How to Improve Written Communication Skills at Work Featured Image

How to Improve Written Communication Skills at Work

Have you ever written an email to your team only to receive confused replies because your message wasn’t clear? Or perhaps you sent a message only to realize later that typos marred it, and it could lead to misunderstandings?

According to Forbes, as many as 40% of workers attest that poor communication reduces their trust in leadership and their team. For remote workers, the figure stood at 54%.

Wasted time is among the worst consequences of poor communication, and countering it is more important than anything else. 

Effective written communication is necessary whether you’re trying to build team camaraderie or crafting marketing campaigns. From engineers conveying technical specifications to healthcare workers documenting patient care, clear writing ensures accuracy and avoids costly mistakes. 

Legal contracts and financial reports hinge on precise language to prevent misunderstandings. Even creative fields like design rely on written communication for proposals, presentations, and client pitches. Written communication bridges cultural gaps and transcends time zones. 

Let’s explore how to improve written communication skills at work and eliminate the dreaded ‘What did you mean?’ follow-ups.

Summarize this article with AI ClickUp Brain not only saves you precious time by instantly summarizing articles, it also leverages AI to connect your tasks, docs, people, and more, streamlining your workflow like never before.
ClickUp Brain
Avatar of person using AI Summarize this article for me please

Why Do Written Communication Skills Matter?

Consider this scenario: Michael is an excellent employee who exhibits exemplary performance. He has an extraordinary ability to research the market and dig up information that no one else can. His industry experience and research skills make him a valuable asset to the company. 

However, when he translates his findings into a report, it often leads to confusion. The information is rarely structured, there are grammatical errors, and coherency is absent. 

Why does this happen? Because his written communication isn’t his forte. 

Here’s how strong written communication skills can help Michael: 

  • Demonstrate leadership skills: An ability to articulate ideas and solutions in an easy-to-understand manner that highlights the capability to lead a team 
  • Enhance operational efficiency: It minimizes chances of misunderstandings and errors, thereby streamlining and speeding up processes 
  • Better professional relationships: Builds trust and satisfaction within teams and with external stakeholders 
  • Facilitate collective growth: Drives overall growth and success within an organization through effective communication and enhanced mutual relationships 

Let’s look at the different kinds of written communication that can help employees like Michael convey their findings better and make a greater impact through their work. 

Summarize this article with AI ClickUp Brain not only saves you precious time by instantly summarizing articles, it also leverages AI to connect your tasks, docs, people, and more, streamlining your workflow like never before.
ClickUp Brain
Avatar of person using AI Summarize this article for me please

Types of Written Communication

Anything you give in writing to another person constitutes written communication. 

It can be either formal or informal communication and can have different scopes. 

Formal communication 

Decisions, proposals, and agreements are all a part of formal communication that supports professional interaction. Formal written communication includes: 

  • Emails: As per the latest email statistics, 300.4 billion work emails are sent and received daily. Internal communication between colleagues, teams, and departments, as well as external correspondence with clients, vendors, and stakeholders, occur via email
  • Memos and notices: These are a part of internal communication that address concerns such as meeting announcements and policy changes 
  • Reports: Business reports are comprehensive documents that are used to present data, financial outcomes, individual or team performance, project progress, and outcomes 
  • Proposals: Business proposals, project proposals, and documentation are an integral source of sharing ideas with existing and potential clients

Informal communication 

There’s no need to always draft an email or make a report. Sometimes, you only need to exchange simple messages, especially for hybrid workspace communication. Such types of informal written communication include: 

  • Text messages: Less formal interaction between colleagues takes place through instant text messages to get faster responses 
  • Internal newsletters: In addition to the newsletters sent to external subscribers, companies sometimes circulate internal newsletters with casual updates and announcements about company events or operations

So, how can you improve your writing at work? Read on to find out!

Summarize this article with AI ClickUp Brain not only saves you precious time by instantly summarizing articles, it also leverages AI to connect your tasks, docs, people, and more, streamlining your workflow like never before.
ClickUp Brain
Avatar of person using AI Summarize this article for me please

How to Improve Written Communication at Work

Mastering written communication is not so tedious if you have the right guidelines. We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you cover all bases and understand the impact of written communication. 

1. Start with the basics: Review grammar and spelling

The most basic requirement for clear and easy-to-follow communication is grammatical correctness.

A sentence like the following can cause confusion:

John is preparing the presentation last week.

It isn’t clear if the presentation was prepared last week and is complete or if it is currently being prepared. 

