Business Writing: What Works, What Won't / Edition 1

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Overview

A thorough, accessible, and results-oriented guidebook intended for today's business environment, Business Writing: What Works, What Won't offers the first and last word on writing memos, business letters, reports, and all other kinds of business documents. Wilma Davidson, a veteran corporate writing coach whose clients have included M&M Mars, Johnson & Johnson, Anheuser-Busch, and several other Fortune 500 companies, uses clear and memorable examples, charts, cartoons, and anecdotes to convey exactly what succeeds—and what fails—in written business communication.

This new edition of Business Writing has been fully revised and updated to cover e-mail, Palm Pilots, and the latest in word processor technology. It will be an indispensable reference for all students of business and management—a book that answers questions about style, provides guidance in matters of grammar, and reveals countless insights about writing with precision, confidence, humor, and eye-catching effectiveness.

In a straightforward style, this book shows how to: stop procrastinating, divide tough writing assignments into manageable parts, organize the message, choose a layout that enhances readability and how to write with confidence, power and clarity. 24 line illustations/charts throughout.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Business writing manuals tend to fall into two traps. One is dwelling on how much business people hate to write because of bad teachers in school (no one wants to admit that writing takes thinking). The other is inconsistency in tone-trying to use everyday business language but lapsing into quoting Shakespeare in Latin. This book avoids both traps. It has a good format for use in seminars and classes: Chapters are short and contain exercises and examples, humor, and illustrations to make their points clear and memorable. This book suggests some useful activities that don't often appear in similar manuals, such as clustering and writing dialog to get started, and wisely emphasizes getting the first draft done before doing any editing. Davidson is a 15-year veteran of teaching writing seminars in the corporate world for such companies as AT&T and Johnson & Johnson. Her manual is appropriate for public, academic, and corporate libraries.-Nancy Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312109486
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/1994
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 230,823
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Wilma Davidson, Ed. D., is a writing and presentation-skills coach. Her clients include corporations throughout the Fortune 500. She lives in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and Longboat Key, Florida.

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Read an Excerpt

Business Writing

What Works, What Won't
By Wilma Davidson

St. Martin's Griffin

Copyright © 1994 Wilma Davidson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312109486

  Part 1What This Book Can Do for You
Scribendo disces scribere. “You learn to write by writing.”Samuel Johnson
1From Procrastination to Power: Writing Painlessly and WellGood writing is good business. Bad writing isn’t. To be successful in sales, marketing, finance, engineering, law, personnel, and in virtually every field, you need to write well. In fact, your business writing can serve as persuasive evidence of your competence, your personality, your management style. It’s as plain and simple—and frightening—as that.And, undoubtedly, that fright (those panicky waves in your brain that light out in all directions each time you have to write) has put this edition in your hands. I wrote it as I did the first edition, to do away with your discomfort, to demystify writing and editing, to help you write easily and well. While I can’t promise that you’ll finish the book loving to write, I do promise that you’ll hate writing less—and distribute a better memo, letter, or report as a result of using this practical guide. Whether you are writing an e-mail to a coworker or a proposal to an international client, this book will help.It offers up-to-date examples and answers, and because it’s arranged in units, you can pick it up, do a little work, put it down, and return to it later without having to start over. It doesn’t treat improving your written work as if it were a moral issue; nor does it assume that the fate of the world hinges upon your perfect prose. But, with wit and wisdom, it does encourage you and show you how to write better. It will sustain you from your first to your final draft.For more than twenty years, in one-on-one consultations, in seminars and talks, and in published articles, I’ve worked to help clients be competent in and feel confident about their writing. Clients who admit their negative attitude about the task. Clients who get stuck at the sight of a blank page or screen. Clients who are disorganized and fuzzy about what to write and what tone to take. Clients who are wordy because they don’t know how not to be. Clients who retreat behind a desk in embarrassment—and anger—after their manager has red-penned their grammatical and mechanical errors and, possibly, their career.If these clients and their writing sound familiar, you’ve found the book you need. Its advice, anecdotes, and exercises have proven successful in corporate classrooms across the globe and have improved the business writing of countless clients. And those results have encouraged me to encourage you in this newly updated edition.BUSINESS WRITING: WHAT WORKS, WHAT WON’T: REVISED EDITION. Copyright © 2001, 1994 by Wilma Davidson, Ed.D. Illustrations copyright © 1994 by Durell Godfrey. All rights reserved. Most of the illustrations in this book are based on sketches drawn by Tom Kish and copyright © Davidson & Associates. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Continues...

