GUIDE TO BETTER BUSINESS WRITING PDF
Praise for The Graph i c Designer's Gu ide to Better Bus i ness Writi n g º 7ÀˆÌˆ˜} ÊˆÃÊ>ÊÛˆÌ> Ê«>ÀÌÊœvÊiÛiÀÞÌ ˆ˜}ÊÜiÊ. better banking guide for business business banking business banking fees and to offer this business writing guide as part of a series of information guides. Hbr Guide To Better Business Writing By Bryan A Garner cittadelmonte.info how-information-gives-you-competitive-advantage[28/11/
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Editorial Reviews. Review. “Garner is a leading authority on writing and with this book he shows the importance of good business writing to save time, money. Overworked managers with little time might think that improving their writing is a tedious author of The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing. Strunk and White, Elements of Style, Bryan A. Garner. HBR Guide to Better Business Writing. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, Pp. xx, .
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Garner, gives you the tools you need to express your ideas clearly and persuasively so clients, colleagues, stakeholders, and partners will get behind them. This book will help you: Read more Read less.
That showed her nervousness. I hired the other one. While some of you may have cultivated a personal image as a student that will generally serve you well in business, some of you will need a makeover in some cases, an extreme makeover for the professional world of work. Body Language Personal mannerisms, eye contact, the way you enter a room are all components of body language.
Because we are often unaware of the messages we send through body language, modification is a challenging task, but it is one well worth tackling. Ideally, your body language should reinforce the message you want to convey.
In an interview you want to show your interest and eagerness to be hired, but nervousness and fearfulness can subvert your message. Do you tend to cross your arms in front of your chest when you are feeling fearful?
A perspective employer or client is likely to interpret your body language as a sign that you are not open to the message that he is sending or that you are reluctant to interact.
So be aware of your body language: Your eyes also reveal much about your thoughts and feelings. In our culture, although not necessarily in others, eye contact shows respect. When you look away or close your eyes, you give the appearance of being bored or distracted. Voice The way you speak can either support or contradict your words. That is because the speed, volume, pitch, and tone of your voice each carries its own nonverbal message. Nervousness or a perfectionist streak may be influencing your speed, but you will be perceived as self-absorbed.
If you speak very softly, your message may not be taken seriously, or else you are liable to be interrupted or ignored. If your voice is very loud, you might come across as arrogant, insensitive, or insecure. A good way to fine-tune your speaking delivery is to ask a friend to help you rehearse in a mock interview.
Do you mumble at the end of your sentences? Do you drag out your words at the beginning of a thought sequence? Knowing your patterns is the first step to making adjustments.
The Time Factor In our North American culture, being on time for appointments and returning phone calls promptly convey underlying messages of respect, courtesy, and a willingness to conduct business. Also, punctuality and promptness are aspects of business etiquette that indicate a concern for schedules and deadlines to come. You also might be seen as potentially unreliable. Time also may indicate power positioning. Just remember that these nonverbal messages have more of a chance of offending than they do of impressing the receiver.
Most successful designers believe in punctuality as a sign of professionalism. Even if you have natural abilities as a great listener, you can improve your listening skills by reading on, if only to ascertain where in the listening process you need to work a little harder. Simply recognizing that listening is a process that can be broken down into stages will help you to improve through practice.
First, hearing and listening are not the same. Second, listening is a process with a series of stages. Experts have been complaining about the decline of the modern attention span, and when you consider the complexity of the stages of listening, you can understand why. Effective listening is a process consisting of five successive stages: For example, when you meet with a client in a central office where other activities are going on, you may hear a lot of background noise voices, the drone of a fax machine that interferes with your attempts to listen to what your client is saying.
Your perceptions are influenced by your background and life experiences: Or you are so eager to prove your own merit that you forget to listen.
Practicing can change your listening patterns. When attempting to listen actively, these two questions should help you keep on track: Focusing is dependent upon your individual attention span.
Your main listening challenges are: Animationist Phil Opp recommends maintaining eye contact to help you focus on what the client is saying. Your challenge is not to get frustrated or panicked when you lose your focus. A good thing to remember is that everyone loses focus. Our brains avoid information overload and overstimulation by disengaging, regenerating, and turning back on. When you catch yourself drifting, just jump in and refocus. The first way you can begin to help yourself focus better is to try to notice your patterns of shutting down.
When do you tune out? How long do you remain tuned out? And are you able to refocus? That is, do you tune back in and pick up the thread of the conversation or speech or do you fall into frustration, boredom, or fantasy, never to return? Noticing your listening habits can help you make constructive adjustments. In addition to noticing when you tune out this gets easier the more you try it , you can help yourself to focus by following these strategies: This stage requires your active participation.
