In GeneralSubmit document as an attachment using doc, docx, or rtf formatEach assignment should have the course cover page, which includes:[your name][date]Proposal Outline (50 pts.) will be combined with Draft 1 (50 pts.) for a total of 100 pts.Minimum 250 wordsCreate a proposal outline.Your outline will consist of section headings/titles (bold), and main paragraph topic sentences, followed by subtopic categories. Include the sections listed in the unsolicited sales proposal section of The Business Writer’s Companion (BWC pg.157). If you choose to exclude any of the sections, be prepared to discuss why you think the section does not apply to your proposal.2016012005415720150928021740business_writer___s_companion__the___gerald_j._alred__amp_3_charle….pdf the topic is don’t drink and driveHow to Use This Book
The Business Writer’s Companion offers a concise yet thorough guide to
business writing and communication in an easy-to-use format.
• Twelve tabbed sections organize the book’s entries in thematic
• A brief table of contents on the inside front cover provides a
convenient listing of all twelve tabs.
• Alphabetically arranged entries within each tabbed section
make it easy to find specific topics.
• At the beginning of each tab, a brief Preview discusses the
entries in that section, lists them with page numbers, and
describes relevant e-Pages.
• Underlined cross-references in each entry link to related
entries both within and outside that tab. When a cross-reference
directs to an entry outside its tab, the tab number appears in
• A complete table of contents at the front of the book lists all
entries, figures, Writer’s Checklists, Digital Tip e-Pages, and more.
• A user-friendly index provides a comprehensive list of terms
and topics covered in the book, including topics that are not featured as main entries.
• A complete list of model documents and e-Pages in the
book’s final pages makes it easy to navigate the examples, visuals,
and tutorials available in print and online.
• The inside back cover provides instructions for accessing
e-Pages, book-specific integrated media that takes advantage of
what the Web can do.
• Web Links throughout the book point to up-to-date, annotated,
and organized online resource lists on the Student Site, available
About the Authors
Gerald J. Alred is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of
Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where he is a teaching-award recipient and an
adviser to the Professional Writing Program. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and several standard bibliographies on business
and technical communication, and he is a founding member of the editorial board of the Journal of Business Communication. He is a recipient
of the prestigious Jay R. Gould Award for “profound scholarly and textbook contributions to the teaching of business and technical writing.”
Charles T. Brusaw served as a faculty member at NCR Corporation’s
Management College, where he developed and taught courses in professional writing, editing, and presentation skills for the corporation
worldwide. Previously, he worked in advertising, technical writing, public relations, and curriculum development. He has been a communi­
cations consultant, an invited speaker at academic conferences, and a
teacher of business writing at Sinclair Community College.
Walter E. Oliu served as Chief of the Publishing Services Branch at
the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where he managed the agency’s printing, graphics, editing, and publishing programs as well as daily
operations of the agency’s public Web site. He has taught at Miami Uni­
v­ersity of Ohio, Slippery Rock State University, Montgomery Col­­­lege,
and George Mason University.
Workplace Technology Adviser
Richard C. Hay is owner and manager of a Web-based company that
provides computer hosting, programming, and design solutions for or­­­­
ganizations, including thousands of college writing, advising, and academic support centers across the United States. He is publisher of the
peer-reviewed Writing Lab Newsletter, has taught business and technical
writing at the University of  Wisconsin–Milwaukee, sits on the boards of
two nonprofit organizations and is president of Quest Theater Ensemble
in Chicago.
S E V E N T H E d i t i on
Business Writer’s
Gerald J. Alred
Charles T. Brusaw
Walter E. Oliu
Bedford / St. Martin’s
New York
For Bedford/St. Martin’s
Publisher for Composition and Business and Technical Writing: Leasa Burton
Developmental Editor: Alyssa Demirjian
Publishing Services Manager: Andrea Cava
Production Supervisor: Samuel Jones
Executive Marketing Manager: Molly Parke
Editorial Assistant: Amanda Legee
Project Management: Books By Design, Inc.
Text Design: Claire Seng-Niemoeller; Books By Design, Inc.
Cover Design: Billy Boardman
Cover Photo : © Getty Images
Composition : Achorn International, Inc.
Printing and Binding : RR Donnelley and Sons
President, Bedford/St. Martin’s: Denise B. Wydra
