“ The Write Stuff”: Ten Keys to Effective Business Writing Christine Harmon, Strategic Communications 2010 Small Business ...
Key # 1: Keep it simple <ul><li>Get to the point within the first sentence or two. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t make the reader...
Key #2:  Keep your reader’s interest <ul><li>Don’t wander from subject to subject. </li></ul><ul><li>Stay organized.  </li...
Key #3:  Don’t make “alphabet soup”   <ul><li>An acronym is an abbreviation using the first letters of words (like ATM). <...
Key #4:  Use pictures to tell the story <ul><li>Charts and graphs can be inserted or attached. </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure t...
Key #5:  Be natural <ul><li>Some types of writing are more “formal” (such as business plans) and others are informal (emai...
Key # 6:  Use complete sentences <ul><li>Setting up a beginning, middle and end makes your information understandable. </l...
Key #7:  Make short “copy blocks” <ul><li>Run-on sentences and long paragraphs are hard to read (and understand). </li></u...
Key #8:  Email counts as “writing” <ul><li>You don’t need to be overly formal but it often helps to show some courtesies (...
Key #9:  Build “color”   <ul><li>Use examples to illustrate what you’re explaining.  </li></ul><ul><li>Use quotes from exp...
Key #10:  Spell check EVERYTHING <ul><li>For writing, the most important button on your toolbar is “Spell Check.” </li></u...
Wrapping Up <ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your reader’s interest </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t make “alphabet so...
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The Write Stuff (Christine Harmon)[1]

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10 Keys to Effective Business Writing from City of Chicago Small Business Expo Workshop July 16, 2010

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The Write Stuff (Christine Harmon)[1]

  1. 1. “ The Write Stuff”: Ten Keys to Effective Business Writing Christine Harmon, Strategic Communications 2010 Small Business Expo
  2. 2. Key # 1: Keep it simple <ul><li>Get to the point within the first sentence or two. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t make the reader guess about the purpose of your communication. </li></ul><ul><li>End with a recap and request for action, if appropriate. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Key #2: Keep your reader’s interest <ul><li>Don’t wander from subject to subject. </li></ul><ul><li>Stay organized. </li></ul><ul><li>Address one topic at a time. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key #3: Don’t make “alphabet soup” <ul><li>An acronym is an abbreviation using the first letters of words (like ATM). </li></ul><ul><li>Commonly used in business, but can be confusing even to your business peers. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, do you know what these mean? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>POV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PPM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PSF </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When in doubt, spell it out. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key #4: Use pictures to tell the story <ul><li>Charts and graphs can be inserted or attached. </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure that your text indicates clearly what is contained in the graphics. </li></ul><ul><li>Graphics should supplement your words, not replace them. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Key #5: Be natural <ul><li>Some types of writing are more “formal” (such as business plans) and others are informal (emails to co-workers). </li></ul><ul><li>However, even formal writing benefits from addressing the reader directly. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about how you’d talk to someone and then put it in writing. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Key # 6: Use complete sentences <ul><li>Setting up a beginning, middle and end makes your information understandable. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes, sentence fragments can work, as in bullet points, but otherwise stick with the “tried and true.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Key #7: Make short “copy blocks” <ul><li>Run-on sentences and long paragraphs are hard to read (and understand). </li></ul><ul><li>What’s easiest to read? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A newspaper article </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A web page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A real estate contract </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Key #8: Email counts as “writing” <ul><li>You don’t need to be overly formal but it often helps to show some courtesies (especially if you’re sending non-US business emails). </li></ul><ul><li>Begin with “hello” “hi” or any other words you like before you jump into your message. </li></ul><ul><li>Sign off with something before your name, like “regards” or anything that you feel is appropriate. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Key #9: Build “color” <ul><li>Use examples to illustrate what you’re explaining. </li></ul><ul><li>Use quotes from experts or other people. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your text lively with anecdotes or other real-life experiences to reinforce your key points. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Key #10: Spell check EVERYTHING <ul><li>For writing, the most important button on your toolbar is “Spell Check.” </li></ul><ul><li>Ideally, have someone else look at what you’ve written but in every situation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SPELL CHECK EVERYTHING (yes, even emails). </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Wrapping Up <ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your reader’s interest </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t make “alphabet soup” </li></ul><ul><li>Use pictures to tell the story </li></ul><ul><li>Be natural </li></ul><ul><li>Use complete sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Make short copy blocks </li></ul><ul><li>Email counts as “writing” </li></ul><ul><li>Build “color” </li></ul><ul><li>Spell check EVERYTHING </li></ul>

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