Written communication has great significance in today’s business world. It is an innovative activity of the
mind. Effective written communication is essential for preparing worthy promotional materials for
business development. Speech came before writing. But writing is more unique and formal than speech.
Effective writing involves careful choice of words, their organization in correct order in sentences
formation as well as cohesive composition of sentences. Also, writing is more valid and reliable than
speech. But while speech is spontaneous, writing causes delay and takes time as feedback is not
Advantages of Written Communication
Written communication helps in laying down apparent principles, policies and rules for
running of an organization.
It is a permanent means of communication. Thus, it is useful where record maintenance is
It assists in proper delegation of responsibilities. While in case of oral communication, it is
impossible to fix and delegate responsibilities on the grounds of speech as it can be taken
back by the speaker or he may refuse to acknowledge.
Written communication is more precise and explicit.
Effective written communication develops and enhances an organization’s image.
It provides ready records and references.
Legal defenses can depend upon written communication as it provides valid records.
Disadvantages of Written Communication
Written communication does not save upon the costs. It costs huge in terms of stationery and
the manpower employed in writing/typing and delivering letters.
Also, if the receivers of the written message are separated by distance and if they need to clear
their doubts, the response is not spontaneous.
Written communication is time-consuming as the feedback is not immediate. The encoding and
sending of message takes time.
Effective written communication requires great skills and competencies in language and
vocabulary use. Poor writing skills and quality have a negative impact on organization’s
Too much paper work and e-mails burden is involved
he Recruitment and Employment Commission (REC) says that around half of all CVs
received by recruitment consultants contain spelling or grammatical errors. Candidates
aged between 21 and 25 are most likely to make these mistakes and graduates in this age group
are, surprisingly, twice as likely to make mistakes as those who did not go on to university.
Even something as basic as the name of an employer, or an individual recruiter, is often spelled
incorrectly. The former Graduate Recruitment Manager at City law firm Mayer Brown found
that 20% of applicants got the firm’s name wrong (one hopes that these people did not also
apply to another law firm called Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP!).
Your covering letter is an important part of your job application, as it demonstrates your
writing style better than your CV (which is usually more brief and factual). For advice on
writing a covering letter see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/coveringletters.htm
Written Communication involves expressing yourself clearly, using language with precision;
constructing a logical argument; note taking, editing and summarising; and writing reports.
There are three main elements to written communication
structure (the way the content is laid out)
style (the way it is written)
content (what you are writing about)
Here are the results of a survey of
graduate recruiters at our careers fair
on: "What are the key skills that students
should be helped to develop during their
time at University?"
Number of employers voting for each
Structure and layout can be relatively quickly
learnt but learning how to write good quality
content takes much longer.
A good structure will help you to express
yourself more clearly, whether in a
dissertation, an essay, a job application letter
or a CV. The following tactics may help you
to structure your writing:
Work ethic: attitude for work
Clarify your thoughts and the purpose of your communication before you start writing. In
business communications, clarity is more important than style.
Identify the key points, facts and themes
Decide on a logical order for what you have to say
Compose a strong introduction and ending. The first will make an immediate and positive
impression on the reader; the second will remain in their mind after they have finished
Use short paragraphs and sentences rather than long, rambling ones. Keep to one idea per
paragraph and put your point in the first line, then add the supporting information.
Help key points to stand out by the use of headings, sub-headings and bullet points. This will
allow your reader to quickly scan your message for the main points.
Writing in a style appropriate to the audience
All good communicators should think about their readers:
How much information and detail will they
"A single spelling mistake can cut
Should you use specialist terms or should you
online sales in half."
“translate” these to make yourself understood by
a generalist reader?
How formal or informal should your writing be?
A study by the University of
Hertfordshire on over 500 companies
found that poor spelling or grammar
A scientific paper aimed at an audience of nonalienated 77% of the companies
scientists would have to be written in simpler and surveyed.
less technical language.
A report in the Financial Times would be written
in a very different style from one covering the
same issue in the Sun
A lawyer giving advice to a client would not go
into the same amount of details as to legal
The greatest attractors for employers
were relevant work experience (46%),
followed by a "good work ethic"
precedents and arguments as a law student would when writing an academic essay.
Emails sent with job applications should be treated more formally than emails to friends and
"Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always
haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones, and (use)
unnecessary words like expedite, ameliorate, predict, extraneous, deracinated, clandestine,
Look at a piece of writing you have had to do (i.e. an
essay, report or job application) and check it against the
Structure (the way the content is laid out)
Is the layout clear and easy to follow?
