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Characteristics of Effective Writing

Characteristics of Effective Writing

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Characteristics of Effective Writing

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  1. Characteristics of Effective Writing

  2. What is required to succeed in business or any career?

  3. What does it require? • Being able to write effectively • It’s an essential skill!

  4. Is writing well difficult? • It is not difficult if you make an effort. • It requires a certain amount of understanding and know-how . . . • And a great deal of practice!

  5. Effective Business Writing Style • Incorporates good human relations skills • Involves many of the factors involved in face-to-face communication • Develop your writing style • Reflect a tone of good will • Learn to use words effectively

  6. Use the five Cs • Correct • Complete • Clear • Concise • Courteous

  7. Guidelines for Writing Effective Business Letters • Be courteous • Use a “you” attitude • Be positive • Choose the correct words • Use nonsexist language • Avoid outdated words and jargon • Be specific, clear, and concise • Use active voice • Be correct and complete

  8. Your written communications • Makes an impression on the receiver • Creates an image of you and your company • Impression may be positive or negative • Depending on the tone or attitude conveyed in your message

  9. Your written communication • Creates goodwill • Or causes ill will • For who? • Your company

  10. Goal in writing effectively • Maintain the goodwill of your reader • Essential for keeping current customers • And bringing in new customers • Keep from writing anything that may offend the reader • Always keep the reader in mind!

  11. Conveying a Message • Depends on your ability to choose the right words • Learn to select words that most accurately express the intended message

  12. 1. Be Courteous • Be courteous in all of your communications. • Apply good human relations skills. • Your writing should be friendly • Treat the reader with respect.

  13. Other Techniques to Develop the Reader’s Goodwill • Be sincere and write naturally. Avoid stilted language • Never write a letter in anger • Don’t make accusations or offensive statements. • Be polite and use good manners.

  14. 2. Use a “You” Attitude • Focus on the benefits to the reader • Use the word “you” rather than “I” • Emphasize the reader’s point of view (you) • Focus on • the interests of • or the advantages to • the reader

  15. Avoid using the words “I”or “we” too often especially at the beginning of a sentence

  16. Examples Avoid: We sell office supplies at a 12 percent discount. Better: You can purchase office supplies at our store at a 12 percent discount.

  17. Which sentence speaks to the reader? Avoid: We designed our software program to operate faster than all others on the market. Better: Your productivity will increase 10 percent when you use our software program.

  18. 3. Be Positive • Make your message appear positive • Maintain the reader’s goodwill by carefully choosing your words and expressions • Change a negative message into a positive one • Tell the reader what you can do instead of what you cannot do • Explain to the read what you will do to correct the mistake, instead of apologizing for the error

  19. Positive vs. Negative Avoid: We cannot ship your order because you did not give us all the necessary information. Better: As soon as you send the additional information, we will be glad to ship your order.

  20. Positive vs. Negative Avoid: I am sorry that your order was shipped to your Chicago office instead of to the New York office. Better: I will ship a replacement order to your New York office immediately so that you will have it by Friday.

  21. Avoid using negative words and expressions. Avoid Use agree appreciate congratulations enjoy glad happy please thank you welcome anxious claim difficult error fear late mistake neglect negligent overdue sorry unhappy

  22. Some words create unpleasant associations! Avoid Use supervised economical unsophisticated disadvantaged bossed cheap ignorant poor

  23. Choose the Correct Words • Using incorrect words is distracting.  • Using words correctly is fundamental to writing effective messages! 

  24. Careful with Words that Sound Alike • accept (v) to receive • except (v) to exclude or leave out (prep) other than • adapt (v) to adjust or alter, to make suitable • adept (adj) skilled • adopt (v) to take as one’s own • advice (n) recommendations, suggestions • advise (v) to give advice or make suggestions

  25. More words that sound alike . . . • affect (v) to influence • effect (n) result (v) to bring about • All ready (adj) prepared • Already (adj) previously • Compliment (v) to praise or flatter • Complement (n) that which completes or makes whole

  26. Even more words that sound alike • ensure (v) to make certain • insure (v) to protect against financial loss • cite (v) to quote or mention • sight (v) to see or to take aim (n) a view or spectacle • site (n) a location

  27. Let’s keep going • farther (adj) at a greater distance (measurable) • further (adj) additional, extending beyond (adv) additional, a greater extent (v) to promote or advance • later (adj) after the proper time • latter (adj) the second of two things mentioned • loose (adj) not fastened • lose (v) to fail to keep or to misplace

  28. We’re not done yet • overdo (v) to exaggerate • overdue (adj) delayed beyond an appointed time • passed (v) to go by • past (n) time gone by or time ended • principal (adj) main, most important (n) a sum of money; administrator • principle (n) rule, law

  29. Words with Similar Meanings • Among - used with three or more objects or persons • Between – used with only two elementsor persons The marketing project was divided among the four new employees in the department. The estate was equally divided between the two sisters

  30. Word with Similar Mean • anxious fearful, worried • eager enthusiastic The students anxiously awaited the results of the scholarship exams. The sales department is eager to hear about the new products.

