• Web-based Career & Technical Education

5 Tips for Teaching Students to Communicate Effectively

March 7th, 2018 Mike Gecawich

You know that colleague who sends the unprofessional, typo-ridden emails to the entire department? So does everyone else.

Communicating effectively in the workplace isn’t impossible, but it sure doesn’t come naturally for lots of people.

While human beings are constantly communicating with one another both verbally and non-verbally (through facial expressions and body language), it’s written communication that is often the hardest to master.

And no matter how you look at it, written communication is key to success in future work.

Whether landing the job, landing clients, or landing partnerships, knowing how to communicate effectively and professionally is a must.

Read on for five fool-proof tips to help your students learn the ins and outs of effective written communication.

Know your audience.

Opening an email to your best friend with “Dear Jonathan,” would feel about as strange as writing a memo to your boss that starts with “Yo, what’s up?”

When it comes to communication, audience matters. Who you are talking to should dictate the style, tone, and vocabulary that you use in your writing. Think carefully about your audience before you start writing and always proofread your work with them in mind.

Format business documents properly.

Having superior attention to detail can take you far in the workplace. An easy way to show it? Format your business documents properly.

Whether it’s a formal cover letter, a memo, or a report, take the time to make sure your formatting is perfect for your given form of communication. Use the appropriate headlines, bullet points, numbering, and other features to make the document easy for the reader to understand.

Focus on content.

In written correspondence, use simple language that is as direct as possible. Make sure your communication serves a clear purpose and sticks to the subject that you intended to cover.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that every sentence adds meaning to what you’ve written. If the meaning of a document would be the same without a given sentence, you’re probably best off leaving it out.

Proofread thoroughly and revise accordingly.

Most of us can relate to the feeling of cringing when reading an email that is full of typos and grammatical mistakes. Don’t be that person!

Your first draft should never be your final product. Once you’ve finished writing, it’s essential that you reread your work checking for errors. If needed, ask someone else to read your work to ensure that it’s not only free of errors but will make sense to the intended audience.

Be concise.

When it comes to writing, longer isn’t always better. This is especially true in the workplace where time is at a premium.

Follow the “less is more” philosophy. Saying something in a few sentences is more effective than writing a long, complex paragraph to get the same point across. Respect your readers’ time and write so that important information can be found quickly.

Teaching Students Effective Written Communication

You could easily share these tips with students, but until kids have the opportunity to put them into practice in authentic contexts, they probably won’t become habits.

A great way to have kids practice is with the iAcademy course Formatting Business Documents.

Through this interactive course, students will learn to write everything from a resume to a memo based on real-life workplace scenarios.

Imagine how much easier the transition to the workplace will be for your students if they can master the skills of effective communication in your classroom.

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