Do headings stand out (e.g. are they in a larger
Is the information arranged in a logical sequence
with a beginning (introduction), middle, and end
Does the introduction clearly state the subject
Does it briefly summarise the content?
Style (the way it is written)
The four basic premises of writing
are clarity, brevity, simplicity, and
humanity. William Zinsser
Beauty of style and harmony and
grace and good rhythm depend on
Simplicity is the final achievement.
After one has played a vast
quantity of notes and more notes,
it is simplicity that emerges as the
crowning reward of art. Chopin
Hard writing makes easy reading.
Easy writing makes hard reading.
In other words writing improves
in proportion to the amount of
effort put in.
Does it look neat, and elegant?
As a careers adviser, I can tell
Is it concise, with an exact use of words and
within 30 seconds if a CV has
economy of style?
been worked on for 1 hour or 10
"If in doubt, cut it out!". Learn to be laconic!
For example instead of saying forward planning,
See our page on simplicity in CVs
just say planning - there is no such thing as
Is is simple, direct and lucid? (See table on right)
For example a bureaucrat would write:
Political organisation administered directly via the populace, intended for the employment of
the general community, on behalf of each and every one of the citizens of the nation.
Abraham Lincoln wrote:
Government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Are paragraphs too long?
Paragraphs of less than 10 lines are easier to read.
Is a blank line left between paragraphs to aid clarity?
Are sentences too long? A sentence should contain just one idea.
Sentences with more than 30 words
Use single words rather than clichés:
should normally be split.
Let us have an end to such phrases as
Is the first sentence interesting/ Does it
these: "it is also important to bear in
draw the reader in?
mind the following considerations" ....
Have you avoided unnecessary jargon?
"or consideration should be given to the
Is the style suitable for the intended
possibility of carrying into effect". Most
A scientific report aimed at an audience
of these woolly phrases are mere
of non-scientists would have to be
padding, which can be left out
written in simpler and more jargon free
altogether, or replaced by a single word.
Are bulleted lists used where
Have you used short, concrete, familiar
Some Kent student examples of how
words rather than long, obscure,
not to do it:
Use the active words where possible
Within the workplace arena = at work
rather than the passive voice? "It is
At this point in time = now
recommended ...." should be replaced by
"We recommend" as this is simpler and
In addition to the aforementioned =
Have you kept wordy phrases to a
Acquainted with = told
Effective practitioner = teacher
Have you avoided repetition?
The Plain English Campaign recommends
sans serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Verdana) such as this, as clearer and easier to read than
serif fonts (e.g. Times New Roman, Garamond) such as this.
Content (what you are writing about)
Using language with precision
Correct spelling, grammar and
Use your spell checker but don’t rely on it
completely: a spell-checker failed to pick
up the following errors:
administrator in a busty office
I have all the right qualities to
make an excellent manger
I have a long-standing interest in
Have you carefully checked the spelling and
I attended a fist aid course with St.
Have you thought through in advance what you
want to say?
Studied for an A-level in Art &
Have you a clear objective?
Design at Canterbury Collage
Have you listed the essential points you wish to
In my spare time I enjoy hiding my
Have you made these points clearly?
I was responsible for sock control
Have you developed your argument in a logical
I hope to hear from you shorty
Have you allowed detail to obscure the main
Is the content positive and constructive?
“We receive standardised letters from
Have you shown an interest in the reader by
graduates which show no thought…
writing with warmth, sensitivity and friendliness?
They use text speak in covering
Have you edited it through several revisions,
letters...” Graduate Recruiter
honing the text until it is just right?
Have you left it overnight if possible: your mind will assimilate it better and you will come
back with a fresh view.
The writing rules of George Orwell
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive voice (e.g. "Bones are liked by dogs") where you can use the active
voice ("Dogs like bones").
Never use jargon if you can think of an everyday equivalent.
"Cut every page you write by one third". Hillary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
How will employers assess your written communication skills?
Your very first contact with a prospective employer is likely to be in writing. When employers
read application forms, CVs and covering letters they are not just looking at WHAT you
have to say about yourself, your skills and your experience but also at HOW you say it.
Application forms often ask you to write a piece of text in response to questions such as the
"Please write about yourself in no more than 4000 characters [approx. 750 words].
