As is typical, your skills as an Administrative Assistant are weighed at the end of the year during your performance review. It is noted in your meeting which skills you improved on, which new skills you acquired, and which you should continue to build. One of those skills is likely to be business writing which entails drafting of correspondence, composing emails (e.g., to senior management on behalf of your boss, to clients and vendors), and creating PowerPoint presentations to name a few. There are some basic tips you can follow to enhance this skill so vital in business communication.
In the rush of the moment, it is easy to send off a lengthy email without taking a few minutes to look it over and read it quietly to yourself for correctness, clarity, and tone. Spelling mistakes are not always caught by the system’s spellchecker, e.g., “their” versus “there” versus “they’re.” Make sure your sentences are closed with either a period or a question mark. Usage of exclamation points should be strictly limited, especially in the workplace. Beware of semicolons that might result in a run-on sentence. It is best to just steer clear of these.
Take note about the tone of the piece. If, after reading it aloud to yourself (quietly, though), a sentence sounds harsh or demanding, revise it. Should such a tone be warranted, it is best to let the boss change it up to reflect it. As an Administrative Assistant representing your manager, it is your job to consistently be tactful and diplomatic in all your communications, written and verbal. Try not to use words such as “really,” “always,” and “never.” They serve little purpose and do not add much to the message.
Vocabulary and usage in business is another area with which to be cautious. In particular, it is wise to stay away from clichés, e.g., get one’s feet wet, food for thought, too little too late. You get the idea. Especially in today’s global marketplace, it is critical to keep the lines of communication open and flowing by avoiding phrases that might not be understood by a client or representative of your global company from another country. Similarly, in writing as in speech, it is important to apply caution to the proper use of political correctness. It has been overstated but it bears emphasizing. There is no easier way to disrupt the flow of positive and forward communications by incorrectly referring to someone or something.
These tips may or may not come across as redundant to you. However, we could all use a reminder during our busy workday that crafting a superior written document is as important as meeting a deadline to submit said document. The consequences of missing a step in either one could be substantial. At the end of the year, during performance reviews, these factors are taken into account by your manager. You will either be revered as a careful employee who takes attention to detail to a heightened level or you will be asked to improve upon those skills. This is the perfect time to invest in yourself, both on a professional and personal level.