Writing Style – The Readers of Business Documents

We all know the adage write to the reader. And we all agree it makes perfect sense. Why then do most business writers neglect their readers when they prepare an email, a letter, a proposal or a report? I maintain it is because they don’t really understand who today’s readers are. Think about it. Would […]

Writing Style – A Man of Adverbs

I met a young man who by his conversation and dress gave the impression of someone who could easily climb a career ladder. Then, I read some of his reports and emails. For the most part, they were a mind dump of things he found interesting in his job. Not only did they require the […]

Writing Style – The alphabet soup of emails

During a recent workshop, I gave the participants an opportunity to vent their pet peeves regarding emails. One manager said he was not comfortable with staff members including personal remarks in their messages. He didn’t consider it professional, and it could be construed as harassment. The other participants looked blank until someone figured out what […]

Writing Style – I can no longer write with a pen or pencil!

Whenever a business person says he or she can no longer write with a pen or pencil, I automatically know two things about them. One, they edit their documents on their computer screens. Two, their work will most likely contain typos, extra words, or missing words. It is extremely difficult to edit or to proofread […]

Writing Style – To Justify or Not to Justify

I recently received an email from someone curious about the rules for justifying reports. Justification relates to the alignment of text. When the text is aligned at both margins of a document, it is called “fully justified.” When it is aligned only on the left margin, it is said to have a “ragged right” margin. […]

Minute Taking – What to record/what to ignore

A woman in Florida asked, “Not receiving proper training, I’ve been resorting to recording verbatim minutes which can take hours, sometimes days. I’ve come to realize this is unnecessary and impractical … When there is a discussion, do I need to include who is commenting on what?” This is a very good question – and […]

Writing Style – A Business Case in the Real World

In today’s workplace, it is a wonderful skill to be able to write a business case. In fact, many business schools spend weeks training their students how to write a comprehensive proposal that covers all angles: Situational Assessment, Problem Statement, Project Description and Objectives, Solution Description, Cost and Benefit Analysis, Financial Assessment, Implementation Timetable, Critical […]

Writing Style – One Space or Two

Whenever I conduct a grammar workshop, a participant will invariably ask, “How many spaces should you leave after a period?” The answer is one — for a computer. (You use two spaces after a period when working on a typewriter.) It is amazing how concerned some people are about this issue. Frankly, I don’t seriously […]

Email Tip – Organizing Letters and Emails

How do people read letters and emails? Remember today’s readers are skimmers, and they want key information quickly. They also try to quickly prioritize a message to determine how much time they need to spend on it.??Because letters have been around so long, people are familiar with their layout. Busy people tend to read the […]

Email Tip – Closing an Email

Karen’s question: “I receive numerous emails daily from staff and other community contacts who end their messages with ‘cheers’ or ‘thanks much.’ Whatever happened to closing with ‘sincerely’ or a simple ‘thank you’? What is the appropriate way of ending an internal email or one received by a fellow service worker from outside your business?” BizWritingTip response: […]