You may wish to mention any posts of responsibility held at school or subsequently, any
regular employment or other work experience, any sporting or other achievements and any
particular interests and personal qualities which are relevant). Please also state briefly why
you are making this application”
Describe a time you were faced with a particularly difficult situation or problem. What did you
do? (200 words)
What are your interests and hobbies? What have you contributed and what do you get out of
them? (no word limit, but this is the only question on one A4 page of a paper form!)
EVIDENCE FOR WRITING SKILLS
YOU COULD USE ON AN
Writing up a project or
Writing for the student
Writing a report for a course
Essays, dissertations, project
Secretary of student society
Publicity materials for a charity
Letter to raise sponsorship for
The strongest evidence will be the
quality of the spelling and grammar
on your application form, covering
letter and CV. If these are full of
spelling mistakes, sloppy grammar
and poor presentation you are likely
to be judged as having poor writing
skills, whereas if your English is
lucid, concise and to the point it will
make a strongly positive impression.
Your English GCSE grade may also
be taken into account here and larger
organisations may give you a
VERBAL REASONING TEST
See our competencies page for more
about how to answer questions about
Structuring your answers, and choosing your
words, carefully will help you to answer these questions effectively.
Where you have a very tight word limit, it is essential to be very concise in your answers and
to avoid any non-relevant information.
Where you have a lot of space to fill, avoid the temptation to go into a lot of unnecessary detail
simply in order to fill the page! Select what you are going to say, break down your answer into
shorter paragraphs to make it easier for the recruiter to read and structure it into a coherent
There is further information about tackling application-form questions at
Where written communication is the most important part of the job, for example in journalism,
public relations or technical writing, you may also be asked to submit a piece of written work
along with your application. Always send something that is relevant in style and content to the
employer – academic essays and dissertations are unlikely to be the best example of your
writing style in this situation!
At the interview or assessment centre stage
There may be further tests of your written communication skills such as:
These are a form of role play in which you will be given a selection of letters, emails and
reports which somebody doing the job might find in their in-tray or e-mail inbox first thing in
the morning. Items may need a response such as drafting a reply to a customer complaint,
writing a report, delegating tasks to colleagues or recommending action to superiors. For
advice on handling these exercises, see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/intray.htm
“We like to include a written test as it gives candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their
knowledge and understanding of the work by giving them a case study and then asking them to
pull out the main issues, such as risk, analysis and planning ideas, legislative framework etc.
You should never be tested on anything that is not included in the person specification for the
(Social work recruiter)
“You will be presented with a file of papers which provide information from different sources
on three fictitious projects, each of which is being considered by the government as a solution
to a specific problem. Your task is to analyse the papers and prepare a note which builds a
balanced and convincing case for one of the three projects. To do this you will need to
compare and contrast the options, using the stated criteria, and explain convincingly the
reasons for your recommendation”.
(Civil Service Fast Stream)
“I was given 15 minutes to read through what the employer described as “the world’s worstwritten press release” (a fictitious example!), mark it up and note the mistakes.”
“You will have 30 minutes to read the exercise briefing materials and prepare a written report
on the given subject. This exercise is designed to assess your ability to produce written reports
to an appropriate standard. Your report will be assessed on the basis of your application of
structure; use of clear, concise language; and logical and coherent presentation”.
See www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/Marstairs.htm for more about case studies as part of
The connection between health, personality and writing
In his book "The Secret Life of Pronouns" (Bloomsbury Press) Professor James W.
Pennebaker describes how the more people changed from using first-person singular
pronouns (I, me, my) to using other pronouns (we, you, he, they) in their writing, the better
their health became. Their use of words reflected their psychological state. He also found
that people who had a traumatic experience and kept the experience a secret had more health
problems than people who talked openly. It was found that people who were asked to write
about their secrets had improved health. Also, using words associated with positive
emotions is also beneficial to health.
Function words such as pronouns and articles require social skills to use properly and this is
backed up by brain research. Men were found to typically use articles ("a" and "the") more
than women. Ignoring gender, people who use "a" and "the" a lot tend to be more organised,
emotionally stable, conscientious, politically conservative and older.
Pennebaker found there were three main types of writing which related to personality:
Formal writing can be stiff, humourless, and sometimes with a little arrogance. It contains
lots of articles and prepositions but few I-words, and adverbs. Those who score highest in
formal thinking tend to be concerned with status and power and to be less self-reflective.
