"Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret." —Matthew Arnold
GSB Study: Half of All E-Mails Misunderstood
A study at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business reports that the tone of e-mail messages is misunderstood roughly half the time. This happens despite the fact that senders feel 80 percent confident of their writing and recipients 90 percent confident of their reading. Learn more.
The one tip I would pass along to my new hires (besides correct grammar and punctuation) is organization. Regardless of the type of communication (correspondence, newsletters, instruction manuals, reports, etc.) all should include an introduction that identifies the purpose, a body that communicates the main thrust or "meat" of the communication, and a conclusion that provides a brief summary leading to a decision or a solution in response to the message.
Bud Bilanich, who calls himself "The Common Sense Guy," also suggested several helpful tips. We especially liked the following:
Write the way you speak. Say what you mean simply and directly.
Use the active voice. Say "I recommend," not "It is recommended that. . . ."
Use simple, declarative sentences. Sentences constructed in a subject-verb-object format get your ideas across clearly.
Proofread what you have written. Spelling and grammar-check programs can miss errors. A spell-checker might change a misspelling to an entirely different word. If you write the wrong word (their instead of there), the program might miss it entirely.
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What's the quickest way to improve your business writing skills? Personal coaching may be the answer.
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Our personal coaching delivers real results with minimal investment in time and money. We start with your own writing samples. Our professional writing coaches study and assess them. Then we contact you at the time and place of your choosing and set up a teleconference that gives you concentrated, personalized attention. We discuss your strengths and weaknesses—no scripted observations. We show you how to improve your business writing skills by capturing your ideas, with your style and voice, in the most powerful, clear, and engaging way possible. We show you how to write faster with fewer changes. Plus, we give you strategies for improvement that you can use beyond the session.
Personal coaching is today's "executive summary" for effective business writing. For more information
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