Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Making your writing considerate

From: Business Writing Fundamentals

Video: Making your writing considerate

Has anyone ever sent you a thinking of you card or opened a door for you, or helped you complete a project on time? You probably said, "Thanks, you are so considerate." We like considerate people. But have you ever considered that as a business writer, you need to be considerate to your reader? You can be considerate of your reader in a variety of ways. Make the document look easy to read. Emphasize the message's main purpose, and follow the basic paragraphing guidelines. First, design your document so it looks and is easy to read.

Making your writing considerate

Has anyone ever sent you a thinking of you card or opened a door for you, or helped you complete a project on time? You probably said, "Thanks, you are so considerate." We like considerate people. But have you ever considered that as a business writer, you need to be considerate to your reader? You can be considerate of your reader in a variety of ways. Make the document look easy to read. Emphasize the message's main purpose, and follow the basic paragraphing guidelines. First, design your document so it looks and is easy to read.

Your reader is busy, and your message is competing with numerous other messages. Readers will always choose a message that looks easy to read, so they don't have to work at reading long, confusing paragraphs, or try to determine your key points. Your responsibility as the writer is to design it in a considerate way. Look at these two versions. "There are several steps to getting "your authorization approved. "You first have to see your supervisor "to pick up the form, then you "have to fill out the form.

"Next, you must attach all receipts to the form. "After your receipts are attached, take it to your "supervisor, who will then have to sign it. "You will have your answer within 30 days." Or this approach. "Please follow these steps for authorization approval. "1. Get the required form from your supervisor. "2. Fill out the form. "3. Attach all receipts to the form. "4. Have your supervisor sign the form. "5. Wait 30 days for approval." Which version would you read first, be able to understand, and follow more quickly? Because we feel overloaded with information, we want and need documents that are both quick and easy to scan.

You as the writer have a responsibility to your reader to chunk the information in easy to understand units, so using numbered lists and bullets helps your reader identify the key points. Another way to be considerate of your readers' time is by making important information stand out with bold, italics, or underlines and internal headings. In other words, emphasizing the main points. Internal headings help guide your reader from section to section of a document, and give your reader a preview of what that section contains.

Look at the next two examples. The notice from the home office. Now look at the revised version. Notice the headings, the short paragraphs, how easy it is to read. Do you have any question which version is more considerate of your reader's time, or which one would be read first? Also look at the length of and content of your paragraphs. The first example had one 14-line paragraph. Maybe you remember from Writing 101 that a paragraph means one idea, opens with a topic sentence, and provides support for that main idea.

The average length of a readable paragraph in shorter documents such as memos, letters, and emails, is about six to eight lines. Not sentences, but lines. Definitely question any paragraph that exceeds ten lines. Chances are, you're trying to include multiple ideas and will confuse your reader. So how can you be considerate of your reader's needs and time? Make your document look easy to read, with lists, short paragraphs, bold or highlighted print, and internal headings.

Your considerate document will stand out, and your reader will thank you.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Business Writing Fundamentals
Business Writing Fundamentals

23 video lessons · 11258 viewers

Judy Steiner-Williams
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Business Writing Fundamentals.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.