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Business Writing For Dummies

Canavor, Natalie


3. Auflage April 2021
432 Seiten, Softcover

ISBN: 978-1-119-69669-8
John Wiley & Sons

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Learn how to write for the results you want every time, in every medium!

Do you wish you could write better? In today's business world, good writing is key to success in just about every endeavor. Writing is how you connect with colleagues, supervisors, clients, partners, employees, and people you've never met. No wonder strong writers win the jobs, promotions and contracts. Business Writing For Dummies shows you, from the ground up, how to create persuasive messages with the right content and language every time--messages your readers will understand and act on.

This friendly guide equips you with a step-by-step method for planning what to say and how to say it in writing. This sytem empowers you to handle every writing challenge with confidence, from emails to proposals, reports to resumes, presentations to video scripts, blogs to social posts, websites to books. Discover down-to-earth techniques for sharpening your language and correcting your own writing problems. Learn how to adapt content, tone and style for each medium and audience. And learn to use every message you write to build better relationships and solve problems, while getting to the "yes" you want.

Whether you're aiming to land your first job or are an experienced specialist in your field, Business Writing For Dummies helps you build your communication confidence and stand out.
* Present yourself with authority and credibility
* Understand and use the tools of persuasion
* Communicate as a remote worker, freelancer, consultant or entrepreneur
* Strategize your online presence to support your goals
* Bring out the best in people and foster team spirit as a leader
* Prepare to ace interviews, pitches and confrontations

Good communication skills, particularly writing, are in high demand across all industries. Use this book to gain the edge you need to promote your own success, now and down the line as your career goals evolve.

