with all languages, English evolves. New words get added, while some become archaic. Regular engagement with contemporary writings, news, or academic literature ensures that your knowledge remains current. 

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In this blog, you learned How to Improve Your Written Communication Skills for your workplace as well as in your personal life. Maintaining standards and good communication clears all misunderstandings and creates impactful messages. By investing in these skills, you can ensure effective expression and better understanding.  

Gain an understanding of – Verbal Communication – Register now for our Nonverbal Communication Training .  

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How to Improve Your Written Communication Skills

Mary Cullen

Table of Contents

Why is written communication so difficult, ten tactics to improve written communication, improved written communication has its benefits..

Writing is an everyday activity for many people. So, you’d think that written communication would come almost naturally. Unfortunately, it is an ongoing challenge for writers and their readers. Messages can be misunderstood or missed entirely, even when they seem so obvious. Fortunately, there are many straightforward ways to up your writing game and become a better communicator. This article will explain why it’s so difficult to convey information in text and ten valuable tactics to improve your written communication.

Excellent communication in any format is easy to understand and allows the reader to respond appropriately. When we communicate in person, verbal communication dominates the exchange. However, these words are supplemented with non-verbal communication. The tone of voice, hand gestures, and body physicality can clarify messages, even when speech is not entirely clear. In parallel, the audience can immediately respond to the information with their own non-verbal communication. Looks of confusion or boredom tell the messenger that their material is not translating, and the speaker can adjust their efforts in real-time.

Alternatively, in written communication, the words have to do all the heavy lifting. If the reader furrows their brow in confusion, there’s no additional clarity available. Therefore, the entirety of the message must be conveyed through the text. That’s a big job.

A persuasive writing  myth further compounds the challenge: fancier writing is better writing. Many writers have been led to believe that verbose writing with snazzy vocabulary comes across as clever. However, this writing style makes for poor communication. The reader often struggles to find the core message when it is meandering in excessive wording and jargon . Remember: the best writing is clear, direct, and concise.

Anyone can be an excellent written communicator with practice. To support your written communication efforts, we've outlined our top ten tactics to strengthen your written communication.

Stop writing, starting thinking.

Effective written communication starts before you type your first word. To write clearly, you have to think clearly. Therefore, before you begin writing, step back, and align your thoughts on the communique. This process can be an internal thought process resulting in a rough outline for simple texts or a thorough mind-mapping exploration resulting in a structured framework for more complex work.

A common writing mistake is to work out your thoughts while writing the text. Expecting writing to clarify your thoughts is putting the cart before the horse. The writing process will take longer than necessary. It will result in a document likely confusing structure and message, required an extensive edit. Planning your written text will save time and produce better results.

Write for your audience.

Written communication follows the same rule as all communication: audience is everything.  As you plan your writing, take the time to understand for whom you’re writing. Why is she reading this document? What’s in it for her? What do you want her to do? How much does she know about this topic? Your written communication is not for you; it is always for the reader. Writing with the reader in mind will produce more effective written communication.

Tools are valuable but imperfect.

Writing tools , like Microsoft Readability Assessment or Grammarly , are great supports to improve your written text. These tools will alert you to errors ranging from minor typos to inappropriate tone. Yet, these tools are only tools. They are only as useful as the person operating them. Integrate tools into your workflow, but remember that you are ultimately the writer and editor. Tools do not catch all errors, and a careful eye is still required.

Keep it simple, silly.

In writing as in life, the simplest solution is generally the best one. The simplest, most direct way to write something is best. Don’t use eight words when two will do.  Aim for short sentences and short paragraphs to keep the information digestible and accessible.

Simplicity also applies to any request or call to action. If you’re writing to ask a colleague or friend to do something, be polite but direct. Some writers tend to sidestep a direct ask with meandering wording and conditional phrasing that water down the message. To ensure the request is conveyed, be direct.

State your assumptions.

Misunderstandings in written communication often arise from assumptions. As a writer, you may be required to make assumptions. For example, you believe that your reader has read the same report, received a certain work directive, or is familiar with the latest policy change. However, if these assumptions are incorrect, he may misunderstand and even take incorrect action. A strong understanding of the audience will minimize assumptions. They can be entirely avoided by stating any assumptions you make within the text. He can then make their own assessment of the context they need to understand the written message. 

Know that the first draft is a first draft.

Writing is an iterative process. Good writers do not produce great work on the first try. Good writers have a robust editing process that allows time for the text to become great. So, as you begin to write, acknowledge that this version is not the one your reader will receive. This thought process forces you to integrate time to edit. In addition, it can make a blank page less intimidating because even if your first iteration is terrible, it can always be improved.

Write and read often.

Writing, like any other aptitude, requires practice. Aim to write daily to keep your written communication skills fresh. If your regular daily work does not include writing, set a personal word count to achieve each day. Whether it’s 100 words or 1,000 words, consistent practice will hone your skills.

To gain inspiration, read excellent writing. Find writers or topics that intrigue you and enjoy the written word. Analyze a great article or report to understand what made it so accessible. Perhaps the article was structured particularly thoughtfully. Maybe the author’s variation in sentence structure kept the report engaging. Seek out first-rate writers and emulate your favorite practices (without plagiarizing, of course). 

Edit fiercely.

Editing is vital to improving written communication. Your draft text must go through a rigorous editing process to ensure that it is as clear as possible for your reader. Take a break from your document and re-read it with fresh eyes. Read the text out loud; if it’s awkward to say aloud, then the text requires revision. Look for excessive wording or repetitive sentences and sculpt them into a more cohesive thought. Review your text’s structure and see if the order is logical and appropriate.

If you’re unsure how to edit – ask for help. Solicit a friend or colleague to read the text for you. Their fresh viewpoint will highlight areas for improvement. Take their constructive criticism well because external feedback is the best tool to understand your writing and how to improve it.

Put yourself in your reader’s shoes.

At the risk of repeating myself: put yourself in the audience’s shoes. The audience should be top of mind in the final edit to assess if the text communicates the correct information. Return to the original prompt, whether it’s an email request or a proposal, and verify that the original goals are met, and initial questions are answered.

Actively look for reader misunderstandings. See if your sentences could be interpreted in different ways. If so, compose more precise phrasing. Spell out acronyms and remove jargon, even if you believe it is a common language. 

Don’t forget to proofread.

Editing is a process of transforming your text into the best version of itself. Proofreading, on the other hand, is a final check before written communication goes out the door. Proofreading is as critical for a brief email as a 280-page report because it makes sure the text is error-free. Look for typos, double-check names, verify grammatical consistency, and other steps to make sure that your well-edited document is final and truly ready for the reader.

‘Excellent written communication’ is listed as a desired quality across disciplines and career paths. As more workplaces move online , written communication is becoming even more essential. Integrating these tactics will not only hone a high-value skill but will also strengthen your current interactions with colleagues and clients.

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The 5 best ways to improve your written communication.

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Do you envy a colleague who can effortlessly fire off an email that’s well-written and well-received?

The good news is that great communicators aren’t born; they’re made through deliberate practice. And that practice is worth it: your ability to communicate effectively helps you connect to others, enhances your relationships, builds trust, and paves the way for career success by bridging gaps between you and your clients, colleagues, and partners.

Here are five tips to improve your written communication:

1. Keep it simple

Written communication is rife with unnecessary complexity. Maximize the power of your words by simplifying them.

Clarity is the foundation for effective communication. When you’re not clear or use industry acronyms and buzzwords, you’ll force others to do the difficult work of guessing your intended message. As a result, they’ll most likely get it wrong or be left scratching their heads. And when you confuse people, you’ll lose people.

But when you’re clear, everything becomes easier. People understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, how you can help them, and how they can assist you. Clarity helps others know, like, and trust you. Swap jargon for plain language to increase the odds of your message being received and understood.

2. Aim for concise

If every email you send includes a “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read) summary, you’ve got some work to do. Meandering signals that you’re unorganized and unsure. Worse, you’ll lose your audience’s attention—and the opportunity to communicate.

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When preparing a piece, think concise and compelling. It becomes unnecessarily complex when you try to cover too much ground in your communication. A good rule of thumb is that each piece of written communication should have one clear takeaway. This forces you to get specific about and home in on your message. Instead, when you want to deliver a message, make brevity your friend by eliminating extraneous material and getting to the point.

3. Consider your audience

Communication is only effective if your audience receives your intended message, so remember this golden rule of communication: it’s not about you.

Far too often, we assume that everyone communicates the same way we do, forgetting that our intended audiences may not live and breathe in our business world.   Also,  c onsider that even two members of the same team may require a slightly different message tailored to the individual. So, before you fire off that email, take a beat to put yourself in your audience’s shoes, consider their wants and needs, and adjust your communications accordingly.

4. Choose your words wisely

Your word choice sets the tone and elicits an emotional response, two things critical for effective communication.

Consider writing the way you speak for the most natural communication style, especially in non-technical formats. Incorporating your everyday language into your repertoire opens you up to a more descriptive, interesting lexicon that allows you to infuse a bit of personality into your writing, capturing your audience’s attention and ensuring that your message will be more memorable.

Remember, too, that  how  you communicate is just as important as  what  you communicate. Action-oriented language conveys a strong, clear tone and propels people to do something rather than remain idle. Where possible, minimize passive language and use active voice to add more power and intention to your words.

5. Proofread before sending

Ever sent a message only to realize later it was full of typos? Ugh. Mistakes happen, but if they’re more the norm than the exception for you, they’ll weaken your ability to communicate.

Protect yourself against communication mishaps by proofreading. Before you post, use online tools like  Grammarly  to review and improve your writing, or enlist the help of an editor to put your best foot forward.

But be forewarned: even if everything is grammatically correct and contains no misspellings, you could still have problems with using the wrong word (writing “pubic” when you meant “public,” for instance). So to stave off those embarrassments and catch any unintended word choices, read your written communication out loud before hitting the send button.

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How to Improve Your Business Writing

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Do you read some messages from your colleagues that rub you the wrong way? The messages may not be insulting, but the tone is just off. You feel offended, and it reflects in how you relate to them. They probably meant no harm but used the wrong choice of words.

Written communication can go south in many ways. You have to be deliberate in improving how you communicate in writing, so your intentions aren't misunderstood.

What Is Written Communication?

Woman Typing on Computer

Written communication is the process of sending text-based messages and instructions through letters, reports, manuals, etc.

Used to pass information across in the workplace, written communication often takes a formal approach. It’s contained in official documents that serve as evidence and point of reference.

New developments are communicated to the team in writing. When team members exhibit unruly behavior, they are issued a query through written communication and respond in the same manner.

Unlike verbal communication that can be forgotten if not recorded, written communication lasts for long, especially if it isn’t tampered with.

The Challenges of Written Communication

Woman Thinking at Work

As with other forms of communication, the goal of written communication is defeated if the recipients don’t understand the content of the message.

Written communication has several hitches that could alter the meaning of the message or the intention of the sender. Let's take a look at some of them.

1. A Lack of Clarity

Communication loses its essence when it's complex. The choice of words used by the sender in written communication can leave the receiver confused. And since the sender isn’t available to clarify things, the confusion lingers.

If employees feel compelled to take action upon receiving complex written messages, they may end up making mistakes due to a lack of understanding of the messages.

Mistakes made at work as a result of clarity issues are a setback for the organization as time and resources are wasted.

2. Time Constraint

The most efficient workflow is one that’s constantly moving. Team members should get whatever information they need instantly and apply it to their work. But that’s not always the case with written communication.

In written communication, the sender sends the message to the receiver. Instead of getting an instant response, they have to wait until the receiver receives the message and then replies. The time spent in between can be costly in urgent situations. The damage may have already been done before the information was gathered.

3. A Lack of Flexibility

The message you sent to a colleague at work might contain inaccurate information. You might want to update the message for more clarity. But once you have already sent it, you can’t do that.

You have to write another message from scratch addressing the misinformation or including the updates that you want to pass across. Doing all that is stressful, especially when you have a pile of work on your hands.

4. Delay in Decision-Making

Making decisions in the workplace requires some level of speed. Everyone involved in the decision-making process has to be updated with the latest developments and make their inputs in a timely manner.

When the decision-making process is coordinated with written communication, the time spent on receiving, reading, and responding to message delays the decision-making process. You can enhance your group decision-making process with the right tools .

5 Ways to Improve Your Written Communication

Man Sitting and Typing on Computer

If you want to thrive in your job or career, you have to pay more attention to your written communication. And that’s because you communicate with people in writing almost every day.

Ensuring that they understand the messages you convey to them helps you to get the desired response. In light of this, let’s discuss some ways you can communicate better in writing.

1. Identify the Goal

What are you trying to achieve with the message? It’s important that you identify this at the beginning, so you can articulate your thoughts in that direction. You can get people to open and read your emails easily with effective writing.

A written message without a clear goal in mind is like a running commentary. You’ll have a full page of content without saying anything concrete. The content of your message may be misleading to the receiver if you don’t figure out your goal.

2. Step Into the Recipient’s Shoes

Written communication misses the mark if the recipient doesn’t have the necessary background information or context to understand the message they are reading. If you write to someone and mention things that they are oblivious of, they’ll be lost.

Put yourself in the reader's shoes as you compose your message. How much do they know about the subject? Do they need background information or context?

Understanding the reader’s state of mind regarding the subject also helps you to choose the right words and tone to convey your message.

3. Jot Down Ideas

Having made a mental note to write a message, start preparing ahead for it by jotting down ideas that come to mind.

Since you can’t easily retrieve your message from the receiver to make edits or updates, jot down all your points beforehand, so you can include them in your message.

You don’t have to carry a notebook around for that purpose. A note-taking app like Simplenote makes it easier for you to jot down your ideas on your mobile devices on the go. You can access your notes remotely whenever you need them.

4. Be Clear and Simple

The most effective written communications are clear and simple. Now isn’t the time to impress your reader with big words and grammatical expressions.

There’s a tendency for you to want to come across as intelligent with the use of fancy words, but that’s counterproductive in written communication. Remember, you won’t be physically present when the reader reads the message. So, you can’t clarify things if they confuse the reader.

If you are working on a project, you can write a killer project purpose statement with effective written communication.

5. Edit Thoroughly

Reading messages with grammatical errors and typos is a turn-off. Save your recipient the trouble by editing your messages thoroughly before sending them.

Resists the urge to send written messages in a hurry. No matter how urgent it is, make time to edit it. There might be unnecessary words, expressions, and errors in the messages. Going through them one more time will help you spot them, but that won’t happen if you don’t make time for it. Apps like Grammarly are great for editing and fine-tuning your writing.

If you have a reputation for sending error-ridden messages, people will be reluctant to read your messages. They’ll allow your messages to linger until they have the mental strength to withstand the stress that reading your content causes them.

Passing Your Messages Across Effectively

The verbal interactions at work can be noisy. Written communication helps to create some quietness. Teammates can communicate in any situation without drawing attention to themselves.

