In the job market today there are a few skills that are absolutely necessary in order to be successful. One of the most important of these skills is the ability to communicate effectively. While many in the millennial generation have no problem communicating verbally many struggle when it comes to writing, especially in formal settings. Even though the millennial generation is writing all of the time, being able to type a text message or send a basic e-mail is not going to get you by in the business world today. It is crucial to be able to write formally while still maintaining your writing voice. Millennials are often overconfident individuals that believe they are strong writers, when in reality many of them lack the ability to convey their ideas in a professional manner. In order to combat this inadequacy, we will observe two different techniques used to improve millennials writing in the workplace. These two ideals/techniques are Rhetorical Awareness and User-Centered Design.
Rhetorical Awareness is the ability to focus clearly on the purpose within your writing. Without a clear and concise understanding of purpose and the situation you risk confusing your readers and preventing effective communication. In order to implement Rhetorical Awareness into your everyday workplace writing, it is necessary to consider a few things. First you must remember that most workplace writing is persuasive. Although sometimes workplace writing may not seem to be persuasive in the sense that it is not directly asking someone to do something, but rather silently or passively persuading them to do something. A great example that could help you grasp this concept would be a personal resume. Although a resume does not specifically say, “hire me” on it, it is used as a way of portraying information through writing that will consequentially cause an employer to want to hire you (hopefully). In order to make this persuasive form of writing or any other form of persuasive writing the most effective it can be, it is important that you consider four things; Purpose, Audience, Stakeholders, and Context. The most important of those four is purpose. You must establish the purpose of your writing, because without a clear and concise purpose it will be nearly impossible for you to truly be convincing with your persuasion. In other words you must understand the goal you have within you’re writing in order to form the most effective document. The second most important thing to consider is your audience. Make sure that your writing with the correct intentions and vocabulary so that no one will be offended. One thing to remember here is that often times people will minimal knowledge of your subject will be reading your writing. In order to avoid offending or embarrassing them it is wise to stay away from industrial jargon. This will also prevent confusion and loss of interest. While most of the time you will have a good idea of who will be viewing this document, make sure you are extra cautious in your writing because you never know who could end up seeing this document. Often times unintended viewers get ahold of these documents and end up being offended because they are not aware of the context or full situation. This brings us to our next point, the importance of context and stakeholders. It is very important to consider the context of a situation and the stakeholders when writing in a professional setting because yet again this helps avoid confrontation or conflict.
Another technique to combat the inadequacy millennials have surrounding formal business writing is User-Centered Design. In order to apply this concept it is necessary to consider your audience, identify pertinent information, and utilize the persuasive techniques we discussed above regarding rhetorical awareness. Although this seems to be very similar to what we discussed earlier with rhetorical awareness it has some distinctive differences. With the user-centered design approach you are taught to organize information within a document so that it is much easier for readers to extract useful information. User-centered design focuses mainly on the organization and format of the document. When applying the user-centered design you must consider all levels of the document. The specific levels are; document design, information design, and sentence design. In order to improve the efficiency of information delivery through document design millennials should focus on making these documents easy to navigate. One way that you can do this would be to use a concise but descriptive table of contents that includes what topics are discussed on certain pages. In order to make this even more effective for readers I suggest that you include page numbers and topic headers on each of the pages of the document. Once you have created a document that is easy to navigate you should focus on the content under these topics. In order to inform readers in the quickest most efficient manner you should always begin with general information and then move to more specific information as the writing progresses. This allows readers to gain a general understanding of the topics that are not as important to them without having to read lengthy in depth descriptions. If you use this technique with informative headers and topic sentences readers will gain an understanding of what is going on further in the paragraph. Finally the use of sentence design ties the user-centered design together. One way to make sure that you are communicating to your audience concisely is by using the BLUF or SVO sentence structures; BLUF being Bottom Line Up Front and SVO being Subject Verb Object. Even though these sentence structures are very simple they make it much easier for your audience to read. Even if the audience does not have as great of an understanding in the subject as you do.
As we have learned, Millennials often have a deficiency when it comes to communication through writing. Although we have also learned that if they follow the guidelines and suggestions provided above they can improve their written communication skills enough to get by in the workplace. If they master these skills they will never have to worry about being looked down upon for their lack of professional writing skills.