Writing represents pretty much the biggest leap in human history. We started to make great things after we started documenting our wisdom and make it portable. Anything was written is made for communication even if it means communicating by yourself. People write, scribble to solidify their ideas, thoughts and there is no better format than written or drawn materials.
It requires a skill to write. And writing is definitely an amazing skill set that requires time, patience and practice to develop. A lot of people writing blogs which is a great way of sharpening this skill and one of the primary reasons I keep my blog open for years.
When it comes down to communicating with multiple people, written communication thrives. In many real-time communications, speaking, listening, discussing (etc), we listen/watch/read and “interpret” more than understanding things at that second. And in a lot of cases, people misunderstand things. A lot of details can be lost because of the immediacy of the communication. Writing and reading provide the best version to both sides. It allows communicator to materialize their ideas in plain form and it gives enough time to the writer to think, rethink, make errors and fix them on writers own pace. Same stuff happens on “receiver”s side. All of us take stuff differently and there is no better format than a written message, document etc…
This speed thing and difference is a very underestimated thing about how each one of us functions. Some of us think very deep and it takes time, some of us are very fast processors but may oversee things and miss stuff. It’s all normal, it’s what makes each one of us, us. But when it comes to two people communicating, it can cause errors.
As I mentioned above, writing is a beautiful way to shape your thoughts. A way to make floating half-baked ideas to become complete or easy to follow. All writing stories has to be connected well in between of each sub-stories or sub-thoughts. So writing gives very creative ways to connect the dots. Therefore it makes you think better, thinks more connected and almost always makes you speak better because you train your brain to think that way. It rewrites your brain for that way of thinking. I see great benefits of writing stuff down even if I will temporarily collect them somewhere.
I use note taking apps on my digital devices, carry Moleskine notebooks on my backpack all the time. When you need to write stuff down, you need to have materials to do so.
Repeating same point above, writing speed is always slower than how fast we think. Some people (like me) thinks fast and because of we don’t have enough practice to speak, we mix our thoughts when we try to speak (without enough training) as we think. Because our thoughts fly fast, we try to speak fast and screw up sometimes 🙂 Writing gives perfect sight of slowly building sentences and progress on a topic in order, it builds the great skill to how to organize thoughts.
Bonus, if writing in a foreign language it gives the best way to practice vocabulary. Also, there are millions of tools on computers, mobile devices that correct and highlights misspelled words, even grammatical errors that trains you slowly. If you type same error 5 times, you start to fix it and it will be gone very soon. So, when learning a new language. I encourage you to write stuff in that new language.
Writing in Business and in Teams
Written communication is one of the essential elements of running a business. This is a skill that every professional has to master. This becomes vital especially if you are a manager or an executive of a business. Is the extreme side of this example, we can think about legal matters. In the legal world, there is nothing other than written evidence and explanations. In some cases, we write anything happened between two parties in “contracts”s. Of course, legal writings has its own category and maybe a boring example but it magnifies the importance of this in business.
On the less legally binding but still important matters like business decisions, business plans etc, written documents are the best way to inherit any information that needs to be implemented in the business.
Written artifacts in business and team communication also brings consistency of the communication. If you are trying to build systematically designed process around communication, the consistency can be varied a lot depending on the leader. Agreeing on a format and treating that like a template is the best way to bring consistency of repetitive tasks. I’ll write more on this later in specific cases.
Another reason of written docs use in running a business is the scalability and mobility of the information. What I mean by the mobility of information is how easy to move a know-how from an individual or a group of individuals to another. Let’s say you trained someone to be a killer project manager or marketing person. How much of know how can be moved to another person? Does it require the same amount of training? How much of that information can be documented and requires a new trainee to read an learn early on? Or when implementing a business process change to 10 different people in different teams, how easy to train multiple designers at once? At the end of the day, written documents become the guidelines, archives and historical artifacts of the business.
The last point on writing communication in business; if you are an open and transparent team, written communication is a must because of availability and accessibility of written communication is unmatched. Especially, digitally communicating teams are already halfway there. Having slack to talk, quip or google docs like tools to document and trello like project management tools are already very easy to search, scan, monitor, track progress of anything written.