Better Business Writing – Book Review V

Book Summary

Better Business Writing – Engage readers – Tighten & brighten – Make your Case – By Bryan A. Garner


Chapter 16

  • 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.


Chapter 17

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.



Chapter 18


  • 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.


Chapter 19

Business Letters

  • 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


Chapter 20

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


Chapter 21

Performance Appraisals

  • 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.



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