Writing at Work: How to Get Your Team to Read You Sent Them

Feb 03, 2023

There’s one, often overlooked, skill that will be critical for the next 10 years.


It’s always been important but asynchronous work has only underlined its importance.

Darren Murph of GitLab explained: ”At its core, asynchronous communication is documentation (writing).”

Below I share 5 micro skills to improve your written communication with your team.

#1 Minto Pyramid: Start with the conclusion

Start with the conclusion, then share key arguments, and only then supporting details.

Sounds counterintuitive, but it gives the reader the main message right off the bat.

Useful for: Reports, memos, proposals, post-mortem, etc.


#2 Use double-spacing

”79% of online readers strictly skim the content.”

Double-spacing lets your readers absorb content more easily.

If interested, they’ll read with more attention.

If not, they'll get the idea just from scrolling through.

But you need to make the text visually appealing for the reader.

Useful for: LinkedIn posts but also shorter Slack messages.

#3 Write in paragraphs shorter than 3 lines

Write in short chunks. Ideally in one- or two-liners, but never longer than 3 lines.

The moment I open a Slack message with a paragraph winding across 3+ lines, I close it.

And come back to it way later. If ever.

My brain evaluates a long message as a task and pushes it to a “to-do list”.

Before hitting the Send button, I do a glance check asking myself:

”Would I answer this message straight away if I received it myself?”

If yes, then I send it.

If not, I work on the formatting.

Useful for: Slack messages, emails, Linkedin requests, blog posts, etc.

#4 Don’t use abbreviations. And if you do, give definitions

I admit I go nuts when I receive a message full of industry-specific abbreviations.

There’s a golden rule in writing.

Always put the definition of the abbreviation into the brackets the first time you use it.

Just because I’m immersed in mapping our customer personas, it doesn’t mean the rest of the team knows what ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) is.

Or even better, share the backlink to the resource that explains the concept.

It’s a good opportunity to educate the team.

Useful for: Team/industry-specific reports, introducing new ideas, projects, etc.

#5 Don't bury a call-to-action

Yes, we heard it 1000 times.

But don’t bury your main ask in the body of the text.

Make it the last sentence/question of your message.

And if you’re asking for a meeting/call, share a few options right away.

”Does next week suit you, for example, Wednesday or Thursday at 11.00 am?”

You'll save yourself and the recipient one round of back and forth.



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