Editorial Director for English and Music: Karen S. Henry
Director of Marketing: Karen R. Soeltz
Production Director: Susan W. Brown
Director of Rights and Permissions: Hilary Newman
Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008, 2005 by Bedford/St. Martin’s
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, me­­­
chanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except as may be expressly
permitted by the applicable copyright statutes or in writing by the Publisher.
Manufactured in the United States of America.
8 7 6 5 4 3
f e d c b a
For information, write: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 75 Arlington Street,
Boston, MA 02116 (617-399-4000)
ISBN 978-1-4576-3299-0
Acknowledgments and copyrights are continued at the back of the book on page 430,
which constitutes an extension of the copyright page.
The Business Writer’s Companion is the best guide to the business writing
essentials that help students land, navigate, and stand out on the job.
A concise, topically arranged version of our popular Business Writer’s
Handbook, this easy-to-use guide addresses the most common types of
business writing and communication. More than just a guide, however,
the Companion places writing in a real-world context with quick access
to more than sixty sample documents illustrating the most common
types of business writing. With decades of combined academic and professional experience, we have developed the Companion as a reliable
reference for both the classroom and the workplace.
Anticipating the needs of today’s business writers, we have added a
brand-new, comprehensive entry on the professional usefulness of social
media and the etiquette of balancing a professional online presence with
a personal online identity. Further, new Bedford Integrated Media connects the book’s topics to the Web with sample documents and video
tutorials in e-Pages that help students practice the way professionals use
technology in the workplace. We also have been guided by the smart and
generous reviews of colleagues and users across the country. In response
to their suggestions, we’ve revised and updated entries throughout the
book on topics such as layout and design, job search, résumés, and
more. A Student Site is integrated with the text to offer expanded online
resources, including additional models and annotated Web Links.
The Companion’s Organization and
Cross-Referencing System
The Companion’s entries are thematically organized into twelve tabbed
sections. At the beginning of each tabbed section, a brief preview lists
and introduces the entries, which are alphabetically arranged within
that section. Within each entry, underlined cross-references link readers
to related entries both within that section and in other tabbed sections.
When referencing an entry in a different tabbed section, the crossreference includes a tab number in parentheses.
Concise, comprehensive coverage of the writing process along
with in-depth treatment of grammar and usage provides detailed help
for every stage of writing—from preparation, audience analysis, and
research, to drafting, revising, and proofreading.
Real-world sample documents offer students authentic and effective models of business correspondence for a variety of workplace
situations. Sample documents in the e-Pages include questions that help
students think about audience, purpose, and context. Additional, annotated examples on the book’s Student Site offer even more variety in
sample reports, proposals, letters, memos, e-mails, résumés, and other
A popular quick-reference design makes information easy to
find. In addition to the cross-references throughout the book that help
students find related entries, the Complete List of Model Documents
and e-Pages provides easy access to sample documents. Tips and checklists help students tackle complex tasks such as proofreading and revising, communicating with international audiences, and evaluating
sources. Cross-references on each Preview page and in the Digital Tip
boxes direct students to the e-Pages relevant to each print section.
Emphasis on the latest workplace technologies stresses the importance of tailoring every document, post, and message to its purpose
and medium. Up-to-date instruction gives students the latest advice on
writing and designing for the Web, conducting Internet research, and
approaching new software.
New to This Edition
A brand-new, comprehensive entry on social media includes a
new Writer’s Checklist as well as strategic advice on identifying the
social network that best fits a brand’s audience and purpose, adapting
writing to the unique strengths of each site, and balancing a professional
online presence with a personal online identity.
New Bedford Integrated Media features sample documents
and video tutorials on how to use technologies to support workplace
writing. Explore such topics as adding digital enhancements to formal
reports—including linked tables of contents, mouseover elements, and