Similarly, one wrong spelling is enough to change the sentence’s meaning entirely. Take, for example, 

Please ensure all personal files are updated by Friday vs. Please ensure all personnel files are updated by Friday

While personal files here can refer to personal documentation, the word personnel refers to files regarding people employed in an organization. 

Tools such as Grammarly help you correct grammar and spelling mistakes. You can use ClickUp’s Grammarly integration to communicate coherently and without errors on the platform. It’ll not only help you in flawless communication but also streamline collaboration. 

2. Ensure clarity, conciseness, and coherency (3 Cs of communication)

Effective communication stands on 3Cs of communication: 

  • Clear: Ensures the messages are understood without any confusion, misinterpretation, or doubts
  • Concise: Eliminates unnecessary verbosity to ensure the message is to the point 
  • Consistent: Establishes a reliable communication flow for smooth and effective interactions 

You should aim to write every message based on these communication pillars, from a brief email to a lengthy project report. 

This will ensure that your written word grabs attention, helps decision-making, respects the receiver’s time spent on reading the report, and prevents misinterpretation. 

3. Structure your messages effectively

Your message might be crisp in grammar, spelling, and conciseness, but it can still be ineffective. 

How? The flow of the message may not be on point. 

Every form of written communication, like every story, has a dedicated structure—a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

Organized information provides a logical flow that helps the reader make sense of it faster.

Depending on the subject of your communication, you can choose to present your information and opinions using an approach based on cause/effect, problem/solution, chronological order, and other factors. 

4. Have a diverse vocabulary and tone in written communication

A diverse vocabulary helps you pick the most suitable word to describe something. This not only makes business writing more understandable but also more concise. You can say things in fewer words and more impactfully. 

Using the right tone can make all the difference between winning a coveted client and ruining a business relationship forever. A harmonious, polite, and considerate tone creates a positive impression and also ensures your communication stays true to your organizational values. 

Let’s understand the importance of the right vocabulary and tone through an example. 


  • Strong vocabulary: Imagine an email to a client about a project delay. Instead of saying, “The project is indefinitely delayed,” you could use, “We’re facing an unforeseen obstacle that has impacted project timelines.” This conveys the seriousness without negativity and allows for a more professional explanation
  • Weak vocabulary: Using generic terms like “stuff” or “thing” can make your writing unclear. For example, instead of saying “We need to move some stuff around,” be specific: “We need to relocate some essential equipment.”

Similarly, jargon can also be an issue. Using overly technical terms with a client who may not understand them just creates confusion


  • Positive tone: In a performance review, highlighting an employee’s “areas for development” with suggestions for improvement sounds more encouraging than simply saying they’re “underperforming”
  • Negative tone: An aggressive tone in a negotiation email, such as ” We need a decision now,” might backfire. A more collaborative approach, like “let’s discuss the next steps to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” fosters a better working relationship

By using a strong vocabulary and maintaining a professional tone, written communication becomes clear, concise, and impactful, ultimately leading to better working relationships and stronger business outcomes.

5. Read frequently: Tips on improving comprehension skills

An exceptional way to cultivate better writing skills is to read more. It naturally enhances your writing ability by exposing you to different writing styles, perspectives, vocabulary, and argumentation. 

Here are a few tips to improve your comprehension skills: 

  • Take notes and summarize the key points from your reading material to elaborate on in your writing
  • Break the information into smart parts to present it in a more comprehensive manner 
  • Create a question-and-answer scenario in your head and include answers to all the questions you think can arise in the mind of the reader 

6. Write Effectively: Practice makes perfect

There’s no better teacher than practice—the more you practice, the faster you’ll reach perfection. If every time you write something that comes back with an ‘I am not sure if I understand’ mail, there’s something to learn.

You can comprehend from your mistakes and from how other people communicate, too. For example, note a well-structured and drafted email whenever you see it. Try emulating the approach.

Consequently, regularly engaging with quality written communication will enhance your vocabulary, grammar, presentation, and writing style.

Here are some top book recommendations from our team to enhance your business writing skills:

  • Everybody Writes by Ann Handley: Covers a wide range of topics, including writing clear and concise emails, crafting compelling blog posts, and creating effective social media content
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White: Offers clear and concise advice on grammar, punctuation, and style
  • HBR Guide to Better Business Writing by Bryan A. Garner: Provides practical advice on writing clear, concise, and persuasive business documents. Garner offers tips on how to structure your writing, use strong verbs, and avoid jargon

7. Seek constructive criticism and feedback: A tool for growth

Feedback provides insight into areas for improvement, helping individuals refine their clarity, coherence, and impact. 