  31. More Words with Similar Meanings • disinterested impartial, detached • uninterested indifferent, not interested A judge must be a disinterested party. The employees who attended the seminar appeared to be uninterested in the afternoon session.

  32. Similar Meanings • fewer refers to items that can be individually counted • less refers to bulk or volume There are fewer shoppers at the suburban branch of the store. The yield this year is less than expected.

  33. Similar Meanings • good (adj) having the desired or right qualities • well (adv) in a satisfactory manner I read a very good book last week. He is doing very well in the new position.

  34. Similar Meanings • than used in making comparison • then at that time (when) The profit for the current period is greater than last year. Please finish the letters and then begin working on the monthly report.

  35. Similar Meanings • Who replaces the noun he, she, or they as the subject of the sentence • Whom used to take the place of a noun him, her, or them as the object of the sentence Who is planning to attend the lecture tomorrow? With whom are you planning to attend the concert?

  36. Use Nonsexist Language • Sexist language • Implies sexist attitudes • Stereotyped thinking • Creates a negative impression • May cause ill will • Use language that includes both sexes

  37. Avoid Job Stereotypes • Avoid using . . . • Job titles • Occupations • Labels • That indicate job category belonging to one sex • Replace a job title ending in the following: • -man • -ess • Avoid using the following terms: • Woman doctor • Male nurse • Woman lawyer

  38. Avoid Job Stereotypes AvoidUse foreman supervisor policeman police officer salesman salesperson sales representative stewardess flight attendant workman employee, worker, laborer

  39. Use Nonsexist Salutations • When a letter is addressed to a company • When you do not know the gender of the person you are addressing

  40. Nonsexist Salutations • Outdated salutations : • Gentlemen • To Whom It May Concern • Dear Sir or Madam • Acceptable solutions : • Use an attention line • Attention: Sales Manager • Use a salutation with a title • Dear Customer or Dear Human Resource Director • Eliminate both the salutation and the complimentary closing • Use a person’s full name when you don not know the gender • Dear C.H. Kelly

  41. Use Appropriate Pronouns • Nonsexist pronouns can present problems • He, his, him • She, her, hers • Limit the use of the following: • His or her • His/her

  42. Acceptable Pronouns to Avoid Sexist Language • Make the noun plural so you can use the plural pronoun their. Managers should se the standards for the employees in their departments. • Substitute the for the pronoun. A manager should set the standards for all the employees in the department.

  43. Acceptable Pronouns to Avoid Sexist Language 3. Avoid using pronouns by repeating the noun. The manager should set the standards for the employees in the manager’s department. 4. Rewrite the sentence to use a first- or second-person pronoun. As a manager, you should set the standards for the employees in your department.

  44. Acceptable Pronouns to Avoid Sexist Language 5. Rewrite the sentence in the passive voice to eliminate the pronoun. The standards for the employees in a department should be set by the manager. 6. Reword the sentence to eliminate the need for a pronoun. The manager should set the standards for all the department’s employees.

  45. Avoid Using Outdated Words and Jargon • as a matter of fact • beyond the shadow of a doubt • easier said than done • few and far between • get in a rut • in the final analysis • in this day and age • make ends meet • under separate cover

  46. Use words that are fresh, more precise, or more conversational in tone.

  47. Jargon • Technical language associated with a particular industry or profession • Often not understood by individuals outside the field • Legal jargon Computer jargon • chattel baud • compensatory damages byte • demurrer hypertext

  48. Be specific, clear, and concise • Most business people today are extremely busy • Need to use their time wisely • Prefer to read no more than necessary • Effective writer uses as few words as possible • Conveying a clear and complete message • Concentrate on essential facts • Omit needles words/unnecessary detail and info • Avoid meaningless words and phrases

  49. Examples Avoid: I would like to thank you for your assistance with the report. Better: Thank you for your assistance with the report.

  50. Vague vs Specific Vague: You will receive the order soon. Specific: You will receive the order in two weeks.