Writing for Business Professionals

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Five Steps to Successful Writing
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1. Preparation 2. Research 3. Organization 4. Writing 5. Revision
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Audience
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“Considering the needs of your audience is crucial to achieving your purpose” –>for doc. who have audiences of different needs, consider segmenting your document (executive summary, appendix etc)
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Context
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The environment or circumstances in which writers produce documents and within which readers interpret their meanings
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Purpose
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What do you want your readers to know, to believe, or to do when they have read your document? When you answer this you have determined your primary purpose or objective for writing.
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Readers
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The first rule of effective writing is to HELP YOUR READERS
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Scope
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Is the depth and breadth of detail you include in a document as defined by your audience’s needs, your purpose, and the context.
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Selecting the Medium
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Which electronic, or paper medium is best depends on a wide range of factors related to your audience, your purpose, and the context of the communication Factors include: audience’s preferences, personal work style, how widely info needs to be distributed etc. Mediums: letters, memos, email, instant messages, telephone calls, Faxes, Face-to-face meetings, video conferences, web sites
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Email
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Functions in the workplace as a medium to send information, elicit discussions, collect opinions, and share electronic files. Often function as business letters to those outside organizations and memos to those within organizations. *keep in mind confidentiality when sending email.
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Memos
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documents that use a standard form. Memo format can be used not only for routine correspondence but also for short reports, proposals, and other internal documents. Although memo formats and conventions vary, the format From; Date; Subject is typical
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Organization
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A well-organized document enables your readers to grasp how the pieces of your subject fit together as a coherent document. An organized document or presentation is based on an effective outline produced from a method or development that suits your subject, fulfills your purpose, and satisfies the needs of your audience for shape and structure. Most common methods of developing any document: cause-and-effect development, chronological development, comparison, division, classification, general and specific development, order-of-importance development, sequential development, spatial development.
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Outlining
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the skeleton of the document you are going to write–structures your writing by ensuring that it has a beg. mid. and end. Provides the foundation for coherence so that relationships are clear and one pt. flows smoothly into the next. Types: topic outlines, sentence outlines etc.
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Paragraphs
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Performs 3 functions: 1.it develops the unit of thought stated in the topic sentence 2. it provides a logical break in the material 3. it creates a visual break on the pg. which signals a new topic. –>topic sentences are usually most effective early in the paragraph, however they may be towards the end to achieve emphasis.
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Proofreading
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Essential in all writing. You may find passages during proof reading that require further revision. FIRST STAGE REVIEW: appropriate format, consistent style, correct numbering of figures and tables SECOND STAGE REVIEW:specific grammar and usage problems, appropriate punctuation, correct abbreviations & capitalization, correct spelling, complete web or email addresses, accurate data in tables and lists, cut & paste errors FINAL STAGE REVIEW:survey of your overall goals–audience needs & purpose, appearance of doc., review from a trusted colleague.
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Revision
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When revising read & evaluate it primarily from the POV of your audience. Tactics: allow a cooling period, print out your draft & mark-up your paper copy, read your draft aloud etc.
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Writing a Draft
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Do not wait for inspiration- treat writing a draft as you would any other on the job task. CHECKLIST: set up writing area, start with the section that seems easiest, give yourself a set time, routinely save to your hard drive.
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Correspondence
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-Effective correspondence requires that you write in an appropriate conversational style -Establish goodwill to encourage your reader to provide the info you need (may also do this by emphasizing the readers needs or benefits) Be respectful not demanding, be modest not arrogant, be polite not sarcastic, be positive & tactful, not negative and condescending -Use good-news bad-news patterns (address good-news directly & bad-news indirectly) -the opening should identify the subject and often the main pt. of the message -Clarity and emphasis (a clear message is one that is adequately developed and emphasizes your main pts.
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International Correspondence
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Be aware of cultural differences
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Letters
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Business letters- normally written for those outside an organization are often the most appropriate choice for formal communications with professional associates or customers
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Ethics in Writing
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refers to the choices we make that affect others for good or ill. Ethical issues are inherent in writing and speaking bc what we write and say can influence others. -Avoid language that attempts to evade responsibility -Avoid deceptive language -Do not deemphasize or suppress important information. -Do not emphasize misleading or incorrect information -Avoid using language that is biased, racist, or sexist or that perpetuates stereotypes
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Abstract words
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refer to general ideas, qualities, conditions, acts or relationships-intangible things that cannot be detected by the five senses
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Concrete Words
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identify things that can be perceived by the 5 senses, such as diploma, manager, or keyboard
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Affectation
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the use of language that is more formal, technical, or showy than necessary to communicate information to the reader.