interactive forms and graphics—as well as commenting on collaborative documents and organizing effective online meetings. As mentioned earlier, clear cross-references on Preview pages and in Digital
Tip boxes direct students to the relevant e-Pages. A comprehensive list
of all e-Pages can be found in the Complete List of Model Documents
and e-Pages at the end of the book. You and your students can access
the e-Pages at Students receive access
automatically with the purchase of a new book. If the activation code
printed on the inside back cover of the student edition does not work,
it might have expired. Students can purchase access at the Student
Preface vii
Site. Instruc­­tors receive access information in a separate e-mail with
access to all of the resources on the Student Site. You can also log in
or request access information at
Updated job-search coverage integrates the latest advice on
how candidates can successfully write their way to a new position, including advice on using social media to establish and expand a network
of professional connections, tips for different interview formats, and
suggestions for crafting successful follow-up correspondence.
Updated Professionalism and Ethics Notes throughout the
book highlight tips that advise students on how to act courteously and
conscientiously in the workplace.
Revised coverage of research and documentation reflects the
most up-to-date changes in both MLA and APA styles.
You Get More Digital Choices for
The Business Writer’s Companion
The Business Writer’s Companion doesn’t stop with a book. Online, you’ll
find both free and affordable premium resources to help students get
even more out of the book and your course. You’ll also find convenient
instructor resources, such as sample syllabi, handouts, and in-class
activities and suggested responses. To learn more about or to order any
of the products below, contact your Bedford/St. Martin’s sales representative, e-mail sales support (, or visit the
book’s catalog page at
Student Site for The Business Writer’s Companion
Send students to free and open resources, choose flexible premium
resources to supplement your print text, or upgrade to an expanding
collection of innovative digital content.
Free and open resources for The Business Writer’s Companion provide students with easy-to-access reference materials, visual tutorials, and support for working with sources.
• 200+ up-to-date, annotated Web Links organized into 40 business
writing topics
• 5 free sample documents on ModelDoc Central
• 5 free videos of real writers from VideoCentral
• 4 free tutorials from ix visual exercises by Cheryl Ball and Kristin
• Bedford Bibliographer: a tool for collecting source information and
making a bibliography in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles
viii Preface
VideoCentral is a growing collection of videos for the writing class
that captures real-world, academic, and student writers talking about
how and why they write. Writer and teacher Peter Berkow interviewed
hundreds of people to produce 140 brief videos about topics such as
revising and getting feedback. VideoCentral can be packaged with The
Business Writer’s Companion for free. An activation code is required. To
order VideoCentral packaged with the print book, use ISBN 978-14576-7590-4.
Re:Writing Plus gathers all Bedford/St. Martin’s premium digital
content for writing into one online collection. It includes hundreds of
model documents, exercises in visual rhetoric and documentation, and
VideoCentral. Re:Writing Plus can be purchased separately or packaged
with the print book at a significant discount. An activation code is
required. To order Re:Writing Plus packaged with the print book, use or
ISBN 978-1-4576-7997-1.
Instructor Resources
You have a lot to do in your course. Bedford/St. Martin’s wants to make
it easy for you to find the support you need—and to get it quickly.
Instructor resources for The Business Writer’s Companion include 15 free
Business Writing Lessons and more than 30 free Web and Research
Projects, in addition to sample syllabi and other resources.
Teaching Central offers the entire list of Bedford/St. Martin’s
print and online professional resources in one place. You’ll find landmark reference works, sourcebooks on pedagogical issues, awardwinning collections, and practical advice for the classroom—all free for
Bits collects creative ideas for teaching a range of writing topics in
an easily searchable blog format. A community of teachers—leading
scholars, authors, and editors—discuss revision, research, grammar and
style, technology, peer review, and much more. Take, use, adapt, and
pass the ideas around. Then, come back to the site to comment or to
share your own suggestions.
Content cartridges for the most common course management
systems—Blackboard, WebCT, Angel, and Desire2Learn—allow you to
easily download Bedford/St. Martin’s digital materials for your course.
We are deeply grateful to the many instructors, students, professional
