Managers' Library Home

  Now in:- Skip Navigation LinksTrainers' Library Home » Training Materials Home » Articles » Business Writing


Business Writing Articles

View all Trainers' Library Categories View All Training Materials Categories
Help your participants prepare business reports, write letters and improve their grammar.

Have you tried our Free Samples? Click here to try out our training materials.


 

28 Design Tips to Improve the Effectiveness of your Advertising and Direct Mail

About this Article:
In this article, Bill Fryer provides some great ideas for improving advertising material, covering design, content and language.

About

About this Article:
In this article, Bill Fryer provides some great ideas for improving advertising material, covering design, content and language.

Opening Words:
1. Give it a human feel. Make sure it doesn’t look too mass produced. Instead it should look as if there has been human involvement.

2. Simple design changes revitalise a dying control pack. First try changing the outer envelope, then if this does not work try giving other parts of the pack a new look. People remember what they have seen better than what they have read, so it is not so important to change the copy.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in the design or content of advertising materials.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article
Article (Handout Version)





Label

Beyond Plain English

Article Overview:
In this thought provoking article, Martin Shovel questions the demand for plainer and plainer English and argues for the need for more evocative, poetic language in order to provoke a reaction in others.

About

Article Overview:
In this thought provoking article, Martin Shovel questions the demand for plainer and plainer English and argues for the need for more evocative, poetic language in order to provoke a reaction in others.

Opening Words:
How would your colleagues react if you turned up at the office one day in your pyjamas? Chances are, you’d struggle to get them to take you seriously. And if you tried to carry on as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening, they’d probably begin to question your sanity.

What you wear and when you choose to wear it matters greatly because in most social situations nudity is not an option. In the world of work, for example, the suit is an emblem of neutrality, but you’d get a very odd reaction if you wore one to bed.

When we express ourselves in language, our thoughts are like naked bodies and our words are like the clothes that dress and display them to the world. How you say what you say is as important as what you say – in fact, the two are inseparable. Which is why I have a bit of a problem with the idea of 'Plain English'.

Useful Reading For:
A fascinating read for anyone looking to add impact to their presentations or get their communication noticed.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Drawing People In

Article Overview:
This is a great article from Martin Shovel, that explains why pictures are so important in communication, and how that knowledge can help the trainer.

About

Article Overview:
This is a great article from Martin Shovel, that explains why pictures are so important in communication, and how that knowledge can help the trainer.

Opening Words:
Imagine this nightmare scenario… You're caught short in a foreign city, many miles from home. You don't speak the lingo and they don't speak yours. You're desperate to find the nearest loo. What do you do?

A recent mobile phone TV ad came up with an elegant solution. Before going on your trip, you load pictures of everything you might need onto your mobile camera phone. So now when you feel the urge, relief is at hand. All you have to do is flash a picture of a toilet at a passer-by.

In a situation like this pictures leave words standing – they are the ultimate lingua franca because they resemble the things they represent. In some circumstances a picture can even fool us into believing it is the thing itself. Think of one of those hyper-realistic trompe l'oeil paintings. You know it's only a picture but suddenly a painting of a bowl of fruit makes your mouth water and you're tempted to reach out for a non-existent strawberry. The brushwork looks for all the world like a real strawberry's blood brother but turns out to be a stranger – a case of mistaken identity.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Email Etiquette

Article Overview:
This handy article from Bryan Edwards provides a simple list of tips and recommendations for sending and reading emails.

About

Article Overview:
This handy article from Bryan Edwards provides a simple list of tips and recommendations for sending and reading emails.

Opening Words:
When sending:
1) In character, email is somewhere between an informal telephone call and a formal letter, but an email can be easily kept as a permanent record – a phone call is more difficult. Avoid slang, careless writing, thoughtless comments, too many dots or exclamation marks.
2) Consider the recipient – who really needs to know? Is it ‘nice to know’ or ‘essential to their job to know’?
3) Talk to your boss about the types of information he/she needs to be copied in on.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone that sends or receives email - that's everyone then! :-)

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

How Important are Business Writing Skills?

