Join Judy Steiner-Williams for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the exercise files, part of Business Writing Strategies.
- You have probably heard the cliche practice makes perfect. Perfection may never be attainable, but practice is necessary to improve in any skill area. Whether it's improving your golf game, hitting that high note, baking that soufflé or as in our case, practicing effective business writing strategies. Multiple revisions are necessary to produce a high quality, easy to understand business message. That's why the exercise file is provided.
Some of the complete documents presented in the lessons are available for you to further examine. Additionally, five new situations are included. At least one in each of the four basic categories: routine or neutral, good news, bad news, and persuasive. After each type is discussed in the lessons, I encourage you to practice the strategies for that type of document. The exercise file provides you with an unacceptable version for each of the four categories and then guides you through a series of questions you need to ask about what strategies to use to revise.
An example effective document is then provided. For maximum course benefit, revise before looking at the suggested revisions. Obviously, your revision won't be identical to the example. That's not the purpose. The purpose is for you to compare your revision to the sample. Did you incorporate the key strategies? Easy-to-read, writer focus, positive tone, necessary detail, clear and concise wording, direct or indirect, as appropriate.
As with any scale, the more we practice correctly, the better we become. Practice is certainly important if, and that if is important, we practice the correct way. Merely swinging that golf club dozens of times without a coach to watch and adjust our stance and how we grip the club not only doesn't make us a better golfer, it may actually be more harmful. Why? Because all we're doing is reinforcing bad habits rather than learning new methods to help us develop more effective strategies.
So, take the time to use the exercise file to practice effective business writing strategies, the correct way.
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- Deciding when to begin or delay the message
- Presenting information
- Getting support for ideas
- Understanding the audience
- Communicating internally and externally
- Choosing the appropriate language and tone
- Using business writing outlines and templates