Once your written communication is clear with the right tone, you can get people to do what you want without following up to clarify things. You also build a reputation for yourself as one who communicates effectively.

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18 effective strategies to improve your communication skills


Communication skills are some of the most utilized and the most sought after in the workplace. They’re essential for leaders and individual contributors to hone. Looking at our largely remot and hybrid work environments, great communication skills make the difference between connected, agile teams, and teams who fail to collaborate, stay aligned, and achieve common goals. 

The good news is that improving communication skills is easier than you might imagine. Here are some basic principles worth following in order to communicate better.

5 types of communication to develop

You and members of your team may have been working remotely for some time now. Whether you are in an office daily, at home managing from afar, or in a hybrid workplace between the two, you’ve likely leveraged more than one communication type.

For businesses to thrive long-term, it is important to develop communication skills that span each type. Here are the five most common communication types to focus on improving.

  • Oral communication: Thoughts are shared through speech. Examples include presentations, one-on-one meetings, and virtual calls.
  • Written communication: Thoughts and ideas are shared via the written word. This can be with emails, hand-written notes, or signage.
  • Non-verbal communication : Information is shared without the use of written or spoken words. Examples include facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, and gestures.
  • Active listening: Unlike the examples above, active listening is about receiving information. When someone is listening actively, they might ask questions to understand the information better, but refrain from focusing on their response so much that they fail to hear the speaker.
  • Contextual communication: Information i s s hared with mutual, potentially un s poken, under s t anding s of variou s factor s s uch a s interper s onal relation s hip s and the environment.

What is effective communication?

The most effective communicators clearly inform others and actively listen to them at the same time. They can accept input – both verbal and non-verbal – while also expressing their thoughts and opinions in an inclusive way.

Regardless of the communication style , effective communication involves a connection with others. It is a dance with a partner that moves, at times, in ways we did not predict. This means the most powerful skill you can leverage is being in sync with your audience. It involves understanding and speaking to its needs, and then responding to real-time feedback. It means having the conversation that your audience wants to have.

But achieving all of that can take some practice.

Below are some effective communication strategies to help you listen and communicate better.

How to improve communication skills

The best messages are often simple.

There’s no value in delivering any kind of communication, whether written, verbal, formal, or casual, if the message doesn’t come across clearly.

Communicating concisely — while maintaining interest and including everything your team needs to know — is a high-level communication skill.

Here are some ways to communicate better.

1. Keep your audience in mind

Your audience will naturally be more interested and engaged when you tailor your communications to their interests. Piquing their interest by speaking directly to what matters to them will naturally engage their desire to understand and interact with the information.

2. Don’t use 10 words when one will do

Even the most engaged and committed audience will eventually get bored. Keeping your message simple and concise will make it easier to understand and retain. Remember, you already know what you’re going to say, but they’re hearing it for the first time. Keep it simple.

3. Consider the best method to deliver your message

If the information you’re conveying isn’t urgent, consider sending an email or a memo. This is especially important when communicating expectations . Written communication will give your audience more time to review it, think it over, and follow up with questions. It will also give them a handy record to refer back to.

4. Get them involved

If you’ve ever worked as an instructor, manager, trainer, or coach, you’ll know that there are few better ways to learn new information than to teach it. Ask them for their input or to take a role in explaining new concepts and policies to their colleagues.  

5. Leverage face-to-face communication when possible

Communicating face-to-face adds multiple layers of information to an exchange, whether between two people or two hundred. Often, there’s a synergy created with in-person communication that’s difficult to replicate elsewhere. Here are some tips to make the most of face time with your team:

6. Make eye contact

If you’re wondering whether or not your message is getting across, few metrics provide as much feedback as eye contact . You can easily tell if the person you’re speaking to is understanding you, is distracted, worried, or confused — much of which is lost in digital communication.

7. Ask for feedback 

Not sure they got it? Ask! A powerful technique is to ask people to repeat back their version of what you just said. Often, this can improve retention, immediate understanding, and minimize misunderstandings later on. You can also ask them to reach out to you with helpful ways that you can improve your delivery in presentations and other forms of communication.

8. Read non-verbal cues

There are various types of nonverbal-cues . Yawns, fidgeting, and looking around the room are usually clear signs that your audience is thinking about something other than what you’re trying to convey. If you notice this, don’t take it personally. Try asking them to share what’s on their mind, recap previous points they may have missed, or adjourn for a later time.

9. Minimize distractions

If you’re chatting with someone (or a group) face-to-face, keep distractions at bay by leaving unnecessary electronic devices out of the space. Keep the attendance limited to just those who need to be there, and avoid scheduling at a time when people are likely to focus on something else (like just before the end of the day or right before lunch).

How to improve online communication:

Online communication is rapidly replacing office spaces as the primary location of doing business. Especially if you’re used to working with in-person teams, it may be challenging to adjust to having meetings, conversations, and even people that collaborate with you or report to you digitally . Since online communication presents a unique way to interact, here are some things to keep in mind: 

1. Stick to a time limit

Online meetings can be even more difficult to focus on, since they incorporate the distractions of a nearly-unlimited number of settings. Keep the meetings short and to the point, and be especially vigilant about minimizing (potentially) marathon Q&A sessions. If needed, follow up through asynchronous communication methods to protect everyone's time.

2. Be mindful of the other person

Generally, the person presenting is the only one who can give the meeting their full attention. Especially when working from home, assume that participants have multiple demands for their attention and structure the content accordingly.

3. Recap important details

A lot of nonverbal and interpersonal cues can be lost over a digital connection. Ensure understanding by recapping the key points. You can either do a quick review in an online meeting or a brief summary at the end of a lengthy email.

4. Don’t forget to respond

Be sure to respond to each communication with a quick acknowledgment, even if it’s an informal one. Although you may have received the message, it’s likely that the person on the other end will have no way of knowing unless you let them know. A couple words or even a “like” will usually do the trick.


5 extra tips to sharpen your communication skills

In general, if you’re looking to strengthen your communication skills , the following tips will help you succeed no matter the situation you find yourself in (or the audience you find yourself with):

  • Be approachable. If your teammates feel intimidated or worried that you may not respond well, they’re less likely to come to you with information.
  • Be patient. Not everyone communicates the same way. Taking the time to be sure you’ve understood the other person and communicated clearly can pay dividends.
  • Be self-aware. It’s okay if you’re still developing your communication skills, nervous, or having a bad day. It takes time — and practice — to become a skilled communicator.
  • Check for understanding. Don’t be afraid to invite feedback or ask questions to ensure that everyone’s on the same page.
  • Switch out the messenger. Allow other team members or leaders to develop their communication skills by empowering them to lead discussions and meetings.

How to be a better active listener

There is much talk about the beauty of active listening , but many people aren’t sure how it translates into actual behaviors. One of the main challenges to active listening is the preoccupation with a response. Many people are busy formulating a perfect answer, which leaves no bandwidth to engage with the input. To get out of this habit, which is not really in service of the speaker, consider the following steps.

Rethink how to add value

You may think that adding value to an exchange is mostly about what you say. But that is not always how others perceive it. Most of us value responses that help us think through our own ideas, that clarify our assumptions or point out possible blind spots. We often don’t need a listener to be brilliant or impress us with their own data. Instead, we may value most how they helped us sharpen our thoughts.

Paraphrase without judgment

If you find yourself preoccupied with responding, try changing the focus of your response. Instead of aiming to add your own thoughts, task yourself with giving a summary that withholds your opinion or judgment. As you listen, make it your goal to give a concise summary, perhaps clarifying the speaker’s initial language.

Bonus points for repeating sticky language that the speaker recognizes as their own (“so you were frustrated with the project because the deadline was an uncomfortable high ?”)

Ask questions that help speakers think

The next step from paraphrasing is to ask questions that move the needle. Much like the way a coach listens, these questions push speakers to go deeper into their own thinking, to clarify their expression or consider possible concerns. You can play devil’s advocate by pointing out inconsistencies or language that seems unclear. All of these are true gifts to a speaker and help you stay focused on listening.

Interrupt politely

Active listening isn’t mindless indulgence, and not all interruption is rude. Sometimes speakers get lost in the weeds, providing depths of detail you don’t need. Interruption can help them stay relevant – and be rewarded with more engagement.

Most speakers don’t mind being cut off by a question that lets them keep talking. Much harder, especially for introverts, is to interrupt someone in a meeting and end their floor time. Be sure to:

  • Validate the speaker (“Thank you for bringing that up.”)
  • Use a warm and polite tone. Get feedback from others on how you sound and come across.
  • Refer to shared interest (“I’d just like to make sure we get to hear from everyone about the project.”)

Tips to keep audiences engaged when you speak

Be relevant.

As we are flooded with information, many audiences will not be impressed by data. In fact, the desire to cover all bases or anticipate all possible questions is a common reason for wordiness.

To keep listeners engaged, especially in virtual meetings, you should carefully curate content for relevance. Ask yourself: How does this information affect my audience? How may it help them with their work? Is this level of detail helpful to understand my main message?

If you have no clear answers to these questions, consider cutting the content.

A hallmark of executive presence, concision is the ability to express your ideas in as few words as possible. Listeners appreciate this, as it shows your preparation and respect for your listeners’ time. In addition, concision signals confidence: the confidence to do less, to say something once, and trust that it lands.

Especially in virtual meetings, where the feedback loop can be flat, many speakers struggle with being concise. They may repeat themselves “just to make sure” or use more examples to make a point clear. But this kind of “more” can often be less, as audiences disengage, having gotten the point the first time.

Concision is a leap of faith. The faith in your own preparation and that your delivery is clear. In virtual meetings with cameras turned off, it becomes harder to keep this faith. For your own self-care as a speaker, you may want to ask your audience to be fully present and turn cameras on — and then reward them with your confident delivery.

Leave spaces for the audience to fill

One way to slow yourself down and check in with audiences is to pause after making a point. Not just a second to catch your breath, but an actual space for silence. Both virtual and in-person, it leaves an opening for your listeners to fill, providing you with real-time feedback as to what they need next. How granular do they want you to get? Do they actually have the questions you were going to answer? Or are they taking your ideas in a whole new direction?

We often feel wary about silence, as if it means that something is wrong. But things happen in silence, and you may be surprised what your listeners offer when given the chance to jump in. However they fill the space, you may get valuable hints as to how to sync and proceed. And that is when communication becomes dancing.

Treat pushback as openings, not obstacles

You may believe that by making a compelling case, you should be rewarded with instant buy-in. Which of course, almost never happens. As your proposals are challenged you get frustrated, perhaps even defensive, as you try to explain why you are right. Soon lines are drawn and both sides double down, and you find yourself stuck in a rut.

To avoid such a shutdown of your ideas, you may want to rethink how you experience pushback. Most new ideas aren’t embraced the way they are initially proposed, and your audience may not need you to have ready-made answers to all their questions. Try to view your pitch as an opening volley, and the pushback as guidance to have the talk that you need to have. Instead of reflexive defense, ask follow-questions to validate and explore the concern.


Final thoughts on effective communication strategies

As a leader and manager, you have tremendous power to set the tone for how your team communicates. While it can be easy to fall into bad communication habits, especially when transitioning to an increasingly digital interface, a shift in the way one individual communicates can open the doors for a radical shift throughout an entire workplace. Building effective communication skills takes time, but the effects are worth the effort at every level of your organization.

Enhance your communication skills

Discover tailored coaching to master effective communication for professional growth.

Nicolas Gattig

Better Up Fellow Coach

Feedback in communication: 5 areas to become a better communicator

Member story: developing communication skills and owning the spotlight, foster strong communication skills to enjoy professional success, the significance of written communication in the workplace, the 5 business communication skills worth perfecting, improve your interpersonal communication skills with these 6 tips, upward communication: what is it 5 examples, we need to talk (about communication styles in the workplace), how to improve your listening skills for better communication, intent versus impact: a formula for better communication, eye contact is important (crucial really) in communication, how to be more persuasive: 6 tips for convincing others, learn types of gestures and their meanings to improve your communication, how to ask open-ended questions, 15 human resources skills to help your resume stand out, the power of professional learning communities, active listening: what is it & techniques to become an active listener, 7-38-55 rule of communication: how to use for negotiation, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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  • Written Communication Guide:...

Written Communication Guide: Types, Examples, and Tips

9 min read · Updated on August 16, 2023

Marsha Hebert

The power of words inspires change, evokes emotions, and fosters connections

We live in a world where the words you write hold the key to unlocking new opportunities. It doesn't matter if you're writing formal business correspondence or a personal letter to your best friend, writing has the power to take readers on a profound journey through your thoughts. 

The types of written communication are as diverse as the purposes they serve and can allow you to excel at work, engage academically, and be more expressive and eloquent. This written communication guide will lead you down a path to discover different types of written communication and will provide examples and tips to ensure that you write exactly what you mean. 

Definition of written communication

At its core, written communication is the art of transmitting messages, thoughts, and ideas through the written word. It serves as a bridge that connects individuals across time and space, allowing for the seamless exchange of information, emotions, and knowledge. Whether etched onto parchment centuries ago or typed onto a digital screen today, written communication has withstood the test of time as a powerful means of expression.

In a fast-paced world where information travels at the speed of light, written communication holds its ground as a tangible record of human interaction. Unlike its oral counterpart , written communication transcends temporal boundaries, leaving an indelible mark that can be revisited and analyzed. It's this permanence that lends written communication a significant place in personal correspondence, professional documentation, and academic discourse.

In personal realms, heartfelt letters and carefully crafted emails capture emotions and sentiments that words spoken aloud might fail to convey

Within professional settings, written communication takes the form of reports, proposals, and emails, each meticulously composed to ensure clarity and precision

Academia finds its treasure trove in research papers, essays, and presentations, where written communication serves as the cornerstone of knowledge dissemination

Yet, amidst this sophistication lies a distinction: written communication lacks the immediate feedback and nuances present in oral discourse. This difference demands attention to detail and precise articulation, to ensure the intended message is accurately received. The immediate feedback present in oral communication allows you to instantly adjust your rhetoric, but that opportunity isn't always present in written communication. 

Types of written communication

We've briefly explored the concept that written communication can be found in personal, professional, and academic settings. But its reach extends far beyond those three realms. Each type of written communication wields a unique power, catering to different purposes and audiences. Understanding the four types of written communication – formal, informal, academic, and creative – will empower you to communicate effectively across a wide spectrum of contexts. 

1. Formal communication

In the corporate arena, formal written communication is the backbone of professional interactions. This type of writing demands precision, clarity, and adherence to established norms. Written communication in the workplace encompasses emails, memos, reports, and official documents. These documents serve as a lasting record of decisions, proposals, and agreements, emphasizing the need for accuracy and professionalism. Examples of formal written communication include:

Formal business emails: These messages are structured, concise, and adhere to a specific etiquette. For instance, sending a well-constructed email to a prospective client introducing your company's services demonstrates effective formal communication. The tone should remain respectful and informative, reflecting the sender's professionalism.

