Business Writing — Syllabus

You and the Audience: The value of good business writing. You—knowing how to present yourself. Audience—know your audience, picture yourself in their shoes. You and your audience—know your point, understand the situation, ways to connect. Integrity. Grammar tip—what is a sentence?

Tone: Tuning your tone—word choice, situation. Tone killers and sweeteners. Meta-message. Openings and closings. Emotion. Style tip—what is a paragraph?

Structure/Process: Structure—choosing between the “straight-on" or “ramp-up" approach, pyramid/sandwich/feature structures, visual design. Process—planning/first draft/revising, professionalism. Patience and practice. Grammar tip—the he/she conundrum.

Strong Writing: Be clear—clarity checklist, avoid “business-speak" and “know-it-all-speak." Be concise—concise checklist, cutting with a machete and with surgical scissors. Be specific. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Style tip—active vs. passive voice.

Engaging Writing: Be conversational—naturalness, levels of formality. Be colorful—what is colorful and when to use it. Conversational and colorful techniques—sentence tips, strong verbs, sparing with modifies, avoid clichés, figurative language, sound, story, humor. Social grace. Style tip—parallel structure.

Email and Other Forms: Email protocol—tips, traps, and etiquette. Tour of other business writing forms—letters, memos, reports, proposals, white papers, press releases, brochures, websites, blogs/newsletters, social media. Opportunity. Grammar tip—punctuation primer.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.