Amazon employees don’t use Powerpoint in presentations. Instead, they are asked to come to each meeting they lead with a prepared six-page memo about the upcoming topic. The reason? In Jeff Bezos’s words, “Full sentences are harder to write. They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.” Writing is a critical skill to have as part of your communication tool box.
Many of us were glad to finish that last writing class in college and pronounce that we would never have to take on an essay again. However, it is in your best interest to get back to the pen and paper or keyboard.
Improving business and personal success.
Many of the most articulate people also constantly write, either for themselves or, publicly, on a platform like Medium.
Those that have taken on frequent writing have significantly improved their communication skills, — leading to heightened success in both their business and personal lives. Here are five reasons why:
1. Forces you to think.
There are certain ideas and topics that many people do not typically explore. What is pushing me to check out the ways in which my month-long traveling experience impacted me? Or, my thoughts about the recent events with Facebook?
When you write, though, you must have an opinion and ideas on the topic at hand. Even if those did not exist before you sit down to piece words together, you will have some sort of opinion after the fact.
It indicates that anything you decide to write, you will be forced to think about. This can provide meaningful reflection and exploration that will positively challenge your mind.
2. Makes you more articulate.
As Jeff Bezos said, “when you write, you are forced to think and be more articulate.” When we communicate, normally, articulation is not often emphasized. Plus, there is rarely someone to call us out when we could have said something more succinctly. With writing, on the other hand, it is much easier to tell when you are not communicating well.
Read your writing aloud.
Reading a paragraph you have written — out loud — will give you an instant idea of how articulate you are. You can be sure that reading your writing aloud will also reveal how confusing your communication must be to everyone else.
This reading aloud exercise — is particularly helpful if you happen to have someone else reading your written work. This is especially helpful and true if you are open to feedback.
Increased articulation in your writing will spread to the ways that you talk and think. When you can put words on paper cleanly and clearly, it will become easier to do so in your speech. That, in turn, will translate to you being a better and more smooth communicator each day.
3. Improves your vocabulary.
This does not happen for every writer, but if you’ve put a bit of effort in your word choice — you will improve your vocabulary while writing.
When there are words that better capture the situation in a piece of writing — you can take the time to find them by being patient with your thoughts or looking up synonyms.
Better writing makes a better speaker.
If you hear a word during the day that you like — you can add it to the next piece that you put together. After new language is instilled in your writing, it will begin to enter your vocabulary.
4. Improves your ability to think on your feet.
In addition to articulation — improved thinking is critical for communication. There will frequently be high-pressure situations or surprising events that requires you to think clearly on your feet. You will have to improvise.
A great flow.
While writing, there will be cases when you are required to put together an entire essay or article in a short period of time. The words will need to flow from your brain to your fingers — to the page — quickly.
You are speeding up the rate at which your brain processes and deals with information. Plus, with frequent consideration of the world around you and more thinking, fewer situations will be surprising.
It is one thing to plan out or prepare for every conversation ahead of time, but it takes a different level of complexity to think on your feet in various situations.
Writing makes you more confident in your opinions and ideas.
The ability to use that confidence and pull from your thoughts will improve your improvisation in conversation.
5. Increases your knowledge base.
When you write, there will be times that you need a fact or example to illustrate the point you are making. That will, subsequently, lead you to the web for a bit of research. Or, if you decide to take on a topic that is foreign to you, it will require establishing a bit more background.
An extended knowledge base.
Consequently, writers tend to learn more about the world with each article. They are able to pull in from the material world, even in fiction stories. This improved knowledge base, for a variety of reasons, will make you both smarter and a better communicator.
One of the biggest enhances to communication comes with more conversations that you can have with others. You will become a more interesting and diverse person as you explore further interests and greater parts of the world.
Don’t be left out of the conversation.
You will be able to relate to others on a great number levels and have conversations on topics that you previously would have been left out in.
Writing is a valuable habit to develop.
Writing, at first, can feel overwhelming — and you might claim to lack the time to write. It is a worthwhile creative endeavor, though, for the benefits it will yield. Even writing for an hour a week, which is more than doable, will begin to make a difference in your communication skills that will dramatically improve your life.