For example, you meet with a new client who claims to have ample design experience and listen to him describe his needs. As you are listening, you realize that he actually has little or no design background. This is when you begin to figure out what concepts to define for him, how to offer your explanations to help him save face, and what independent research you need to do to make the project a success.
In this stage of listening, you: Finally, you are ready to respond to the speaker with more than requests for clarification. Phrase your response in positive terms solutions, problem-solving, etc. Be prepared. Choose your words carefully according to your audience analysis. Keep in mind your purpose—usually to persuade or inform in business communications.
Then organize your remarks for greatest impact.
Speak up. Before your audience can perceive, focus on, and evaluate your message, they have to be able to hear you. From the very beginning of your conversation or presentation, make sure that you are speaking loudly and slowly enough to get through to the listener.
But strive to sound natural by varying the pitch of your voice and speed of your delivery. Respond to the feedback. If people in your audience at a sales presentation are checking their watches or cell phones, make your presentation more interactive to draw them back to you. Close by letting your listener s know what you want. Do you want to set up an appointment, get a job offer, or make a sale?
Ask overtly and offer the information necessary for your listener to follow through. Business writing is a challenge, but a necessary one in the design workplace.
You already know more about good business writing than you think you do. Here are some more analogies between good design principles and good writing principles. This is a question that obviously relates to the nature of the audience. Who are the people in the audience? What do they know? What do they desire? The job is empathizing sufficiently with them in order to shape the message to accommodate their nature. Finally, the question emerges: Reader analysis must come first in the writing process because it informs the selection and organization of the content as well as the style and tone of the successfully completed message.
The process of design is used to bring order from chaos and randomness. Order is good for readers, who can more easily make sense of an ordered message. All of these stages focus on making the message organized, clear, and logical to the reader. It tells all it needs to tell and no more.
Principle 1: Here are the key questions you should ask when analyzing your reader: Who will be reading this? These questions will help you to write in an appropriate tone and vocabulary.
Is there a gatekeeper who may or may not pass on my message to the decision-maker? Or will this go to various potential investors? Will I be writing to someone on my level, above me, or below me on the ladder? A principal, partner, or supervisor? Someone whose work I supervise? Do we share the same language, expressions, customs, and values?
Figure this out to create a message that is easy to follow. To what degree do I need to write nontechnical explanations, comparisons, and summaries? Will I have to explain past decisions and contractual conditions? Should I write an introductory paragraph or clause that briefs him on recent occurrences? Is she a busy client or distracted supervisor who needs a tactful reminder about information she might not recall? What are the benefits of approving, complying, or responding quickly?
What objections do I expect? Some messages contain less-than-welcome news. See page for finessing strategies. What do I want my reader to do after reading my message? Spell it out. Be clear, direct, and specific about your expectations. In other words, you took your design through a process of planning, drafting, and revision to maximize its impact according to your intent.
Effective business writing works the same way. A simple sales letter, for instance, takes a lot of work to write well. Designer Mark Cain agrees. Dump thoughts down, get the flow, and then put in the sales copy. Following that most important first step are six more stages. Decide what, if anything, you need to research.
See page 35 for research strategies. Choose your most appropriate writing format. Begin setting down your thoughts and ideas. We all have different preferences for the beginning stage of writing.
Here are four of the most common ways to quick-start your drafts.
In this method, you start writing words and phrases from the center of the page, outward. Write related ideas, and details, and connect them in clustered groups. The advantages of clustering are its encouragement of nonlinear thinking and its focus on the visual aspects of the writing process you can see what ideas are related. Just start listing your thoughts in the order they come to mind. Write fragments of sentences or single words or phrases. The idea is to record it all. Keep the ideas coming.
Later you can decide what items to keep. Give yourself about ten minutes for this activity, and then take a break. When you return to your list, review it, and decide what needs deleting or combining. And that can help you loosen up and get on with your business. Classifying and prioritizing your ideas in an outline is another way to begin your writing.
You can be traditional by using Roman and Arabic numerals to denote a hierarchy of ideas. Or, if you prefer, make up your own notations to subordinate some ideas to others. Outlining works well for large-scope writing—reports and proposals—where you need to keep track of many different categories and details. See page for further discussion of outlining.
Maybe some of you have no patience with the generative writing activities listed above. We have no intention of standing in your way or criticizing a method that works for you. But we need to caution you about two pitfalls that come with the rough draft method. However, refrain from sending that message out into the world without taking the time to revise and edit it.
