Jul 20


Rhoberta Shaler

Rhoberta Shaler

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Ever been asked to 'Put it in ... Sure, you have. Didyou ... go to your desk and ... record ... and ... Or, perhaps, you ... ... For most folk


Ever been asked to 'Put it in Writing.'? Sure,PUT IT IN WRITING! Articles you have. Did
you immediately go to your desk and effortlessly record your
thoughts and suggestions? Or, perhaps, you struggled and
anguished? For most folks, producing useful, credible and
appropriate written communication requires careful thought.
Those folks are wise. Written communication is an excellent
opportunity to showcase your communication skills. Writing
something down not only clarifies an issue, it tends to gives
the idea longevity, and, sometimes, a life of its own. Write

Written communication can be a double-edged sword, can't it?
Well done, it can positively influence your career. Poorly,
quickly or thoughtlessly done, it can work against you
repeatedly. In a way, it IS written in stone. There it sits
for everyone to see...and revisit.

Caution: Avoid putting negative information in writing!
Absolutely do not put negative information in writing unless
it is accurately supported by verifiable fact.

If you want or need to convey your opinion or perception, do
so orally. Say it, rather than write it. Things have a
tendency to be scrutinized much more closely when they are in
writing. Folks look for inaccuracies and 'fodder for blame' in
written communication. Written words scribed in the heat of
the moment can sit in someone's files and become inadvertent
weapons for years to come. A negative written communication
can become a time bomb just waiting for the wrong person to
detonate it. In 'Getting Promoted', Harry E. Chambers says:
"Enemies created in writing tend to have long life spans." Be

There are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind before you
put pen to paper or allow your fingers to touch those keys.
Sure, the important thing is the message itself, however, how
that message is conveyed is a message in itself! Grammar
counts. Poor grammar detracts from the message. You do not
want anything to get in the way of your important message, do
you? Your computer may be a help as it suggests grammatical
changes, but, it is not infallible. You need the skills to
catch errors. You know that your spell checker is limited
otherwise it would not have left this poem intact:

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly marcs four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin Knot Sea.
Eye strikes a key
And type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye has run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My checker tolled me sew.

(borrowed from
www.virginiawater.co.uk/webnews/webnewsapr00.html Thanks.)

Make your writing concise. No one has the time or desire to
read a novel about your topic. "Just the facts, Ma'am." That's
what's needed. Quality, not quantity, is best. Winston
Churchill is reported to have said to an aide placing a
three-inch-high report on his desk, "That report, by its very
size, demands that it will never be read." Be sure to read
what you write before you send it. No one needs an exercise in
endurance to capture your point.

Take every opportunity to put positive information in writing.
Thank and congratulate folks. Report on all successes, major
and minor. Recommend solutions. Provide updates. When you've
got something good to say, Harry Chambers says: "Insure
accuracy, provide proof when available or necessary, and
distribute the communication as widely as possible." Being the
author of good news can put your name in a positive light when
promotion time arrives, too! This has got to be good!

Write as you speak and speak thoughtfully. This is the best
guideline for written communication at work.