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Can Do Writing™: The Proven Ten-Step System for Fast and Effective Business Writing by Judith Graham, Daniel Graham

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Chapter 1. Analyze Purpose and Audience

To start planning your document, answer six questions in order as you analyze purpose and audience. Treat each question as a necessary technique. One question is about you, the writer: What result do you want? Five questions are about your audience. If you can't answer the following six analytical questions, you can't write a successful document:

  • 1.1 What result do you want from the document?

  • 1.2 Who is the audience?

  • 1.3 What does the audience do with the information?

  • 1.4 What information does the audience need?

  • 1.5 Does the audience know little or much about the information?

  • 1.6 Does the audience need proof?

For recent college graduates entering the workplace, analysis is key to making the transition between academic essays and results-oriented documents. In school, you pay other people to read your documents. Now that you are out of school, you want other people to pay you to write documents. They are not going to read your documents or pay you unless your documents have value for them. These six techniques ensure that your documents provide value to your reader.

Analysis of your purpose and the audience helps you make important decisions about the document. You decide the type of document to write. You manage the tone of your document—neutral to authoritative. You identify the information the audience needs to achieve its purpose, and consequently you know what is relevant. What the audience does with the information provides clues on how best ...

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