How to Write a Million Dollar Memo


How to Write a Million Dollar Memo is a guide to writing clear and simple business communications.

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How to Write a Million Dollar Memo

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How to Write a Million Dollar Memo is a guide to writing clear and simple business communications.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440537823
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/1984
  • Series: Clear and Simple Series
  • Pages: 132
  • Sales rank: 1,509,067
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction viii
Part I The Million-Dollar Memo
1. The Secret of the Million-Dollar Memo 1
How to communicate, not just inform 2
How find--and fill--your reader's needs 2
What's so important about a memo? 4
2. Changing Your Approach 6
To write a memo: the old way 6
To write a memo: the new way 7
The "need" test 9
3. The Mechanics of Making a Memo 11
To write--or to dictate 11
The word processor as memo producer 12
Appearance is everything--at first 13
Part II The $2.98 Memo
4. A Typical $2.98 Memo 16
5. Business Language 17
Why people use it 17
How business language holds you back 18
Part III The Enemies of a Million-Dollar Memo
6. How to Lighten Your Language 21
7. Forsake Phony Fancies 22
8. No More Nounery 24
Noun clusters 24
Verbs turned into nouns 25
Nouns turned into verbs 26
Why we fall victim to nounery 26
How to replace nounery 27
9. Turn the Passive Voice Around 28
Why the passive voice doesn't work 29
How to avoid the passive voice 30
10. Weed Out Wasted Words 31
11. Clear Up Glaring Grammar Gaffes 34
Unclear agreement 34
Unparallel constructions 35
Comma blunders 35
Part IV Techniques of a Million-Dollar Memo
12. Phase 1: Think Like Your Reader 39
Language is not a common ground 39
How to get into your reader's head 41
13. Phase 2: Write From the Right Side of Your Brain 42
Writing versus editing 42
How to write freely 43
How to learn through writing 43
A writing exercise 43
Writing the new way 44
14. Phase 3: Switch to the Left Side, and Edit 46
Shaping your manuscript 46
Finding the unifying force 46
Meeting your reader's needs 47
Effective endings 48
Making your memo good to read--two checklists 49
15. Tone--Your Attitude, in Writing 51
How to identify the tone of your memos 51
How to control your tone 51
16. Style--You in Your Writing 53
Five techniques for letting your style shine through 53
17. Punctuation--The Voice Behind the Writing 55
Commas 55
The enclosers 56
Brackets 56
Parentheses 57
Quotation marks 58
The connectors 58
The semicolon and dash 59
The colon 59
The apostrophe 59
The hyphen 59
18. Spelling--Write It Right 61
19. Prepositions--Little Words Mean a Lot 63
Preposition combos that cause confusion 63
Words that take only one preposition 65
20. Metaphors--Don't Mix Them 67
21. The Follow-up--The Final Flourish 69
Part V Other Applications of Your Million-Dollar Memo Skills
22. How to Write a Nicely Spoken Letter 72
23. How to Write a Letter for a Job 74
Making your own professional profile 75
Your letter of application--the gentle art of persuasion 75
24. How to Write a Complaint Letter That Gets Results 77
Write a mad-rag 77
Complain with style: seven rules 79
Putting the rules into practice 82
What to do if you still get no response 86
25. How--and When--to Write for a Raise 87
Making your value known 87
Putting it in writing 87
The power of enthusiasm 88
Stating your needs 88
26. How to Write a Technical Memo 90
Technical booby traps 90
The search for elegant simplicity--in four steps 91
27. How to Write a Highly Readable Technical Report 95
The pyramid of value 97
The title 98
Recommendations 98
Table of contents 98
Findings 98
Discussion 99
A discussion checklist 100
Common problems with reports 100
The appendix 101
Part VI The Million-Dollar Method in Brief
28. Think Differently 103
Think: I want to talk to someone 103
Think: I want to communicate 104
Think like your reader 105
29. Write Differently 107
Write freely and ceaselessly 107
Find your unifying force 107
30. Make It Clear and Simple 109
Write what you mean 109
Use action verbs 110
Use verbs instead of nouns 111
Use prepositions instead of prepositional phrases 112
Write English 112
Avoid redundancies 113
Cut out cliches 114
The final check 115
Epilogue: Language for the Fun of It 117
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