Effective writing skills: Understand your reader

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A complete solution for students who are eager to understand writing skills. Different forms of writing is available.

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Effective writing skills: Understand your reader

  1. 1. Effective Writing Basics Tips that can improve your writing in any medium
  2. 2. 2 Five keys to effective writing Put the reader first Use simple words and short sentences Use jargon only when necessary Write with verbs and nouns Format to improve readability © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  3. 3. Five keys to effective writing 3 Key #1: Put the reader first Communication = understanding Write to Express not Impress Use words readers can picture Tie in to the reader’s experience © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  4. 4. Five keys to effective writing 4 Key #2: Use simple words and short sentences © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  5. 5. 5 Example 1  Per our conversation, I am enclosing herewith a remittance of $25 for the balance due on my account. (18 words)  As we discussed, here is the $25 remaining on my account. (11 words)  Here is the $25 remaining on my account. (8 words) Example 2  As pertaining to the question of whether or not to construct a new storage facility, corporate management will ascertain the appropriateness of such an issue in the near future.  Management will decide next week whether to build a new storage facility. © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  6. 6. 6 Tip  Avoid wordy prepositional phrases  In the amount of (for)  In order to (to)  Due to the fact that (because)  In the event that (if)  During the time that (when, while) © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  7. 7. Five keys to effective writing 7 Key #3: Use jargon only when necessary What is jargon? Chartered Accountant Compressed Air Canada Certificate Authority California © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  8. 8. 8 Example 3  The new FMIS system from Global provides VOR/DME nav redundancy, as well as enhanced GPS capability.  Global's new flight management system provides several ways to navigate your airplane, including the latest in satellite navigation. © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  9. 9. Five keys to effective writing 9 Key #4: Write with verbs and nouns Use the active voice When it is okay to use passive voice © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  10. 10. 10 Example 4  The company (S) sells (V) insurance (O).  Not: Insurance is sold by the company.  The construction crew repaired the road.  Not: The road was repaired by the construction company.  Tests showed the new material did not wear well.  Not: When tests were run, it was discovered that good wear is not exhibited by the new material. © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  11. 11. Five keys to effective writing 11 Key #5: Format document to improve readability Use lists, bullets, charts, tables, indents, italics, bolds, headings and subheadings © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  12. 12. 12 Plan, organize, write Before you begin Who is the audience (“My audience is _________.”) Purpose of the message (“My purpose is________.”) © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  13. 13. 13 Plan, organize, write As you begin Assemble all useful information Determine what’s important Choose what to leave out Group information logically © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  14. 14. 14 Plan, organize, write Three ways to organize Division Cause/effect Problem-analysis solution © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  15. 15. 15 Division Start with main idea, then discuss the parts Example: ACME Corporation faces four problems that threaten its competitiveness: Outdated marketing plan Poor service record High prices Low Morale © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  16. 16. Problem-Analysis-Solution 16 Find a straightforward way to offer recommendations Example: The shipping dock’s inability to ship product fast enough results from a inefficient tracking system. The solution is to: Invest in a new computer system Retrain staff Inform customers of realistic shipping times Budget for overtime to meet peak demand © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  17. 17. 17 Cause/Effect Presents a clear-way analysis A-B; A-B-C-D; ABCD-E Example: Reorganizing the marketing department will cause two benefits and one problem: Improved accountability Better communication Problem – poorer service to industrial customers © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  18. 18. … Next Agenda 18 1. Writing an Email What makes a good email 2. Writing a Report a. Planning b. Structure c. Style © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  19. 19. 19 Example #1 Hey Tom, I can't believe it has been almost 2 weeks since you sent this e-mail. I intend to respond to you each morning, and I am back to getting in by 6:30 or 7:15 most mornings, but ... you know how busy it gets. I want to get the 8 o'clock train tonight, because the next one doesn’t leave until 10pm. I am going to see Kemal Wednesday night (he has a short stay in U.S. with regard to visiting Citi bank on-site, the client he his supporting on an offshore project). So I just wanted to ask you if you could be more specific in what you want to know about "offshore" financials. He'll provide me with the info you are interested in. Regards, Angelo © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  20. 20. 20 Example #2 Tom, In order to help you better, please explain in more detail what you mean by “offshore financials.” Are you looking for financial statements or for salary levels? Regards, Angelo © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  21. 21. 21 Example #4 Gd 2 hear fm u. The LBJ is OK. Y R U going w/o him? C u soon. M. © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  22. 22. 22 "Everything should be made as simple as possible.” - Albert Einstein © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  23. 23. 23 What makes a good email?  Response within 36 hours  To the point – short  Clear  Organized © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  24. 24. 24 Pretend you are the reader and ask: What is the point? What action am I supposed to take? If the answers aren’t immediately obvious, your message may just be ignored! © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  25. 