writers, and others who have helped shape The Business Writer’s Companion, Seventh Edition. For their sound advice on this revision, we
wish to express our thanks to the following reviewers who completed
Preface ix
questionnaires: Thurlene Anderson, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising; Elizabeth Aydelott, Lane Community College; Greg Brecht,
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg; Stephen Byars, University
of Southern California, Marshall School of Business; Carol Davis, California State University, Monterey Bay; Robert Goldberg, Prince
George’s Community College; Kathie Holland, University of Central
Florida; Leslie Jacoby, San José State University; Joanna Johnson, University of Miami; John Krajicek, Mays Business School, Texas A&M
University; Carolyn Leeb, DePaul University; Ana Madani, Miami University; William Magrino, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey;
Dorothy McCawley, University of Florida; Richard Potter, Florida Atlantic University; Jim Schwartz, Wright State University Lake Campus;
Christine Sneed, DePaul University; Huatong Sun, University of Washington Tacoma; Allison UrzuaBlaul, Sullivan University; and Jeff Walls,
Indiana Institute of Technology.
For this edition, we are indebted to Richard C. Hay, owner and
manager of Twenty Six LLC, who assessed the coverage and models
throughout and provided specific advice to ensure that the book reflects
the current use of workplace technology and business practice. We are
also grateful to Richard for his help with previous editions, including his
review of the entry on adapting to new technologies and his insightful
advice about the entry on blogs and forums. We thank Rachel Spilka,
Renee Tegge, and Ulrike Mueller for advice about workplace writing,
grammar and usage, global communication, and social media. Rachel
and Ulrike have been consultants on previous editions, and we are
grateful for their ongoing support. We are indebted to Eva Brumberger
for her work on design principles and how it enriched the coverage in
this edition.
For contributions to previous editions, we especially thank Quinn
Warnick, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for developing the entry “adapting to new technologies.” We also thank Erik Thelen
for providing insights on workplace technology. For other special reviews
and advice on the use and adaptation of workplace technology for business writing, we thank Michelle M. Schoenecker, Nick Carbone, and
Paul Thomas. Finally, we thank Sally Stanton for expertly reviewing the
“proposals” entry and developing the section on grant proposals.
We thank Rebekka Andersen for providing invaluable and fresh
insights on many subjects, especially in the “proposals” entry. We thank
Eileen Puechner, Senior Technical Editor at Johnson Controls, Inc., for
her advice on workplace communication. We are also grateful to Kim
Isaacs, Advanced Career Systems, Inc.; Matthias Jonas, Niceware
International, LLC; Lisa Rivero, Milwaukee School of Engineering; and
Peter Sands, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
We most gratefully acknowledge the leadership of Bedford/St. Martin’s, beginning with Joan Feinberg, co-president of Macmillan Higher
Education; Denise Wydra, president of Bedford/St. Martin’s; Karen
Henry, Editorial Director for English and Music; and Charles Christensen, retired president; for their support of this book. We would also
like to acknowledge the contributions of others at Bedford/St. Martin’s
over the years — Nancy Lyman, who conceived the first edition of this
book; Carla Samodulski, for her expert editorial guidance; Mimi Melek,
for her editorial development of the second edition; Ellen Thibault, for
editing the third edition; Caroline Thompson, for editing the fourth edition; and Amy Gershman, for editing the fifth and sixth editions.
For this edition, we thank Andrea Cava and Samuel Jones of Bedford/St. Martin’s for ensuring the high-quality production of the book,
and Herb Nolan of Books By Design for his energy, care, and professionalism in turning manuscript into bound book. We are also pleased
to acknowledge the guidance of Kate Mayhew on related Bedford/
St. Martin’s titles, as well as the unfailing support of Amanda Legee,
editorial assistant at Bedford/St. Martin’s.
We thank Alyssa Demirjian, associate editor at Bedford/St. Martin’s,
for her energy, insight, and thoroughly professional editorial direction
throughout the project.
We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contributions of many students and instructors at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Finally, special thanks go to Janice Alred for her many hours of substantive
assistance and for continuing to hold everything together.
Gerald J. Alred
Charles T. Brusaw
Walter E. Oliu
Complete Contents
Brief Contents (inside front cover)
• Figure 1–2. Simple Description 
How to Use This Book i
ethics in writing
Preface v
Five Steps to Successful Writing xxv
Preparation xxvi
Research xxviii
Organization xxix
Writing xxxi
Revision xxxi

