Showing posts with label business writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business writing. Show all posts

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why is Learning How to Write Well in College Important?

Students often ask why they should develop strong writing skills when they are studying business, and its principles take precedence. Students have a hard time understanding how grammar, spelling, formatting, sentence structure, and focus can improve their job prospects.If they know it but can’t say it, they are going to have a hard time highlighting themselves.

What they miss is a perspective of how writing impacts every other action they take at work. Whether one is writing an email, creating a resume, finishing a report or preparing a speech writing is a major part of communicating in a way that improves effectiveness. If a person cannot communicate well, they are also unlikely to obtain the highest paid jobs.

Effective writing communication is a sign of clarity of thought. A person who can write concisely, powerfully, and with focus is seen as a person who understands the material. If a paper mixes topics, is hard to follow, and is full of errors it is unlikely that it will be viewed seriously. In competition with other information, a well-written paper draws more attention.

Writing reflects well on the reader, and potential employers see this writing as a reflection of the quality of the candidate. Those that can write well portray a professional image and can find themselves moving up the ranks faster.Their ideas will have more legitimacy.

Even though writing well takes a time to develop, in many cases years, it is beneficial to implement the professor’s feedback as much as possible. The more feedback a student incorporates into their papers, the faster they will learn new habits that become ingrained into their writing style. As new learning takes place again, and the quality slowly rises.

Don’t expect to be a greater writer quickly. I have written for years and consistently find mistakes, grammar issues, and ways that things can stated clearer in my  works. Most of the time, this is a direct result of not reviewing work enough times to ensure that major mistakes are discovered and fixed. With time and patience, your writing will improve as well.

Some tips on Improving Writing:

-Proofread your work a couple of times.

-Run your work through a spell and grammar checker.

-Use headings to separate major themes.

-Cover a single thought per paragraph.

-Connect paragraphs like you would connect ideas.

-Each section should have multiple paragraphs.

-Use a thesis statement in the introduction.

-Ensure the conclusion is drawn from the information in the paper. .

-Remove excess sentences that don’t contribute to the content of the paper.

-Define terms, ideas, and theories.

-Review your paper from the perspective of a reader and write accordingly.

Monday, November 3, 2014

What Your Email Says, and Doesn’t Say About You

By: Michael S. Miller

 As an online learner, you have the opportunity to develop and refine many skills.  It is likely the most widely practiced, or even the most important would be developing effective communication skills. The majority, if not all of your communication in the online learning environment, is in the form of written communication.  Communication takes place continuously in this environment with both your instructor and your classmates. Therefore, it is critical to make a good impression; not to mention, “More effective communication practices lead to a more effective learning process” (Venable, 2011, para. 2). Whether you are engaging in a threaded discussion forum, submitting a written assignment, or sending an email, your expression of your thoughts and ideas have much to say about you as a person. 

In the online environment, it is rather easy to click ‘reply,’ type up a quick response, and hit ‘send’ without giving much thought about what you have just written (or not written). However, what most students do not realize is that your e-mail behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally.  Believe it or not, when you are a student, others judge you based on your communications skills.  After all, it is likely they have never heard you speak verbally.  This is why there are some actions you should take to make a good impression on the people you are communicating with regularly.

For example, sharing an email address with your significant other.  This tells the person receiving the email that you are likely not an independent person.  Email addresses are free to obtain and easy to check. There is no reason why you would need to share an email address with anyone.  Email addresses can be used for almost anything from receiving discounts at your favorite store to registering a product online.  While it is fine to have an email address for these purposes, try setting up an additional inbox.  It is important to use and maintain a professional email address for communicating with employers, businesses, classmates, or professors.  You can control who has access to this address and will not have to sift through all of the junk mail in your other inbox.

Another idea for maintaining a professional email account is to use your real name, or some variation of it.  Using something that you think may be cute or trendy, (e.g. tells the receiver that you are not a very serious person.  Again, it is fine to have this type of email address, but use it with your friends or something that does not require professionalism.

Something else you will want to consider is what you communicate in the email.  For example, if you are sending an email to your professor, it is a good idea to begin the email by addressing him or her by name.  Then, state your reason for the email and include an electronic signature with your full name.  It is also a good idea to include the course number and section for which you are enrolled.  It is likely that your professor teaches more than one course or even for multiple schools.  Your professor could have five students named Andrea.  If you send an email without these items, it appears very unprofessional and carries with it a feeling of laziness.

Finally, always proofread your emails before you send them!  Read and re-read them and use spell check.  Remember, your writing says a great deal about the type of person sending the email. Do not forget that there is a person on the other side of your email.  Much like a first impression, the emails you send allow the person on the receiving end to judge you solely based on your choice of tone, punctuation, and writing ability. You may come across as educated or illiterate, happy or irritated – it is all in the delivery!

Venable, M. (2011, September 16). The 7 Cs of effective communication in your online course. Retrieved from

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Basic College Writing Enhances Business Course Outcomes

Business relies heavily on communication skills used in varying fields of study. Students often lack fundamental writing skills that can transfer into credibility, effectiveness and opportunity in the future. According to a 2013 paper by Dr. Carolyn Sturgeon colleges can do a better job at teaching students higher levels of written communication skills that can translate into productive projects. 

Students often resist courses in writing and English composition because they view these skills as secondary to their goals. Similar to the difficulty of getting your teenage children to throw out the trash these students are not excited about the tedious tasks of grammar, spelling, formatting, sentence structure, and citations. There is no denying that such classes are often boring and uninspiring and on the surface appear to be unnecessary.

Some students may need to complete 5-6 composition courses before effectively moving into their respective fields of study. There are other students that may not have mastered basic writing in high school and will need further remedial courses to perform at a college level. High school graduates who start at a lower rung will naturally need additional time, money and resources to improve their skills. Poor high school preparation equates directly to higher college costs. 

From the authors experience she has seen 90% of students avoid thesis writing and move more toward projects.  There is a natural avoidance of written work in classrooms as students lean more heavily on other skills. She suggests that students should be required to learn writing skills before entering their majors as this will make them more effective in their programs. 

The paper doesn’t move into this concept but it is possible to see an integration of more writing into traditional courses. For example, instead of 5-6 composition courses it may be possible to have 3 compensation courses and integrate graded writing into the colleges classes. This would require professors to understand the use of language and provide appropriate direction to students once their English composition requirements have been fulfilled to ensure they are developing their grammar, spelling, tense, clarity, formatting, and depth skills. 

Furthermore, online education is more heavily reliant on writing as part of the curriculum. It makes one wonder if graduating students are stronger at writing from an online institution than those coming from other types of universities.  Students are more likely to be judged on their individual writing skills than relying on an elite writer of a group assignment or a few assignments.

Sturgeon, C. (2013). Service courses: forays to bridge the gulf and invite new “citizens”.  CEA Forum, v42 n1 p208-245.