A helpful guide for business writing
Good writing is the road to more credibility, better professional image, and successful results, according to Natalie Canavor and Claire Meirowitz in their book The Truth About the New Rules of Business Writing. Writing is a leadership skill, which can be just as important to success as good face-to-face skills. The book contains 52 “truths”, with a short chapter devoted to each, promising to equip the reader to write powerfully for today’s business media.
Part I, the longest part of the book, is about what makes writing work. Part II describes principles of self-editing. Parts III, IV and V relate to email communications, letters, and reports and proposals. Parts VI and VII relate to writing for websites and new media including blogs, Twitter, email newsletters and PowerPoint presentations. Part VIII is about self-marketing and Part IX covers some tricks of the trade including creating headlines and conducting interviews.
On the whole I found the authors’ advice to be quite helpful. At first they advocate a conversational style of writing (which might not be suitable for more formal business requirements) but they temper this advice with Truth 16: Your goal and audience determine the best way to communicate. Some of the subjects, such as writing for websites and writing proposals, are covered relatively briefly, and readers seeking advice in those areas might do better to consult more specialised publications.