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Ten Minute Guide to Effective Business Writing

Book Description

If you have to write business letters, but have never been trained to write them, this book will teach you how. By following a number of simple steps, you will be able to create an effective business letter. You will learn how to lay out each section so that you communicate clearly. "Before" and "after" examples are included.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Introduction
  3. Conventions Used in This Book
  4. Acknowledgements
  5. The Authors
  6. 1. Effective Business Writing Matters
    1. Write Without Fear
    2. Effective Writing Is a Leadership Tool
    3. Clear Thinking Leads to Effective Writing
    4. Effective Writing Can Be Learned
    5. The 30-Second Recap
  7. 2. Start with a Purpose in Mind
    1. Understand Your Purpose
    2. Ask Questions to Focus Your Writing
      1. Why Are You Writing?
      2. Who Is Your Audience?
      3. What Do You Want Them to Do?
      4. Why Should They Agree?
    3. Advance Your Objectives
    4. The 30-Second Recap
  8. 3. Framing Your Thinking
    1. The Importance of a Framework
    2. Recommendations and Summaries
      1. The Standard Memo Framework
      2. The Standard Memo Framework in Action
    3. Complex Recommendations
    4. The 30-Second Recap
  9. 4. The Opening Is the "Bottom Line"
    1. Respect Your Audience
    2. What Is the Overview?
    3. What's in the Overview?
      1. The Overview in Action
      2. Responding to the Overview
    4. The 30-Second Recap
  10. 5. Give Your Reader Sufficient Background
    1. What Is the Background?
    2. What's in the Background?
    3. The Background in Action
    4. Using Facts and Assumptions
    5. What to Omit from the Background
    6. The 30-Second Recap
  11. 6. Making Your Recommendation or Conclusions
    1. The Importance of Recommendations and Conclusions
    2. What Is a Recommendation?
      1. What's in the Recommendation?
      2. Writing the Recommendation
    3. What Are Conclusions?
      1. What's in the Conclusions?
      2. Writing the Conclusion
        1. Conclusions
    4. The 30-Second Recap
  12. 7. Providing Rationale for Your Recommendations
    1. What Is a Rationale?
      1. Rationale Points
      2. What's in the Rationale?
      3. Writing the Rationale
    2. What Are Key Findings?
      1. Writing the Key Findings
    3. The 30-Second Recap
  13. 8. Add Information as Needed
    1. When to Include Additional Sections
    2. Exhibits and Appendixes
    3. The How the Plan Works Section
      1. Writing a How the Plan Works Section
    4. The Risks Section
      1. Writing the Risks Section
    5. The Other Considerations Section
      1. Writing the Other Considerations Section
    6. The 30-Second Recap
  14. 9. Specify What Should Happen Next
    1. The Next Steps Section
      1. Writing the Next Steps Section
    2. The Indicated Actions Section
      1. Writing the Indicated Actions Section
    3. The 30-Second Recap
  15. 10. Outline Your Thinking
    1. Why Outline?
      1. Getting Started
      2. Writing the Outline
    2. Use the Framework to Sort by Memo Sections
    3. Start Writing
    4. The 30-Second Recap
  16. 11. Writing Business Letters
    1. Creating a Business Letter
      1. Why Are You Writing?
      2. Who Is Your Audience?
      3. What Do You Want Them to Do?
      4. Why Should They Agree?
    2. Structuring Your Letter
      1. The Opening
      2. Writing the Opening
      3. The Body of the Letter
      4. Writing the Body of the Letter
      5. The Closing
      6. Writing the Closing
    3. The 30-Second Recap
  17. 12. Writing E-Mail
    1. The E-Mail Phenomenon
    2. Composing an E-Mail Message
      1. Why Are You Writing?
      2. Who Is Your Audience?
      3. What Do You Want Them to Do?
      4. Why Should They Agree?
      5. Writing the E-Mail
    3. Responding to E-Mail
    4. Techniques for Reducing Clutter
    5. The 30-Second Recap
  18. 13. Writing a Presentation Document
    1. Uses for a Presentation
    2. Structuring Your Persuasive Presentation
    3. Structuring Your Informative Presentation
    4. The Mechanics of the Presentation Deck
      1. Brevity
      2. Charts and Graphs
      3. Other Visuals
      4. Handouts
    5. The 30-Second Recap
  19. 14. Avoid the Grammar Minefield
    1. Know Your Grammar Rules
    2. Use Proper Sentence Structure
      1. Match Your Nouns and Verbs
      2. Beware of Dangling Words and Phrases
      3. Punctuate
      4. Commas
      5. Semicolons
      6. Colons
      7. Quotation Marks
      8. Take Possession
      9. Use Parallel Structure
    3. The Trouble with "It"
    4. Pay Attention to Spelling
    5. Commonly Misused Words and Phrases
      1. Affect and Effect
      2. Among or Between
      3. Ensure and Insure
      4. Farther and Further
      5. Fewer and Less
      6. Imply and Infer
      7. Irregardless or Regardless
      8. More Than and Over
      9. Unique
      10. Consensus
    6. The 30-Second Recap
  20. 15. Style Facilitates Effective Communication
    1. An Overview of Style
    2. Style Principle One: Be Concise
    3. Style Principle Two: Be Specific
    4. Style Principle Three: Use the Active Voice
    5. Style Principle Four: Avoid Redundancy
    6. Style Principle Five: Be Gender-Neutral
    7. Final Thoughts on Style
    8. The 30-Second Recap
  21. A. Recommended Resources
  22. B. Glossary