Introduction 1

About This Book 3

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 4

Beyond the Book 5

Where to Go from Here 5

Part 1: Winning with Writing 7

Chapter 1: Making Writing Your Weapon for Success 9

Putting Strategic Writing to Work for You 10

Planning and Structuring Every Message 13

Applying the Goal-Plus-Audience Strategy to More Media 18

Succeeding with email, letters and business documents 18

Writing to present yourself powerfully 19

Writing online: From websites to blogs to tweets 19

Leveraging your writing skills 20

Remembering to think globally 20

Chapter 2: Planning Your Message Every Time 23

Adopting the Plan-Draft-Edit Principle 24

Fine-Tuning Your Plan: Your Goals and Audience 25

Defining your goal 25

Defining your audience 27

Brainstorming the best content for your purpose 33

Writing to groups and strangers 36

Imagining your readers 36

Making People Care 38

Connecting instantly with your reader 38

Focusing on what's-in-it-for-me 39

Persuading with benefits, not features 40

Finding the concrete, limiting the abstract 41

Choosing Your Written Voice: Tone 43

Sound positive, never negative 44

Align tone with the occasion, relationship and culture 45

Writing as your authentic self 46

Using Relationship-Building Techniques 48

Showing active caring and respect 48

Personalizing what you write 49

Framing messages with "you" not "I" 50

Chapter 3: Making Your Writing Work: The Basics 53

Stepping into Twenty-First-Century Writing Style 54

Writing to be understood 54

Applying readability guidelines 55

Finding the right rhythm 59

Achieving a conversational tone 61

Energizing Your Language 63

Relying on everyday wording 63

Choosing reader-friendly words 65

Focusing on the real and concrete 66

Finding action verbs 67

Crafting comparisons to help readers 68

Employing Reader-Friendly Graphic Techniques 70

Building in white space 71

Choosing a typeface 71

Keeping colors simple 73

Adding effective graphics 73

Breaking space up with sidebars, boxes and lists 74

Chapter 4: Self-Editing: Professional Ways to Improve Your Work 77

Changing Hats: From Writer to Editor 78

Choosing a way to edit 78

Distancing yourself from what you write 80

Reviewing the Big and Small Pictures 82

Assessing content success 82

Assessing your language 83

Avoiding telltale up-down-up inflection 85

Looking for repeat word endings 86

Pruning prepositions 89

Cutting all non-contributor words 91

Moving from Passive to Active 94

Thinking "action" 94

Trimming "there is" and "there are" 95

Cutting the haves and have nots 96

Using the passive deliberately 96

Sidestepping Jargon, Clichés and Extra Modifiers 97

Reining in jargon 97

Cooling the clichés 99

Minimizing modifiers 100

Energizing What You Write 101

Chapter 5: Fixing Common Writing Problems 103

Organizing Your Document 104

Paragraphing for logic 104

Building with subheads 106

Working with transitions 107

Working in lists: Numbers and bulleting 109

Catching Common Mistakes 113

Fine-tuning punctuation 114

Using comma sense 114

More punctuation tools 116

Using "however" correctly 118

Weighing "which" versus "that" 119

Considering "who" versus "that" 120

Choosing "who" versus "whom" 120

Beginning with "and" or "but" 120

Using sentence fragments 121

Ending with prepositions 121

Fielding Pronoun Challenges 122

Match nouns and pronouns 122

Be mindful of personal pronouns 124

Spot common pronoun errors 126

Fixing Common Word Confusions 127

It's or its 127

Their, there and they're 127

Your, yours and you're 128

Affect versus effect 129

Reviewing and Proofreading: The Final Check 129

Checking the big picture 129

Proofreading your work 131

Cutting to fit 131

Creating your personal writing improvement guide 133

What about my personal style? 134

Part 2: Applying Your Skills to Business Messages and Documents 135

Chapter 6: Writing Email and Letters That Get Results 137

Fast-Forwarding Your Agenda with Email 138

Starting Strong 140

Writing subject lines that pull people in 140

Using appropriate salutations 143

Drafting a strong email lead 143

Building Content That Achieves Your Goals 145

Clarifying what you want 145

Assessing what matters to your audience 146

Determining the best substance 149

Structuring Your Middle Ground 150

Closing Strong 152

Polishing Your Email 153

Monitoring length and breadth 153

Simplifying style 154

Going short: Words, sentences, paragraphs 154

Using graphic techniques to promote clarity 155

Using the signature block 157

Using Email for Marketing 158

Composing Effective Letters 161

Chapter 7: Creating High-Impact Business Materials 169

Creating Valued Reports 169

Writing activity reports 170

Reporting project results 175

Fast-Tracking Your Proposals 176

Writing formal proposals 177

Writing informal proposals 179

Writing a business plan 182

Applying for grants 183

Writing an Executive Summary 185

Giving perspective to complex material 186

Determining what matters 187

Putting headlines to work 189

Writing Tips for All Business Documents 190

Part 3: Writing to Present Yourself Effectively 193

Chapter 8: Building Persuasion into Your Writing 195

Connecting with Your Readers 195

Drawing from psychology 196

Communicating with conviction 197

Strategizing in Many Dimensions 198

Centering on benefits 198

Creating a friendly and reasonable tone 199

Giving people time 200

Planning Your Persuasive Message 201

Step 1: Clarify your goal to yourself 201

Step 2: Characterize your audience 201

Step 3: Determine the best content 202

