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Improve Your Business Communication (Collection) by Natalie Canavor, Terry J. Fadem, Claire Meirowitz, Jerry Weissman

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Truth 8. People are not the same: Write for differences

As part of a business writing workshop for new managers, we asked the participants to write a memo asking their supervisors for time off during an especially busy week. Many in the group had a lot of fun with the request, inventing caretaker responsibilities, a daughter’s wedding, a sweepstakes cruise offer, and so forth. Most of the writers did a good job of stating their cases, but they all would have failed: Not one mentioned how the writer’s work responsibilities would be covered during his or her absence.

They should have put themselves in their supervisors’ shoes and asked, “What’s in it for me—or not in it for me? Will I be inconvenienced? Have to work longer hours myself to get ...

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