Everyone wants to know the “who-what-when-where-why-how-how much” immediately, in the first sentence. They need to make decisions. When they read documents, they want to know the important things immediately. They want to know objectives, means of measurement, costs, and returns on those investments. They want to see that information in the first sentences. Good business writing is more about clear thinking than it is about writing style. Writing can only be as good as the thinking that precedes it. You must know what you want to say, what your objective is in saying it, and why it’s important for your audience to read it. Organizing a writing project is very similar to organizing a presentation. The good writer is just as aware of his/her audience as a good public speaker is. After you have organized and outlined the subject of your memo, report, or letter, you should have a clear idea of your main focus. Focus in your business report or memo is your objective—it is the “why” of why you are bothering to write at all. Most business writing has its purpose buried. There is no focus, no goal, no call for action, and no desired end result. If you do not provide the focus, you force your reader to ask questions about your message which you should have answered before sitting down at your word processor. Knowing your audience will help you to organize your material so that it has the best chance of being read and understood. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes—listen, and you will be better received. This book will show you how to write business messages clearly, concisely and simply. It will encourage you to write conversationally, the way you talk, and to write with humanity; that is, from one person to another.
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