Confidence. Whether you’re aware or not, confidence or lack of it plays a significant role in your writing at work. From my experience, this is true across all demographics, and I don’t care how educated you are, what gender or socio-economic background you come from, how high up the food chain you are or how long in the tooth, your level of confidence has an effect on your writing.

See, here’s the thing: hitting send on that email or report is a vulnerable experience. Once you’ve hit send, it’s out there. It’s open to judgement or criticism. There’s not a damn thing you can do about other people’s opinions once they read your words. That’s a bell you can’t unring.

So if you’re worried about what people think, if you’re young or new at your job or early in your career, if you’re particularly concerned with getting it right, that can slow you down at best, and paralyse you at worst.

Shelly Davies: Is it a crisis of confidence? I see you, and you're amazing

If you’re completely unconcerned about what anyone thinks then you’re giving no fucks and hitting send left right and centre without a second thought. Also possibly a narcissist. Or an arrogant prick (sorry, my courses can’t help you with that).

Seriously though, if you’re confident in your writing and ability to express yourself, you’re probably writing faster and rewriting less. If you’re a perfectionist, you’re writing more slowly and doubting yourself more. If you’re worried about proving yourself, you’re writing and rewriting and dying a little bit inside each time.

Shelly Davies: Is it "for fucks sake" or "for fuck sake"? It's for work, so I want to make sure this sounds professional

We haven’t got enough time in the day to be doubting every word we type. 

So for me, one thing I want for you when you come to one of my trainings or do an online course is that you’ll walk away feeling just a bit more confident.

That you’ll hit send with a bit less hesitation. 

That you’ll reread and rewrite less.

That you’ll trust your instincts and your authentic voice just that little bit more.

That you’ll know you can’t please everyone but that you’ve written a clear, fit for purpose message.

And that then, because you’ve done that, people will respond accordingly. They’ll feel that confidence. They’ll have a little, subconscious seed planted that you’re easy to work with. Efficient. That you get shit done. In my experience, writing more authentically and confidently helps people progress their careers. It engenders confidence, and that’s good for us, good for our customers, and good for business.

Shelly Davies: The written word has power! It has weight. It changes things! It gets heard differently. It gets listened to.

So, write more like the way you speak. Read it out loud. Hear it. See how it feels. And start to lock in the fact that your verbal, conversational voice is pretty good at expressing things simply, one idea at a time. 

And then, hit send. 

(When nothing bad happens, you can lock that in as evidence that it worked. When it comes to writing, the absence of negative feedback should be considered validation. We’re way less likely to get people replying and telling us what a great email that was. Good writing becomes invisible. Go be invisible and consider that a win!!)