by Nomsa Chirisa
Writing is the first step towards unfolding your idea. As you sit down to fix that thought into a perceptible format, you are initiating communication with your audience; the readers, and the general public.
You and your readers have the same goal towards your work – to know what you are communicating with them and take home the message and lessons you are imparting.
What is effective communication?
How do you achieve this goal?
Having an idea is great but communicating it effectively goes beyond just writing. When you begin to write, you have to ask yourself this:
- Who is my audience?
- What knowledge and lessons do I want to impart through my story?
- Are my diction and style going to clearly articulate what I want to?
- And when I have done so, is my audience going to receive and understand my message as intended?
Remember, it takes more than a great story to engage and establish a relationship with your audience.
Here are a few issues to ponder upon as you work on your next project.
Issues to consider when writing
Your audience matters; they can make or break your book. Prudent writers know their readers – their demands as well as their reading patterns and buying behaviour.
By all means necessary, do not let your message be misunderstood. When writing, stop to see if your words are relevant and suitable for the readers’ level. As you research, you do not only pay attention to the kind of content that you want to write about but also research your readers – the level of content which they understand, their interests, and what they enjoy reading from you.
You’ll find that seven-year-olds generally understand short words and simple sentences and will enjoy playful and adventurous stories, while teenagers are drawn to romantic and adult topics – these are their demands. Hence, when you write for your audience, cater to what they enjoy. This will ensure your communication is effective.
Communication barriers stand in the way of your message. They hinder the delivery of the right message, to the right audience, in the right way, at the right time. One way to avoid this is to consider the list below when writing.
If possible, create a checklist where you will tick all the boxes after you have finished drafting your work because your readers do not want to feel unaccommodated and not catered for. Always research, write and polish your work just for the readers. In the end, it is their product – whether it is a book, blog article, press release or memoir, etc.
Communication barriers to watch out for as you develop your content
- grammar, spellings, punctuation
- writer’s style
- content and its relevance
- layout, presentation, design
- differences – opinion, culture, background, etc
Tips on how to eliminate communication barriers
- Avoid unconventional abbreviations – abbreviating long statements that may occur frequently in your writing but are not standard abbreviations, such as abbreviating the above subheading to TECB.
- Consider and cater to the culture and background of your audience
- Be concise; avoid fuddling – cut straight to the point
- Revise, edit and proofread your work
- Get a fresh pair of eyes for your copy
- Use simple language at your reader’s level
- Be wise in your choice of words and choose a writing style that best tells your story
- Stick to the 5 Cs of writing – clear; correct; concise; consistent; comprehensive
Benefits of effective communication
Communication in general yields good outcomes. We are familiar with the saying, “communication is key,” but effective communication unlocks the door. Effective communication increases engagement and cultivates better relations with your readers. It builds trust with your audience and promotes team building. And because you are a writer who is building a reputation and credibility, you would want to be identified by your art in communicating effectively.
Ever found yourself in a misunderstanding where your, “are you home now?” text is perceived as nosy or bullish? Now, imagine your readers’ reactions and expressions as they read your story. Effective communication is goal-oriented, and your audience is always central to your writing. Surely, you do not want a ‘that’s not what I meant’ scenario. Let your readers be what they are – your readers. Tell them what they should be reading about because they understand what you say, not what you wanted to say. Effective communication is your meal ticket!
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