Almost everyone in the workplace writes everyday, such as e-mails, memos, reports or proposals. With the many tasks that need to be done, writing can be a neglected skill especially when employees do so carelessly and hurriedly.
Concise and error-free writing is essential in the workplace as it saves time for both the writer and the reader. The effort spent on trivial and long writing is a waste of time, which can otherwise be used for more productive activities. This is why knowing how to construct direct-to-the point and impactful sentences is a valuable skill.
Francis T.J. Ochoa is the assistant sports editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He has covered numerous sports events and has done profiles on several international sports celebrities. He received recognition from the Catholic Mass Media Awards Special Feature Category in 2013. He also maintains a sports blog.
We asked Francis some questions on how to write with impact. Here are his thoughts:
Q: There is a member of my team who works well but struggles with everyday writing. His sentences tend to go on and on, and the results are incoherent. What would be the best way to help him improve his writing?
A: There is no substitute for constant practice of proper writing habits. Not techniques, but habits. A lot of times, bad writing comes out of bad habits more than the style of the writer. There are thousands of styles and techniques to choose from, but good writing habits are non-negotiable. Proper grammar, concise statements—these are habits that writers need to develop.
Q: Business people are busy and have no time for long, verbose paragraphs. What is the best way to make one’s writing concise?
A: Get straight to the point. A lot of times, people think that putting a lot of words into an article equals good writing. It’s a matter of “trimming the fat” and making sure the reader gets the meat of the message right away. This can be done by doing away with words and phrases that do not contribute to the message but only serve to make a sentence sound “smart.”
Q: How does good writing add credibility and enhance the image of a brand?
A: For people with no actual or visual experience of a brand, their first introduction to it is mostly literature. If you put out literature about a brand that’s vague and bland, people will either get turned off or have little interest in giving the brand a chance. To get to an audience whose introduction to your brand is some form of literature, you want to have writing that’s full of impact and does justice to your brand.
Q: Are there generational differences in writing ability? Is it true that the younger generation, raised on text messaging and social media, cares less about “good” writing?
A: To a certain extent, the young generation may care less about good writing because of the several distractions technology has made available for them. But good writing doesn’t come out of interest alone. Good writing is a product of sustained learning and practice.
Q: Can great writing be learned, or do you have to be born with the talent?
A: I have never believed that people are born writers. Writers are made. Writing isn’t a skill you are born with. It is a skill that is developed with hard work and repetitive—to the point of boring—practice.
Francis T.J. Ochoa will facilitate the workshop “Effective Writing II: Writing with Impact” on February 17-18, 2016. It will be held in the Inquirer Academy Building at Chino Roces Avenue, corner Ponte Street, Makati City.
The workshop is brought to you by Inquirer Academy. For details about the workshop, you may write to email@example.com or call (632) 834-1557. Look for Astrud de Castro. You can also register through www.inquireracademy.com.