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Biased Language
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refers to words and expressions that offend because they make inappropriate assumptions or stereotypes about gender, ethnicity, physical or mental disability, age or sexual orientation.
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Business Writing Style
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less formal than in the past, it still mustadhere to the conventions of standard English with the use of conventional spelling and standard grammatical forms. -Varies from conversational style -The use of personal pronouns is important. (In emails etc. something btwn conversational & business writing should be used.) -Only use we when it is company policy
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Buzz Words
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words or phrases that suddenly become popular and, bc of an intense period of overuse, lose their freshness and precisness. EX: interface (as a verb), impact (as a verb), skill sets, deliverables, slam dunk, bleeding edge, cash cow, 24/7
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Cliches
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expressions that have been used fro so long that they are no longer fresh but come to mind easily bc they are so familiar. Often wordy as well as vague and cab be confusing, especially to non-native English speakers. EX: all over the map, run it up the flagpole, last but not least.
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Coherence
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the relationships among ideas are clear to readers. The major components of coherent writing are a logical sequence of related ideas and clear transitions btwn these ideas. Most direct route to your purpose without digressing, without it writing cannot achieve the smooth flow from sentence to sentence & paragraph to paragraph.
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Conciseness
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means that extraneous words, phrases, clauses, and sentences have been removed from writing without sacrificing clarity or appropriate detail. Although concise sentences are not guaranteed to be effective, wordy sentences always sacrifice soem of their readability and coherence. CAUSES OF WORDINESS: -Modifiers that repeat an idea implicit or present in the word being modified contribute to wordiness by being redundant (basic essentials, final outcome) -Coordinated synonyms (each and every, first and foremost.) -Expletives, relative pronouns, and relative adjectives -Circumlocation: a long, indirect way of expressing things.
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Connotation/denotation
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The DENOTATION of a word are its literal meanings, as defined in a dictionary. The CONNOTATION of a word are its meanings and associations beyond its literal definitions. –> words often have particular connotations for audiences within professional groups and organizations
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Emphasis
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the principle of of stressing the most important ieas in writing. You can achieve emphasis with the careful use of: Position-place the idea in a conspicuous position. The first & last words of a sentence, paragraph, doc, stand out in readers’ minds. Climatic Order-list the ideas or facts within a sentence in sequence from least to most important Sentence Type- vary sentences by using a compound sentence, a complex sentence, or a simple sentence Sentence Length- vary sentence length strategically Active Voice- use the active voice to emphasize the performer of an action: make the performer the subject of the verb Repetition- repeat keywords and key phrases Intensifiers- (most, much, very) can be easily abused, should be used with caution Direct Statements-use direct statements such as “most important Long Dashes-use to call attention to a particular word or statement — Mechanical Devices- italics, bold type, underlining etc.
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Euphemisms
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an inoffensive substitute for a word or phrase that could be distasteful, offensive, or too blunt.
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Figures of Speech
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an imaginative expression that often compares two things that are basically not alike but have at least one thing in common.
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Garbled Sentences
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a sentence that is so tangled with structural and grammatical problems that it cannot be repaired. –> often result from trying to include too many ideas in one sentence.
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“You Viewpoint”
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places the reader’s interest and perspective foremost. It is based on the principle that most readers are naturally more concerned about their own needs than they are about those of a writer or a writer’s organization. –> often means using the words you or your rather than we or our.
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Subordination
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use to show, by the structure of a sentence, the appropriate relationship between ideas of unequal importance.
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Idioms
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a group of words that has a special meaning apart from its literal meaning. Someone who “runs for office”
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Telegraphic Style
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condenses writing by omitting articles, pronouns, conjunctions, and transitions. ” Per 5/21 email 12 copies of instruction needed asap”
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Tone
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the attitude a writer expresses toward the subject and his or her readers. In the workplace tone may range depending on purpose etc.
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Sentence Variety
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sentences can vary in -sentence length -word order -loose and periodic sentences

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