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7 Habits to Improve Your Writing Skills

Good writing is clear and organized.

Good writing is simple, but not easy.

Good writing can make the difference between a project win or loss, a report that moves a project forward, or an email that gets the response you need.

Professionals who polish their writing skills improve their chances to win and become more valuable as effective communicators. Build bridges, not barriers, with clear writing.

Here are 7 elements to improve your writing skills:


Audience comes first. Before you start writing, think about who will be reading your content. Are they rushed? (Probably.) Are they as knowledgeable about the topic as you (Probably not.) Is English their first language? Do they understand technical jargon about the subject? Do they want in-depth information or an overview?


What they think about matters most (aka their issues, their problems, their distractions, etc.) What preoccupies their minds while they read or wade through your content? What is their knowledge about you and your firm? Do they know you well, so they have a favorable mindset, or are they completely unaware of your position (and possibly favor another firm if this is a competitive situation)?


Know your purpose. Is this a persuasive piece where your goal is to convince them of your qualifications or recommendation? Is this an informative piece to acquaint them with your team members or project experience? Do you want them to provide you with information for an upcoming deadline?

State the outcome. Are you asking the reader to respond to a specific request, which means you need to provide specific details so they know how to respond? State the length, format, and specific time and date due. Be sure to include any documents that will help them to respond.

Use simple words. Most people write to impress, so they use long words and complicated sentences. When a very smart person can make a complex theory or explanation easy for anyone to understand, they build trust and credibility with the reader. No one likes to feel ignorant, so simple explanations serve as bridges with your readers.

Cut out unnecessary details. Focus on one word, rather than several. Use action verbs rather than phrases that are cumbersome and wordy. Simplify many steps into three main parts so the reader can follow along more easily. Number steps in a process to guide the reader.

Important facts come first. Few readers will read your content closely. They skim, scan, and scurry through your writing, whether a proposal, report, or email. Put the most important elements first, such as the recommendation, solution, or request. Use bold, color and highlights to emphasize what you need the reader to do.

Good writing takes time, that precious commodity that eludes most professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction industry.

Hone your writing skills in 2023 to improve you writing efficiency and effectiveness. Let me know how I can help.

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

— William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style

Most professionals have adequate technical skills to perform their jobs. Communication skills are the hardest to master. I provide training that blends a veteran’s insights, communication best practices, and practical application to set the stage for professional satisfaction and career growth.