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Reader-Friendly Reports: A No-nonsense Guide to Effective Writing for MBAs, Consultants, and Other Professionals

Book Description

The book that has taught thousands of students how to write winning business reports

For more than 30 years, Carter A. Daniel has been teaching MBA students at Rutgers University the art of effective business communication with the aid of his eminently practical guide Reader-Friendly Reports.

Now available to the public for the first time, this beloved resource gives you everything you need to translate your hard-won figures, conclusions, and insights into concise and powerful reports. No definition of communication, no history, no theory, no diagrams Reader-Friendly Reports simply shows you how to:

  • Target your audience
  • Determine your purpose
  • Develop your points
  • Organize your ideas
  • Make smooth transitions
  • Conduct research
  • Illustrate with clear graphs and charts

Reader-Friendly Reports (the “Daniel Manual”) is the A to Z guide to ensuring you meet your first priority: making sure people can understand and remember your report from beginning to end.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Reader-Friendly Reports: A No-nonsense Guide to Effective Writing for MBAs, Consultants, and Other Professionals
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication Page
  5. Contents
  6. I. Planning a Reader-Friendly Report
    1. Right and Wrong, Boss and Book
    2. What Business Writing Isn’t and Is
    3. Understanding the Assignment
    4. Assessing the Audience
    5. Determining the Controlling Purpose
    6. Organizing a Report
      1. Recognizing the Difference between a Topic and a Thesis
      2. Stating the Thesis in the First Paragraph
      3. Constructing Subheaded Segments
    7. Afterword
  7. II. Writing a Reader-Friendly Report
    1. Understandability
      1. Failure to Be Neat
      2. Failure to Write Grammatically
      3. Failure to Write Appropriately and Effectively
    2. Organized Paragraphs
    3. Strong Sentences and Clear Style
      1. The Nature of Grammar and Dictionaries
      2. Fourteen Sentence Rules
      3. Twelve Other Stylistic Considerations
    4. Sentence Connectives
    5. Numbers and Words
    6. Possessive Apostrophes
    7. Commas
      1. Rule 1. Use a Comma with and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet to Separate Two Complete Sentences
      2. Rule 2. Use a Comma to Separate a Long Introduction from the Rest of the Sentence
      3. Rule 3. Use Commas to Separate Items in a Series
      4. Rule 4. Use Commas—One Before and One After—to Separate an Interrupter from the Rest of the Sentence
      5. Rule 4½. Use a Comma to Separate Elements That Could be Misunderstood If Read Together
    8. Semicolons and Colons
      1. The Semicolon
      2. The Colon
    9. Dashes and Hyphens
      1. The Dash
      2. The Hyphen
    10. Spelling
      1. Problem 1. Doubled or Not-Doubled Letters
      2. Problem 2. Frequently Confused Words
      3. Problem 3. The Uh Problem
      4. Problem 4. The Silent-Letter Problem
      5. Problem 5. The Suffix Problem
      6. Problem 6. -ie and -ei
    11. Graphs and Charts
      1. Whether to Use a Graph
      2. Where to Put the Graphs
      3. How to Draw Graphs
      4. Which Kind of Graphs to Draw
    12. A Note on a, an, and the, for Non-Native Speakers of English
      1. Rule 1. If It’s Singular and Countable, Use a, an, or the
      2. Rule 2. If It’s Plural, You Usually Don’t Use the
  8. III. Research Techniques
    1. Myths and Realities
    2. The Nine Steps in Research
      1. Step 1. Area
      2. Step 2. Topic
      3. Step 3. Tentative Source List
      4. Step 4. Working Source List
      5. Step 5. Notes
      6. Step 6. Thesis
      7. Step 7. Skeleton Plan
      8. Step 8. Final Plan
      9. Step 9. Writing
    3. Five Other Suggestions about Effective and Efficient Research
      1. Variety of Sources
      2. Availability of Information
      3. Minimal Photocopying and Printing
      4. Being Organized
      5. Writing
    4. General Tips about Different Kinds of Research
      1. Ideas and Terms
      2. People
      3. Companies
      4. Products or Industries
      5. Countries
    5. Footnotes
      1. Whether to Footnote
      2. When to Footnote
      3. How to Footnote
  9. IV. Other Things
    1. Letters and E-mail
      1. Rule 1. Write as if You Were Speaking
      2. Rule 2. Identify the Purpose of the Letter as Close as Possible to the First Sentence
      3. Rule 3. Don’t Give Any Information You Don’t Have To
      4. Rule 4. Do Give All the Information You Have To
      5. Rule 5. Be Absolutely Clear about What Response You Expect, or What Steps Are to Be Taken, and When, and by Whom
      6. Rule 6. In E-mail, Have a Subject Line, and Be Sure It Says Something Specific
      7. Rule 7. Plan before You Start Writing
      8. Rule 8. Proofread!!!
      9. Rule 9. Be Specific about Dates
      10. Rule 10. Pause before You Send
    2. Résumés
    3. Interview Questions
    4. Talks
      1. Rule 1. Know What You’re Talking About
      2. Rule 2. Don’t Read and Don’t Memorize
      3. Rule 3. Begin by Telling Us WHAT You’re Going to Say and WHY We Should Care
      4. Rule 4. Establish a Structure That You Will Follow
      5. Rule 5. Tell No Jokes
      6. Rule 6. Think of Visual Aids as Evidence to Be Commented On
      7. Rule 7. Know How (and When) to Use the Projector
      8. Rule 8. Keep It Simple
      9. Rule 9. Anticipate Questions and Objections
      10. Rule 10. End by Asking for Questions
      11. Rule 11. Rehearse
  10. V. Sample Reports
    1. A Really Bad Report
    2. A Bad Report
    3. A Good Internal Report
    4. A Good External Report
  11. VI. The Appearance of the Finished Document
    1. Paper
    2. Typing
    3. Punctuation
    4. Page Numbers
    5. Format and Layout
    6. Cover Sheet
    7. Fastening
    8. Date
    9. Right Margin
    10. Proofreading
  12. Appendix: Checklists
    1. Checklist 1. Format and Appearance of the Report
    2. Checklist 2. Thesis and the Thesis Paragraph
    3. Checklist 3. Subheadings
    4. Checklist 4. Segment and Paragraph Structure
    5. Checklist 5. Sentences and Diction
    6. Checklist 6. Graphs and Charts
    7. Checklist 7. Research
  13. Index
  14. Footnotes
    1. Chapter 24
      1. ch24fn01a
    2. Chapter 32
      1. ch32fn01a