By the middle ages, when the comma, the full stop and the colon had become common, the question mark and the exclamation mark came in the picture, as it became clear that the spoken word was easily understood, but the written word needed emotional emphasis, clarity and intonation to be understood in its true context.
Most of us think effective writing is about grammar, punctuation, and spelling. That's not true. Writing is about hitting your mark, whatever that may be. That is the single most important thing when you put your words to use. Writing that hits its mark is effective. But what is effective writing exactly?
Executive Summary People who work on remote teams face communications challenges consistently. As more and more of our interactions happen digitally, we will continue to experience new forms of miscommunication and misunderstanding. The solution lies in building a skill set that reflects the demands of our digitally-driven age.
Body language. Even when we share the same space, the tone of a text or of an email is left wide open to interpretation and can generate anxiety.
The delay between our messages can often postpone or hide emotional reactions to our comments. Lacking an immediate response, we can become distracted, second-guess ourselves, or even grow frustrated with our teams.
When you work remotely, a few misplaced words can become an occupational hazard. Without the context of face-to-face cues and body language, every message, sentence, word, and punctuation mark becomes loaded with meaning. Opting for a period over an exclamation mark can be the difference between coming across as helpful or passive aggressive.
Use of caps lock, emojis, italics and tildes (~) to make your language flowery, fun and human is a great idea for remote working. You can also use memes and gif images, provided they are not offensive to anyone.
Robot speak is not a good way to freely collaborate with your remote peers. Use simple words, and keep it on the casual side, skipping the inaccessible and stilted language. You can also opt for contractions like writing isn’t instead of is not.
Do not obscure your message by words that are there to decorate the sentence and make it sound wordy while camouflaging what you mean.
Make good use of qualifiers ("I think, In my opinion") while not coming across as a perpetually confused person. Don’t use qualifiers while making a strong point.
While writing documentation, it is prudent to avoid jargon and acronyms.
Use complete words and sentences. Shortcuts and acronyms block any actual communication, acting as roadblocks. On the same lines, avoid cliches, idioms and any idiotic sounding phrase that catches the ear well but doesn’t really do any good to anyone.
Remote working is often on a global scale, and certain expressions will not be understood by some participants, or worse, will be misunderstood.
Your words and tone should be tailored according to your audience. The words are different when you are writing to a client, and when you are in a small group chat with your peers. More people in chat also means adopting a polished, professional tone.