Excerpted from Business Writing by Wilma Davidson Copyright © 1994 by Wilma Davidson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

FOREWORD

Acknowledgments

INTRODUCTION: Why I Wrote This Book

PART 1: What This Book Can Do for You

1. From Procrastination to Power: Writing Painlessly and Well

2. Where to Begin to Improve

3. Qualities of Powerful Writing

PART 2: Getting the Writing Going

4. Overcoming Page Fright

5. Getting Started: Strategies that Work

PART 3: Showcasing Your Ideas and Information Through Organization, Format, and Sentence Structure

6. Organizing Your Message

Get to the Bottom Line!

How to Tell a Bottom-Line Statement from a Purpose Statement

Bottom-Lining Exercises

When Not to Bottom-Line

Organizing the Rest of the Document

7. Formatting Ideas to Clarify Your Message

Write Headlines That Help

Use "Chunking" to Organize Your Thoughts

Chunking Exercises

Use Tables, Graphs, and Other Visuals to Give the Big Picture Fast

Use PowerPoint Slides to Aid Your Oral Presentations

Summary of Techniques That Showcase Your Ideas and Reveal Your Knack for Organizing

8. Structuring Your Sentences—to Clarify Your Intent and Add Style

Combine Sentences to Create Emphasis and Eliminate Wordiness

Combine Sentences to Present Ideas of Parallel Importance

Focus on Emphasis

Focus on Eliminating Wordiness

Vary Sentence Length to Create Rhythm

Eight Ways to Add Emphasis and Elegance to Sentences

PART 4: Choosing Your Words Wisely for Conciseness and Consideration

9. Getting Rid of Sentence Clutter

Cutting Out Ten Forms of Clutter

10. Tempering Your Tone

Considering Your Reader, Yourself, and Tone

Avoiding the Negative by Accentuating the Positive

Delivering Unpopular Messages

Using Humor

Banishing Bias

PART 5: Getting It Right: The Basics of Grammar and Spelling

11. Grappling with Grammar

The Seven Deadly Sins of Grammar

Bungle Rules

Frequently Asked Questions About Grammar . . . And Their Answers

Formal Grammar Rules You Can Bend

12. Spelling

What if You're a Lousy Speller?

Easily Misspelled Words

Forming Plurals from Our Strange Language

PART 6: Writing Quickly and Well

13. Deadline Writing: A Process for Getting It Started, Keeping It Going, Getting It Right

Phase One: Helter-Skelter Writing—the Zero draft

Phase Two: Hocus-Pocus Organizing

Phase Three: Ruthless Editing

PART 7: Talking to Other Writers—and to Your Micro Recorder

14. An E-mail Quick Guide

15. Collaborating

Giving Feedback to Others

A Word to the Wise Manager: How to Encourage Employees to be Responsible for Their Writing

16. Dictating

Can I Convince You to Try It?

pardA Process for Productive Dictating

APPENDIX: Guidelines and Model Letters

Customer Follow-up/Recap/Thank you

Confirming/Directive Memos

Encouraging the Team/Team Update

Meeting Minutes

Proposals/Recommendations

Providing/Requesting Information

Epilogue

Bibliography

Index

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    Very Good Educational Book

    Was used for a college business class. It was very educational and non-threatening. Reading was easy and very full of information. Gave examples of what to do and what not to do. Gave good examples of what to say and how to say it. Gave examples of business letters and emails. Very good easy reading. Every student in the class gave this book good reviews. Each student spoke of the very funny quips that were in each chapter. Each chapter covered its topic very thoroughly and in depth. Gave examples of each teaching and was very informational. Very good book for all to read.

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    Posted August 7, 2010

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