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Golden Oldies: The Write Way To Success

by Miki Saxon

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Eight years ago I wrote for a blog network called b5media (the posts are archived here). Since then I’ve waited in vain for writing to improve, but guess what — it hasn’t. Even professional writing, Is pretty bad. I read Business Insider daily and the errors I see make me cringe; not subtle grammatical errors, but the obvious kind that tell you that the articles wasn’t even spell checked. In other words, just plain sloppy. I get asked all the time, does anyone care? The answer is a resounding yes. People “feel” when something’s off, whether they can explain it or not. Often, it’s not even conscious, just a subconscious itch they can’t track, but makes then squirm. We’ve all seen business casual dress carried too far; business writing shouldn’t be carried at all.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

Wally Bock left a comment today on a post at Leadership Turn. In part it said,

“When I was responsible for hiring management trainees years ago, I discovered that grades and degrees and schools didn’t tell me much. What I looked for where two things. Could a prospect write? If not, there was no need to go farther. The other thing I looked for was actual work experience.”

Wally would have trouble hiring anyone these days considering the atrocious stuff written by students and grads who are so busy texting that they can’t be bothered to learn to write readable, coherent, English.

It’s a good thing that writing isn’t most managers make-or-break or offers would be few and far between—and I don’t just mean new grads.

I don’t have a great desire to be forced to decipher hip-hop, Valley Girl, Ebonics, Spanglish, Country-Western, 18-wheeler or all lower case with no punctuation in order to communicate.

None of these may matter in private life, but they don’t contribute a whole lot in the context of what it takes to make it today.

Several years ago I wrote Good writing fast—an oxymoron and last year I asked, “Are most people loosing their minds while I am losing mine? during another minor rant.

I’m not a total dinosaur, if all that’s wrong in most communications is a misplaced semi-colon or an occasional preposition at the end of a sentence who cares?

People don’t realize that, consciously or not, they’re judged by what they write, just as they are by what they wear or drive or went to school—even people whose own writing is terrible will downgrade others for the same thing.

If you can’t write and want a future take classes; if you’re people can’t write send them for training.

And if you won’t/can’t do that, there is one simple thing you can do to improve your writing.

Read. Turn off the computer and the TV; take off your iPod and turn off your phone; pick up a well-written book and READ. It doesn’t matter if it’s great literature, a biography, mystery, or hilarious chic lit.

Read every chance you get and make more chances; pay attention and you’ll be amazed at how fast your writing improves.

Image credit: sxc.hu

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