For example, you can seek feedback from someone who had trouble comprehending your email or misinterpreted it altogether. Figuring out what caused confusion where can help you avoid such instances in the future. 

By receiving feedback and acting on it, you can strengthen your communication with your team and build trust. 

It contributes to personal development and a more productive work environment, where clear and effective communication is pivotal in achieving organizational goals.

8. Proofread for successful written communication

Sometimes, a mistake isn’t made because of wrong spellings or grammar but due to an oversight. It’s best to identify these little mistakes on your own before someone else points them out to you. 

How can you do that? By proofreading your written pieces. 

Proofreading helps you identify errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting, which can significantly impact how your message is perceived.

Another benefit of proofreading is that it lets you step into the reader’s shoes once and verify whether the message makes sense. 

As a result, it’s always recommended to read what you’ve written before you hit send.

9. Use writing tools and software like ClickUp

What if you had a writing assistant who could manage all your written communication, draft emails from scratch, fix errors, and ensure effective communication?

Smart email writing tools make this dream a reality, suggesting powerful grammatical fixes and strong sentence structures. Further, with the help of artificial intelligence, it’s possible to create a complete written proposal, email, or message automatically from scratch. 

You no longer have to spend hours finalizing a business document before sending it. AI caters to all your writing requirements, whether you need an out-of-office message example or a business proposal. 

ClickUp, an all-in-one project management software and workplace communication tool, makes this possible via its AI copilot, ClickUp Brain. Its AI Writer for Work helps manage all your communications and perfects your writing at work through its built-in spell checker and writing enhancement qualities. 

ClickUp Brain 
Curate effective written communication emails, messages, proposals, and reports with ClickUp Brain 

Whether you have to reply to an email, convert a pile of raw data to intelligible tables, draft answers to FAQs through a help authoring tool, or whip up project summaries and reports instantly, it does the job for you. All you have to do is write a prompt describing what you want in detail to get a well-written response in the blink of an eye. 

Excited already? The best is yet to come! You can also create transcripts from verbal communication and quickly reply to meeting questions with this workplace communication tool

Do you need to send out any emails or reports frequently? ClickUp Brain helps you create a communication plan template and even memo templates instantly to save time and maintain consistency. 

ClickUp also brings you closer to your colleagues and team members through its chat feature. No more juggling between different platforms to coordinate and stay connected for everyday tasks, feedback sessions, or client communications. 

ClickUp’s Chat View brings everything under one roof, simplifying communication and overall task management manifold. 

ClickUp Chat View 
Enhance communication and collaboration within teams with ClickUp Chat View 

With ClickUp’s Chat View, you can: 

  • Assign action items and enhance team coordination with real-time chat channels 
  • Facilitate quick access to key information by sharing project links and embedding attachments 
  • Ensure visual clarity of written communication by formatting messages with code blocks, bullets, and banners
  • Connect one-on-one with colleagues and clients through direct messages when required
  • Stay in the loop by tuning into org-wide channels for live updates and general announcements

ClickUp can make written communication much easier. However, to avoid inconsistencies, you should still be mindful of everyday communication barriers. 

Summarize this article with AI ClickUp Brain not only saves you precious time by instantly summarizing articles, it also leverages AI to connect your tasks, docs, people, and more, streamlining your workflow like never before.
ClickUp Brain
Avatar of person using AI Summarize this article for me please

Challenges in Written Communication

Several barriers obstruct effective written communication, ranging from ensuring clarity and conciseness to managing tone and context. They make communication confusing, ineffective, or even redundant. 

Let’s look at the communication challenges in the workspace and share ways to help you overcome them. 

1. Overcoming common obstacles

The three main obstacles in written communication are ambiguity, redundancy, and jargon. Not providing enough context can make your communication ambiguous, not knowing the aim and objectives of the communication can make it redundant, and not writing clearly and easily can expose you to excessive jargon.

Solution: Use clear, straightforward language, defining necessary terms and eliminating unnecessary words.

2. Understanding your audience 

Different stakeholders have varied expectations, preferences, and levels of understanding. Not considering your intended audience’s unique traits and characteristics while writing is the biggest mistake you can commit, leading to misunderstandings, confusion, or disengagement.

Solution: Tailor your communication and key message to suit your audience’s knowledge level, interest, and communication objective for clarity and engagement.

3. Contextualizing written communication 

A lack of context often leads to confusion. Even if you include all the information, the team still fails to act on it because of a contextualizing failure. All effort goes to waste if you don’t clarify the purpose of your communication. 

Solution: Ensure clear and purposeful contextualization of written communication to avoid confusion and facilitate effective action.

