Updated: Nov 6
This is a guest post by Nataly Havrysh, the woman behind www.make-a-stand.com and a freelance writer, editor, and writing tutor. She holds a Master's degree in English and has over 10+ years of experience in academic and content writing and editing. To learn more about her and her services, please visit www.make-a-stand.com.
Writing can be a difficult skill for English language learners and native speakers alike. International students and learners taking an English proficiency test cannot skip extensive writing skill practice. At the same time, learners of Business English often think they do not need writing and may even insist on limiting writing practice to the minimum.
But writing is vital to your development as a advanced English learner and here are 5 compelling reasons why:
1. Writing is one of the Core Language Skills
Reading, writing, listening and speaking are four cornerstones of learning a language. Although the skills are separated for the sake of practice, they are very much interconnected and support each other.
For example, writing down paraphrases of what you have heard or read has a dramatic impact on comprehension. Writing short scripts or prompts is another great tool to help learners not feel lost and confused when trying to speak up.
By omitting writing practice you actually progress slower, not faster.
2. Writing is Ideal for Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is super important for growing your language ability.
I have heard many entrepreneurs say that their English is very good because other people understand what they want to say. Although it is great to speak up even if your English isn’t perfect, wrong assumptions about one’s own level of English hamper further learning and lead to much confusion and embarrassment.
You might have heard that words communicate only 7% of the message, while certain vocal and non-verbal elements like facial expressions and posture do the rest of the job.
Your friends from abroad and business partners also have a context that helps them imply correctly what you are trying to say. Thus, reflecting on one’s speaking effectiveness is not the best way to assess your English skills and find areas for improvement.
At the same time, writing down your ideas and reading them a few days later will clearly show you if you can communicate clearly and effectively in English or not.
3. We Write More Than We Think We Do
Business English writing is not limited to writing emails.
You might also need to write cover letters for your CVs or applications, to explain a project idea, create a presentation, prepare instructions for the new employee, respond to a nasty comment on social media to manage the reputation risk, and much more!
If you do not practice English writing regularly, such tasks and common email communication will seem challenging and daunting.
Don’t let this happen!
Developing your writing skills might also help you when a sudden opportunity knocks. Imagine you are invited to deliver a speech or write a guest article. Knowledge of effective writing techniques will make you seize the opportunity. Poor writing skills will probably make you shy away from the offer.
4. Writing Trains Your Persuading and Negotiating Skills
Your Business English writing practice should not be organized around professional emails and resumes only. Try writing persuasive essays on some business related topics too.
Should business assume social responsibility?
Why authoritarian leadership style is not good for your business
Should managers be trained in conflict resolution techniques?
Why the state should/ shouldn’t promote small and medium business
Ways to create a productive working environment
Do not freewrite on the topic! Do research (that is, read what experts say) and logically structure your own argument giving several different reasons why you think this or that way. Such writing practice will not only improve your professional knowledge and English skills, but also make you a more persuasive speaker.
5. Writing Can Help You Understand Your Business and Your Clients Better
Writing is the main activity in colleges and universities in the UK and US for a reason: it helps you to understand the learning material.
Indeed, writing is the process of thinking, which includes clarifying your opinions, getting rid of any illogical assumptions, finding support to the claims, etc.
Try writing an essay about your business challenges or your customers’ pains or start blogging about your product or service in the way that will interest your client and you are sure to have some unexpected insights and a-ha moments.
Do not underestimate the importance of English writing practice. Writing facilitates learning, allows self-reflection, improves your presentation and persuasion skills, and wires your mind to think is a brand new way.
If you still happen to think you don’t need much writing practice in your Business English course…write a persuasive comment arguing for your point of view! 😉