Revision and editing are two different activities, described later in this chapter. Instead, draft your message as a separate document.
Then, let it rest while you take a break. Draft your message. Your goal here is to sort your major ideas into an order that makes sense to your reader. In business writing, that means getting directly to the main point in your first sentence or paragraph. Your introduction should address two points: I know that you are in the same industry, looking for those same types of results.
Use paragraphs to separate the main points. Most business letters and memos are no more than a page long, although some can be longer than that. Revise your draft. Revision refers to re-envisioning what you have drafted in relation to your purpose and reader analysis. When you revise, ask yourself if your draft is accomplishing the goals you set out to fulfill when you sat down to write in the first place.
Here are six categories to consider when revising your writing: Revise for organization. Revise for conciseness. Find synonyms—other words or phrases that mean the same thing. Use the thesaurus on your word processing program or pick up the book version and keep it handy for varying your language. Revise for clarity. Revise for layout. This should be a snap for designers, but too often we come across correspondence that has the words crammed together on the top of the page or where all margin definition is lost.
Frame your words with blank space the way you might frame your images. Revise for tone. Edit your message. After all revisions are made, proofread your message to correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and typos.
Proofreading still needs the human touch. Good business writing gets the message across clearly, completely, and accurately.
The best writing can be described as: Specific Let the reader know the particular purpose of your message up front. Here are sample first sentences: Accurate Proofread your message before you send it out. Yes, this includes e-mails and text messages! Make sure that all of your numbers and facts have been doublechecked. Review for typos and other careless mistakes. Complete All of the necessary information is included. An easy way to check your own writing for completeness is to answer the six journalistic questions who, what, when, where, why, and how.
No matter what kind of business message you are writing, you should always include: Provide clues by backing up main ideas with supporting statements and details. Start a new paragraph when you introduce a new idea. Set off sections of a report or long message with headings. See pages — and for specific advice. Business writing is not long-winded. The challenge is to find a balance between completeness and conciseness.
See pages 14— The answers to your analysis will determine your tone, choice of words, and format. I send notes to designers, clients, and suppliers, and then I taskmanage the fallout from these messages. I send persuasive e-mails, abrupt e-mails, congratulatory e-mails, and friendly e-mails.
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I e-mail direction to our designers, convey ideas to clients, and often sort out my ideas in written form. Words are a part of our arsenal I did not make a conscious choice to write as much as I do.
It was something I learned to do out of necessity. I spend a large part of my day writing briefs, rationales, proposals, general correspondence, or even copy for one of our projects. I will likely never be a writer, but at very least, I am not afraid of using language as my work demands.
Design is not solely visual. Those who believe it is make an unconscious decision to confine themselves solely to craft. This limits these individuals from growing and taking on more complex and broad challenges.
If we want to be taken seriously, we had best approach all forms of language with the same reverence we bring to visual literacy. LETTERS No matter how they are delivered e-mail attachment, fax, or snail mail , letters are an important communication medium in the business world.
A signed letter is more formal and considered to be more official than a memo or e-mail message. Frankly, many businesses are careless in the ways they send out direct and other mailings that look almost like letters, but are missing key components like a date or signature.
Rely on the good models in this book, instead. When it comes to formatting your business letters, the easiest one and the one we prefer is a full-block. What this means is that all elements of the letter are flush left.
Otherwise, your clients or potential employers may very well react negatively to your careless writing. Readers expect to find certain information in the same place in each letter. Omissions or misplacement sends an underlying message of chaotic thinking. Save your originality for artistic projects.
Letters are instantly recognized because of their conventional visual parts, which are laid out on the page in a prescribed way. See page 27 for a sample letter. The following list breaks down the parts of a letter in the correct sequence from top to bottom. Return Address.
Date Line. Without exception, letters must be dated in order to document the sequence of a paper trail and to provide crucial information in case a letter is considered a legally binding document. Write the date two lines below the letterhead in this order: International firms prefer to place the day first, followed by the month, and then the year 15 February without commas.
Inside Address. Two lines below the date line, the name and address of the recipient of your letter is written in the same order you will write on the envelope—the name, title if any , company if any , street address, city, state, and ZIP code. Specify the country if the letter is going out of the United States. Single-space and do not use any punctuation at the ends of the lines.
If not, check the Web site, or call the company or association be sure to ask for the current name, correct spelling, and title.