Office memos: Memos serve as succinct internal communication tools within organizations. These documents address specific topics, provide instructions, or announce updates. An example of formal communication through a memo is when a department head distributes a memo outlining the upcoming changes to company policies. 

Business reports: Reports are comprehensive documents that analyze data, present findings, and offer recommendations. A formal business report might involve an in-depth analysis of market trends, financial performance, or project outcomes. Such reports are meticulously structured, featuring headings, subheadings, and references. A quarterly financial report submitted to company stakeholders is an example of formal written communication in the form of a report. The language employed is precise and backed by evidence, maintaining an authoritative tone.

2. Informal communication

Stepping away from corporate rigidity, informal written communication captures the casual essence of everyday life. Informal communication embraces text messages, social media posts, and personal letters. It encourages self-expression and authenticity, enabling individuals to communicate in a more relaxed and relatable manner. Balancing the informal tone while maintaining appropriate communication standards is essential in this type of communication. Some examples of informal communication are:

Text messages: Text messages are characterized by their casual tone, use of abbreviations, and emojis. The language used is relaxed and often mirrors spoken language, fostering a sense of familiarity and ease.

Social media posts: From Facebook statuses to Twitter updates and Instagram captions, these informal writing opportunities allow you to express yourself freely. The language is personal, engaging, and may include humor or personal anecdotes that boost your personal brand .

Personal letters: Although originally rather formal, personal letters have transitioned into the realm of informality. Letters written to friends or family members often showcase a mix of personal anecdotes, emotions, and everyday language. The language is warm, reflective of personal connections, and might include elements of nostalgia or shared experiences.

3. Academic writing

Within educational institutions, academic writing reigns as the conduit of knowledge dissemination. This type of writing includes essays, research papers, and presentations. Academic writing upholds a formal tone, requiring proper citation and adherence to established formats. The objective is to convey complex concepts coherently and objectively, fostering critical thinking and intellectual growth. Here are a few examples of academic writing:

Essays: Essays are fundamental forms of academic writing that require students to analyze and present arguments on specific topics. The essay is structured with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, all aimed at conveying a well-organized argument supported by evidence.

Research papers: Research papers dive deeper into specific subjects, often requiring extensive investigation and citation of sources. They should be organized with specific sections such as an introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, and conclusion. This type of academic writing focuses on presenting original insights backed by thorough research.

Presentations: While presentations involve spoken communication, their accompanying slides often feature written content. Academic presentations might include a slide deck explaining the findings of a research study. Each slide contains concise written points that support the speaker's verbal explanations. Effective academic presentation writing ensures clarity and conciseness, to aid the audience's understanding.

4. Creative writing

Creative writing introduces a touch of artistry to written communication. Poetry, short stories, and blog posts exemplify this style. Creative writing explores the depths of human imagination, invoking emotions and vivid imagery. This type of writing encourages personal flair, allowing individuals to experiment with language, style, and narrative structure. While the examples of creative writing are vast, we'd like to share a few examples with you.

Poetry: Poetry is an artistic form of written communication that emphasizes rhythm, imagery, and emotions. In such works, words are carefully chosen to evoke feelings and paint vivid mental pictures, allowing readers to experience a heightened emotional connection.

Short stories: Short stories are concise narratives that capture a moment, an emotion, or a complete tale in a limited space. An example of creative writing as a short story could be a suspenseful narrative that unfolds over a few pages, engaging readers with its characters, plot twists, and resolution. Creative short stories often explore themes of human nature and provide a glimpse into unique worlds or experiences.

Novels: Novels stand as an epitome of creative writing, offering a more extensive canvas for storytelling. Novels delve deep into emotions, relationships, and the complexities of human existence, allowing readers to immerse themselves in fictional realms with remarkable depth.

Tips for improving your written communication skills

Believe it or not, writing is one of those skills that many people struggle with. The question of whether writing is a skill or a talent has long sparked debates among linguists, educators, and writers themselves. Whether effective written communication is something that you're naturally good at or something that you struggle with, everyone can benefit from some tips on being a better writer. 

Clarity: Clarity is arguably the cornerstone of good writing. It ensures your message is understood by eliminating ambiguity, confusion, and misinterpretation. Prioritize simplicity over complexity, using clear and concise sentences to deliver your message effectively. Avoid unnecessary jargon and convoluted phrases, aiming to convey ideas in a straightforward manner.

Understand your audience: It's critical to consider who will be reading what you write. Think about their knowledge, interests, and expectations when crafting your message. Adjust your tone, style, and choice of words to resonate with your intended readers. This ensures that your message is relatable and engaging, enhancing its impact.

Grammar and spelling: If there's one thing that will turn people off your writing, it's improper grammar and bad spelling. Maintaining proper grammar and spelling reflects professionalism and attention to detail. Proofread your work meticulously or use online tools to catch errors.

Practice and learn: Even if you're an expert writer, writing is a skill that evolves. Stephen King – the “king of writing” – asserts that every writer should read . Regular reading exposes you to diverse writing styles and perspectives that expand your knowledge of presenting the written word. 

Embrace the power of words

Through clear communication, tailored messages, and continuous practice, you can harness the art of written expression to connect, inspire, and leave a lasting impact. The power of words is always within your grasp.

Your resume is another place that requires exceptional writing skills. Let our team of expert resume writers unlock the door to your professional success by showcasing your exceptional writing skills on the most important career marketing tool you have. Send your resume for a free review today ! 

Recommended reading:

The Essential Steps of Your Communication Process

4 Types of Communication Style – What's Yours?

Improve your Powers of Persuasion With These Rhetorical Choices!

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8 Ways You Can Improve Your Communication Skills

Your guide to establishing better communication habits for success in the workplace.

Mary Sharp Emerson


A leader’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively with employees, within teams, and across the organization is one of the foundations of a successful business.

And in today’s complex and quickly evolving business environment, with hundreds of different communication tools, fully or partially remote teams, and even multicultural teams spanning multiple time zones, effective communication has never been more important — or more challenging.

Thus, the ability to communicate might be a manager’s most critical skill. 

The good news is that these skills can be learned and even mastered. 

These eight tips can help you maximize your communication skills for the success of your organization and your career.

1. Be clear and concise

Communication is primarily about word choice. And when it comes to word choice, less is more.

The key to powerful and persuasive communication — whether written or spoken — is clarity and, when possible, brevity. 

Before engaging in any form of communication, define your goals and your audience. 

Outlining carefully and explicitly what you want to convey and why will help ensure that you include all necessary information. It will also help you eliminate irrelevant details. 

Avoid unnecessary words and overly flowery language, which can distract from your message.

And while repetition may be necessary in some cases, be sure to use it carefully and sparingly. Repeating your message can ensure that your audience receives it, but too much repetition can cause them to tune you out entirely. 

2. Prepare ahead of time

Know what you are going to say and how you are going to say before you begin any type of communication.

However, being prepared means more than just practicing a presentation. 

Preparation also involves thinking about the entirety of the communication, from start to finish. Research the information you may need to support your message. Consider how you will respond to questions and criticisms. Try to anticipate the unexpected.

Before a performance review, for instance, prepare a list of concrete examples of your employee’s behavior to support your evaluation.

Before engaging in a salary or promotion negotiation, know exactly what you want. Be ready to discuss ranges and potential compromises; know what you are willing to accept and what you aren’t. And have on hand specific details to support your case, such as relevant salaries for your position and your location (but be sure that your research is based on publicly available information, not company gossip or anecdotal evidence). 

Before entering into any conversation, brainstorm potential questions, requests for additional information or clarification, and disagreements so you are ready to address them calmly and clearly.

3. Be mindful of nonverbal communication

Our facial expressions, gestures, and body language can, and often do, say more than our words. 

Nonverbal cues can have between 65 and 93 percent more impact than the spoken word. And we are more likely to believe the nonverbal signals over spoken words if the two are in disagreement. 

Leaders must be especially adept at reading nonverbal cues. 

Employees who may be unwilling to voice disagreements or concerns, for instance, may show their discomfort through crossed arms or an unwillingness to make eye contact. If you are aware of others’ body language, you may be able to adjust your communication tactics appropriately.

At the same time, leaders must also be able to control their own nonverbal communications. 

Your nonverbal cues must, at all times, support your message. At best, conflicting verbal and nonverbal communication can cause confusion. At worst, it can undermine your message and your team’s confidence in you, your organization, and even in themselves. 

4. Watch your tone

How you say something can be just as important as what you say. As with other nonverbal cues, your tone can add power and emphasis to your message, or it can undermine it entirely.

Tone can be an especially important factor in workplace disagreements and conflict. A well-chosen word with a positive connotation creates good will and trust. A poorly chosen word with unclear or negative connotations can quickly lead to misunderstanding. 

When speaking, tone includes volume, projection, and intonation as well as word choice. In real time, it can be challenging to control tone to ensure that it matches your intent. But being mindful of your tone will enable you to alter it appropriately if a communication seems to be going in the wrong direction.

Tone can be easier to control when writing. Be sure to read your communication once, even twice, while thinking about tone as well as message. You may even want to read it out loud or ask a trusted colleague to read it over, if doing so does not breach confidentiality. 

And when engaging in a heated dialogue over email or other written medium, don’t be too hasty in your replies. 

If at all possible, write out your response but then wait for a day or two to send it. In many cases, re-reading your message after your emotions have cooled allows you to moderate your tone in a way that is less likely to escalate the conflict.

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5. Practice active listening

Communication nearly always involves two or more individuals.

Therefore, listening is just as important as speaking when it comes to communicating successfully. But listening can be more challenging than we realize. 

In her blog post Mastering the Basics of Communication , communication expert Marjorie North notes that we only hear about half of what the other person says during any given conversation. 

The goal of active listening is to ensure that you hear not just the words the person is saying, but the entire message. Some tips for active listening include:

  • Giving the speaker your full and undivided attention
  • Clearing your mind of distractions, judgements, and counter-arguments. 
  • Avoiding the temptation to interrupt with your own thoughts.
  • Showing open, positive body language to keep your mind focused and to show the speaker that you are really listening
  • Rephrase or paraphrase what you’ve heard when making your reply
  • Ask open ended questions designed to elicit additional information

6. Build your emotional intelligence

Communication is built upon a foundation of emotional intelligence. Simply put, you cannot communicate effectively with others until you can assess and understand your own feelings. 

“If you’re aware of your own emotions and the behaviors they trigger, you can begin to manage these emotions and behaviors,” says Margaret Andrews in her post, How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence .

Leaders with a high level of emotional intelligence will naturally find it easier to engage in active listening, maintain appropriate tone, and use positive body language, for example.  

Understanding and managing your own emotions is only part of emotional intelligence. The other part — equally important for effective communication — is empathy for others.

Empathizing with an employee can, for example, make a difficult conversation easier. 

You may still have to deliver bad news, but (actively) listening to their perspective and showing that you understand their feelings can go a long way toward smoothing hurt feelings or avoiding misunderstandings.

7. Develop a workplace communication strategy

Today’s workplace is a constant flow of information across a wide variety of formats. Every single communication must be understood in the context of that larger flow of information.

Even the most effective communicator may find it difficult to get their message across without a workplace communication strategy.

A communication strategy is the framework within which your business conveys and receives information. It can — and should — outline how and what you communicate to customers and clients, stakeholders, and managers and employees. 

Starting most broadly, your strategy should incorporate who gets what message and when. This ensures that everyone receives the correct information at the right time. 

It can be as detailed as how you communicate, including defining the type of tools you use for which information. For example, you may define when it’s appropriate to use a group chat for the entire team or organization or when a meeting should have been summarized in an email instead. 

Creating basic guidelines like this can streamline the flow of information. It will help ensure that everyone gets the details they need and that important knowledge isn’t overwhelmed by extraneous minutia. 

8. Create a positive organizational culture

The corporate culture in which you are communicating also plays a vital role in effective communication. 

In a positive work environment — one founded on transparency, trust, empathy, and open dialogue — communication in general will be easier and more effective. 

Employees will be more receptive to hearing their manager’s message if they trust that manager. And managers will find it easier to create buy-in and even offer constructive criticism if they encourage their employees to speak up, offer suggestions, and even offer constructive criticisms of their own. 

“The most dangerous organization is a silent one,” says Lorne Rubis in a blog post, Six Tips for Building a Better Workplace Culture . Communication, in both directions, can only be effective in a culture that is built on trust and a foundation of psychological safety.

Authoritative managers who refuse to share information, aren’t open to suggestions, and refuse to admit mistakes and accept criticism are likely to find their suggestions and criticisms met with defensiveness or even ignored altogether. 

Without that foundation of trust and transparency, even the smallest communication can be misconstrued and lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict.

Communicating with co-workers and employees is always going to present challenges. There will always be misunderstandings and miscommunications that must be resolved and unfortunately, corporate messages aren’t always what we want to hear, especially during difficult times.

But building and mastering effective communication skills will make your job easier as a leader, even during difficult conversations. Taking the time to build these skills will certainly be time well-spent. 

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About the Author

Digital Content Producer

Emerson is a Digital Content Producer at Harvard DCE. She is a graduate of Brandeis University and Yale University and started her career as an international affairs analyst. She is an avid triathlete and has completed three Ironman triathlons, as well as the Boston Marathon.

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Why Writing Skills Are Important for Every Job—and How to Improve Yours

person at a desk in an office typing on a laptop

Have you ever sent an email no one seemed to understand that ended up derailing the timeline for an entire project? Or written a report that you then had to explain verbally to everyone after they read it?

Even if you’re not in a job where writing is a core component of your professional duties, you probably use your writing skills every day to communicate with others through text (whether it’s over email or Slack, in a monthly or quarterly report, in the form of a project update, or otherwise). In fact, strong written communication skills are one of the top attributes employers look for , regardless of the job they’re hiring to fill.

Here’s why—plus what some common writing skills for work are, how to improve them, and how to show them off in your next job search.

Why are writing skills important?

If you’re in a writing-centric or writing-heavy role—for example, marketing—you might already be aware of how your writing skills help you daily. But even if you aren’t in one of these jobs, “Writing is an essential skill in the workplace, especially today with more and more people working remotely,” says Muse career coach Jennifer Smith , founder of Flourish Careers . In an increasingly online world, “There’s less face-to-face interaction and more written interaction.”

Strong writing skills help you to communicate with others without having to schedule a meeting or phone call. They ensure readers understand the key points of what you’re trying to get across, come away with the ideas and impression you want them to, and, in many cases, take action to do whatever you’re hoping they’ll do. Writing is something others can refer back to at any point—as opposed to verbal communication, which might have to be repeated and requires both parties to be available at the same time.

When you’ll use writing skills

Here are common scenarios when you’ll use writing skills during your job—even if you don’t think your role has anything to do with writing.

