September 2009  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips
keys

Four Key Forms of Business Writing

Most business documents can be categorized in one
of four key forms:

  1. correspondence
  2. reports
  3. proposals
  4. instructions

You can save time and effort - and improve effectiveness - by understanding how to best approach each of these writing tasks. Visit the "key forms" section of our online Writing Resources and download our free PDF resource today!

   

July Winner in Our Monthly Facebook Drawing

Congratulations to "Business Writing with UpWrite Press" Facebook fan Wanda Lang! She's the June winner of a free copy of Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing & Communicating in the Workplace and the emPOWERED Business Writing Job Aide.

You could be our next winner. We're giving away a book and a Job Aide each month. To qualify, just become a Facebook fan of "Business Writing with UpWrite Press" and RSVP to our event invitation each month.

table

Creating Effective Tables

A table can be an important visual aid in many business documents. A well-designed table allows the reader to quickly make sense out of figures and other data, or to easily compare different factors. Here are a few design suggestions to help you create tables that can be quickly and easily understood.

  • Plan a logical order for columns and rows. You can present figures in any order, so decide on the most sensible and helpful. Set your data in alphabetical, ascending, or descending order, or divide it by category, time, or place. Just be sure your listed items are consistent and logical, and that all data is relevant and connected.
  • Clearly organize the information. Include a heading for each column and a label for each row to help the reader grasp the table. Separate the headings and labels visually, using color or format. One simple trick to improve readability is to shade every other row, helping the eye to distinguish each.
  • Be sure your data looks professional. Round off numbers to the nearest whole (unless a precise decimal is required). Align columns of numbers along the right (or at the decimal point) for a neat appearance. If the table's information includes text, use parallel grammatical construction for consistency.
  • Place your table properly. Insert the table as near as possible to the text it represents.
  • Make the table visually effective. Keep all information brief, clean, and clear, avoiding odd fonts or cutesy graphics. Make sure your table is large enough to be easily read, and include a caption that clearly explains the table's purpose.

Follow these tips and your table will add clarity and professionalism to your document.

You can find more about creating effective tables beginning on page 165 in Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing & Communicating in the Workplace, just one of the handy business writing materials from UpWrite Press.

That Little Extra:

The keyboard has become the writing tool of choice, making good handwriting a thing of the past - or so it seems. But be careful not to lose the personal touch of good penmanship. If you find that your handwriting is sinking deeper and deeper into the realm of "chicken scratches," start practicing again. Write out your informal messages, notes, or memos on occasion. A handwritten note offers a touch of humanity in our increasingly electronic world.

   

September Writers' Forum Topic

Here's your chance to tell us how your work environment operates. Send us your responses to the forum question below, and we'll print the most interesting in our eTips Mid-Month Mini. Use your best writing skills: we reserve the right to edit for content and language.

When it comes to writing, what's your body rhythm? In other words, what time of day do you get your best inspiration and do your best work, with your brain hitting on all cylinders? And what do you do when you have to write something immediately, but your mind and body are saying, "I'm not ready yet"? Share your secrets for making your mind work when you want it to.

E-mail your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write "September Writers' Forum" in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

We Want to Hear from You

This is your chance to be part of the UpWrite Press newsletters and blogs. What writing topics do you want to hear about? Have you any favorite communications tips you'd like to share? What words do you constantly mix up? Send us your ideas, and you could see your name in Writing eTips or the Mid-Month Mini.

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Write for Business Blog

Insights from our writing staff. August posts included:

Staff Articles

Using the Right Word

Writing Rules

 

Visit our blog for these and other great articles!

Featured Product

Based on the seven traits of good writing, the award-winning Write for Business includes guidelines, models, checklists, and templates to save time with all your business writing.

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Coming in September

Using Graphs Effectively

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