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Writing for Business: Expert Solutions to Everyday Challenges by Harvard Business School Press

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Foundation Principles

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The difficulty is not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.

—Robert Louis Stevenson

EFFECTIVE BUSINESS WRITING rests on a few foundation principles. If you master them, you’ll know how to handle the many different writing tasks that come your way.

Clarify your purpose

When you set out to write a business document, the first thing you should ask yourself is, “Why am I writing this document?” Business writing serves many purposes.

  • Explain or justify actions: “Because all of the bids we received from our current vendors were high, we decided to reject them and seek others.”
  • Convey information:

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