Have you ever read a report or research paper you’ve written after it was published and questioned everything you wrote about because it fell flat and received little feedback? Or have you ever wondered why your business memos, plans, reports, or emails don’t gain influence or get responses from your bosses and colleagues? Do you ever write something with the intention of instigating a discussion and all you hear is crickets in return?
Perhaps one reason your writing isn’t getting feedback or responses is it doesn’t project confidence. Continue reading to discover how you can display confidence in your writing and why it’s so important.
Become Confident in Your Writing Abilities and Continually Hone Them
It's impossible to display confidence in your writing if you aren’t a confident writer. To become a more confident writer, you need to hone your skills and practice as much as possible. The only way to do that is to write more. Don’t wait until you “have to” write something.
Reading books on grammar and memorizing a dictionary will not help you build confidence with writing either. Start writing about what is challenging or boring to you and keep writing until you find it less challenging and more fun to do. That’s how you’ll discover your writing voice.
To improve your writing, have others review your work, and consider hiring a professional editor or proofreader. Be prepared to make writing mistakes and learn from them. Who cares if it’s not perfect from the get-go? That’s why you write drafts and hire editors and proofreaders. The least confident (and most boring) writers are those who think there’s nothing new to learn or achieve via their writing, and who stop honing their skills and expertise.
Read a Lot and Do Your Research
If you aren’t familiar with a topic you’re writing about, it will come across in your writing, and your writing will not exude confidence as a result.
If you want to project confidence in your writing, know what you’re writing about inside and out and do your research on an ongoing basis. Don’t be afraid to use multiple resources. In fact, referring to more resources will most likely make you more confident about your subject. For example, if you often write about cutting-edge research in healthcare, you’ll want to subscribe to multiple publications that focus on this topic and refer to their data and research as often as needed. And you’ll want to see what other thought leaders and professionals are saying on social media and in discussion groups and forums.
Include statistics and valuable data whenever possible to solidify the claims and statements you’re making. This will make your writing stronger and will make you come across as the expert. Make sure you aren’t reinventing the wheel or simply rattling off statistics, though. Find something new and compelling to write about. Or at the very least, discover a new angle to explore.
Embrace but Understand Your Expertise
If you’ve been working in the same field for many years, you have something to contribute to that field and potentially something important to say about it to others. Own your expertise, but make sure you know what you know and know what you don’t know if you want to exude confidence. For those things you don’t know but need to discuss in your writing, refer to other reputable resources and research.
For example, a scientist who researches black holes in the universe has a much different expertise and knowledge base (when approaching it from a more detail-oriented level) than does a scientist who researches atmospheric conditions on the planets in our solar system. And if the researcher studying black holes starts discussing atmospheric conditions on planets at a detailed level in something she’s writing, she should also refer to resources written by those experts who truly understand atmospheric conditions on planets. While she’s discussing black holes, she can rely on her own expertise without referring to as many outside resources. But as soon as she starts discussing a different topic outside her realm of expertise, she will fall prey to writing about it less confidently if she doesn’t rely on the appropriate resources.
Delete Filler Words and Unnecessary Qualifiers
This is a more technical tip for how to display confidence in your writing, but it’s still exceedingly valuable. Succinctly put, never use two words when one will do.
For instance, instead of writing “She climbed to the highest point of the mountain,” write “She climbed to the peak of the mountain.”
Delete all words that don’t add real value to your writing. Avoid using jargon and buzzwords when they aren’t necessary and they don’t add anything to what you’re writing. Use the Hemingway Editor App to help you cut unnecessary words and verbose phrases.
Use the Active Voice
When you write in the active voice, you display more confidence because you’re being clearer and more direct. Think about the following examples:
The report was compiled by a group of industry experts. (Passive)
A group of industry experts compiled the report. (Active)
An analysis was derived from the information that was gathered by the database. (Passive)
Bob pulled information from the database and analyzed it. (Active)
Avoid Run-On Sentences and Aim for Simplicity
When you feel confident about what you’re writing, your writing will be easy to understand and will be clear. You won’t feel the need to embellish what you’re writing about by using filler words or overexplaining anything and everything. And you certainly won’t use run-on sentences that continue to rehash the same concepts repeatedly. You will simply state your claims using your expertise, use research and refer to valuable resources as needed.
Is there anything else you like to do to display more confidence in your writing? Share with us in the comments below.