Step 4: Create action headlines that relate to your audience 203

Step 5: Develop a compelling lead that connects

content and reader 203

Step 6: Draft the rest of the message 203

Using Persuasive Language 204

Choosing words that persuade 204

Structuring material to support persuasion 206

Knowing what language to choose and what to avoid 208

Finding Your Core Business Message 209

Searching for true value 211

Making your case in business terms 214

Finding, Shaping and Using Stories 215

Finding your business story 217

Building your story 218

Story-writing tips 220

Translating Words into Visuals 221

Chapter 9: Speaking Well for Yourself 225

Building Your Elevator Speech 226

Defining your goal 227

Defining your audience 228

Strategizing your content 228

Using your mini-speech 231

Representing your organization and yourself 232

Preparing and Giving Presentations 233

Planning what to say 234

Crafting your presentations with writing 238

Integrating visuals 240

Standing and delivering 241

Composing Talking Points for Live Interaction 242

Chapter 10: Writing for the Job Hunt 245

Knowing and Expressing Your Value 246

Pinpointing your personal strengths 247

Pulling your ideas together 249

Assessing All Your Skills 250

Writing Résumés That Win the Race 253

Choosing a format 254

Sidestepping presentation problems 256

Styling Language for Résumés 257

Using keywords: An essential 258

Writing the summary statement 259

Building your work history section 261

Showing off strengths 262

Succeeding with Cover Letters 265

Planning a cover letter 265

Opening with pizzazz 266

Networking with Messages 268

Requesting informational interviews 268

Saying thank you 270

Part 4: Writing For Online Media 273

Chapter 11: Writing for the Digital World 275

Positioning Yourself Online 276

Understanding Visual Platforms 277

Choosing Your Platforms 277

Breaking down your goals 280

Finding your audiences 281

Writing for Digital Media 284

Loosening up 285

Keeping language simple and clear 286

Communicating credibility 287

Cutting hype, maxing evidence 288

Devising nonlinear strategies 289

Incorporating interactive strategies 290

Using Social Media Platforms 292

Engaging with social media 292

Exploring content ideas 294

Networking with Twitter 295

Planning your Twitter program 296

Guidelines for tweeting 297

Working with LinkedIn 298

Chapter 12: Creating Content for Your Online Life 303

Creating a Website from the Ground Up 303

Shaping your site to goals and audience 305

Planning a basic website 307

Creating the site structure 309

Assembling and writing a home page 310

Writing the About Us page 312

Writing the inside pages 313

Content tips for websites 315

Writing tips for websites 315

Graphic tips for websites 315

Creating a Blog 317

Choosing your best subject 319

Developing tone and style 321

Drawing from the journalist's toolkit 321

Creating magnetic headlines 324

Organizing with progressive subheads 325

Considering articles for publication 325

Telling Your Story with Video 326

Using video to accomplish goals 327

Scripting your video 328

Producing video step-by-step 329

Sharing expertise with video 333

Introducing yourself with video 334

Part 5: Leveraging Your Writing Skills 337

Chapter 13: Writing for the Workplace: Managing Up, Down and Sideways 339

Communicating as a Manager 340

Relating to your team members 342

Writing to inspire and motivate 343

Delivering bad news 344

Writing good news messages 350

Criticizing with kindness 352

Writing requests and giving orders 353

Writing to Manage Up 354

Guarding your tone 357

Avoiding the blame game 359

Making it easy to respond 360

Writing to Colleagues, Collaborators and Teammates 361

Using Backup Memos 362

Language for Communicating Sideways 363

Using Turnaround Techniques 364

Communicating with a Team of Equals 366

Chapter 14: Writing for Entrepreneurs and Virtual Workers 369

Communicating as a Virtual Worker 370

Teaming Techniques and Practices 371

Using Everyday Communication Tools: Email and Group Chat 374

Making email more personal 374

Using team chat to your advantage 375

Using teleconferencing effectively 376

Writing as an Entrepreneur 379

Charting your communication plan 379

Pitching the media for free publicity 382

Writing Challenges for the Entrepreneur 386

Introducing yourself in writing 386

Writing to pitch your services 390

Creating letters that get you in 392

Part 6: The Part of Tens 401

Chapter 15: Ten (or So) Ways to Grow Your Personal Power with Writing 403

Use Writing to Problem-Solve 403

Write a "Pro" and "Con" List 404

Handwrite to Spark Creativity 404

Write to Take Charge of Your Emotions 405

Take Notes about Your Work 405

Take the Meeting Notes 406

Take Notes of Your Anytime Ideas 406

Prepare for Confrontation 406

Write a Long-Range Career Plan 407

Create Profiles of Your VIPs 407

Write Gratefully 408

Chapter 16: Ten Steps to Writing Your Own Book 409

Envision Your Finished Book 410

Create an Elevator Speech for Your Book 411

Think about Marketing -- Early 411

Break the Writing into Pieces 412

Create a Folder System 413

Assess the Practicalities 413

Write a Proposal 414

Draft the Copy 415

Liven Up Your Content 416

Check Out Self-Publishing Options 417

Index 418
Natalie Canavor's career spans national magazine editing, journalism, corporate communications and public relations. Her writing for business media, professional audiences and The New York Times have won dozens of national and international awards. She has taught advanced writing seminars for NYU and conducts frequent workshops.