Better Business Writing – Engage readers – Tighten & brighten – Make your Case – By Bryan A. Garner
SECTION 3 – AVOIDING THE QUIRKS THAT TURN READERS OFF
- Don’t anesthetize your readers
- It is obvious that your shouldn’t put your audience to sleep. Best conversationalists make the topic fascinating through their technique. They use strong simple words.
- Don’t overuse “I”. Use we, our, you and your to add personal touch.
- Use contractions – overcome your fear of using them.
- Prefer active voice, unless passive context sound more natural.
- Vary the length and structure of your sentence. Avoid “Acronyms” when you can.
Watch your Tone
- Adopt a relaxed tone, it is critical to success of your business documents. Write your message as if you were speaking to the recipient in person.
- Refer to people by name
- Always use your best judgment and a collegial tone.
- Adopt a tone appropriate to your relationship with the recipient
- Never use sarcasm in professional message.
SECTION 4 – COMMON FORMS OF BUSINESS WRITING
- Get straight to the point – be direct when making a request
- Copy people carefully
- Keep your message brief
- Write a short but informative subject line.
- Stick to standard capitalization and punctuation – rushed emails that violate basic norms of written language show carelessness.
- Use a signature that displays your title and contact information.
- Use direct, personal language. Keep your language simple. Avoid canned phrases.
- Motivate your readers to act on your letter by giving them reason that matters to them.
- When conveying bad news, soften the blow by opening on a positive note.
- Always consider the reader – be polite, sympathetic and professional
- Remain courteous and diplomatic
Memos and Reports
- Four Elements – Title, Summary, Body and Conclusion
- Choose a concise title or subject that tells readers what topics the memo covers and what they should do about it
- Begin your document by addressing the main points and outlining the issue, your solution and the reason.
- Work from this summary for the elaborate body of your first draft
- Modify the summary as you go to ensure it reflects what is in the body
- Address the seven aspects of work
- Attitude, Efficiency, Human relations, judgment, knowledge, reliability and communication skills.
- Prepare by gathering your facts in advance. Keep performance notes throughout the year and review them before writing.
- Always pair your general statements with specific examples that support them.