  • Emailing: “Most professionals have to craft business emails ,” says Muse career coach Tara Goodfellow , owner of Athena Consultants . Emails might be how you update your team on a project, request information from a colleague, or follow up on a meeting with clear next steps. And in some instances, an email is how you make your first impression on a new person.
  • Communicating with coworkers: Whether it’s via email, Slack, another messaging app, or Google Doc, you’ll want your coworkers to know what you’re talking about without adding yet another meeting to the calendar.
  • Documenting procedures: Written records can be particularly helpful when you’re trying to standardize how your team or company handles recurring tasks or training new coworkers to take these on. “Clearly writing and documenting new procedures can allow for future consistency and improved quality control,” Smith says, even if you’re not available to meet with and explain the processes to each new person taking them on.
  • Crafting sales pitches: For example, if you’re an account executive reaching out to a prospect via email or LinkedIn, “A well-written sales pitch to a critical client will increase your credibility and help you land the new client,” Smith says.
  • Reporting on the results and/or progress of your work
  • Creating copy for a website or product
  • Making notes on code
  • Creating reports, contracts, or official documents
  • Giving feedback on others’ work
  • Putting together newsletters, emails, social media posts, and other marketing materials
  • Delegating work to others asynchronously
  • Taking notes on a meeting, appointment, training, or other live event
  • Content writing
  • Copywriting
  • Editing the written work of others
  • Creating a presentation
  • Making recommendations to management or clients
  • Updating project management software or customer relationship management software to track progress and make notes
  • Crafting job descriptions
  • Outlining roadmaps, timelines, or future plans for yourself or your team

Top 5 writing skills examples

So now that you know why writing skills are important and why you’ll use them, what are some examples? Here are some of the top types lof skills that combine to make someone a strong writer:

Before you write a single word, you need to do your research about the topic you’re writing on. Gathering information that’s up-to-date and accurate is a key part of writing, and the process may help you figure out what content to include. Depending on what you’re writing, research may involve learning about your target customer—whether it’s an overall target market or individual company—evaluating sources for strength and credibility, talking to experts, reviewing and analyzing data, or talking to other members of your team.

Planning and/or outlining

An outline is a pared-down sketch of what points or topics the document you’re working on will cover and how you plan to structure the information, which can give you a roadmap to follow as you write. Creating and following an outline ensures you’re incorporating all the important information in the right order and not being repetitive or straying too far from your point. It’s often easier to get outside input on an outline than to write an entire report or similar only to find out key information was missing. Outlining skills can also be used to map out a non-writing project ahead of time or plan a process, which can be especially helpful if you’re delegating to or collaborating with others.

Grammar and clarity

Grammar is the set of rules governing language usage. It’s what guides everyone to communicate in a similar way and, as a result, understand each other better. There are many rules of English grammar, and you should definitely know the basic ones. But unless you’re a writer or editor , knowing the obscure little quirks of grammar usually isn’t necessary. What is necessary is knowing how to construct a clear, easy-to-read, and understandable sentence so you can communicate in writing.

Revising and editing

Editing is the process of correcting and changing a piece of your own or someone else’s writing to strengthen it. You can revise or edit by making significant changes to the structure, organization, or content of a piece. Or you might proofread a piece of writing, checking for any misspellings, grammar mistakes, or typos. In other cases, you might be tweaking sentences or paragraphs to flow better or reflect a certain tone. Strong editing skills can be useful in a wide range of professional situations—from looking over a report or presentation for a teammate to spotting an error in an email you’re about to send the entire company.

Communication skills

Even if writing isn’t a core part of your job, you’ll likely use it to communicate in the workplace. This might mean composing an email , messaging someone on Slack or Teams, giving feedback, creating a meeting agenda , or giving an update on a project. Being able to communicate clearly through writing will help your work go more smoothly, increase the chances you get what you want and need from others, prevent misunderstandings, and allow your colleagues to feel informed and included—ultimately strengthening your professional relationships.

9 tips to improve your writing skills

“Good writing can help you stand out and get ahead,” Smith says. So how do you improve your writing skills? Here are a few tips:

1. Brush up on grammar basics.

If you’re already feeling your eyes glaze over, don’t worry. Unless you’re a writer, editor, or similar, you don’t need to know whether it’s who or whom or when to use an em dash vs. a semicolon (and let’s be real—editors don’t always know all these things). But you should know the basics: how to write in complete sentences rather than fragments or run-ons; how to use quotation marks and commas in typical scenarios; and when to use there, they’re, or their, to name a few.

There are a number of free resources online you can use to brush up on your grammar skills or answer individual questions, such as Grammar Girl and the content many dictionaries put out on their blogs. Or you might look into paid courses on platforms like LinkedIn Learning and Coursera. You can find plenty of free quizzes (like this one ) to figure out your current level of skill and discover areas for improvement. There are also a number of books you can check out: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is a classic—but still widely used and, more importantly, short—overview of the most important grammar rules, and Woe Is I by Patricia T. O’Conner is a more modern guide written in a lighter tone.

2. Read (and study) the type of writing you want to improve.

One of the best ways to improve your own writing is to read a lot. Note what writing resonates for you and look at that writing closely to see how it’s put together. Is it using a lot of technical words? Is the tone conversational or more serious? Does the writer use a lot of short sentences, mostly longer sentences, or a mix of both?

Reading any type of text can help you get a sense of the different ways all the elements of writing can combine effectively. But it can be particularly helpful to focus on the same types of writing you want to improve. Reading Shakespeare is great if you enjoy it, but it’s unlikely to improve your emails. If you want to level up your marketing copy, technical reports, or written sales pitches, those are the types of writing you should be studying most closely.

3. Pick the right format for the situation.

You have to quickly update your boss on what you’ve done in the last week. What’s the best way to do it? Are you going to open up a new Google Doc and write a five-page report covering every detail? Probably not. You’re likely going to type up an email with a few short paragraphs or bullet points that hit the key points in a way your boss can read quickly. 

On the other hand, if you’re detailing the findings of weeks of research, that five-page report might be necessary for your immediate supervisor or a teammate who needs to know about your process. But if you’re sharing those results with another department, it might make more sense to convey only the key takeaways or action items in a PowerPoint presentation with a few bullet points or short summary on each slide.

Knowing and choosing the correct format for a given piece of writing—based on your goals and intended audience—will give you the appropriate amount and type of space to share what you need to, and it’ll set your readers’ expectations correctly as well. Going back to the earlier example, if your manager sees a Slack message, they’ll expect that to take at most a few minutes to read, but if you send them a long document, they’ll be prepared to receive a lot of information (and might hold off on reading until they have the time they need to digest it).

4. Outline before you write.

Especially when you’re writing something longer or particularly important, outlining beforehand can lead to a stronger finished project and make the process smoother. The best way to outline will depend on your personal preferences and what you’re writing. 

In most cases, you’ll want to:

  • Divide your outline into sections (whether those sections indicate chapters, paragraphs, slides, or anything else) 
  • Note what the purpose of each section is. Why is it being included and what question is this section answering for your reader? 
  • Sketch out what information needs to go in each section of your piece. 

As you’re outlining, check that the order of your sections makes sense. Would someone need a bit of info or context currently slated for a later section to understand what you’re saying here? Move that info or section up in your outline.

If you have a number of points you’d like to hit but don’t know in what order or how they go together, an outline can be even more helpful. Write out each key point in a way that’s easy to move around—for example, a bulleted list in a Word or Google doc or even individual index cards—and start by grouping similar and related points together. Then, organize these groupings in a way that flows logically. If you’re not yet sure what your key points are, you can do the same exercise with all of the smaller pieces of info you want to include and form your key points once you see how all your information goes together.

5. Be aware of your audience and the appropriate tone for your writing.

To communicate well through writing, it’s important to understand who will be reading and what sort of language is appropriate. Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Consider how formal your language should be:  If you’re Slacking a teammate, you might be able to be more relaxed in your tone and word choice than when you’re emailing a client or preparing a presentation for stakeholders. In many professional situations you should skip the emojis and avoid using multiple punctuation marks unless the situation really calls for it. “Rarely is ‘!!!!!!’ needed,” Goodfellow says. And don’t write in all caps unless you actually mean to yell. (If you’re chatting with a coworker about the latest episode of Succession or the newest Netflix true-crime doc, though, feel free to !!! away.)
  • Note the knowledge level of your audience as it relates to the topic. “If they are aware of the situation, they [may] not need a great deal of detail,” Goodfellow says. For example, if you’re updating other members of the engineering team on a feature you coded, you can use tech jargon and skip the background, but if you’re writing about the new feature in a blog post for customers, you might need to explain things a bit more thoroughly, choose more common words, and explicitly state why it matters to them.
  • Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Before finishing any piece of writing, take the time to reread it while accounting for the audience’s point of view. “Keep in mind that how you intend the email may not be how it's perceived,” Goodfellow says. Tone is difficult to convey over text, especially humor—and you don’t want to imply an attitude you don’t mean. If you’re responding to an email chain, writing a comment on an ongoing thread, or in any way continuing a conversation, try to mirror the tone of the messages before yours, Goodfellow says.

6. Pay attention to the mechanics of your writing.

Here are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind that will help make almost anything you write easier to read and understand:

  • Don’t use complex words when simple words will do. If it looks like you used the thesaurus function every few words, it’s likely to distract your reader or make them lose focus. You’ll also end up with a disjointed tone, and you run the risk of someone not understanding the point you want to get across.
  • Vary your sentences. If all your sentences are a similar length or follow the same structure, your writing can become a slog to read. “One common issue I see is every sentence starting with ‘I,’” Goodfellow says. Think: “I want [x]. I need [y]. I'd like [z].” It gets repetitive, and it’s easier for the reader to lose their place if everything looks the same.
  • Use specific words and phrasing. Whenever possible, state exactly what you mean rather than using vague words like “things” or phrases like “and so on.” This practice will make your writing stronger and easier to follow.
  • Don’t repeat yourself. When writing and speaking, it’s common to say the same thing multiple times in a slightly different way. Repetition can unnecessarily pad your writing and cause people’s attention to waiver.
  • Eliminate filler words and filtering language. Words like “just” and “that” are often unneeded to get your point across and weigh down your writing. You should also take a look at any adverbs and adjectives you use to see if a stronger, more specific noun or verb will do the trick. Similarly, filtering language like “I think” or “it seems like” can weaken your message and make you sound less confident. The use of filtering language is especially common for women , who have been socialized to soften their opinions so as not to offend.
  • Guide your reader through each of your points. As you move from one topic to the next, transition smoothly. If you spent the last paragraph talking about a project you completed last week and then you jump right to describing an upcoming project without a transition, your reader is likely to get confused. And for every new point, make sure it’s clear to your reader why you’re bringing it up and how it connects to the overall topic.

7. Get feedback on your writing.

If you’re looking to improve your writing skills, getting feedback from others can be extremely helpful. You might not realize you tend to use the wrong form of “your” or that your sentences are way too long. But someone else might. It’s also common for individuals to use the same words and phrases over and over without realizing it. (Full disclosure, my boss/editor has banned me from using the word “additionally.”) Similarly, you might think your writing is clear and to the point, but a reader might feel like there’s key context missing. As you get feedback from multiple people or on multiple pieces of writing, pay attention to any comments or critiques you’ve gotten more than once and focus on these areas first.

Ask a teammate, manager, or someone else whose opinion you trust to look at something you’ve written and ask what would make your writing stronger. (If it’s someone you work with, it might be easiest to ask them for writing feedback on something they have to read anyway). 

Depending on what kind of writing you’re looking to work on, you might also be able to join a writing group or community where people trade writing and critique one another, Smith says. You can find writing workshops (both online and in-person) through universities and other community programs—they often cost money but come with an experienced instructor or facilitator—or you can find (usually free) writing groups online. and professional organizations are great places to start your search.

8. Proofread.

No matter what you’re writing, taking a last look to check for any typos or mistakes can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Did you contradict yourself somewhere or leave the verb out of a sentence? Read anything you’ve written out loud if possible. Sometimes things look OK on a screen, but when you try to say them, you realize something’s not right. In a similar vein, you might also print out your writing and correct it on paper, Smith says. Often this is enough to see your writing in a different way, making it easier to spot errors. If the writing has higher stakes or the impression it makes on the reader matters a lot, try to get someone else to read it as well, Goodfellow says.

9. Use tech tools as aids—not substitutes.

There are plenty of programs and plug-ins that claim to “fix” your writing, such as WritingProAid, Sapling, Grammarly, and even the spelling and grammar checkers built into word processors. These tools can make it easier to write well, Smith says. But they shouldn’t be your one and only source of truth. Computer programs tend to miss key context that human readers would understand. “Spell-check can help but there are many words that are ‘correct’ but may not be what you intended,” Goodfellow says.

None of these tools should stand in for a thorough proofread. As a professional editor, I use tools like this to call attention to possible errors, but I always look at their suggestions before accepting them and consider whether they’re actually correct or clear. I also look carefully for errors the tools didn’t catch at all. Computer programs can easily miss homophone mix-ups, verb-tense switches, incorrect word choices, and other issues. And sometimes you may need to write in a style these tools aren’t programmed to support. For instance, if you’re writing about investing, they might mark stock tickers and common financial abbreviations as errors.

How to show off your writing skills in a job search

If you’re applying for a writing-heavy job, you may be asked to submit a writing sample along with your application or complete a skills test at some point during the interview process. But you can showcase your writing skills at other stages as well for any kind of job.

On your resume

Unless a specific type of writing skill, such as experience with social media copy or familiarity with a certain style guide, is listed in a job description or is clearly a big value add for a specific role, your writing skills don’t usually belong in your skills section —or at least, that’s not where recruiters and hiring managers will look for them. Instead, they’ll look at the way your resume is written to see these skills in action. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Use correct and consistent grammar—no randomly switching verb tenses .
  • Write clear, concise bullet points , taking care to choose specific words and strong, active verbs .
  • Avoid vague or overused words. That means steering clear of contextless buzzwords, such as “passionate” and “synergized,” which might sound flashy but don’t mean anything on their own. And instead of words such as “managed” and “led,” Smith says, aim for interesting and creative—but still clear and specific—words the recruiter hasn’t seen a thousand times that day.

If you’re in a field where writing is a core component of your job, you can also link to writing samples directly from your resume even if you’re not asked for them to further show off your qualifications.

In your cover letter

When writing a cover letter (and you should write a cover letter ), you’ll want to follow all the same advice as when you’re writing a resume. But cover letters give you more room to really show off your writing skills. 

Rather than rattling off lists of qualifications you have, use your cover letter to write succinct but persuasive anecdotes that come together to tell a coherent story about why you’re the right person for the job. Choose past experiences that are relevant to the job you want and support your overall narrative. And make sure your sentences and paragraphs flow in a logical way and it’s always clear why information is being included. 

You can also inject more voice and personality into a cover letter than you can in a resume to give the reader the sense of who you are as a person.

Throughout the interview process

Of course, interviews aren’t often conducted through writing. In fact, unless there’s a good reason for it (such as a disability accommodation for yourself or the interviewer), an all-text interview process may be a red flag for a job scam .

