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Business Writing for Results

Book Description

Effective writing is accessible, professional, and direct. In the business world, the best writing must be friendly but not too conversational, professional without being dry, and results driven without feeling like a “hard sell.” Business Writing for Results shows you how to write emails, reports, proposals, and other action-oriented communications that meet these standards—in three easy steps. You’ll write cleaner, more polished communications in far less time than you ever thought possible. 

Using engaging and thought-provoking examples and interactive exercises, the lessons in this book will help you express your ideas clearly, concisely, and persuasively. You’ll discover how to write:

  • Proposals that generate new business
  • Reports that illuminate key points
  • Emails that are easy to read and respond to
  • Training workbooks that facilitate deep understanding and results-based learning
  • Letters that get you job interviews, business opportunities, and donations

Using a reader-focused approach, you’ll learn professional tips and tricks that are easy to remember—and that work. Business Writing for Results helps you get your points across clearly, quickly, and effectively in order to produce the outcomes you want.


“A life ring in disguise. I feel like I’m drowning at work and through this book, the rescue boat is in sight and coming my way. Thank you, Jane.” —Karen A. Polan, Senior Field Specialist, First Energy

“Jane’s real life examples helped me understand the concepts.” —Christine Lotz, Product Research Technician, Hillshire Farms

“After implementing several of [her] suggestions, we boosted the bottom line by 15-20 percent. Thanks, Jane.” —Denise Dennis, Office Manager, Eye Surgery Associates

Business Writing for Results is terrific! I’ve been in business for twenty years, so it takes something special to get through the haze of habit! Jane’s book does it!” —Nancy Hartman, Writer, TKR Cable 

“Our highest rated trainer—by far—is Jane Cleland!” —Candace Cross, Manager, Training, IBM Corporation 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Introduction
  6. Chapter One: Arrange Your Thoughts
    1. A Methodical Process
    2. Set Action Objectives
      1. Exercise 1: Write a One-Sentence Objective
    3. Analyze Your Target Readers
      1. Exercise 2: Target Your Reader’s Personality
    4. Create the Right Image
      1. Exercise 3: How Formal Should Your Communication Be?
    5. Big Picture: Use the Matrix of Persuasion
      1. Exercise 4: Put the Matrix of Persuasion to Work
  7. Chapter Two: Create a Draft on Paper (or on Your Computer)
    1. Good Writing Starts with Clear Thinking
    2. Choose Your Organizational Structure
      1. Exercise 5: Select an Organizational Structure
    3. Organize Your Thinking Using an Outline or Hub & Spokes
      1. Exercise 6: Get Your Thoughts Down on Paper
  8. Chapter Three: Write Excellent First Drafts
    1. Write Polished First Drafts
    2. Write with Your Readers in Mind
      1. Exercise 7: Calculate the Empathy Index
      2. Exercise 8: Rewrite to Improve the Empathy Index
    3. Your Salutation and Lead Set the Tone
    4. Hook Your Readers’ Interest with a Compelling Lead
      1. Exercise 9: Add Urgency Through Time-Sensitive Vocabulary
    5. Add a Snappy Close
      1. Exercise 10: Write a First Draft
  9. Chapter Four: Hands-on Writing Workshop
    1. Add Credibility as You Revise
    2. Specifics Increase Believability
      1. Exercise 11: Add Specificity to General Statements
      2. Exercise 12: Add Examples to Make Dull Copy Come Alive
      3. Exercise 13: Add Specificity to Increase Reader Understanding
    3. Select the Best Word to Express Your Meaning
      1. Exercise 14: Select Words with FURY
      2. Exercise 15: Revise in a Methodical Manner
  10. Chapter Five: Revise for Impact and Clarity
    1. Concise Communications Succeed
    2. Tactic One: Conciseness
      1. Exercise 16: Revise for Conciseness
    3. Tactic Two: Clarity
      1. Exercise 17: Revise to Create Proper Emphasis and Increase Clarity
    4. Tactic Three: A Positive Tone
    5. Tactic Four: Parallel Construction
      1. Exercise 18: Write a Third Draft
  11. Chapter Six: Determine What Kind of Proofing You Require
    1. Integrate Proofing into the Writing Process
    2. Understand Proofreading’s Role in the Business Writing Process
    3. Determine Your Editing Level Before You Begin to Proof
    4. What Do You Know? It’s Quiz Time
      1. Exercise 19: Assess Your Knowledge
  12. Chapter Seven: Proofread for Perfection
    1. Confirm Your Text Is Clear and Professional
    2. Grammar and Punctuation Update
    3. Politically Correct Writing
    4. Punctuate for Clarity
      1. Exercise 20: Revise for Clarity
    5. Using Proper Grammar Signals Professionalism
      1. Exercise 21: Correct Common Grammar Errors
    6. Use the Correct Word
      1. Exercise 22: Practice Using Frequently Misused Words
    7. Capitalize for Emphasis
      1. Exercise 23: Capitalize Correctly
      2. Exercise 24: What Did You Learn?
  13. Chapter Eight: Write with Confidence
    1. Putting It All Together: Use the Three-Step Process
    2. A Methodical Approach
    3. Step One: Get Your Thoughts in Order
      1. Exercise 25: Write an Objective
      2. Exercise 26: Analyze Personality
      3. Exercise 27: Use the Formality Index
      4. Exercise 28: Understand Your Overall Writing Assignment
    4. Step Two: Create a Draft on Paper (or on Your Computer)
      1. Exercise 29: Select an Organizational Structure
      2. Exercise 30: Use the Hub & Spokes Model
      3. Exercise 31: Get a Draft on Paper
    5. Step Three: Revise for Clarity
      1. Exercise 32: Calculate Your Empathy Index and Revise to Increase Reader Focus
      2. Exercise 33: Add a Snappy Close
      3. Exercise 34: Add Specificity
      4. Exercise 35: Select Words with FURY
      5. Exercise 36: Calculate Your Average Sentence Length
      6. Exercise 37: Make It Clear
      7. Exercise 38: Confirm That It’s Positive
      8. Exercise 39: Maintain Parallel Construction
      9. Exercise 40: Proofread for Perfection
  14. Appendix A: Streamline Your Text
    1. Write Lean
  15. Appendix B: The Correct Use of Prepositions
    1. Correct Preposition Use Enhances Professionalism