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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Writing Well for Business Success

A Complete Guide to Style, Grammar, and Usage at Work

Sandra E. Lamb

St. Martin's Griffin



When attendees at an ongoing business writing seminar were asked, "How many of you receive badly written emails?" every person raised a hand. Eyes rolled.

The complaints that tumbled out were:

- Emails with run-on sentences

- Emails that ramble and are unclear

- Punctuation and grammatical errors

- A tone that is offensive or annoying

- Improper use of the subject line

? Careless or improper use of REPLY ALL, FORWARD, TO, CC, and BCC

? Improper, brusque, or no greeting

? Ignorance of organization email protocol and political correctness

We started that day, right there, to help those attendees write emails that work. And hopefully, that's what this little book will do for you.

Writing Well for Business Success combines the best principles of William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White's The Elements of Style and William Zinsser's On Writing Well into one concise and up-to-the-minute little volume that can become your quick-reference bible on effective business writing for today's workplace. And it includes the latest skills needed to effectively use today's number one business communications vehicle-email.

Maybe it's been a while since you stepped out of that English 101 classroom where The Elements of Style was taught and On Writing Well was required reading. And perhaps the rules for whether the word should be thatorwhich, and whether you should use a comma or not, are a bit fuzzy. Still, you know one thing for certain: to succeed in business you must write well because learning to write effectively can:

- Save you-the business writer-time

- Advance your career

- Save your organization money-and lots of it

- Make your organization, and you, much more profitable

- Raise the tide of well-written business communications

- Improve everyone's disposition

But business owners are reporting that while writing well is the most essential skill for business success, it is still their employees' biggest challenge-both for those just entering the business world and for those who have been in the workforce for some time. The problems for the two groups may be different, but both groups need help.

The pervasive use of email for business has made the work of writing well even more difficult because it invites-relentlessly-hitting SEND before you have done the preliminary steps of thinking through, organizing, reviewing, and possibly rewriting your message. And before you have done the essential job of editing, editing, editing.

So, to help you get these steps done at the speed of business email today, this little book is designed as your at-the-ready reference. You'll find the steps and rules set out so they are quick to read and easy to grasp and follow. Even fun. And each step and rule given is reinforced with examples to bring the principles home.

Let's get started.

First, peruse the brief chapters to learn where to go for answers to the things you struggle with.

Then do a quick review of the chapters on email, reports, business plans, letters, presentations, and résumés. This will give you a good idea of where to turn when you have a question or need a refresher.

Copyright © 2015 by Sandra E. Lamb

Illustrations copyright © 2015 by J. M. Jensen