But you’ll still be communicating with your prospective employer via email throughout the process. “Taking the time to craft well-written email responses is a fabulous way to make a solid first impression,” Smith says. “Recruiters and hiring managers will notice a difference between well-thought-out responses vs. rushed comments.”

Remember you’re being evaluated not just for your ability to do a specific job, but for your potential as a teammate. A coworker or direct report who communicates via email in a clear and professional way will make everyone’s work easier in the long run—especially if you’ll be communicating with people outside the company through email—whereas someone who’s hard to understand in writing might seem like a future headache they’ll have to address.

how to improve written communication essay

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Effective Written Communication | Email & Letters

Communicating effectively via email and other forms of written correspondence can be tricky. You need to know how to start an email , and how to end an email . It’s important to vary your language, strike the right tone, and convey your intended message clearly. Check out the articles below to improve your written communication.

Standard phrases

  • Dear Sir or Madam
  • Hope you’re doing well
  • I hope this email finds you well
  • Just checking in
  • Looking forward to hearing from you
  • Sincerely yours
  • To Whom It May Concern
  • Yours truly

Confused words

  • Affect vs effect
  • Former vs latter
  • Its vs it’s
  • Ms. vs Mrs. vs Miss
  • Then vs than
  • There vs their
  • Who vs whom


  • Quotation marks
  • Em and en dashes
  • Apostrophes
  • Parentheses

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  • Ms. vs. Mrs. vs. Miss | Difference & Pronunciation
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How to Improve Written Communication Skills

Jesal Shethna

Updated April 21, 2023

Improve Written Communication Skills

People, who have never written anything in their life, think of writing as an alien activity. But when they dive deep, they realize there is nothing so overwhelming about writing. If you can speak, you can write. And to add more weight to age, if you can communicate well, you can write well.

The title of this article is about how to improve written communication skills. That means It is conceivable that you already have a certain level of written communication skill and would like to improve it.

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Things to Improve Your Written Communication

Improving means there are a few things you would like to improve in your written communication.

  • When discussing improving written communication skills, we generally speak about improving clarity. How you write should convey a clear, precise, and relevant message. If not, your written communication will lose its grounds.
  • While reading your writing, the readers should feel fluent. There shouldn’t be any gap or disconnection between your previous and current sentences.
  • When discussing improving your written communication, you should consider enhancing your written communication style . Your style is complex, and you write to impress people with gigantic words. You would like to make it simple and down-to-earth.
  • A call-to-action. Many of you would like to write copy for organizations that sell products/services, or you want to sell your services or products to your customers. No matter what you want to do, you want your readers to take action.

These are the four basic fundamental points to improve in your written communication. Like any other skill, you can realize that written communication can be enhanced only by practice and knowing better information you can apply.

Written Communication Tips

In the following section, you will learn the 10 most important ways to improve the above four so you don’t have to worry about the results. Let’s get started.

1. Write every day

Yes, you can register with ease every day. It may sound obvious, but it’s not. People, who are not attached to writing as a profession or as a passion, don’t tend to think that they can write every day with ease.

You don’t need to write 1000 words per day. You’re not even required to write 500 words per day. You only need to write super small – as small as 3 sentences. Can you do that? We bet you can. Anyone can write 3 sentences per day.

You would say – Would I improve my written communication by writing 3 sentences daily? Yes, you would. The trick is writing so small that you cannot say no to it.

Why so? Because in the beginning, you need to make a pathway in your mind which will tell you that writing is easy. Soon enough, within weeks, you will start writing 5 sentences a day, then 10, then 20, then a whole page, and then the elusive 1000 words.

And after a while, you will see that when you sit to write, words come naturally to you; you don’t need to think much to report. When should you start then? Right now. Write.

2. Think in English (any language that you want to master)

If you’ve ever learned a new language, the instructor always reminds you that to learn the language first, you only need to think in the language.

Yes, it’s tough if you’re new to it. But if you do that long enough, language learning will become significantly easier. Same with written communication.

While writing, don’t try to think in your native language and then translate; rather, think in English to write English. If you’re a beginner, it’s tough initially, but stick to it for some time.

Per day, you only need to think 3 sentences in English and write them in your notebook. Can you do that? Yes, you can. Anyone can. And this simple tweak will help you become good at written communication.

3. Ask for help from friends who are better in writing

There is no harm in asking for help. Most of us think too much before asking for help. No one is an expert in everything. Asking people who are better than us can teach us things we cannot learn.

Writing is a craft. So, go out and seek friends who can tell you something about written communication. And judge a friend who has been practicing this craft more than you.

S/he can advise you on how to write, practice, get motivated when going gets tough, and stick to it when something doesn’t seem good.

Written communication, like speaking, is a skill, and you can improve it simply by listening to your learned writer friend and applying them in your writing.

One thing you need to remember while asking for help is that your need for written communication may be different from your friend’s need for written communication.

Tell them why you would like to write. Is it for written communication business purposes or to follow your passion? Both have different approaches and if your friend knows your reason for improving your written communication, s/he can help you better.

4. Read a book on grammar

People who know the rules well can break them. If you don’t know the rules, using them to your advantage would not be easy. Have a basic grammar book handy with you so that if you need to go back and consult, you can have a glance and correct your course.

You can begin with a comprehensive one later. Take an easy one which covers almost most of the things. If you know 90% of all grammar rules, you will be better off writing correct English.

And you can also break some rules if you want to make it more effective. For example, we don’t adhere to all the grammar rules when we speak. The best way to write is to write as one says. Thus, a conversational way is the best way to write.

5. Carry a Journal

What if we would tell you that there’s a magic formula to make your life ten times better? Would you listen to it? Would you do it? Most of us know all to make our life better, but very few would do it.

For the selected few, here’s the advice – carry a journal. It will not only make your life amazing, but it will also make your written communication skill superb.

When you watch a leaf quivering in a mild breeze, you cannot remember it, but what if you write down in your journal about this beautiful observation! You would eventually be able to express yourself more beautifully.

Written Communication is a combination of beauty, truth, and expression. If you can master these three, you will surely communicate at a level of mastery. Having a journal to write quite often helps you do the same.

Buy a journal that suits you, and write whenever you feel an urge. The best is to write once a day or twice a week, whichever suits you. After a month of writing in your journal, read previous posts.

It will give you an idea about your life in the earlier month. Your experience and written communication will be enhanced. It will provide you with the gifts of language, which can hardly be got by any other means.

written communication

6. Participate in any Writing Opportunity

Most of the time, when new writers have the opportunity to showcase their talents, they step back and say – I’m not good enough. But the thing is, until you do take such chances, you’ll never be good enough.

You need to take risks by allowing yourself to participate in various opportunities. You may fail. But so what? To get momentum, you need one win. And eventually, you will get it if you keep on keeping on.

Look for different opportunities – magazines, newspapers, publications, blogs, websites , and companies and submit your story/article/essay/letter. There are more opportunities than you think you have.

You’ve to look for it. Even if you’re scared, apply for it. Participate even if you are unsure of your writing communication skills. Even if you’re pathetic in constructing something big, enroll.

The simple act of putting your feet forward will allow you to get an edge and gradually you will reach a level where you will be proud to call yourself a writer.

7. Take Criticisms Constructively

When you aim to begin something, you’ll be criticized. No matter what you try to do, you would be criticized and ridiculed. But what beautifies your attempt after the critics do their job is they show you the area/s where you need to look at again.

If you pay heed, you would see this is a great improvement tool. Critics find out the areas and you take advantage of it. People call that your writing misses humor; you go out and work on that.

They say that your writing is very hard to read; you go out and make your writing a little bit easier for the general public. There is more than one area where you can improve, if you want to improve your written communication.

All you need to do is to listen to the critics and use the criticism as constructively as possible.

8. Do a Review Every Month

Review is reflection and the art of looking back. This simple act will help you understand where you stand and how much you’ve improved so that you can plan for future improvement steps.

How do you review? As in the beginning, we proposed that you should write every day. So for writing every day, you should have a notebook. Once a month is over, look at notebook.

Read the notebook and find out whether your written communication has improved or not. If you don’t find any difference, you can ask anyone who is better than you in writing to check your notebook.

Listen to the person whose guidance you’re taking. Ask him/her what can be the first step to implement what s/he is saying? And then go on to work on that first step. Once you begin to do a review every month, you would be able to improve your written communication very fast.

office work

9. Do an Impromptu in your Writing

To improve our speaking skill we are asked to speak on any subject for 2 minutes. What if we apply the same rule to written communication? Simply take a topic and write 10 sentences without delay.

Or simply take a topic and write for 2 minutes straight. Take the help of a stop watch to keep a record. Then go back and judge the merit of the sentences you wrote.

If you do this long enough, any topic would be given to you and without any fear or writer’s block, you would be able to instantly write. Take a time out from your schedule every day and then sit for 15 minutes.

Make sure you’re not disturbed during this time. You shouldn’t allow any distractions. Sit and open any English book and pick a word and start writing for 2 minutes. Do it 5 times. Within weeks you would see that your written communication will drastically improve.

10. Don’t Give Up Yet

Even after trying for a period of time, if you think it’s time to give up, don’t give up yet. Most probably, this is the time when you need to stick to your laurels and keep on writing.

It’s said when we give up, that moment is very crucial. Because if we choose to go beyond that phase for little more, our expectations would get fulfilled. Every individual is different, and the pace of learning and improving are also different.

So each individual should be given the required time and space to master any craft. Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself some time. Practice some more. Learn some more.

And then let go of seeking any results. Eventually you will see your written communication getting improved without your notice.

Written communication like any other art is a craft too. Without practice, it’s impossible to get good at it. There’s a simple way to get good at it. It’s simple but not easy. Here it is – Keep writing until you’re good. Remember this word ‘until’ can change your written communication and life.


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Home — Essay Samples — Sociology — Effective Communication — Effective Communication: The Key to Building Strong Connections


Effective Communication: The Key to Building Strong Connections

  • Categories: Connection Effective Communication

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Words: 791 |

Published: Sep 12, 2023

Words: 791 | Pages: 2 | 4 min read

Table of contents

The importance of effective communication, key elements of effective communication, barriers to effective communication, strategies for improving communication, 1. building relationships:, 2. resolving conflicts:, 3. achieving goals:, 4. personal development:, 5. success in the workplace:, 1. clarity:, 2. active listening:, 3. empathy:, 4. nonverbal communication:, 5. respect:, 1. misunderstandings:, 2. lack of active listening:, 3. emotional barriers:, 4. assumptions and stereotypes:, 5. lack of feedback:, 1. practice active listening:, 2. foster empathy:, 3. be mindful of nonverbal cues:, 4. seek feedback:, 5. adapt to your audience: h3>, 6. practice constructive communication:, 7. educate yourself:.

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How to Improve Written Communication Skills at Work

Praburam Srinivasan

Growth Marketing Manager

July 9, 2024

Have you ever written an email to your team only to receive confused replies because your message wasn’t clear? Or perhaps you sent a message only to realize later that typos marred it, and it could lead to misunderstandings?

According to Forbes, as many as 40% of workers attest that poor communication reduces their trust in leadership and their team. For remote workers, the figure stood at 54%.

Wasted time is among the worst consequences of poor communication, and countering it is more important than anything else. 

Effective written communication is necessary whether you’re trying to build team camaraderie or crafting marketing campaigns. From engineers conveying technical specifications to healthcare workers documenting patient care, clear writing ensures accuracy and avoids costly mistakes. 

Legal contracts and financial reports hinge on precise language to prevent misunderstandings. Even creative fields like design rely on written communication for proposals, presentations, and client pitches. Written communication bridges cultural gaps and transcends time zones. 

Let’s explore how to improve written communication skills at work and eliminate the dreaded ‘What did you mean?’ follow-ups.

Why Do Written Communication Skills Matter?

Formal communication , informal communication , 1. start with the basics: review grammar and spelling, 2. ensure clarity, conciseness, and coherency (3 cs of communication), 3. structure your messages effectively, 4. have a diverse vocabulary and tone in written communication, 5. read frequently: tips on improving comprehension skills, 6. write effectively: practice makes perfect, 7. seek constructive criticism and feedback: a tool for growth, 8. proofread for successful written communication, 9. use writing tools and software like clickup, 1. overcoming common obstacles, 2. understanding your audience , 3. contextualizing written communication , examples of effective written communication at work, enhance written communication with clickup .

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Consider this scenario: Michael is an excellent employee who exhibits exemplary performance. He has an extraordinary ability to research the market and dig up information that no one else can. His industry experience and research skills make him a valuable asset to the company. 

However, when he translates his findings into a report, it often leads to confusion. The information is rarely structured, there are grammatical errors, and coherency is absent. 

Why does this happen? Because his written communication isn’t his forte. 

Here’s how strong written communication skills can help Michael: 

  • Demonstrate leadership skills : An ability to articulate ideas and solutions in an easy-to-understand manner that highlights the capability to lead a team 
  • Enhance operational efficiency : It minimizes chances of misunderstandings and errors, thereby streamlining and speeding up processes 
  • Better professional relationships : Builds trust and satisfaction within teams and with external stakeholders 
  • Facilitate collective growth : Drives overall growth and success within an organization through effective communication and enhanced mutual relationships 

Let’s look at the different kinds of written communication that can help employees like Michael convey their findings better and make a greater impact through their work. 

Types of Written Communication

Anything you give in writing to another person constitutes written communication. 

It can be either formal or informal communication and can have different scopes. 

Decisions, proposals, and agreements are all a part of formal communication that supports professional interaction. Formal written communication includes: 

  • Emails : As per the latest email statistics, 300.4 billion work emails are sent and received daily . Internal communication between colleagues, teams, and departments, as well as external correspondence with clients, vendors, and stakeholders, occur via email
  • Memos and notices : These are a part of internal communication that address concerns such as meeting announcements and policy changes 
  • Reports : Business reports are comprehensive documents that are used to present data, financial outcomes, individual or team performance, project progress, and outcomes 
  • Proposals : Business proposals, project proposals, and documentation are an integral source of sharing ideas with existing and potential clients

There’s no need to always draft an email or make a report. Sometimes, you only need to exchange simple messages, especially for hybrid workspace communication . Such types of informal written communication include: 

  • Text messages : Less formal interaction between colleagues takes place through instant text messages to get faster responses 
  • Internal newsletters : In addition to the newsletters sent to external subscribers, companies sometimes circulate internal newsletters with casual updates and announcements about company events or operations

So, how can you improve your writing at work? Read on to find out!

How to Improve Written Communication at Work

Mastering written communication is not so tedious if you have the right guidelines. We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you cover all bases and understand the impact of written communication. 

The most basic requirement for clear and easy-to-follow communication is grammatical correctness.

A sentence like the following can cause confusion:

John is preparing the presentation last week.

It isn’t clear if the presentation was prepared last week and is complete or if it is currently being prepared. 

Similarly, one wrong spelling is enough to change the sentence’s meaning entirely. Take, for example, 

Please ensure all personal files are updated by Friday vs. Please ensure all personnel files are updated by Friday . 

