Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Written Communication in our High-Tech World

Communication in the workplace should be clear and professional but today’s written communication is often scattered with pop culture references and jargon. The writer needs to be taken seriously and the use of proper grammar and sentence structure does influence your audience. Take pride in all communication while also allowing it to reflect some personality.

Dictionary.com defines pop culture as “cultural activities or commercial products reflecting, suited to, or aimed at the tastes of the general masses of people.” Often influenced by the media, society is swayed by these cultural trends and they become a powerful influence in our communication.
There are 3.1 billion email accounts worldwide and the corporate email user receives and sends an average of 112 emails per day (pingdom.com, 2012). Some key elements of effective written communication, including email, are:
  • Know your audience and target your communication accordingly
  • Use good formatting techniques (readable fonts and good layout)
  • Use good grammar and proof your document
  • Be clear and concise – get to the point
  • Summarize lengthy correspondence
  • Close with your contact information
Using abbreviations and acronyms can also have its place in written communication such as social media and email. While it may be understandable to use the three letters “lol” to abbreviate “laughing out loud” in a casual correspondence, some abbreviations can be confusing and your reader may wonder if you truly know how to spell. For example, email correspondence using the abbreviation “2” can have many meanings: two, to or too. Spelling the word “what” as “wut” may not leave the lasting impression you’d like. There is no need to confuse the reader or require that they determine your intent.
In the South we have our own culture and slang. For example most Southerners use the term “ya’ll” when referring to you or you guys and “ain’t” is often used for emphasis or in casual conversation. These terms may be common in verbal communication but consider the audience and setting when using Southern slang in your professional correspondence. First, you want to impress and then you can win them over with your Southern charm!
Shelia White,
Director of University Communications


1 comment:

  1. This is a great post on an important topic. Well Done Shelia!