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb considers the importance of writing skills in today's business world. The article goes on to explain why business writing skills are so important, and what trainers need to consider when developing their colleagues' writing skills.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Rod Webb considers the importance of writing skills in today's business world. The article goes on to explain why business writing skills are so important, and what trainers need to consider when developing their colleagues' writing skills.

Opening Words:
Many of us brought up in the UK in the seventies and eighties received little formal training in the use of English language. In those ‘enlightened’ days the emphasis was placed less on the differences between nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and more on individuals’ abilities to get their ideas down on paper. Content became more important than the quality of the writing. Ironically, the first time many were seriously exposed to grammar, was when they tried to learn a foreign language.

As someone who spends much of his time training individuals to release their creative potential, and bemoaning the fact that creativity is not properly developed as a skill, you might think I’d be an advocate of a relaxed attitude towards English grammar, and writing skills in general. Experience has taught me however, that a basic understanding of grammar, and an ability to write effectively, are essential business skills.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article
Article (Handout Version)





Label

Memories Are Made Of This

Article Overview:
This is another excellent article from Martin Shovel in which he explores what makes things memorable. He compares two stories reported by the BBC about Sudan and asks why we remember one so clearly and not the other.

About

Article Overview:
This is another excellent article from Martin Shovel in which he explores what makes things memorable. He compares two stories reported by the BBC about Sudan and asks why we remember one so clearly and not the other.

Opening Words:
Why do we remember some things effortlessly and yet struggle desperately to remember others? It’s as if some experiences are covered in Velcro, while the rest are coated in Teflon. What makes this even more frustrating is that many of the most important things we have to remember are resolutely non-stick. Can an understanding of these differences help us make what we say – and write – more sticky?

One of the stickiest and most widely read internet news stories of 2006 came out of Sudan. It instantly caught the public’s imagination when it was first reported on the BBC News website. Even today, some two years later, it’s still being picked up by various web forums and being emailed across the world.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to make sure their communication has impact and is remembered.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel looks at the nature of language and the way we categorise things. He shows why basic level words and concepts are so important when trying to communicate effectively.

About

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel looks at the nature of language and the way we categorise things. He shows why basic level words and concepts are so important when trying to communicate effectively.

Opening Words:
In the Marx Brothers’ film, Duck Soup, there’s a scene in which Rufus T. Firefly (played by Groucho Marx) is handed a Treasury Department report while attending his first-ever Cabinet meeting as leader of the fictional country of Freedonia.

When asked if he finds the report clear, Firefly replies, “Clear? Huh! Why a four-year-old child could understand this report.” He then turns to his secretary and instructs him to “run out and find me a four-year-old child. I can’t make head nor tail out of it.”

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to be able to develop their ability to communicate powerfully through presentations or writing.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Purposeful Presentations

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the importance of purpose when designing a presentation.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the importance of purpose when designing a presentation.

Opening Words:
The road to lacklustre presentations is paved with good intentions. It often begins with a positive desire to stop navel-gazing and get stuck into the business of getting the job done, or it may simply be a response to the pressure of time.

But unfortunately, the impulse to dive straight into your material and start writing masks a serious confusion between purpose and content that inevitably results in presentations that lack focus, clarity and impact, and leave an audience gasping for air.

Useful Reading For:
Trainers and anyone interested in developing their presentation skills.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Telling Tales

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel compares the value of stories and arguments and explains why he believes both are important for persuasion.

About

Article Overview:
In this interesting article, Martin Shovel compares the value of stories and arguments and explains why he believes both are important for persuasion.

Opening Words:
Can the use of a story in a serious presentation ever be justified as anything more than ornamental – a sprinkle of sugar to help the pill go down?

We’re brought up to believe that stories and arguments are two fundamentally different ways of thinking and making sense of the world. On the one hand, small children are soothed to sleep with bedtime stories, not arguments. On the other, a board of directors is persuaded to adopt a new strategic objective by a series of rigorous arguments, not stories.

