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Module 1

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Module 1

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  1. Module 1 Effective Business Writing

  2. Outline • Characteristics of Good Writing • The Writing Process • Creating Good Documents • Effective Sentences • Writing Good Paragraphs • Business Documents

  3. Essential Business Writing Skills • Writing is an integral part of all business operations • One of the most valuable skills in the workplace • Strongly determines how others will evaluate you • Bad writing undermines effectiveness of the individual and the organization

  4. Characteristics of Good Writing • Completeness: all information needed is provided • Correctness: relevant and precise information • Credibility: support your argument • Clarity: reader decides what is vague, confusing, ambiguous • Conciseness: get to the point • Consideration: anticipate the reader’s reaction • Vitality: use the active voice rather than the passive voice

  5. The Writing Process • Planning: • Keep objectives in mind and research the topic • Think about the audience • Outlining helps organize thoughts • Writing: • Follow your outline, use your handbook • Inspiration is acceptable but must be carefully reviewed • Use the interview approach to supplement the outline(who, what, where, when, how) • Quality control: • Reread your work • Be critical of your own work

  6. Creating Good Documents • Guidelines • Choose the right words • Ensure balance, variety, and consistency • Use short, familial, and simple words • Avoid using extra words • Always use correct spelling • Use appropriate “person” perspective • Avoid problem words and phrases

  7. Effective Sentences • Correct grammar reduces ambiguity • Avoid run-on sentences: use conjunctions properly • Ensure correct pronouns are used: be consistent • Watch out for mismatched singulars and plurals • Avoid unnecessary prepositions • Keep tenses consistent • Be extra careful with conditional sentences • Become a critical reader

  8. Effective Sentences(cont.) • Ensure punctuation is properly used • Avoid exclamation marks • Do not use quotations marks for emphasis • Be consistent with the use of commas in lists • Don’t separate two independent clauses with a comma: use a linking word • Separate parenthetical comments with commas, parentheses, or dashes • Use colons carefully: only after words that stand on their own

  9. Effective Sentences(cont.) • Carefully plan sentence structure • Pay attention to the sequence of words • Avoid ambiguity when using pronouns • Maintain parallelism by following a pattern the reader expects • To avoid hidden phrases, lead and conclude your paragraphs with important points • Get to the point by removing unnecessary words

  10. Writing Good Paragraphs • Organize the paragraph around a unifying idea • Use words, grammar, and punctuation to create coherence • Paragraph should follow a progression of thoughts • Opening sentence must introduce the unifying idea • Conclude the paragraph with a summary sentence

  11. Business Documents • A good business document should always answer the following questions: • What is this document about? • Why has it come to be? • Who wrote it? • How is it organized? • What is it trying to accomplish • What supports the conclusion? • What problem or opportunity does it address?

  12. Letters and Memos • Orient the reader • Stick to the topic • Make points quickly with good news • Gradually build up to bad news • Provide necessary background for your explanation but avoid excessive details • Put yourself in the readers position when reviewing • Make the document professional looking

  13. Report Writing • Executive summary: • highlight the main ideas and recommendations • Introduction: • State purpose and scope of report • Give relevant background • Outline the organization and methods of the report • Body (Facts, analysis, conclusions, recommendations): • Logical presentation and support of thesis • Additional material(appendices, supporting material): • Ensure that the additional material is referenced in the body of the report and properly labeled

  14. Documenting a Reference List • Documentation is essential • APA style is recommended for business • Refer to guidelines for APA documentation found in “Handbook for Writers”(Lynn, et Al.) • For documentation of electronic sources, see: Www.uvm.edu/~xli/reference/apa.html