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How to Sharpen Your Business Writing Skills

Author: Nan Levinson
Testing Format: multiple choice
Your Price: $159.00
ISBN: 9780761215479
Format: Spiral/Comb/Coil Binding


An opportunity to update writing skills and excel in today’s e-writing environment.

Packed with practical advice attuned to current business writing and presentation challenges, this self-study course features special strategies to speed online research and guidelines for creating safe and savvy e-mail.

Through interactive, self-directed exercises, you’ll acquire the techniques that professional writers use to research, draft, compose, and edit their work. Examples and checklists will keep you on track as you practice writing better letters, memos, proposals, reports, and e-mail (with its own rules and etiquette). If you struggle to find the words and tone appropriate for given situations, you‘ll appreciate the advice on selecting language that works. There’s also plenty of help with those niggling questions about grammar and punctuation.

Once you’ve completed this course, your writing will be more effective, polished, and direct. It will distinguish you and help you move ahead, whether you’re an administrative assistant or company officer.

Course Objective: Employ techniques to research, draft, compose, and edit professional documents. Follow guidelines for writing appropriate and effective e-mail and learn to conduct on-line research.

Testing Format Multiple Choice

Multiple Choice


Selected Learning Objective

Selected Learning Objectives

• Identify your audience

• Organize your material

• Write clearly and effectively

• Master the steps of editing and rewriting

• Conduct online research thoroughly and quickly

• Compose e-mail that communicates your message efficiently

• Avoid common pitfalls of electronic communications

• Use writing to eliminate misunderstandings


Table of Contents

About This Course

How to Take This Course


1.Writing for Your Reader

Establishing Criteria

Exercise 1-1: What Is Good Writing?

Knowing Why You Write

Knowing Your Audience

Position in the Organization

Exercise 1-2: Paths of Communication Based on Social and Political Relationships

Knowledge of the Topic

Exercise 1-3: Paths of Communication Based on Level of Knowledge

Personal Characteristics

Exercise 1-4: Consider the Reader

Multiple Readers

Applying Basic Psychology

Point Out Benefits to the Reader

Consider the Reader’s Point of View

Use an Appropriate Tone

Exercise 1-5: Writing with an Appropriate Tone


Review Questions

  1. Getting Organized

Creating an Outline

Formal and Informal Outlines

The Outline as a Test of Logic

Developing Your Topic

Good Evidence

Validity and Logic

Exercise 2-1: Finding the Flaw in the Argument

Details, Details

Organizing Your Material

Direct Organization

Exercise 2-2: Get to the Point

Indirect Organization

Putting Your Supporting Ideas in Sequence

Exercise 2-3: From Brainstorm to Order





Process Analysis

Getting Going


Answers to Exercises

Review Questions

3 Types of Business Writing

The Business Letter


Body of the Letter

Exercise 3-1: Writing Letters

The Memorandum

Protocol and Format


Exercise 3-2: Writing a Memo

The Proposal

Body of the Proposal

The Report

Minutes of a Meeting

Writing Together


Answers to Exercises

Review Questions

4 Effective Writing

Choosing Appropriate Sentence Patterns

Simple Sentences

Compound Sentences

Complex Sentences

Using Sentences Effectively

Topic Sentences



Exercise 4-1: Organizing Sentences

Emphasizing and Deemphasizing Ideas

Exercise 4-2: Beware the Dreaded Comma Splice

Exercise 4-3: Structuring for Emphasis

Controlling Sentence Length

Exercise 4-4: Sentence Length

Creating Rhythm with Sentence Variety

Building Sound Sentences

Parallel Structure

Exercise 4-5: Parallel Structure

Misplaced Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

Exercise 4-6: Avoiding Dangling Modifiers


Answers to Exercises

Review Questions.

5 The Right Word: Appropriate Language

Dictionaries: Tools of the Trade

Dictionary Entries


Read Thoroughly

Exercise 5-1: Consulting a Dictionary

Slippery Words

Denotation and Connotation

Sexist and Other Offensive Language

Jargon and Technical Terms


Exercise 5-2: Airing Out Stuffiness


Agreement of Subject and Verb

Exercise 5-3: Subject-Verb Agreement

Agreement of Pronoun and Antecedent

Agreement of Pronouns in Other Sentences



Answers to Exercises

Review Questions

6.Language That Works

Finding the Right Tone

Choosing the Right Verbal Image

Loaded Words

Positive and Negative Associations

Warm and Cold Words

Exercise 6-1: Warm and Cold Words

Being Precise

Writing Logically

Using Words Correctly

Finding the Right Word

Exercise 6-2: Precise Writing

Being Concise

Eliminate Fillers

Eliminate Repetition

Condense Phrases and Clauses

Exercise 6-3: Tight Writing


Answers to Exercises

Review Questions

7 Direct and Forceful Writing

Using Active Verbs

Making Passive Sentences Active

Exercise 7-1: The Active Voice

Using the Passive Voice Appropriately

Using Concrete and Specific Language

Powerful Verbs

Exercise 7-2: Active Verbs

Vivid Nouns

Exercise 7-3: Concrete and Abstract Nouns

Who Does What to Whom?

Verbized Nouns and Nounification of Verbs

It’s Absolutely, Totally Unnecessary to Overmodify Very Much

Exercise 7-4: Edit, Rewrite, Improve

Avoiding Tired Language


Answers to Exercises

Review Questions

8 Write and Rewrite: Punctuating and Revising


End Marks

The Comma

The Semicolon

The Colon

The Dash

The Apostrophe

Exercise 8-1: Punctuation Practice

Incorporating Quotations into Your Writing

Exercise 8-2: Quotable Quotes

Rewriting, Polishing, and Streamlining


Exercise 8-3: Find the Errors

Checking Yourself


Answers to Exercises

Review Questions

9 Research: Fact-Finding Missions

Interviewing for Information

The Right Questions

Open-Ended Questions

Indirect Questions

Feedback Questions

Exercise 9 1: Kinds of Questions


Using the Internet

Resources Online

The Library

Reference Librarians

Detective at Work

Exercise 9 -2: Where in the World Is . . .

Using Sources


Answers to Exercises

Review Questions

10 Plugging In: Digital Business Communication

Digital Issues and Writing

Presentation: The Eyes Have It

Guidelines for Electronic Writing


Discussion Forums

Writing that Functions as Speech

Exercise 10 1: Writing E-mail

New Issues in Communication


Offending Material

Social Media

A Word to the Wise

Exercise 10 2: Assessing the Risks


Answers to Exercises

Review Questions