You can abbreviate courtesy titles Ms. This gives your letter the awkward appearance of a mechanical mail-merge rather than the formal but personalized look you are seeking to achieve. However, there is an exception to this rule. You ought to try to find out the name of the person you are addressing through phone inquiries and Internet research.
In that case, do as you have been advised. If what you need to say takes only a few lines, then, by all means, the body of your letter should be a few lines long. If you have much to say, then your letter may be three or more paragraphs, and possibly be written on two pages. We discuss style and tone later in this chapter, but here are a few strategies to remember while you write.
Include an important or persuasive detail in the first paragraph. Complimentary Close. Skip two spaces beneath the body of your letter. Only the first word is capitalized.
Place a comma at the end of the complimentary close. Traditional examples are: Type your name four spaces beneath the complimentary close. The quadruple space gives you enough room to sign your name in ink.
If your name is used by both males and females Pat, Alex or if you go by initials B. Worth , you may use a courtesy title Ms. Worth or Mr. Alex Conroy. This lets your reader know how to address you in return. Your business or professional title may be placed either on the same line as your name, separated by a comma, or directly below your name without a comma. Optional Parts of a Letter Use the following parts for appropriate situations.
Reference Initials. If one person has dictated a letter and another has transcribed it, use reference initials two spaces beneath signature. Enclosure s Line. When you are using a letter to cover one or more other documents, note the name s at the bottom of your memo in an enclosure line Enclosure: Copy Reference.
At the bottom of the page, note the names of the person or people receiving a copy of your letter. You might copy your attorney to make her aware of a claim you are mailing, for instance cc: Sonia Chavez, Attorney.
Sometimes you will want to send a blind copy, meaning you send a copy to someone but do not wish your reader to know this.
In such a case, no notice is made, but you will make that notation on your own copy. For example, your copy will include bcc: Ray Johnston. Cathy E. In addition, it helps make international correspondence quicker and easier, allowing for differences in time and work schedules. Because e-mail is convenient, quick, and familiar as a means of communication, you will sometimes be tempted to send off a message without giving it enough thought. You still need to follow all the stages of business writing practices before you send e-mail.
Like other business correspondence, good business e-mail must be concise, well-organized, accurate, and appropriate. Here are some issues on which to check yourself when creating e-mails for business: So be sure you have a professional and easily identifiable e-mail name as part of your address. Otherwise your message might not be retrieved. Or respected—too many recent college graduates retain the whimsical or—shall we say—silly names they created back in junior high or grade school.
In fact, it may be viewed as junk mail and discarded unopened. If you leave this line blank, your message might go unread.
Recipients scan the subject line to decide whether to read a message immediately, save it for later, or, if there is no recognizable subject line, discard it without reading.
This means that it reads on the screen and prints out like a memo. However, many people feel more comfortable starting their message with a first name and ending it with their own name or some informal closing. This information will automatically appear at the bottom of your e-mail messages.
First, check that your recipient has adequate hardware and compatible software to view and save the attachment. MEMOS When you write a message to others within your agency or organization, you are likely to use a memo short for memorandum format. Memos are used often and regularly for internal communications, such as progress reports, policy announcements, and project management.
For example, the sample memo on page 31 was sent by Don Rigole to a potential client. A memo has fewer parts than a business letter and is often less than a page in length.
Note that there is no salutation or complimentary close in a memo. Its design is fairly standard in that it begins with a modified company letterhead or logo, followed by the parts of a memo, which are all flush to the left margin.
Also aligned against the left margin are the standard headings: You sign or initial your memo by your name on the FROM line. Required Parts of a Memo Always include the following information in a memo.
Randa Gold, Production Editor. Sometimes, you might include several names on this line TO: Instead of addressing a list of names, you might simply write to a committee or project team TO: The Allendale Project Team. Type your name and, when appropriate, your title. The only way you sign a memo is by handwriting your signature or initials next to your name in ink.
The following is an overview of our understanding of the project along with a range of associated costs for creative development, production, and delivery. We would be happy to discuss any aspect of the proposal with you. This information gives you and your reader a record of the date you wrote the memo. Remember—all business writing should be dated. Business people often use memos to track and document the progress of jobs and projects, so accurate records of the date an action was ordered or reported can be crucial.
Write a phrase not a full sentence that tells the reader the topic of your memo. Just as they do with e-mail, business people are accustomed to glancing at the SUBJECT lines of the numerous memos they receive daily to decide which ones to read first, which to save for later, and which to file for possible future reference.
Some examples of effective subject lines are: The same planning, drafting, and editing process that you should use for all of your business writing will work for you in memo writing. If you memo is not printed on letterhead stationery that includes individual telephone extensions or e-mail addresses, write your contact information to help your reader get back in touch with you. Optional Parts of a Memo Include these components, when appropriate.
