Your words won’t do much good if the person reading them doubts your authenticity.
The best writers don’t just convey information—they instill trust. Doing so matters doubly when so many of us are working remotely and relying on our writing to show we’re on the level. This skill is essential to strengthening professional relationships.
So how do you write authentically? What can a good writer do to show they’re trustworthy? Grammarly has a few helpful pointers.
1 Be conversational.
When you want to impress, you might find yourself using ostentatious—er, showy—words and knotty, overlong sentences.
But to give a sense of authenticity, you need to seem human. Relaxed. Your readers want to hear from you, not your thesaurus, and not the weird over-caffeinated part of your brain tempting you to add erudite footnotes to basic workplace documents.
This doesn’t mean you have to dumb your writing down, but a good test is to try reading what you’ve written out loud. If you find yourself tripping over a wonky word choice or gasping to finish a complicated sentence, then some editing is in order.
>>READ MORE: How To Write Concisely Without Sounding Abrupt
2 Be truthful.
This is, of course, foundational to building trust. It’s true even in small ways, like saying you’ll get back to someone soon, or that you’ll finish a small task ahead of deadline. Botching these examples probably won’t torpedo a relationship outright, but it’s still not a great look.
Similarly, know the limitations of your expertise. If there’s a question you can’t answer, a straightforward response like “I’m not sure, but let me look into it for you” shows you’re invested in getting it right.
3 Show, don’t tell.
What’s that saying about actions and words?
The words “trust me” aren’t going to cut it. Rather than relying solely on your writing to tell people they can depend on you, show them. For instance, promising you’ll do something, however small—I’ll get you a response by this afternoon—and then delivering—Here is the response I promised earlier today—shows they can count on you.
4 Be human.
Part of authenticity is taking opportunities to be personable and show others you care—and also that you’re not an algorithm.
Say a colleague emails you and says, “sorry for the slow response, I got pulled into troubleshooting a website problem that ate up half my day.” Empathizing takes just a few words: “Sorry about the website. That doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of a picnic.” Subtext: Hey, I see you. I’m a friendly and authentic fellow human—you can tell by that whimsical bit about the picnic. We have a genuine bond and are not just cogs together in an indifferent machine.
>>READ MORE: How To Use Empathy in Writing
5 Stick the landing.
If you’re inattentive to minor details—some misplaced punctuation here, a couple small misspellings there—your readers may wonder what else you’re missing. Details like this have a way of quietly adding up when people are weighing how much they trust you and want to work with you.
Grammarly can help with that—and a lot more. Grammarly’s tone detector looks for patterns in your writing structure and word choices to give a sense of how your draft will land with the people reading it. It’s just the tool you need to make sure your writing comes across as authentic and trustworthy.