Imagine this scenario: You got approval and budget to attend a four-day work-related conference. You're back now, and your boss says, in passing, "I'd like a report on the conference. Can you get it to me by tomorrow at 2? I want to share highlights with our VP."  Your mind...
While you have been busy working, some of the rules of writing evolved, and the University of Chicago Press released a new Chicago Manual of Style. Take a look at the changes below to determine which ones you need to adopt. Then update your company style guide to be...
In a Business Writing Tune-Up class, an attendee wrote what he wanted to get from the class: "My most time-consuming task is developing a good opening sentence. Any tips on that?"    Yes! The first sentence can be the trickiest one to write--not just for novelists and essayists, but for business writers...
Great meetings start with great agendas. These tips will help you write agendas that keep meetings on track. 1. Start the agenda with the name of the meeting. For a regularly scheduled meeting, the name may be as simple as "Quarterly Business Meeting." For an ad hoc meeting (that is,...
In a Better Business Writing class I led yesterday, many participants chose to write recommendations for their in-class writing practice. One recommended a new policy, for example, another recommended a process improvement, and another argued for the involvement of senior managers in a program. When we worked on editing their...
If you write long documents, you probably need to write executive summaries, whether you are in banking, real estate, insurance, manufacturing, law, education, or another type of organization. The questions and answers below will help you ensure your executive summaries are relevant and useful. What is an executive summary? An...
People from around the world have been writing to me in search of the correct wording for new year's messages to their English-speaking friends and associates. To help them, I have composed these brief messages as models. I hope you find them helpful. Note to international readers: If the message says I, it is...
We all schedule meetings on our calendars. But people who take notes at meetings need to schedule three events on theirs: Time before the meeting to review the agenda, reports, and presentations that attendees have shared in advance Time to attend the meeting Time to complete a final draft of the notes When...
The other day I taught the online class Meeting Notes Made Easy. No wonder most of the people had enrolled in the class: They were working way too hard. When I reviewed their sample meeting notes, I found huge amounts of detail. The note takers explained new procedures in detail. They described new job openings...
In our business writing courses, people often ask how to write persuasive sales messages, and the topic is popular among the emailed questions I receive. In response to the interest, the current issue of our free e-newsletter, Better Writing at Work, includes a case study analyzing a sales email that arrived in my...