Why Does Writing (or Public Speaking) Matter?

  • Affirm the importance of writing to personal, academic, and professional success.

Writing empowers your personal development, academic success, and professional success:

  1. Personal Development:
    Writing facilitates your personal development in meaningful ways:
    1. When you write something down on the page, you assist memory and empower reflection and metacognition. By transforming your thought into text, you create an opportunity to return to that thought and reflect on it. This affordance of writing to help you record a thought for later reflection frees you from the tyranny of a moment-by-moment existence.
    2. Writing from the heart, sharing your experiences, can be important to our personal happiness. You can keep a journal to reflect on your writing processes, obstacles, and ambitions. 
    3. When you read the work of other people who have different values, experiences, religions, and world views, your own knowledge and perspective may evolve. 
    4. While conducting research for writing, you are likely to come across ideas, places, and concepts that you otherwise might not consider. 
    5. While collaborating on documents, you may obtain insights from your co-authors regarding your strengths and weakness as a researcher, writer, and collaborator.
  2. Connectedness:
    Writing enables us to forge connections with family and friends as well as people we may not otherwise meet in face-to-face situations.

    Via handwritten notes to posts on social media, writing affords the possibility of connecting with friends and sharing insights and aspirations. Our writing can create rich social networks that give us a sense of meaning and connectedness.
  3. Academic Success:
    Writing fosters deep learning. Writing about a topic can deepen your understanding of difficult concepts and enable you to share what you’ve learned with readers, from instructors to peers.

    In school contexts, research has found when people write about a topic as opposed to multiple-choice quizzes, they learn about the topic in a deeper way. They recall the topic over time.
  4. Professional Success:
    Writing well is foundational to workplace readiness. Each year NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) surveys employees in the U.S. regarding job readiness. Invariably, written communication skills are identified by employers as critical to success in the workplace.

    For instance, in 2019, 90.3% of the employers identified communication skills as essential to workplace success. That said, the employers believe only 44.3% of the college graduates had proficient communication skills. Management positions, in particular, require effective communication abilities because managers must often write to instruct and evaluate people who report to them and to their own bosses. Often strong writing competencies are required to write proposals that attract clients and additional business.

    Improving your communication skills also develops other valued workplace competencies. Problem-solving, collaboration, leadership, work ethic, analytical/quantitative skills, initiative–these highly desired competencies have been identified by NACE as the most desired competencies sought by employers, as depicted below. All of these qualities are clustered around the larger competency of communication.
  1. Creativity
    As you write, you are likely to make surprising connections among ideas. The act of writing promotes synthesis. Most importantly, writing engages deeper thinking which enables you to generate ideas. That’s why professional writers often report they write in order to discover what they really think about a topic.
  2. Agency: Writing is Power.
    Ultimately, being able to write well is tied to your agency, your personal power. Writing (and communication in general) empowers you to articulate the need for change and action. Informing, persuading, and entertaining other people about your thoughts and insights empowers you to provoke changes you deem important.

Ideally, Writing Commons will help you realize your creative potential as a human being. Being an effective communicator goes beyond success in school or the workplace: it’s critical to your empowerment. Strong communication skills will enable you to fight for changes you deem important and help you develop your goals and personal mission.

References

National Association of Colleges and Employers.  (2019). 2019 Job Report. Bethlehem, PA: National Association of Colleges and Employers.

National Research Council of the National Academies. (2012). Education for life and work: Developing transferable knowledge and skills in the 21st century. Washington D.C.: National Academic Press.