Of course, stories and arguments are different forms of discourse, but experiencing them in action recently at a conference for senior health service managers convinced me that both have a critical role to play in high-level thinking and communication.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to develop their influence and persuasion skills, and particularly those interested in making their presentations more impactful.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

This Metaphor Ain't Dead, It's Just Restin'

Article Overview:
In this article Martin Shovel discusses the use of the metaphor in everyday language and questions the condemnation of these phrases by the Plain English Campaign.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Martin Shovel discusses the use of the metaphor in everyday language and questions the condemnation of these phrases by the Plain English Campaign.

Opening Words:
Judging from a list of the 'most annoying cliches' in the English language compiled by the Plain English Campaign - one of the greatest examples of modern oratory might never have seen the light of day, if they'd had anything to do with it.

For the most part their 'most annoying cliches' list is unexceptionable. It contains many of the usual linguistic suspects: words that are misunderstood and misused; words and phrases that are used as fillers to bulk up the vacuous and trivial - like literally and the fact of the matter is; euphemisms - like to be perfectly honest and I hear what you're saying; professional jargon that has spilled over into everyday use - like the economist's value-added; slang expressions that have been flogged to death - like awesome and 24/7; and confusing slang - like diamond geezer (confusing because in US English geezer means an old person, especially an eccentric old man).

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who has to compile letters/emails or communicate an idea in writing.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Virtual Communication in Business

Article Overview:
In this short, and highly practical article, Clare Forrest provides ten tips for effective communication by email, phone and fax.

About

Article Overview:
In this short, and highly practical article, Clare Forrest provides ten tips for effective communication by email, phone and fax.

Opening Words:
1. In the first line of a first-time e-mail or fax, say who you are before you tell them what you want.

2. Jargon and abbreviations don't travel well, virtually. For example, do you know how many interpretations there are of SME? Try http://www.acronymfinder.com to find out.

3. Rather than trying to impress with long words - and maybe using them wrongly - read widely and build up your vocabulary and your knowledge of punctuation. Remember that if you communicate internationally the receiver may well have a very clear grasp of the English language - and they will not be impressed by your errors. You only get one chance to make a first impression with your writing

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who has to communicate via email, phone and fax.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Word Power

Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the power of Words and how they can influence, using examples from a recent speech by Barack Obama to illustrate his point.

About
Article Overview:
In this article, Martin Shovel looks at the power of Words and how they can influence, using examples from a recent speech by Barack Obama to illustrate his point.

Opening Words:
"Words are sparks of light that create an illuminated space inside our heads we call ‘consciousness’. They make it possible for us to move beyond simply experiencing things, to consciously thinking about them and then being able to share our thoughts about them with others, if we want to.

But words also wield their power in the darkness too. In the shadows, beyond the light of conscious awareness, they are able to influence us without our knowing what they are getting up to."

Useful Reading For:
Anyone interested in delivering a message persuasively and/or developing their presentation skills further.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Words That Catch Fire

Article Overview:
In another fascinating article, Martin Shovel considers the importance of imagery in language, using Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a dream' speech' to illustrate his point.

About

Article Overview:
In another fascinating article, Martin Shovel considers the importance of imagery in language, using Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a dream' speech' to illustrate his point.

Opening Words:
The words of a skilled speaker or writer create light in the minds of others. We instantly ‘see’ what they mean, we are enlightened. Their words grab our attention by stimulating our imaginations and touching our hearts. How is it that some people can do this while others leave us stumbling about in the dark wondering what they’re talking about?

The other day I listened to Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech and immediately fell under its spell. His language is full of imagery. His words spring into life as a series of tableaux that tell a compelling story about the African-Americans’ struggle for social equality. It’s clear that King recognises the persuasive power of imagery.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone.

Downloads
Available to Light
Article





Label

Powered by 

Copyright Glasstap® Limited (1999 - 2017)