Why Do You Need To Demonstrate Your Credibility In Writing?
In the 21st century, and especially with the current shift to more remote work, people are writing more than they ever have. Nearly 300 billion emails are sent each day, with the average employee receiving 121 emails and sending 40 emails. So, we know that when we have a job, we’ll need to write to our colleagues, our customers, and our business partners.
And to get that job, we’ll write resumes, cover letters, online applications, portfolios of our work, emails to our network, and our own website or social media profiles.
Jenny Morse is the President and CEO of Appendence, Inc. and will be speaking at the “Establish Your Credibility in Writing” event August 18, 2020.
Basically, writing, and writing well, is essential to virtually every employee’s success. Most of us can write: more than 86% of the entire world is literate. But being able to write and being able to write credibly are two different things.
When we meet a person for the first time, we look for signals to determine whether that person is trustworthy. For example, if you are working from home and a stranger knocks on your door. You might look at a camera to decide whether to open the door. If you see a person wearing an Amazon delivery uniform, you’re likely to open the door because that uniform indicates that the person is credible.
If the person knocking at your door isn’t wearing a uniform or any other marks of a corporate entity (materials in their hand, logo shirt/hat), you’ll look for other signals: gender, hair, clothing, posture, body movement. And in a split second, without being conscious of what you’re looking for, you’ll determine whether you will open the door or pretend not to be home.
The same thing happens with writing. When we receive a message, we look for signals about whether the message deserves our attention. If it’s from a person or organization we know, we’re more likely to read it because we already have a relationship with that entity. Messages from unknown people or organizations require more consideration.
Our writing is marked with signals of credibility or its lack. If we want people we’ve never met to read our messages, then we need to send the “right” signals—those that are culturally expected; just the way if we want a stranger to talk to us, we have to look credible. For example, a message to someone we don’t know should start with a greeting (hi, hello, good afternoon). A message that starts with your name alone seems odd because we don’t address people we don’t know by name. So using a greeting is a key to building trust in writing.
Based on the amount of writing we’re doing, much of it to people we don’t know, it’s worthwhile to think about how you are showing that you are credible in writing. If you’d like to learn more about some of the specific signals and how you can incorporate them, join our free virtual session “Establish Your Credibility in Writing” on August 18.