Shel Holtz has a very interesting piece on whether writing is a core skill for a professional communicator. He did a round up, asking several strategic communications professionals for their take and their responses are thoughtful and relevant. It’s an interesting topic and this piece is definitely worth reading.
There are some communicators who focus more on the actual craft of writing in their day-to-day work than others, but I can’t imagine that a professional communicator doesn’t need solid writing skills to do their job. Communication is at the very foundation of what we do (we are called communicators, after all) and words are the building blocks for communication. No matter how we communicate – through speeches, newsletters, meetings, video, webinars or any other form – at some point, there is writing involved. To be able to write clearly means that you can think clearly and that’s where it all begins – developing a strategy, defining the message and identifying the tools.
I think that there are different levels of writing well. There are some people that are gifted storytellers; these people can bring the information being shared to life. Their words engage. Others write in a more “corporate” manner, providing just the facts in an informative and straightforward way. Different things apply to different projects or initiatives. However, I strongly believe that if a person doesn’t have, at the very least, the basic skills – including spelling, punctuation and grammar – they will have a real challenge as a communicator.