When you are using a memo as a cover for one or more other documents, note the name s at the bottom of your memo in an enclosure line Enclosure: Specifications for Wang Job. Copy Line. At the bottom of the page, note the names of the people receiving a copy of your memo. Faxes are preferred over snail-mail when speed is required.
If original signatures are needed for contracts, deeds, or other legally binding documents—often requiring the use of blue ink to demonstrate originality—snail-mail or messenger service should be used, possibly in conjunction with faxes.
Call your recipient beforehand to be sure she or a trusted designee can be available to retrieve the fax immediately after it is sent. By the same token, if you are expecting a fax, make it clear that you expect the sender to call you first to ensure that you can collect it right away.
But since you might not know for sure the capabilities or quality of the fax printer your recipient will be using, we do suggest a couple of precautions to take about margin and color selection. Use one-inch margins on the top and bottom and both sides to prevent the cutting off or blurring of your document or design edges. Also at risk are company phone numbers and addresses that are printed at the very bottom of the stationery.
Check beforehand to see if your recipient has a color fax printer. Then make a color adjustment or a black and white fax version that shows off your document or design to its best advantage. Even if your recipient does have a color fax printer, be sure your colors are designed to transmit for legibility.
Check for sufficient contrast between your colors and a white background. Most fax machines are loaded with white or offwhite paper. Be aware that light colors that look wonderful on your original document might wash out and become illegible on the faxed version. Your research will help you impress clients by demonstrating your familiarity with their industries and businesses.
It will make you stand out with potential employers when you interview for a position. It will deepen your understanding of your own profession too. And it will save you time and money in the long run.
Developing your research skills is critical to the success of your career, whether you own your agency, freelance, or even if you work for a firm that has a research department. Anyone can type in a word or phrase on a search engine and make do with the results.
You want to know how to access superior information that provides the basis for superior presentations, right? Plan Your Research Drive your research instead of letting it drive you by doing some initial preparation. You look up a topic on the Internet and follow some of the major links until you come up with a collection of data that seems less and less related to your search.
The Graphic Designer's Guide to Better Business Writing - PDF Free Download
As you go further and further into those links, you lose track of what you were looking for in the first place. Research can take you on a long, circuitous journey, where the agendas and opinions of the writers you are reading are likely to distract you from your own quest. One way to stay focused is to begin by doing some brainstorming. Take five minutes or so to jot down the questions you need answered. This tip is an invaluable one for keeping yourself on track.
Identify Your Potential Sources Now that you have the questions in hand, you are ready to start thinking about the best places to find your answers. The ease with which you can retrieve information by surfing the Internet makes it tempting to use the Internet exclusively as the source for all of your information.
Basically, you need to know that there are two kinds of research: Articles and essays in trade journals, newspapers, and books belong to this category as well. Vet Your Sources Get into the habit of assessing the accuracy and credibility of every source you find during your research. If you need to make additional copies to distribute, please purchase copyright permission. Hardcopy, paperback, softbound, magazine: Physical copy shipped from our warehouse to your requested shipping location.
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Dietrich harvardbusiness. Save Share. Garner has a preference for clarity in writing that shines through his own prose. Even in this introduction he is evangelical, entreating his readers to adopt habits that engender good stylistic habits xviii-xix. Of particular relevance to BBW is Garner's 'aversion to jargon and business speak' xix , although it is not just in business that jargon is a roadblock to the reader.
Garner demonstrates his 'show and tell' style that he adapts in different formats for much of the book. He poses a hypothetical situation that requires a letter, then writes three different documents covering similar ground, but from authors that each have a different relationship to the recipient.
Each covers similar ground, yet each letter approaches the recipient from a different starting place. This chapter, like most others, is brief only four pages , yet Garner's light touch is perfectly balanced and should engage even the most disinterested of readers.
The Graphic Designer's Guide to Better Business Writing
As with all chapters in BBW , the lessons learned are reiterated as a 'recap' on the last page and, as ever, in plain English. It was P. Wodehouse's Jeeves, gentleman's gentleman to the bungling Bertie Wooster, who successfully solved problems by studying the psychology of the individual.
Garner similarly recommends studying the psychology of the audience. That is, any message needs to be tailored to the requirements of the reader. This is illustrated by two versions of the same message, a trick used throughout BBW —'not this' e. The recap, 'understand that your readers have no time to waste' 11 , further focuses the message of this chapter.
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