While personal files here can refer to personal documentation, the word personnel refers to files regarding people employed in an organization. 

Tools such as Grammarly help you correct grammar and spelling mistakes. You can use ClickUp’s Grammarly integration to communicate coherently and without errors on the platform. It’ll not only help you in flawless communication but also streamline collaboration. 

Effective communication stands on 3Cs of communication: 

  • Clear : Ensures the messages are understood without any confusion, misinterpretation, or doubts
  • Concise : Eliminates unnecessary verbosity to ensure the message is to the point 
  • Consistent : Establishes a reliable communication flow for smooth and effective interactions 

You should aim to write every message based on these communication pillars, from a brief email to a lengthy project report. 

This will ensure that your written word grabs attention, helps decision-making, respects the receiver’s time spent on reading the report, and prevents misinterpretation. 

Your message might be crisp in grammar, spelling, and conciseness, but it can still be ineffective. 

How? The flow of the message may not be on point. 

Every form of written communication, like every story, has a dedicated structure—a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

Organized information provides a logical flow that helps the reader make sense of it faster.

Depending on the subject of your communication, you can choose to present your information and opinions using an approach based on cause/effect, problem/solution, chronological order, and other factors. 

A diverse vocabulary helps you pick the most suitable word to describe something. This not only makes business writing more understandable but also more concise. You can say things in fewer words and more impactfully. 

Using the right tone can make all the difference between winning a coveted client and ruining a business relationship forever. A harmonious, polite, and considerate tone creates a positive impression and also ensures your communication stays true to your organizational values. 

Let’s understand the importance of the right vocabulary and tone through an example. 


  • Strong vocabulary: Imagine an email to a client about a project delay. Instead of saying, “The project is indefinitely delayed,” you could use, “We’re facing an unforeseen obstacle that has impacted project timelines.” This conveys the seriousness without negativity and allows for a more professional explanation
  • Weak vocabulary: Using generic terms like “stuff” or “thing” can make your writing unclear. For example, instead of saying “We need to move some stuff around,” be specific: “We need to relocate some essential equipment.”

Similarly, jargon can also be an issue. Using overly technical terms with a client who may not understand them just creates confusion

  • Positive tone: In a performance review, highlighting an employee’s “areas for development” with suggestions for improvement sounds more encouraging than simply saying they’re “underperforming”
  • Negative tone: An aggressive tone in a negotiation email, such as ” We need a decision now,” might backfire. A more collaborative approach, like “let’s discuss the next steps to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” fosters a better working relationship

By using a strong vocabulary and maintaining a professional tone, written communication becomes clear, concise, and impactful, ultimately leading to better working relationships and stronger business outcomes.

An exceptional way to cultivate better writing skills is to read more. It naturally enhances your writing ability by exposing you to different writing styles, perspectives, vocabulary, and argumentation. 

Here are a few tips to improve your comprehension skills: 

  • Take notes and summarize the key points from your reading material to elaborate on in your writing
  • Break the information into smart parts to present it in a more comprehensive manner 
  • Create a question-and-answer scenario in your head and include answers to all the questions you think can arise in the mind of the reader 

There’s no better teacher than practice—the more you practice, the faster you’ll reach perfection. If every time you write something that comes back with an ‘I am not sure if I understand’ mail, there’s something to learn.

You can comprehend from your mistakes and from how other people communicate, too. For example, note a well-structured and drafted email whenever you see it. Try emulating the approach.

Consequently, regularly engaging with quality written communication will enhance your vocabulary, grammar, presentation, and writing style.

Here are some top book recommendations from our team to enhance your business writing skills:

  • Everybody Writes by Ann Handley : Covers a wide range of topics, including writing clear and concise emails, crafting compelling blog posts, and creating effective social media content
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White: Offers clear and concise advice on grammar, punctuation, and style
  • HBR Guide to Better Business Writing by Bryan A. Garner: Provides practical advice on writing clear, concise, and persuasive business documents. Garner offers tips on how to structure your writing, use strong verbs, and avoid jargon

Feedback provides insight into areas for improvement, helping individuals refine their clarity, coherence, and impact. 

For example, you can seek feedback from someone who had trouble comprehending your email or misinterpreted it altogether. Figuring out what caused confusion where can help you avoid such instances in the future. 

By receiving feedback and acting on it, you can strengthen your communication with your team and build trust. 

It contributes to personal development and a more productive work environment, where clear and effective communication is pivotal in achieving organizational goals.

Sometimes, a mistake isn’t made because of wrong spellings or grammar but due to an oversight. It’s best to identify these little mistakes on your own before someone else points them out to you. 

How can you do that? By proofreading your written pieces. 

Proofreading helps you identify errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting, which can significantly impact how your message is perceived.

Another benefit of proofreading is that it lets you step into the reader’s shoes once and verify whether the message makes sense. 

As a result, it’s always recommended to read what you’ve written before you hit send.

What if you had a writing assistant who could manage all your written communication, draft emails from scratch, fix errors, and ensure effective communication?

Smart email writing tools make this dream a reality, suggesting powerful grammatical fixes and strong sentence structures. Further, with the help of artificial intelligence, it’s possible to create a complete written proposal, email, or message automatically from scratch. 

You no longer have to spend hours finalizing a business document before sending it. AI caters to all your writing requirements, whether you need an out-of-office message example or a business proposal. 

ClickUp, an all-in-one project management software and workplace communication tool, makes this possible via its AI copilot, ClickUp Brain . Its AI Writer for Work helps manage all your communications and perfects your writing at work through its built-in spell checker and writing enhancement qualities. 

Whether you have to reply to an email, convert a pile of raw data to intelligible tables, draft answers to FAQs through a help authoring tool , or whip up project summaries and reports instantly, it does the job for you. All you have to do is write a prompt describing what you want in detail to get a well-written response in the blink of an eye. 

Excited already? The best is yet to come! You can also create transcripts from verbal communication and quickly reply to meeting questions with this workplace communication tool . 

Do you need to send out any emails or reports frequently? ClickUp Brain helps you create a communication plan template and even memo templates instantly to save time and maintain consistency. 

ClickUp also brings you closer to your colleagues and team members through its chat feature . No more juggling between different platforms to coordinate and stay connected for everyday tasks, feedback sessions , or client communications. 

ClickUp’s Chat View brings everything under one roof, simplifying communication and overall task management manifold. 

ClickUp Chat View 

With ClickUp’s Chat View, you can: 

  • Assign action items and enhance team coordination with real-time chat channels 
  • Facilitate quick access to key information by sharing project links and embedding attachments 
  • Ensure visual clarity of written communication by formatting messages with code blocks, bullets, and banners
  • Connect one-on-one with colleagues and clients through direct messages when required
  • Stay in the loop by tuning into org-wide channels for live updates and general announcements

ClickUp can make written communication much easier. However, to avoid inconsistencies, you should still be mindful of everyday communication barriers. 

Challenges in Written Communication

Several barriers obstruct effective written communication, ranging from ensuring clarity and conciseness to managing tone and context. They make communication confusing, ineffective, or even redundant. 

Let’s look at the communication challenges in the workspace and share ways to help you overcome them. 

The three main obstacles in written communication are ambiguity, redundancy, and jargon . Not providing enough context can make your communication ambiguous, not knowing the aim and objectives of the communication can make it redundant, and not writing clearly and easily can expose you to excessive jargon.

Solution : Use clear, straightforward language, defining necessary terms and eliminating unnecessary words.

Different stakeholders have varied expectations, preferences, and levels of understanding. Not considering your intended audience’s unique traits and characteristics while writing is the biggest mistake you can commit, leading to misunderstandings, confusion, or disengagement.

Solution : Tailor your communication and key message to suit your audience’s knowledge level, interest, and communication objective for clarity and engagement.

A lack of context often leads to confusion. Even if you include all the information, the team still fails to act on it because of a contextualizing failure. All effort goes to waste if you don’t clarify the purpose of your communication. 

Solution : Ensure clear and purposeful contextualization of written communication to avoid confusion and facilitate effective action.

Example scenario: You are a marketing manager and need the design team to create social media graphics for an upcoming product launch.

Without context:

Subject: Social Media Graphics Needed

We need social media graphics for the upcoming product launch. Please let me know if you have any questions.

With context:

Subject: Social Media Graphics Needed for [Product Name] Launch

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new product, [Product Name], on [Launch Date]!

To generate buzz and excitement, we need eye-catching social media graphics to use across our platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Here are some key details to consider when designing the graphics:

  • Target audience: [Target audience description]
  • Brand voice and tone: [Description of brand voice and tone]
  • Key messaging: [Key messages you want to convey]
  • Launch date: [Launch Date]

Please let me know if you have any questions or need further clarification.

Now that we know what constitutes effective written communication and how to achieve it,  let’s explore three common workplace communication scenarios and how to approach them effectively:

1. Project proposals

A well-written project proposal acts as a roadmap, detailing the project’s purpose, goals, and execution plan. It typically includes:

  • Introduction: Briefly explain the project concept and its significance
  • Objectives: Clearly outline the desired outcomes
  • Scope: Defines the project boundaries and deliverables
  • Methodology: Explains the approach to achieving the objectives
  • Resources: Identifies the people, tools, and budget required
  • Benefits: Highlights the positive impact of the project on the organization
  • Risk assessment: Acknowledges potential challenges and mitigation plans
  • Conclusion: Summarizes the proposal and reiterates the value proposition

By providing a comprehensive overview, a project proposal gains stakeholder buy-in and sets the stage for a successful project.

2. Follow-up emails

Effective follow-up emails ensure everyone is on the same page after meetings or discussions. A well-structured email should include:

  • Clear subject line: Identifies the email’s purpose (e.g., “Follow-up on Team Meeting – Action Items”)
  • Meeting recap: Briefly summarize the key points discussed
  • Action items: List specific tasks with assigned owners and deadlines
  • Next steps: Outline the plan for moving forward
  • Call to action: Encourages recipients to confirm receipt and raise any questions

Clear follow-up emails promote accountability, keep projects on track, and improve overall team productivity.

Here’s an example of a well-written follow-up email: 

Subject: Follow-up on Action Items from Team Meeting

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to follow up on our recent team meeting held on [date]. Below are the key action items and their respective deadlines:

Action Item 1: Research Market Trends

Assigned to: [Team Member Name]

Deadline: [Specific Date]

Action Item 2: Update Project Timeline

Please confirm receipt of this email and let me know if any challenges or adjustments are needed regarding these tasks. Our next team meeting is scheduled for [date] to review progress and discuss any updates.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. Let’s work together to ensure we meet our goals efficiently.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Contact Information]

3. Progress reports

Regular progress reports keep stakeholders informed and demonstrate project advancement. A well-written report typically includes:

  • Executive summary: Concisely highlights key achievements and any encountered roadblocks
  • Project tasks: Details of completed tasks and upcoming milestones
  • Challenges: Identifies any issues impacting progress and proposed solutions
  • Next steps: Clearly outline the action plan for the next reporting period

Progress reports foster trust, identify areas for improvement, and ensure project success by providing a transparent overview of project progress.

By following these principles of clarity, purpose, and action, you can craft effective written communication that drives results in any work environment.

Effective written communication is the backbone of smooth collaboration, uninterrupted workflow, and healthy team relationships. You can improve your written communication by following this step-by-step guide and perfecting one component at a time. The more you read and write, the better your written communication skills will become. 

ClickUp’s written communication features, such as ClickUp Brain and Chat View, can simplify team collaboration and ensure error-free communication. With this external and internal communication software , you can perfect your existing message copy; write memos, reports, emails, and more from scratch; and create templates for the future, all in one place. 

Sign up for ClickUp to make written communication at your workplace faster, easier, and more effective. 

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Aspect of interpersonal communication that needs work, causes of lack of assertiveness, improving lack of assertiveness.

Human beings are structured to interact and this is through communication, verbal or otherwise. Hence, it is of utmost importance that we are able to communicate effectively with various people in different places and situations. However simple communication may seem to be, there are times that we do not get our point across to the other party for one reason or another.

The problem is mostly on us as the conveyors of the message and at all times, improvements need to be done to ensure clarity in communication. In this paper, I will tackle a personal barrier that hinders interpersonal communication (IPC), how it affects communication and how best to improve.

Interpersonal communication has been defined as the process in which we share out our “ideas, thoughts and feelings to another person” (Foundation n.d., p.1). However, this process encounters obstacles along the way and the sources vary, one of them being the communicator.

A personal area that needs to be improved is the lack of assertiveness which is a big hindrance in communication. Assertiveness is one of the four styles of communication, the other three being; passive, aggressive and passive-aggressive communication (Kardol n.d.). Assertiveness can be defined as “standing up for rights and expressing feelings in an honest, open and direct way which do not violate another person’s rights” (Grey Owl, 2004, p.1).

Lack of assertiveness would therefore mean: the presence of the belief that as an individual, “I do not have the right to ask for what I want”; fearing getting a negative feedback from the recipients of the message; a defensive approach in communication while guarding oneself from those who might take advantage; and finally inadequate skills (Kardol, n.d. p.2).

What causes a lack of assertiveness? There are many contributors to this i.e. self-esteem, incompetence or self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-esteem is the “evaluation and judgment or how we feel about ourselves” (Edwards, 2007, p.4). If it is low, then chances are there will be tendencies to avoid speaking in public. If it high on the other hand, our communication will be effective (Grey Owl 2004). Self-esteem also influences our self-image and will determine how the listeners receive our message (Edwards 2007). Low self-esteem is also likely to get negative feedback from the listeners.

Self-fulfilling prophecy on the other hand is the way in which “we predict, or prophesize something to be true” (Edwards, 2007, p.4). This can either have a positive or negative impact especially with the outcome we expect. For instance if I truly believe I will fall on the stage when delivering a speech, chances are that it will happen and it will be because the idea will have been deeply synthesized in my mind to the point of becoming a reality.

Another hurdle to assertiveness is incompetency. If we do not feel confident enough to fulfill the role assigned to us due to lack of knowledge, then chances are we look down ourselves and feel ‘we do not have the right to ask’ since we do not even know our duty in the first place. A person who is knowledgeable on the other hand is able to accomplish their tasks confidently (Foundation n.d.).

How then can lack of assertiveness be improved to ensure effective communication in the long run? Engaging in self-talk, visualization, seeking to become knowledgeable; are some ways to improving assertiveness. Self-talk for instance is a way of counteracting low self-esteem. Becoming knowledgeable will involve initially getting acquainted with the “communication process and fully understanding it in order to know how to deliver messages correctly (Foundation n.d., p.2). Being knowledgeable gives confidence (Foundation n.d.).

In the article by Grey Owl (2004), being assertive involves knowing one’s right and it is on this premise that improvement should be made. These rights include: “rights to have and express your own feeling and ideas, rights to be listened to and taken seriously, right to ask for what you want, right to get some of your own needs met, rights to be treated with respect, right to say ‘no’…and not feel guilty, right to ask for information from others” (Grey Owl, 2004, p.2). With a full knowledge of these rights, then one is on the pathway of assertiveness.

