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Business Writing Today
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Business Writing Today
A Practical Guide

Third Edition


May 2018 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Business Writing Today prepares students to succeed in the business world by giving them the tools they need to write powerfully, no matter the challenge. In her highly-practical text, author Natalie Canavor shares step-by-step guidance and tips for success to help students write more clearly and strategically. Readers will learn what to say and how to say it in any medium from tweets and emails to proposals and formal reports. Every technique comes with concrete examples and practice opportunities, helping students transfer their writing skills to the workplace.

“This is the real-deal writing guide for serious business majors.” 

–Astrid Sheil, California State University San Bernardino
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
PART I. HOW TO COMMUNICATE IN WRITING
 
Chapter 1. Business Writing Today—And You
Why Workplace Writing Matters

 
How Employers See Writing

 
Defining Business Writing for Today

 
Now, Back to You

 
The Impact of the Digital Age

 
How to Use This Book

 
Practice Opportunities

 
 
Chapter 2. Write to Accomplish Goals
How and Why to Plan Your Messages

 
Step 1: Identify Your Short- and Long-Range Goals

 
Step 2: Analyze Your Audience Systematically

 
Bridging Generational Differences

 
How Understanding Other People Helps You

 
Writing to Groups

 
Practice Opportunities

 
 
Chapter 3. Put the Planning Structure to Work
Decide What Response You Want

 
Apply Your Audience Analysis

 
Brainstorm Your Content Points

 
Lead With Strength

 
Middle Well

 
Finally, End Well

 
Choose How to Organize

 
The Goldilocks Principle: How Much Is Just Right?

 
Manage Your Tone

 
Practice the Planning Structure

 
Practice Opportunities

 
 
PART II. SHARPEN AND IMPROVE YOUR WRITING
 
Chapter 4. Create the First Draft
Choose the Familiar Words of Conversation

 
Build Clear, Concise Sentences

 
Build With Action Verbs

 
Work With Short Paragraphs

 
Use Good Transitions: Words, Phrases and Devices

 
Sidestep Tone Traps

 
Practice Opportunities

 
 
Chapter 5. Edit Your Writing
Ten Principles of Power Editing

 
Practical Editing Stage 1: Content Review

 
Practical Editing Stage 2: Review Language and Structure

 
Commonsense Fix-It Techniques

 
Sidestep Business-Speak

 
Fixing Some Grammar Glitches

 
The Fixer Takeaway

 
Editing Down Long Copy

 
How Correct Must Business Writing Be?

 
Finally: Proofread

 
Remember: Many Ways Can Work

 
Practice Opportunities

 
Resources for Part II

 
 
Chapter 6. Use the Techniques of Persuasion
Line Your Toolkit With Essentials

 
Adopt Persuasion’s Triple Play: Ethos, Logos, Pathos

 
Write to Build Trust

 
Acknowledge Other Viewpoints

 
Build Persuasion Into All Your Writing

 
Show Don’t Sell!

 
Use Language Magic

 
When the Story Is Yours: Finding, Shaping, Telling

 
Draw on the Transformation Story Model

 
Tips for Writing the Story

 
Explore the Emotional Dimension

 
Remember the Graphic Dimension

 
Learn From a Model Business Writer: Warren Buffett

 
Practice Opportunities

 
Selected Resources for Chapter 6

 
 
PART III. THE BASICS OF BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
 
Chapter 7. Building Relationships With Everyday Messages
Use E-mail Strategically

 
Apply the Planning Structure

 
Build in the Right Tone

 
Don't Bury the Lead!

 
Communicating About Work Problems

 
Some E-mail Q&A

 
Practice Opportunities

 
 
Chapter 8. Writing More Formal Messages
When to Write Letters—And How

 
Craft Letters for Specific Situations

 
Use Messages to Network

 
Writing to Fix Business Problems

 
The International Dimension of Business Writing

 
Practice Opportunities

 
 
Chapter 9. Creating Strong Business Documents
Writing Tips for Business Documents

 
Create Reports That Win Support

 
Develop Big-Picture Project Reports

 
Write Solid Personal Reports

 
The Executive Summary: Techniques and Options

 
Sample Executive Summary for a Report

 
Writing Proposals That Win

 
Succeeding With Grant Applications

 
A Word on Business Plans

 
Practice Opportunities

 
 
PART IV. WRITING FOR ONLINE AND SPOKEN MEDIA
 
Chapter 10. Craft Your Writing for the Interactive World
Strategizing Your Digital Presence

 
Adapting to Interactive Media

 
Ten Tips for Using Online Media

 
Website Writing: What’s Different

 
How to Strategize a Website

 
Blogging: Know Why, Know How

 
Joining Online Communities

 
Choose to Brand Yourself

 
Think Global: The Internet Lives Everywhere

 
Practice Opportunities

 
Selected Resources for Social Media and the Internet

 
 
Chapter 11. Present Yourself: Write Well to Speak Well
The Elevator Speech: Why and How to Write It

 
Developing Speeches and Presentations

 
Prepare Talking Points for In-Person Occasions

 
Writing Tips for Spoken Media

 
Creating Better PowerPoints

 
Planning and Using Video

 
Translating Verbal Into Visual

 
Practice Opportunities

 
Selected Resources

 
 
PART V. INTO THE FUTURE
 
Chapter 12. Win Your Opportunities: Writing for the Hunt
Plan a Résumé Based on Strengths

 
Write to Outshine the Competition

 
Develop Strong Cover Letters

 
Practice Opportunities

 
 
Appendix: Activities, Practice, Planning
Sentence Rewrite Practice (Nobody’s Perfect)

 
Unfortunate Real-World Examples to Diagnose

 
Writing and Ethics: Conversation and Debate

 
Handle Unfamiliar Media: A Newsletter Project

 
Make Your Own Cheat Sheets

 
Develop Your Interviewing Skills

 
Five Favorite Assignments

 
Create Your Personal Writing Rx

 
 
Index

“This is the real-deal writing guide for serious business majors.” 

Astrid Sheil
California State University, San Bernardino

“An easy-to-read, informative guide with practical, real-world examples supported by evidence. It reads like the author is your personal tutor elevating you on the path to success.” 

Alyssa Wertz
Merrimack College

“An excellent introductory text with advice useful to the most seasoned professional; it covers virtually all the bases of professional writing in today’s workplaces. It is much more than simply what its title implies—a business writing handbook.” 

M. Elizabeth Weiser
Ohio State University

“A comprehensive book that is a comfortable read.” 

Mary Lynn Engel
Saint Joseph’s College

“The book provides a solid foundation for technical writers who are just entering the field. At every level it shows audience-centered communication as paramount to success in the business world.”

Geoffrey Luurs
North Carolina State University

“Business Writing Today is an excellent practical resource for anyone hoping to succeed business writing 2.0.” 

Michelle Davidson
University of Toledo

“It’s full of practical advice that places emphasis on audience, purpose, and identity. An affordable text that doesn’t get caught up in the details of spacing and appearance, but instead focuses on what makes good writing good.” 

Steven Engel
Marygrove College

“The book is concisely written, well-organized, and has plenty of up-to-date examples.” 

Rod Carveth
Morgan State University

“This is a good introduction to business communication that allows students to easily understand concepts. The writing is conversational. Examples for what not to do are followed up with how to revise those examples. This text does not merely tell you how to write. It shows you how you might write the draft or how you write now, and then provides you with a good example of how to revise or write differently next time.” 

Renee Nelms King
Eastern Illinois University

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