In Rework, there’s a great essay entitled Hire Great Writers:
Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easier to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any candidate.
Writing is making a comeback all over our society. Look at how much people email and text-message now rather than talk on the phone.
The full value of this didn’t hit me until recently. Writing is so key in everything that we do. Our two primary methods of communication internally are Skype IM and email. We all are responsible for writing good documentation. And while not everyone interacts with customers, those who don’t still often interact with people outside the company like distributors or suppliers. Whether or not writing is in their job description, great writing is critical to everyone getting along and everyone doing their job well.
Which is why we’ve been really investing in improving everyone’s writing skills. We’ve not only been making sure that everyone is writing more frequently (documentation is a great example of that), but we’ve also made sure that we’re all editing more. I’ve always found that editing others’ writing is the fastest way for me to improve my writing. We even have two copies of Perfect Phrases for Customer Service that have been circulating around the office.
This dedication to becoming a team of writers naturally improves everything else that we do too. Suddenly our newsletters become better. Our site copy becomes clearer. Our ad copy becomes more succinct. Really, it’s hard to find an aspect of our business that can’t be improved with better writing.