Example scenario: You are a marketing manager and need the design team to create social media graphics for an upcoming product launch.

Without context:

Subject: Social Media Graphics Needed

Hi Team,

We need social media graphics for the upcoming product launch. Please let me know if you have any questions.

With context:

Subject: Social Media Graphics Needed for [Product Name] Launch

Hi Team,

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new product, [Product Name], on [Launch Date]!

To generate buzz and excitement, we need eye-catching social media graphics to use across our platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Here are some key details to consider when designing the graphics:

  • Target audience: [Target audience description]
  • Brand voice and tone: [Description of brand voice and tone]
  • Key messaging: [Key messages you want to convey]
  • Launch date: [Launch Date]

Please let me know if you have any questions or need further clarification.

Summarize this article with AI ClickUp Brain not only saves you precious time by instantly summarizing articles, it also leverages AI to connect your tasks, docs, people, and more, streamlining your workflow like never before.
ClickUp Brain
Avatar of person using AI Summarize this article for me please

Examples of Effective Written Communication at Work

Now that we know what constitutes effective written communication and how to achieve it,  let’s explore three common workplace communication scenarios and how to approach them effectively:

1. Project proposals

A well-written project proposal acts as a roadmap, detailing the project’s purpose, goals, and execution plan. It typically includes:

  • Introduction: Briefly explain the project concept and its significance
  • Objectives: Clearly outline the desired outcomes
  • Scope: Defines the project boundaries and deliverables
  • Methodology: Explains the approach to achieving the objectives
  • Resources: Identifies the people, tools, and budget required
  • Benefits: Highlights the positive impact of the project on the organization
  • Risk assessment: Acknowledges potential challenges and mitigation plans
  • Conclusion: Summarizes the proposal and reiterates the value proposition

By providing a comprehensive overview, a project proposal gains stakeholder buy-in and sets the stage for a successful project.

2. Follow-up emails

Effective follow-up emails ensure everyone is on the same page after meetings or discussions. A well-structured email should include:

  • Clear subject line: Identifies the email’s purpose (e.g., “Follow-up on Team Meeting – Action Items”)
  • Meeting recap: Briefly summarize the key points discussed
  • Action items: List specific tasks with assigned owners and deadlines
  • Next steps: Outline the plan for moving forward
  • Call to action: Encourages recipients to confirm receipt and raise any questions

Clear follow-up emails promote accountability, keep projects on track, and improve overall team productivity.

Here’s an example of a well-written follow-up email: 

Subject: Follow-up on Action Items from Team Meeting

Dear Team,

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to follow up on our recent team meeting held on [date]. Below are the key action items and their respective deadlines:

Action Item 1: Research Market Trends

Assigned to: [Team Member Name]

Deadline: [Specific Date]

Action Item 2: Update Project Timeline

Assigned to: [Team Member Name]

Deadline: [Specific Date]

Please confirm receipt of this email and let me know if any challenges or adjustments are needed regarding these tasks. Our next team meeting is scheduled for [date] to review progress and discuss any updates.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. Let’s work together to ensure we meet our goals efficiently.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Contact Information]

3. Progress reports

Regular progress reports keep stakeholders informed and demonstrate project advancement. A well-written report typically includes:

  • Executive summary: Concisely highlights key achievements and any encountered roadblocks
  • Project tasks: Details of completed tasks and upcoming milestones
  • Challenges: Identifies any issues impacting progress and proposed solutions
  • Next steps: Clearly outline the action plan for the next reporting period

Progress reports foster trust, identify areas for improvement, and ensure project success by providing a transparent overview of project progress.

By following these principles of clarity, purpose, and action, you can craft effective written communication that drives results in any work environment.

Summarize this article with AI ClickUp Brain not only saves you precious time by instantly summarizing articles, it also leverages AI to connect your tasks, docs, people, and more, streamlining your workflow like never before.
ClickUp Brain
Avatar of person using AI Summarize this article for me please

Enhance Written Communication with ClickUp 

Effective written communication is the backbone of smooth collaboration, uninterrupted workflow, and healthy team relationships. You can improve your written communication by following this step-by-step guide and perfecting one component at a time. The more you read and write, the better your written communication skills will become. 

ClickUp’s written communication features, such as ClickUp Brain and Chat View, can simplify team collaboration and ensure error-free communication. With this external and internal communication software, you can perfect your existing message copy; write memos, reports, emails, and more from scratch; and create templates for the future, all in one place. 

Sign up for ClickUp to make written communication at your workplace faster, easier, and more effective. 

Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.

Sign up for FREE and start using ClickUp in seconds!
Please enter valid email address