Principle 3: CREATE An HIGH-IMPACT EFFECT
You can probably recognize a well-written business document when you see one, even if you can’t exactly pinpoint what you like about it. Upon reflection, you might notice that the logic is easy to follow, that you can locate the information you’re looking for, and that it contains all the details you need to know without superfluous information. Good business writing gets the message across clearly, completely, and accurately. Furthermore, it effectively informs or persuades the reader, and it’s written in a tone that comes across as professional without being stuffy. The best writing can be described as Specific Let the reader know the particular purpose of your message up front. Here are sample first sentences: • We received the drawings and need to know the following information before we can proceed. • I am responding to the job posting for a Junior Designer that was displayed in the Career Placement Office at the Fashion Institute of Technology on April 20, 2007. • We are enclosing the rough draft of the annual report for your approval. Accurate Proofread your message before you send it out. (Yes, this includes e-mails and text messages!) Make sure that all of your numbers and facts have been doublechecked. Review for typos and other careless mistakes. Complete All of the necessary information is included. An easy way to check your own writing for completeness is to answer the six journalistic questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how). No matter what kind of business message you are writing, you should always include: • The date that you wrote the message • Your contact information • Whether or not you expect an answer Well-Organized The reader should be able to follow your logic. Provide clues by backing up main ideas with supporting statements and details. Start a new paragraph when you introduce a new idea. Set off sections of a report or long message with headings. (See pages 118–120 and 127 for specific advice.) Concise Write only what is necessary and no more. Business writing is not long-winded. The challenge is to find a balance between completeness and conciseness.