25. 25 Organizing for the reader’s benefit The first section summarizes key “take aways”:  Make your point early  Request responses up front  For long emails:  Write a summary  Create headings for each major section. © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  26. 26. 26 Get to the point #1 Dear Personnel Director:  Example of a hidden main point On March 27, I received a phone call from Mrs. Karen Krane from New York, who was once a data entry clerk in your Ohio office. She was under the direct supervision of..... © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  27. 27. 27 Get to the point #2  The same example rewritten so that the main point is clear. Dear Personnel Director: Please verify the employment of Mrs. Karen Krane? She was a data entry clerk in your Ohio office… (fill in the details) © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  28. 28. Use active and passive voice appropriately Active places blame: “You are past due on your registration payment.” Passive is less confrontational: “Your registration payment is past due.” © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav
  29. 29. 29 Proofread! Re-read to ensure:  Accuracy, grammar, spelling  Message clearly delivered Rewrite or reorganize if necessary! © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  30. 30. Finally: Take the 20-second test After a 20 second scan, what stands out most? Did your main idea come through? Will the reader know what action to take? Source: Purdue University © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav
  31. 31. Part 2 Writing a Report
  32. 32. 32 What is a Report? A structured written presentation which gives: A response to specific request An account of something An answer to a question A solution to a problem © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  33. 33. The report-writing process 1. Identify your audience 2. Define your purpose 3. Collect your ideas 4. Select the material and decide how to show the significance of your facts 5. Structure your ideas © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav
  34. 34. 34 What makes a report effective An effective report is: appropriate to its purpose and audience accurate logical clear and concise well organized with clear section headings © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  35. 35. Report Format 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Title pages [Front page, Declaration, Certificate, Acknowledgement, and Preface] Table of contents Abstract/Executive Summary Introduction Discussion Conclusions Recommendations Bibliography Attachments / Exhibits © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav
  36. 36. 36 1. Front Page Title Author's name (position and qualifications) Place of origin Date © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  37. 37. 37 2. Table of contents  Number pages starting with the Introduction  Title pages usually numbered with lower case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.) © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  38. 38. 38 2. Table of contents Table of Contents Table of Contents Abstract 1. Introduction 2. Discussion 2.1 Subjects 2.2 Apparatus 2.3 Procedures 3. Conclusion 4. Recommendations 5. Bibliography 5.1 Internet Sources 6. Attachments Exhibit A Exhibit B Exhibit C © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav iii iv 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 Saturday, December 21, 2013
  39. 39. 39 3. Abstract/Executive Summary  Concise summary of the essential elements of the report  Purpose  Scope  Achievements  Main points  Conclusions  Recommendations  Short, only 10-15% of the length of the report © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  40. 40. 40 4. Introduction  States purpose, assumptions, scope, approach, intended audience, possible benefits  Defines special terms  Explains why the report is necessary  Gives motivation for writing the report © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  41. 41. 41 5. Discussion  Main body of the report  Headings clearly identify the content  May include:  Theoretical basis of research  Analysis of data and findings  Charts and Graphs  Evaluation of the methods used  Structure should reflect the analysis and objective © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  42. 42. 42 5. Discussion  Presented in an order that leads logically towards the conclusions and recommendations.  Chronological based on your research  Past, current, future technologies  Problem, solution 1, solution 2, solution 3  Simple  Complex State how it is organized up front © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  43. 43. 43 6. Conclusions  Drawn from evidence, analysis, interpretation and evaluation presented in the discussion  Follows logically from the Discussion  Conclusions section should give:  Key points  Main findings  NOT another Executive Summary  Overview of the research, where you've reached, and where further investigation might be warranted © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  44. 44. 7. Recommendations  Suggestions for possible actions based on the research  Applications of your research in industry  Recommendations to scientific or business community  Possible improvements to your research  Areas for further research © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav be definite be perceptive be imaginative be rational
  45. 45. 45 8. Bibliography  Give full details of all publications and web pages either cited or used for background research while preparing the report. e.g. 1. R. Resnick, D. Halliday and K.S. Krane, (1992), Physics 4th ed. (Wiley: New York) p. 55. 2. J.P. Gordon, H.J. Zeiger and C.H. Townes, "The maser - new type of microwave amplifier, frequency standard, and spectrometer", Phys. Rev. 18, 1264-1274 (1955). 3. Sigma Pro Inc, http://www.sigmaprotraining.com/outsourcing.htm © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  46. 46. 46 9. Attachments / Exhibits  Includes detailed data or information that would affect the coherent flow of the report  For example  a long derivation of an equation  a listing of a computer program written to assist in analysis of data  Supporting, yet not essential, data: companies, addresses, pages of findings © 2013, Rahul Pratap Singh Kaurav Saturday, December 21, 2013
  47. 47. Questions?

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