January 2009
Writing eTips UpWrite Press
Training 2009 Expo

Visit the Training 2009 Expo On Us!

UpWrite Press is exhibiting at the Training 2009 Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 9–10, and we’re handing out free expo passes—a $40 value—to anyone who wants to visit us there. The expo is in the Georgia World Congress Center, Building B, Hall B1. You’ll find us at booth 331.

To redeem your free pass, register with VIPCode EXEP9 onsite or online at www.trainingconference.com. For more information, download the Free Expo Pass pdf document or visit www.trainingconference.com.

We look forward to seeing you at booth 331!

What’s Your Writing Style?

In fashion or decorating, style is easy to define: It’s simply your choice and combination of clothing and accessories, or furniture. In writing, style is similar—it’s the words you choose and the way you put them together to create a unique impact.

A good business writing style is one that sounds like you and conveys your message in a clear, professional manner. Here are some tips to help you create a good style.

  • Avoid short, choppy sentences. See if you can combine short sentences into longer, smoother ones. For example, look at the following passage.

    Product output is currently too low. We plan to streamline our production process. This will improve our line efficiency

    The sentences are all the same length—short—and structured the same way. By combining the ideas, you can make one smooth sentence that says it all.

    We plan to streamline our production process to improve efficiency and raise product output.
  • Use the active voice. The passive voice puts the subject on the receiving end of the action. While the passive voice can be useful, as in meeting minutes, overuse of the style is weak and boring. The sentences below are written in passive voice, with the passive verbs highlighted.

    The workers were instructed by the manufacturer himself.

    The meeting was chaired by the CFO.

    Note how switching to the active voice strengthens the sentences.

    The manufacturer himself instructed the workers.

    The CFO chaired the meeting.
  • Review your word choice. Are your terms appropriate for the reader, or do you tend to use overinflated words that make your writing sound pompous?

    Avoid obfuscation. In other words, be clear.

Keep in mind your goal of presenting a clear message with confidence, and your personal style will always come through.

You can find more information about creating a clear writing style on pages 85–96 of Business and Sales Correspondence, part of the EZ Series of business writing materials from UpWrite Press.

   

Our Staff Writers’ Blog

Get the latest insights into writing from our staff writers. In December, Dave Kemper wrote “It’s as easy as 1-2-3…or is it?” while Joyce Lee discussed planning a presentation as well as organizing its introduction and organizing its body. Be sure to visit our blog for these and other great articles!

That Little Extra:

Another year gone already! How’d you do on your 2008 resolutions? Did you follow through on your promises to keep your personal records straight and up to date? If you did, congratulations, but if you’re like many of us, your organization slipped now and then. Avoid that problem in 2009 by starting now to organize your personal tax records for next year. Set up your file system for your 2009 bank, business expense, and income records, and make a resolution to keep them up to date.

One good way to stay organized is to mark a calendar reminder on the last day of each month. On that day, ask yourself if you went over your monthly bank statement and checked your credit card billings against your receipts. Make sure you clearly marked and filed any receipts or records from the month that you will need next year. Doing a little at a time assures you won’t be scrambling at this time next year to get your records together. Your accountant will thank you, and you’ll sleep a lot easier.

   

Monthly Drawing for Facebook Fans

Throughout 2009, UpWrite Press will hold monthly drawings for our Facebook fans. Each month we’ll host an online event on our Facebook page, and everyone who RSVP’s will be entered to win a free copy of Write for Business and an emPOWERED Job Aide. At month’s end, we'll announce the winner here and on our weblog, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Share the wealth and encourage your friends to become UpWrite Press fans on Facebook today.

Join Our Writers’ Forum

We invite you to be part of our monthly eTips. Each month we pose a question or problem regarding the use of writing in business. Send us your reply along with your name, your company’s name, and a brief description of what you do. We will print the best responses, and you will get your name out to our more than 6,000 subscribers! (We reserve the right to edit your remarks for fit and suitability.)

   

January Writers’ Forum Topic

How important is writing to your business? Do you see that importance changing as the economy fluctuates?

Email your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write “January Writers’ Forum” in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

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Coming in Feburary

Writing the Sales Pitch

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eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2009,
UpWrite Press. All rights reserved. Visit www.upwritepress.com.