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By Judy Steiner-Williams | Sunday, August 17, 2014

Writing Tips: Start at the End

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The second habit of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the end in mind.” That concept applies not only to highly effective people—but to highly effective writing, as well.

Before architects begin building a house, they know what the completed version will look like. They have a blueprint and they know that each step is necessary to get to the next one; the excavation must be complete before the framing begins, etc.

Similarly, when we plan a trip, we usually have a destination in mind before we plan the route and mode of transportation.

Why, then, do people begin writing without thinking about the desired outcome, the purpose, and the necessary stages to produce an easy-to-read, well-organized business message?

By Judy Steiner-Williams | Thursday, August 07, 2014

Writing Tips: Take the Grrrr out of Grammar

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“Grrrr …”

It’s a common reaction when grammar is mentioned. Why? “The rules keep changing.” “Nobody really knows or cares what’s correct.” “And come on, you knew what I meant.”

I’m going to debunk those excuses and give you some tricks for learning the rules of grammar.

By Judy Steiner-Williams | Monday, July 14, 2014

Watch Your Tone: Email Etiquette for Business

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Watch your tone.

That’s an expression commonly heard when we speak. But written communication —especially email—also has a tone that needs to be “watched.” Why? Because the tone impacts the reader’s reaction, resulting in higher or lower morale, expanded or reduced sales, and increased or decreased ratings.

You’re more likely to achieve the correct tone if you recognize what impacts tone, how readers react to tone characteristics, and how you can control those elements. Here are five red-flag areas to consider:

By Judy Steiner-Williams | Saturday, July 05, 2014

Business Writing: Be Brief. Be Bright. Be Gone.

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“Be brief. Be bright. Be gone.”

I once heard about a CEO who had a sign hanging on the wall behind his desk with those words printed on it. Intimidating? Maybe, but it sends a strong message: Business people are busy and don’t have time for long, dull conversations.

The message applies as much to written business communication as it does to office visits. Here are some pointers on how to achieve these “Be” statements in your writing—and capture your readers’ attention when you need it.

By Jess Stratton | Monday, April 28, 2014

Writing an Email That Gets Read

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You probably send many emails each day, both personal and work related. But they all have one thing in common: They do you no good if no one reads them.

This week on Monday Productivity Pointers, I’ll share tips on how to write a better email, and become a more efficient communicator in general. I’ll show you some examples of poor communication—and teach you how to avoid them when writing an email.

By Chelsea Adams | Sunday, April 13, 2014

3 business writing tips for non-writers

3 business writing tips for non-writers

How many emails have you written to colleagues, clients, or customers this week? If the answer is one or more, you should consider business writing as part of your job—even if the word “writer” is not in your title.

Business writing is any written communication to teammates, stakeholders, and other people you work with. The good news: You don’t have to be a creative writing major to be an excellent business writer; in fact, you don’t even have to be creative. All you need is the desire to communicate in a way that leaves your reader feeling informed and prepared to take action.

To help you get there, here are three of my favorite tips from the Business Writing Fundamentals course on lynda.com. For simplicity, I’m focusing on email here, but these tips can also be applied to handwritten notes, memos, printed letters, and more.

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