They drink and smoke less, tend to are more mentally healthy, but also less honest. Older
people tend to have more formal writing.
Analytical writing is about making distinctions. Analytical writers tend to do well
academically, be more honest, and open to new experiences. They read more and tend to
be more introspective.
Narrative writers are storytellers. Narrative writing uses lots of function words involving
people, the past-tense and inclusive words such as "with" and "together". These writers
tend to have good social skills, more friends and are more outgoing.
Business communication (or simply "communications", in a business context) encompasses
such topics as marketing, brand management, customer relations, consumer behaviour,
advertising, public relations, corporate communication, community engagement, reputation
management, interpersonal communication, employee engagement, and event management. It
is closely related to the fields of professional communication and technical communication.
Media channels for business communication include the Internet, print media, radio, television,
ambient media, and word of mouth.
Business communication can also refer to internal communication. A communications director
will typically manage internal communication and craft messages sent to employees. It is vital
that internal communications are managed properly because a poorly crafted or managed
message could foster distrust or hostility from employees.
Business communication is a common topic included in the curricula of Masters of Business
Administration (MBA) programs of many universities. AS well, many community colleges and
universities offer degrees in Communications.
There are several methods of business communication, including:
Web-based communication - for better and improved communication, anytime anywhere ...
video conferencing which allow people in different locations to hold interactive meetings;
e-mails, which provide an instantaneous medium of written communication worldwide;
Reports - important in documenting the activities of any department;
Presentations - very popular method of communication in all types of organizations, usually
involving audiovisual material, like copies of reports, or material prepared in Microsoft
PowerPoint or Adobe Flash;
telephoned meetings, which allow for long distance speech;
forum boards, which allow people to instantly post information at a centralized location; and
face-to-face meetings, which are personal and should be succeeded by a written followup.
Business communication is somewhat different and unique from other types of communication
since the purpose of business is to make money. Thus, to develop profitability, the
communicator should develop good communication skills. Knowing the importance of
communication, many organisations train their employees in communication techniques.
Types of business communication
Verbal communication is a type of communication that involves use of words for
[Non-verbal communication] is a mode of communication which only majorly uses body
language and various other physical gestures as a means for communicating.
Written communication is a type that only includes written forms for communicating.
Employment communication is a mode of communication that is particularly used for
accepting the applicants for a job.
Electronic communication is the modern way of communication that includes electronics and
latest technology for communicating such as teleconferencing e-mail, etc.
Team B Communication:
Team B Communication is a form of communication that exists in the cyber classroom where
solid teamwork and collaboration results in excellent grades in academia.
Top 6 Reasons for Business Communication Barrier
1.Complex Messages: The use of complex technical terms can result in a lack of
communication. The remedy is to stick to the point, use clear and concise messages that are
easy to understand.
2. Withholding Information: In an organization, much of the information is kept confidential
due to company policies. Make sure the information that is needed is readily available and
3. Different Status: Management must keep employees well informed and encourage
4. Ineffective Communication Processes: The maintenance of the hierarchy in the
organization is essential, but its very presence can reduce the flow of the communication. It is
therefore essential to reduce hierarchical levels and increase departmental interaction and
5. Lack of Trust: The most important factor behind a lack of communication in an organization
is competition, which leads to a lack of trust among the various employees. Share information,
communicate openly and honestly, involve others in decisions.
6. Language barrier Language barrier is another important factor in business communication,
if communication happens without a common language, it is not worthwhile.
A business letter is an official form of correspondence. A person writes a business letter to an
organization, or letters are sent from one organization to another organization. There are many
reasons for writing business letters. You may write a letter to apply for a job, to request
information, in appreciation of your job or to acknowledge a person's work.
An acknowledgment letter acknowledges an action taken, a fact or a situation. An
acknowledgment letter says thank you to an individual who has supported or helped
you. This type of letter should be direct in acknowledging actions and deeds. This kind
of business letter helps you to build a bond or strengthen a relationship with the person
to whom you are writing. This kind of letter also serves as a confirmation that you have
received a report or letter and that you are working on the project. Convey a positive
tone throughout the letter. If there have been conflicts in the past, do not mention them
in the letter.
Business acknowledgment letters should consist of the following parts: heading, inside
address, greeting, body, complimentary close and signature line.