Visualization is the other way in which self-esteem can be improved and consequently achieving assertiveness in the process. It involves foreseeing positive results instead of negative ones. Alternatively, one can use a positive self-fulfilling prophecy in order to obtain good results.

Assertiveness is of great importance since it “helps individuals to be clear on what they want and to act in a positive, honest, direct and self-enhancing way without diminishing self” (Grey Owl, 2004, p.2). It also puts emphasizes on both sides of the story i.e. both parties can air their opinions and views without infringing anyone’s rights (Grey Owl 2004).

Effective interpersonal communication will be best achieved by identification of the barrier. In this case lack of assertiveness. Once this is done, then solutions to improving assertiveness will not only improve the communication but will ensure the right results are achieved.

Edwards, C. (2007). Theories and Principles of Interpersonal Communication. Web.

Foundation. (n.d.). Effective Interpersonal/ Intrateam Communication . Web.

Grey, O. (2004). Lack of Assertiveness . Web.

Kardol, C. (n.d.). Communication Skills . Web.

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IvyPanda. (2019, March 21). Improving Communication Skills.

"Improving Communication Skills." IvyPanda , 21 Mar. 2019,

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Important Communication Skills and How to Improve Them

Communication skills in the workplace include a mix of verbal and non-verbal abilities. Learn more about the importance of communication skills and how you can improve yours.

[Featured image] Woman giving a presentation in front of whiteboard

Communication involves conveying and receiving information through a range of verbal and non-verbal means. When you deliver a presentation at work, brainstorm with your coworkers, address a problem with your boss, or confirm details with a client about their project, you use communication skills. They're an essential part of developing positive professional relationships.

While it might seem like communication is mostly talking and listening, there’s more to it than that. Everything from your facial expression to your tone of voice feeds into communication. In this article, we'll go over what communication skills at work look like and discuss ways you can improve your skills to become a more effective communicator. 

4 types of communication

Your communication skills will fall under four categories of communication. Let's take a closer look at each area. 

1. Written communication

Writing is one of the more traditional aspects of communication. We often write as part of our job, communicating via email and messenger apps like Slack, as well as in more formal documents, like project reports and white papers.

Conveying information clearly, concisely, and with an accurate tone of voice are all important parts of written communication.

2. Verbal communication

Communicating verbally is how many of us share information in the workplace. This can be informal, such as chatting with coworkers about an upcoming deliverable, or more formal, such as meeting with your manager to discuss your performance.

Taking time to actively listen when someone else is talking is also an important part of verbal communication.

3. Non-verbal communication

The messages you communicate to others can also take place non-verbally—through your body language, eye contact, and overall demeanor. You can cultivate strong non-verbal communication by using appropriate facial expressions, nodding, and making good eye contact. Really, verbal communication and body language must be in sync to convey a message clearly.  

4. Visual communication

Lastly, visual communication means using images, graphs, charts, and other non-written means to share information. Often, visuals may accompany a piece of writing or stand alone. In either case, it's a good idea to make sure your visuals are clear and strengthen what you're sharing.  

Why are communication skills important?  

We use our communication skills in a variety of ways in our professional lives: in conversations, emails and written documents, presentations, and visuals like graphics or charts. Communication skills are essential, especially in the workplace, because they can:

Improve your relationships with your manager and coworkers

Build connections with customers 

Help you convey your point quickly and clearly

Enhance your professional image

Encourage active listening and open-mindedness

Help advance your career

 17 ways to improve your communications skills in the workplace

Communicating effectively in the workplace is a practiced skill. That means, there are steps you can take to strengthen your abilities. We've gathered 17 tips to provide actionable steps you can take to improve all areas of workplace communication. 

1. Put away distractions.

Improving your overall communication abilities means being fully present. Put away anything that can distract you, like your phone. It shows others that you’re respectfully listening and helps you respond thoughtfully to the conversation.  

2. Be respectful. 

Be aware of others' time and space when communicating with them. Thank them for their time, keep presentations to within their set time limits, and deliver written communications, like email, during reasonable hours.  

3. Be receptive to feedback.

As you’re working to improve your communication skills, ask your colleagues for feedback about areas you can further develop. Try incorporating their feedback into your next chat, brainstorming session, or video conference. 

4. Prioritize interpersonal skills. 

Improving interpersonal skills —or your ability to work with others—will feed into the way you communicate with your colleagues, managers, and more. Interpersonal skills have to do with teamwork, collaboration, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution, and often go hand-in-hand with communicating.  

Written and visual communication tips

Writing and imagery share a lot in common in that you're using external mediums to share information with an audience. Use the tips below to help improve both of these communication types.

5. Be concise and specific.

Staying on message is key. Use the acronym BRIEF (background, reason, information, end, follow-up) to help guide your written or visual communication. It's important to keep your message clear and concise so your audience understands your point, and doesn't get lost in unnecessary details.  

6. Tailor your message to your audience.

Your communication should change based on your audience, similar to how you personalize an email based on who you're addressing it to. In that way, your writing or visuals should reflect your intended audience. Think about what they need to know and the best way to present the information.

7. Tell a story.

When you can, include stories in your written or visual materials. A story helps keep your audience engaged and makes it easier for people to relate to and grasp the topic.

8. Simplify and stay on message.

Proofread and eliminate anything that strays from your message. One of the best ways to improve communication is to work on creating concise and clear conversations, emails, and presentations that are error-free.

Verbal communication tips

Remember that verbal communication goes beyond just what you say to someone else. Use the tips below to improve your speaking and listening abilities.

9. Prepare what you’re going to say.

If you’re presenting an idea or having a meaningful talk with your supervisor, take some time to prepare what you’ll say. By organizing your thoughts, your conversation should be clearer and lead to a more productive interaction. 

10. Get rid of conversation fillers.

To aid in your conversational improvement, work to eliminate fillers like “um,” and “ah.” Start listening for these fillers so you can use them less and convey more confidence when you speak. Often these phrases are used to fill the silence, which is a natural part of conversation, so try to embrace the silence rather than fill it. 

11. Record yourself communicating.

If you need to deliver a presentation, practice it in advance and record yourself. Review the recording and look for places to improve, such as catching the conversational fillers we mentioned above or making better eye contact with your audience.  

12. Ask questions and summarize the other person's main points.

Part of being an active listener is asking relevant questions and repeating pieces of the conversation to show that you understand a point. Listening makes communication a two-way street, and asking questions is a big part of that.  

13. Be ready for different answers.

Listen without judgment. That’s the goal of every conversation, but especially if you hear responses that are unexpected or different than you anticipate. Listen to the person openly, be mindful of your body language, and don’t interrupt. 

14. Make sure you understand.

Before ending a conversation, take a moment to ask a few follow-up questions and then recap the conversation. You can finish by repeating what you've heard them say and confirming that you understand the next actionable steps.

Non-verbal communication

Lastly, your body communicates a lot . Use the tips below to become more mindful about your body language and other important aspects of non-verbal communication.

15. Work on your body language.

Body language comes up in a range of scenarios. When you're listening, try to avoid slouching, nod to show you hear the person, and think about your facial expressions. If you're speaking, make eye contact and use natural hand gestures.  

16. Be aware of your emotions.

How you're feeling can arise non-verbally. During a conversation, meeting, or presentation, stay present with your emotions and reflect on whether your body language—and even the loudness of your voice—are conveying what you want them to.    

17. Use empathy.

Consider the feelings of others as you communicate with them. Part of having a meaningful conversation or developing a meaningful presentation is being aware of others—bein empathetic, in other words. If you try to put yourself in their shoes, you can better understand what they need and communicate more effectively.  

Read more: What Are Job Skills and Why Do They Matter?

Further enhance your communication skills with Improving Communication Skills , part of the Achieving Personal and Professional Success Specialization from the University of Pennsylvania, or the Dynamic Public Speaking Specialization from the University of Washington. 

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How does communication play a role in career development ‎.

One of the most essential workplace skills that a manager looks for when promoting from within is communication. Communication, coupled with problem-solving skills and time management, are the top three qualities hiring managers look for, according to TopResume [ 2 ].  ‎

How can you practice your communication skills?  ‎

Every conversation that you have can serve as practice. You can also ask to take on more communicative roles at work, like offering to lead a meeting or presenting the teams’ findings.  ‎

How does attitude play a role in communication? ‎

People listen and respond to coworkers or supervisors who have a fair, positive attitude. Try to stay upbeat, smile when you talk, and remove yourself from conversations that put others down.  ‎

Keep reading

Coursera staff.

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Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

how to improve written communication essay

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Heard all you need to hear? Jump in and give DeepL Write Pro a try now .

What is DeepL Write Pro?

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Write Pro is already available in English and German, with more languages on the horizon. Currently, Write Pro is available via our web browser, desktop and mobile apps, browser extensions, and many integrations, including:

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With Write Pro, your company can cut down on editing time, improve writing quality, and increase overall productivity. It’s time to make language your team’s competitive advantage.

What can Write Pro do for your business?

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Illustration showing Write Pro styles and tones with example

Thanks to various generative AI-powered word and sentence alternatives , Write Pro helps your teams adjust their writing so they can say exactly what they mean—and avoid frustrating and costly misunderstandings.

With real-time corrections for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, Write Pro makes your team’s writing clearer and more precise. This, in turn, ensures consistency and polish across your organization’s internal and external content. 

Your team can also fine-tune their writing by choosing from our writing styles , which currently include:

And tones :

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Illustration showing Write Pro integrations with web, apps, and extensions

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And with Write Pro’s integration with major applications, including Gmail, Microsoft Word, and the Google Suite, it’s easier than ever for your teams to improve their writing wherever they work.

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Illustration of Write Pro security with data protection badges

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Write Pro includes:

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how to improve written communication essay

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Key stage 2 tests: 2024 scaled scores

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2024 key stage 2 scaled score conversion tables

You can use these tables to convert raw scores to scaled scores for the 2024 key stage 2 (KS2) national curriculum tests.

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  • Open access
  • Published: 09 July 2024

Exploring the potential of artificial intelligence to enhance the writing of english academic papers by non-native english-speaking medical students - the educational application of ChatGPT

  • Jiakun Li 1   na1 ,
  • Hui Zong 1   na1 ,
  • Erman Wu 1 , 4   na1 ,
  • Rongrong Wu 1 ,
  • Zhufeng Peng 1 ,
  • Jing Zhao 1 ,
  • Lu Yang 1 ,
  • Hong Xie 2 &
  • Bairong Shen 1 , 3  

BMC Medical Education volume  24 , Article number:  736 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

Metrics details

Academic paper writing holds significant importance in the education of medical students, and poses a clear challenge for those whose first language is not English. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of employing large language models, particularly ChatGPT, in improving the English academic writing skills of these students.

A cohort of 25 third-year medical students from China was recruited. The study consisted of two stages. Firstly, the students were asked to write a mini paper. Secondly, the students were asked to revise the mini paper using ChatGPT within two weeks. The evaluation of the mini papers focused on three key dimensions, including structure, logic, and language. The evaluation method incorporated both manual scoring and AI scoring utilizing the ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 models. Additionally, we employed a questionnaire to gather feedback on students’ experience in using ChatGPT.

After implementing ChatGPT for writing assistance, there was a notable increase in manual scoring by 4.23 points. Similarly, AI scoring based on the ChatGPT-3.5 model showed an increase of 4.82 points, while the ChatGPT-4 model showed an increase of 3.84 points. These results highlight the potential of large language models in supporting academic writing. Statistical analysis revealed no significant difference between manual scoring and ChatGPT-4 scoring, indicating the potential of ChatGPT-4 to assist teachers in the grading process. Feedback from the questionnaire indicated a generally positive response from students, with 92% acknowledging an improvement in the quality of their writing, 84% noting advancements in their language skills, and 76% recognizing the contribution of ChatGPT in supporting academic research.

The study highlighted the efficacy of large language models like ChatGPT in augmenting the English academic writing proficiency of non-native speakers in medical education. Furthermore, it illustrated the potential of these models to make a contribution to the educational evaluation process, particularly in environments where English is not the primary language.

Peer Review reports


Large language models (LLMs) are artificial intelligence (AI) tools that have remarkable ability to understand and generate text [ 1 , 2 ]. Trained with substantial amounts of textual data, LLMs have demonstrated their capability to perform diverse tasks, such as question answering, machine translation, and writing [ 3 , 4 ]. In 2022, Open AI released a LLM called ChatGPT [ 5 ]. Since its inception, ChatGPT has been widely applied in medicine domain, especially after testing, it can demonstrate the medical level that meets the requirements of passing the United States Medical Licensing Exam [ 6 ]. It can provide personalized learning experience according to the preference style of medical students [ 7 ]. Research has shown that the explanations provided by ChatGPT are more accurate and comprehensive than the explanations of basic principles provided in some standardized higher education exams [ 8 ]. Therefore, many researchers believe that ChatGPT may improve students’ problem-solving ability and reflective learning [ 9 ].

Writing English language based academic papers is very important for the development of medical students in universities. China is a non-native English-speaking country with a large population of medical students, so it is necessary to provide medical education and offer relevant courses, especially to cultivate their ability to write English academic papers [ 10 ]. This is essential for future engagement in scientific research and clinical work within the field of medicine. However, the ability of these non-native English-speaking medical students in writing English papers is relatively limited, and they need continuous training and improvement [ 11 ].

LLMs can be used to generate and modify text content and language styles, and can be applied to the quality improvement of scientific papers [ 12 , 13 ]. ChatGPT exhibits considerable potential in medical paper writing, assist in literature retrieval, data analysis, knowledge synthesis and other aspects [ 14 ]. Students received AI-assisted instruction exhibited improved proficiency in multiple aspects of writing, organization, coherence, grammar, and vocabulary [ 15 ]. Additionally, AI mediated instruction can positively impacts English learning achievement and self-regulated learning [ 16 ]. LLMs can also perform language translation [ 13 , 17 ]. Moreover, it can automatically evaluate and score the level of medical writing, and provide modification suggestions for improvement [ 18 ]. These studies indicate that incorporating large language models like ChatGPT into medical education holds promise for various advantages. However, their usage must be accompanied by careful and critical evaluation [ 19 ]. As far as we know, there is currently no research to evaluate the usability and effectiveness of ChatGPT in medical mini paper writing courses through real classroom teaching scenarios.

Therefore, in this study, we introduce the ChatGPT into real-world medical courses to investigate the effectiveness of employing LLMs in improving the academic writing proficiency for non-native English-speaking medical students. By collecting and analyzing data, we aim to provide evidence of the effectiveness of employing a LLM in improving the English academic writing skills of medical students, thereby facilitating better medical education and improve the scientific research ability and writing skills for students.


The research included 27 third-year medical students from the West China School of Medicine at Sichuan University. These students are all non-native English speakers. These students had concluded their fundamental medical coursework but had not yet embarked on specialized subjects. Exclusion criteria were applied to those who failed to fulfill the requisite homework assignments.

