In the age of texting, good English grammar seems to be a low-value skill. When it comes to business communication, however, professionals of all levels and industries appreciate the clarity that comes with solid writing. Keeping up with grammar tips and knowledge lets administrative assistants provide valuable communication, writing, and editing services to their bosses.
Regardless of your proficiency level with the written language, it doesn't hurt to read up on grammar tips from time to time. Keep your pen sharp by devoting at least 30 minutes each week to learning opportunities. One of the most popular sites for grammar tips is QuickandDirtyTips.com, where Grammar Girl breaks down writing and editing information. She covers information such as "your" versus "you're" as well as intermediate and advanced English grammar subjects such as how to use quotation marks properly. You can also access free grammar tests, tips, and worksheets via the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Combine a few popular resources each week to read about grammar, practice skills, and test your progress.
Putting grammar tips into action on a daily basis is just as important as learning about grammar. It's tempting to get lazy when communicating with others via email or IM. Though some amount of common shorthand breeds efficiency—especially in texts and instant messages—avoid incomplete sentences and never result to text speak like "u" instead of "you." Outside of instant messaging, where one-word or short-phrase replies work best, use every communication opportunity to hone your grammar skills. Write for clarity, and proofread your messages before sending them. When you have a few extra minutes, spend time reviewing each word and punctuation choice. Ask yourself whether each choice you made is the best way to convey your message. When time is short, scan through the message looking for common errors such as "their" versus "they're" and "its" versus "it's."
If you struggle putting grammar tips into action, consider taking a writing seminar for administrative assistants or business professionals. SkillPath offers an entire line of seminars geared toward administrative and clerical staff, including information regarding office technology, writing, negotiation, organization, and leadership. For other grammar and writing classes, check out course listings at local libraries, community colleges, and technical colleges. Talk to your employer about the possibility of in-house training or employer reimbursement. If you can make a case that your improved writing skills will increase your value, the company is likely to cover at least part of the cost.
Administrative assistants often write or edit a variety of documents. Emails, letters, meeting minutes, and presentations are just some documents likely to cross an admin's desk. Keeping up with grammar tips is one way an administrative assistant can impress employers with excellent work, setting the stage for a future reward or promotion.
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