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135 Tips for Writing Successful Business Documents

ISBN-10: 0618659919
ISBN-13: 9780618659913
Edition: 2006
List price: $13.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: The ability to write well is a critical skill for professionals in nearly every field. Good writers provide leadership, influence decisions, and advance their own careers. In this new book, Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts draws from her twenty-plus years of  More...

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Book details

List price: $13.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publication date: 5/3/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 208
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.330
Language: English

The ability to write well is a critical skill for professionals in nearly every field. Good writers provide leadership, influence decisions, and advance their own careers. In this new book, Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts draws from her twenty-plus years of experience as a successful consultant for clients in business, education, and government. In a lively, engaging style, she explains how to write persuasively for virtually any audience. Part 1 addresses the basics of all business writing: understanding the reader, drafting, achieving the right tone, creating visual impact, and editing. Part 2 provides more specific advice on brochures, executive summaries, speeches, PowerPoint presentations, Web site content, and much more. Concrete examples illustrate practical strategies such as how to present a message positively instead of negatively, how to sequence information for different kinds of readers, and how to use charts to highlight key points. Packed with valuable information obtained from actual clients in the field, 135 Tips for Writing Successful Business Documents is guaranteed to help anyone who reads it write to hit the mark.

SHERYL LINDSELL-ROBERTS runs business-writing and e-mail seminars throughout the country and is the author of twenty-three books, including the popular Strategic Business Letters and E-mail, Mastering Computer Typing, Revised Edition, and 135 Tips for Writing Successful Business Documents.

Getting started : necessary for all documents
Identify your primary reader : do you have multiple readers?
Understand what you reader needs to know about the subject
Know what's in it for your reader
Determine if your writing needs a special angle or point of view
Anticipate your reader's attitude toward the subject
Pinpoint your purpose and action item
Write in one sentence the key point you want the reader to remember
Know who should receive a copy of the message
Understand the best way to deliver the message
Know the best time to deliver the message
Ask yourself the questions your reader will have : who? what? when? where? why? how?
Write headlines that tell your story
Sequence the headlines strategically
Develop a drafting process
Revisit the draft
Allow ample white space
Use headlines, subheads, and sidelines
Use bulleted and numbered lists, when appropriate
Use charts, tables, and graphs, when appropriate
Use color judiciously
Keep it short and simple (KISS)
Use positive words, rather than negative words
Use the active voice
Use you and your more than I, me, we, and us
Be consistent and clear
Use gender-neutral terms
Use industry-related jargon appropriately
Think seriously about being funny
Proofread for accuracy and consistency
Edit for content
Moving forward : a wide array of business documents
Write a descriptive abstract
Write an informative abstract
Follow the guidelines
Write a dynamite summary
Read the masthead
Write a compelling query letter
Enhance your career with a technical article
Determine the format
Remember that this is about your reader, not about you
Follow general guidelines
Determine what you need for content
Know what to avoid
Know the role you play
Create a list of responsibilities
Generate a production schedule
Brainstorm to generate ideas
Draft collaboratively
Organize a peer review
Use group writing tools
Write a subject line that delivers an informative, compelling message
Deliver the message in the subject line, when appropriate
Change the subject line when replying to a message
Know when to reply to sender or to all
Use a salutation and a complimentary closing
Create an electronic signature
Use Bcc appropriately
Create an easy-to-read message
Write the executive summary after you finish the longer document
Use technical terms cautiously
Sequence information to have the most impact on your reader
Acquire guidelines
Start with the planning
Build partners, not funders
Know what to include
Think of yourself as the teacher and the reader as the learner
Understand how your reader will use the instructions
Chunk information
Include enough details
Use the step-action table
Highlight warnings
Test, test, and test again
Know where the parts go
Avoid trite expressions
Use correct style
Format a multiple-page letter correctly
Be comfortable and be prepared
Know what to include
Standardize your format
Express the vision of your company
Know what to omit
Do your homework
Write a press release that's of interest to readers
Use correct formatting
Use the power of the Internet
Know your audience
Use the power of persuasion
Distinguish between what to include in the visuals and what to say
Prepare one visual for each point
Craft text strategically
Use graphics to enhance the message
Create a storyboard
Use handout notes effectively
Write a convincing internal proposal
Write a winning external proposal
Include why the prospect should select you over other candidates
Get to know the RFP or RFQ
Understand the evaluation process
Brace for the results
Get up close and personal
Realize the benefits of mail or Web questionnaires
Design the questionnaire
Learn from the results
Start with a summary of your qualifications
Use keywords to pump up your prose
Use results-oriented bullets
Include awards, publications, or special recognition
Know what to omit
Send each resume with a customized letter
Determine the scope
Understand your readers
Know what to include in an informal report
Know what to include in a formal report
Understand how to develop specifications
Write specs in their natural order
Ask yourself four basic questions
Make the opening and closing memorable
Use the right tone
Write as you speak
Be aware of your speech patterns
Omit trite or inappropriate expressions
Think internationally
Captivate visitors on the homepage
Highlight what differentiates you from your competitors
Identify key words and phrases so readers find your site easily
Focus on your visitor, not on your company or yourself
Stress benefits, not features
Craft compelling, informational headlines
Write for readability
Prolong visits by offering something of value
Don't overwhelm visitors with the design or graphics
Be sensitive to international audiences
Understand why websites don't bring in new business
Test, test, and test
Use a logical structure
Know what to avoid

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