Initial Stage: The task involved composing an English academic paper in accordance with the stipulations of English thesis education. Considering the students’ junior academic standing, the composition of a discussion section in paper was not mandated. Each student was tasked with authoring a concise, “mini paper.”

Experimental Phase: Upon the completion of their individual “mini papers,” students had initially submitted these under the label “group without ChatGPT.” Subsequently, they engaged with ChatGPT-3.5 for a period of two weeks to refine their English academic manuscripts. After this period, the revised mini papers were resubmitted under the designation “group with ChatGPT.” Alongside this resubmission, students also provided a questionnaire regarding their experience with ChatGPT. The questionnaire was administered in Mandarin, which is the commonly used language in the research context. We conducted a thorough discussion within our teaching and research group to develop the questionnaire. Two students, who failed to meet the stipulated submission deadline, were excluded from the study.

All mini papers underwent evaluation and scoring based on a standardized scoring criterion. The assessment process encompassed three distinct approaches. Firstly, two teachers independently scored each mini paper using a blind review technique, and the final score was determined by averaging the two assessments. Secondly, scoring was performed using ChatGPT-3.5. Lastly, scoring was conducted using ChatGPT-4.

Evaluation Criteria: The scoring was composed of three dimensions: structure, logic, and language, with each dimension carrying a maximum of 20 points, culminating in a total of 60 points. The scores for each section were categorized into four tiers: 0–5 points (Fail), 6–10 points (Below Average), 11–15 points (Good), and 16–20 points (Excellent). The minimum unit for deduction was 0.5 points.

Structure emphasizes the organization and arrangement of the paper. It ensures that the content is placed in the appropriate sections according to the guidelines commonly found in academic journals. Logic refers to the coherence and progression of ideas within the paper. The logical flow should be evident, with each section building upon the previous ones to provide a cohesive argument. A strong logical framework ensures a systematic and well-supported study. Language refers to the correctness and proficiency of English writing. Proper language expression is essential for effectively conveying ideas and ensuring clear communication, and makes the paper becomes more readable and comprehensible to the intended audience.

Experience questionnaire for ChatGPT: The questionnaire comprised 31 questions, detailed in the attached appendix. (Attachment document)

Data analysis

The Kruskal-Wallis rank sum test was utilized to assess the baseline scores of students before and after using ChatGPT. A paired t-test was utilized to analyze the impact of ChatGPT on the improvement of students’ assignment quality (manual grading). Univariate regression analysis was conducted to investigate the extent of improvement in assignment quality attributed to ChatGPT. Previous studies have shown discrepancies in language learning and language-related skills between males and females. In order to mitigate any potential biases, we implemented gender correction techniques, which encompassed statistical adjustments to accommodate these gender variations [ 20 , 21 , 22 ]. The questionnaire was distributed and collected using the Wenjuanxing platform (Changsha Ran Xing Science and Technology, Shanghai, China. [ ]).

Statistical analyses were performed using the R software package (version 4.2.0, The R Foundation, Boston, MA, USA), Graph Pad Prism 9 (GraphPad Software, CA, USA), and Empower (X&Y Solutions Inc., Boston, MA, USA) [ 23 ].

Manual scoring

Ultimately, the study included 25 participants, with two students being excluded due to late submission of their assignments. These participants were all third-year undergraduate students, including 14 males (56%) and 11 females (44%). The “group without ChatGPT” consisted of 25 participants who wrote mini papers with an average word count of 1410.56 ± 265.32, cited an average of 16.44 ± 8.31 references, and received a manual score of 46.45 ± 3.59. In contrast, the “group with ChatGPT” of 25 participants produced mini papers with an average word count of 1406.52 ± 349.59, cited 16.80 ± 8.10 references on average, and achieved a manual score of 50.68 ± 2.03. Further details are available in Table  1 .

In terms of manual scoring, medical students demonstrated a significant improvement in the quality of their assignments in the dimensions of logic, structure, language, and overall score after using ChatGPT, as depicted in Fig.  1 .

figure 1

Using ChatGPT improved the quality of students’ academic papers. A statistical analysis of the manual scoring showed that the quality of students’ academic papers improved after using ChatGPT for revision in terms of structure, logic, language, and overall score. The results showed statistical significance. *** p  < 0.001, **** p  < 0.0001

We also conducted a univariate analysis on the impact of ChatGPT on medical students’ academic papers writing across all scoring methods. The results indicated significant improvement in all manual scores and those evaluated by ChatGPT-3.5 for paper structure, logic, language, and total score (all p  < 0.05). Papers assessed by ChatGPT-4 also showed significant improvements in structure, logic, and total score (all p  < 0.05). Although the language scores of papers evaluated by ChatGPT-4 did not show a significant difference, a trend of improvement was observed (β 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.15, 2.19, p  = 0.1). After adjusting for gender, multivariate regression analysis yielded similar results, with significant improvements in all dimensions of scoring across all methods, except for the language scores evaluated by ChatGPT-4. The total manual scoring of students’ papers improved by 4.23 (95% CI 2.64, 5.82) after revisions with ChatGPT, ChatGPT-3.5 scores increased by 4.82 (95% CI 2.47, 7.17), and ChatGPT-4 scores by 3.84 (95% CI 0.83, 6.85). Further details are presented in Table  2 .

The potential of ChatGPT in scoring support

Additionally, we investigated whether ChatGPT could assist teachers in assignment assessment. The results showed significant differences between the scores given by the ChatGPT-3.5 and manual grading, both for groups with and without ChatGPT. Interestingly, the scores from ChatGPT-4 were not significantly different from human grading, which suggests that ChatGPT-4 may have the potential to assist teachers in reviewing and grading student assignments (Fig.  2 ).

figure 2

Potential of ChatGPT assisting teachers in evaluating papers. The results showed that there was a significant statistical difference between the scoring results of the GPT3.5 and the manual scoring results, both for the unrevised mini papers (left) and the revised mini papers (right) using ChatGPT. However, there was no significant statistical difference between the scoring results of GPT4 and the manual scoring results, which mean that GPT4 might be able to replace teachers in scoring in the future. ns: no significance, *** p  < 0.001, **** p  < 0.0001

Experience questionnaire

Among the 25 valid questionnaires, social media emerged as the primary channel through which participants became aware of ChatGPT, accounting for 84% of responses. This was followed by recommendations from acquaintances and requirements from schools/offices, each selected by 48% of participants. News media accounted for 44%. (Attachment document)

Regarding the purpose of using ChatGPT (multiple responses allowed), 92% used it mainly to enhance homework quality and improve writing efficiency. 68% utilized ChatGPT for knowledge gathering. 56% employed ChatGPT primarily to improve their language skills. (Attachment document)

In the course of the study, the most widely used feature of ChatGPT in assisting with academic paper writing was English polishing, chosen by 100% of the students, indicating its widespread use for improving the language quality of their papers. Generating outlines and format editing were also popular choices, with 64% and 60% using these features, respectively. (Attachment document)

When asked what they would use ChatGPT for, 92% of participants considered it as a language learning tool for real-time translation and grammar correction. 84% viewed ChatGPT as a tool for assisting in paper writing, providing literature materials and writing suggestions. 76% saw ChatGPT as a valuable tool for academic research and literature review. 48% believed that ChatGPT could serve as a virtual tutor, providing personalized learning advice and guidance. (Attachment document)

Regarding attitudes towards the role of ChatGPT in medical education, 24% of participants had an optimistic view, actively embracing its role, while 52% had a generally positive attitude, and 24% held a neutral stance. This indicates that most participants viewed the role of ChatGPT in medical education positively, with only a minority being pessimistic. (Attachment document)

Among the participants, when asked about the limitations of ChatGPT in medical education, 96% acknowledged the challenge in verifying the authenticity of information; 72% noted a lack of human-like creative thinking; 52% pointed out the absence of clinical practice insights; and 40% identified language and cultural differences as potential issues. (Attachment document)

The results from the participants’ two-week unrestricted usage of the AI model ChatGPT to enhance their assignments indicated a noticeable improvement in the quality of student papers. This suggests that large language models could serve as assistive tools in medical education by potentially improving the English writing skills of medical students. Furthermore, the results of comparative analysis revealed that the ChatGPT-4 model’s evaluations showed no statistical difference from teacher’s manual grading. Therefore, AI might have prospective applications in certain aspects of teaching, such as grading assessments, providing significant assistance to manual efforts.

The results of questionnaire indicate ChatGPT can serve as an important educational tool, beneficial in a range of teaching contexts, including online classroom Q&A assistant, virtual tutor and facilitating language learning [ 24 ]. ChatGPT’s expansive knowledge base and advanced natural language processing capability enable it to effectively answer students’ inquiries and offer valuable literature resources and writing advice [ 25 ]. For language learning, it offers real-time translation and grammar correction, aiding learners in improving their language skills through evaluation and feedback [ 26 ]. ChatGPT can also deliver personalized educational guidance based on individual student needs, enhancing adaptive learning strategies [ 27 ]. Furthermore, in this study, the positive feedback of questionnaire for the usage of ChatGPT in English language polishing of academic papers, as well as for generating paper outlines and formatting, underscores its acceptance and recognition among students. The evaluation results of three dimensions reflects a keen focus on enhancing the structural and formatting quality of their papers, demonstrating the large AI language model’s impressive teaching efficacy in undergraduate education.

In the questionnaire assessing ChatGPT’s accuracy and quality, 48% of respondents indicated satisfaction with its performance. However, it’s important to consider that the quality and accuracy of responses from any AI model, including ChatGPT, can be influenced by various factors such as the source of data, model design, and training data quality. These results, while indicative, require deeper research and analysis to fully understand the capabilities and limitations of ChatGPT in this field. Furthermore, ongoing discussions about ethics and data security in AI applications highlight the need for continued vigilance and improvement [ 28 ]. Overall, while ChatGPT shows promise in medical education, it is clear that it has limitations that must be addressed to better serve the needs of this specialized field.

Manual grading can be a time-consuming task for teachers, particularly when dealing with a large number of assignments or exams. ChatGPT-4 may provide support to teachers in the grading process, which could free up their time, allowing them to focus on other aspects of teaching, such as providing personalized feedback or engaging with students. However, it may not replace the role of teachers in grading. Teachers possess valuable expertise and contextual knowledge that go beyond simple evaluation of assignments. They consider factors such as student effort, creativity, critical thinking, and the ability to convey ideas effectively. These aspects might be challenging for an AI model to fully capture and evaluate. Furthermore, the use of AI in grading raises important ethical considerations. It is crucial to ensure that the model’s grading criteria align with educational standards and are fair and unbiased.

Despite its potential benefits of using ChatGPT in medical education, it also has limitations, such as language barriers and cultural differences [ 29 , 30 ]. When inputted with different languages, ChatGPT may have difficulty in understanding and generating accurate responses. Medical terms and concepts vary across different languages, and even slight differences in translation can lead to misunderstandings. Medical education is also influenced by cultural factors. Different cultures have different communication styles, which can impact the way medical information is exchanged. Recognizing and respecting the diversity of cultural perspectives is crucial for providing patient-centered care, and it should be an important part in medical education, which ChatGPT does not excel at. The model may struggle with translating non-English languages, impacting its effectiveness in a global medical education context. Additionally, while ChatGPT can generate a vast amount of text, it lacks the creative thinking and contextual understanding inherent to human cognition, which can be crucial in medical education. Another concern is the authenticity and credibility of the information generated by ChatGPT [ 31 , 32 ]. In medical education, where accuracy and reliability of knowledge are paramount, the inability to guarantee the truthfulness of the information poses a significant challenge [ 32 , 33 , 34 ].

These limitations of ChatGPT in medical education may be addressed and potentially rectified with updates and advancements in AI models. For instance, in this study, the scoring results showed no statistical difference between the ChatGPT-4 model and manual grading, unlike the significant discrepancies observed with the ChatGPT-3.5 model. This suggests that ChatGPT-4 has improved capabilities to assist manual grading by teachers, demonstrating greater intelligence and human-like understanding compared to the ChatGPT-3.5 model. Similar findings have been noted in other research, highlighting the advancements from version 3.5 to 4. For example, there were clear evidences that version 4 achieved better test results than version 3.5 in professional knowledge exams in disciplines such as orthopedics [ 35 ], dermatology [ 36 ], and ophthalmology [ 37 ].

This study aimed to explore the use of ChatGPT in enhancing English writing skills among non-native English-speaking medical students. The results showed that the quality of students’ writing improved significantly after using ChatGPT, highlighting the potential of large language models in supporting academic writing by enhancing structure, logic, and language skills. Statistical analysis indicated that ChatGPT-4 has the potential to assist teachers in grading. As a pilot study in this field, it may pave the way for further research on the application of AI in medical education. This new approach of incorporating AI into English paper writing education for medical students represents an innovative research perspective. This study not only aligns with the evolving landscape of technology-enhanced learning but also addresses specific needs in medical education, particularly in the context of academic writing. In the future, AI models should be more rationally utilized to further enhance medical education and improve medical students’ research writing skills.

Data availability

The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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The authors gratefully thank Dr. Changzhong Chen, Chi Chen, and Xin-Lin Chen (EmpowerStats X&Y Solutions, Inc., Boston, MA) for providing statistical methodology consultation.

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32070671 and 32270690), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2023SCU12057). The authors gratefully thank Dr. Changzhong Chen, Chi Chen, and Xin-Lin Chen (EmpowerStats X&Y Solutions, Inc., Boston, MA) for providing statistical methodology consultation.

Author information

Jiakun Li, Hui Zong and Erman Wu contributed equally to this work.

Authors and Affiliations

Department of Urology and Institutes for Systems Genetics, Frontiers Science Center for Disease-related Molecular Network, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China

Jiakun Li, Hui Zong, Erman Wu, Rongrong Wu, Zhufeng Peng, Jing Zhao, Lu Yang & Bairong Shen

West China Hospital, West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, No. 37, Guoxue Alley, Chengdu, 610041, China

Institutes for Systems Genetics, Frontiers Science Center for Disease-related Molecular Network, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China

Bairong Shen

Department of Neurosurgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University, Urumqi, 830054, China

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J.L., H.Z. and E.W. contributed equally as first authors of this manuscript. J.L., H.X. and B.S. were responsible for the conception and design of this study. J.L., E.W., R.W., J.Z., L.Y. and Z.P. interpreted the data. J.L., E.W., H.Z. and L.Y. were responsible for the data acquisition. J.L., H.Z. and E.W. wrote the first draft, interpreted the data, and wrote the final version of the manuscript. J.Z. was committed to the language editing of the manuscript. All authors critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content and approved the final version of the manuscript. H.X. and B.S. contributed equally as the corresponding authors of this manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Hong Xie or Bairong Shen .

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AI use in the writing process

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Li, J., Zong, H., Wu, E. et al. Exploring the potential of artificial intelligence to enhance the writing of english academic papers by non-native english-speaking medical students - the educational application of ChatGPT. BMC Med Educ 24 , 736 (2024).

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