Writer’s Checklist: Writing
Ethically  14
global communication

Analyzing Your Audience’s Needs 3
Writing for Varied and Multiple
Audiences 3
collaborative writing
Digital Tip: Using Collaborative
Software  4
Tasks of the Collaborative Writing
Team 5

Planning 5
Research and Writing 5
Reviewing 5
Revising 6
Writer’s Checklist: Writing
Collaboratively  6
• Figure 1–1. Conclusion 
Routine Openings 16
Opening Strategies 17
Objective 17
Problem Statement 17
Scope 17
Background 17
Summary 18
Interesting Detail 18
Definition 18
Anecdote 19
Quotation 19
Forecast 19
Persuasive Hook 19
Full-Scale Introductions 20
organization 20
outlining 22
Advantages of Outlining 22
Types of Outlines 22
Creating an Outline 23
Digital Tip: Creating an Outline  24
Web Link: Intercultural
Resources  15
Writer’s Checklist: Communicating
Globally  16
1. The Writing Process
Assessing Context 9
Signaling Context 10
Topic Sentence 25
Paragraph Length 26
Writing Paragraphs 26
Paragraph Unity and Coherence 27
defining terms 11

Complete Contents

point of view
• Figure 1–3. Persuasive Memo  29
• ESL Tip for Stating an Opinion  31

Writer’s Checklist: Preparing to
Write  31
process explanation 32
promotional writing 32

• Writer’s Checklist: Proofreading
in Stages  34
• Figure 1–4. Proofreaders’
Marks  35
Digital Tip: Proofreading for
Format Consistency  36
Writer’s Checklist: Revising Your
Draft  38
Digital Tip: Incorporating Tracked
Changes  39
scope 39
writing a draft

2. Workplace Technology
Writer’s Checklist: Observing
Workplace Netiquette  48
Digital Tip: Sharing Electronic
Files  49
• Figure 2–1. E-mail Signature
Block 50
• Writer’s Checklist: Managing Your
E-mail and Reducing Overload 51
FAQs (frequently asked
questions) 51


Writer’s Checklist: Developing
FAQs 53
instant messaging 53
• Figure 2–2. Instant-Message
Exchange  54
• Writer’s Checklist: Instant
Repurpose for the Context 56
Repurpose for the Medium 56

selecting the medium
Technology You Need to Know 43
Strategies for Learning a New
Technology 43
Digital Tip: Assessing Hardware,
Software, and applications  44
Organizational Uses 45
Writing Style 45

adapting to new technologies
blogs and forums
Review and Confidentiality 47
Messaging Privacy and Security  55
Writer’s Checklist: Writing a
Rough Draft  40
e-mail 47
Questions to Include 52
Organization 52
Placement 53
purpose 36
readers 37
revision 37

Design Considerations 49
Salutations, Closings, and Signature
Blocks 49
Web Link: Writing Promotional
Case Histories  33
Web Link: Developing Blogs and
Forums  46
E-mail 57
Memos 57
Letters 58
Faxes 58
Instant Messaging 58
Text Messaging 58
Telephone and Conference Calls 58
Voice-Mail Messages 59
Face-to-Face Meetings 59
Videoconferences 59
Complete Contents
Web Communication 60

Web Conferencing 60
Professional Networking 60
Web-Site Postings 60
APA Documentation 74
APA In-Text Citations 74
APA Documentation Models
APA Sample Pages 80
social media 61
Organizational Uses 61
Choosing the Appropriate Platform 61
Writing Style 62
Writer’s Checklist: Judicious Use of
Social Media  63
text messaging


Chunking Content 64
Headings 64
Lists 64
Keywords 65
Directional Cues 65
Graphics 65
Hyperlinks 65
Fonts 65
Line Length 66
interviewing for information
3. R
esearch and

Web Link: Research and
Documentation Resources  70
bibliographies 71
copyright 71


Permissions 71
Exceptions 72
Determining the Proper Person to
Interview 88
Preparing for the Interview 88



Writer’s Checklist: Interviewing
Successfully  90
Conducting the Interview 89
Digital Tip: Using PDF Files  67
Web Link: Web-Design Resources  67
MLA In-Text Citations 82
MLA Documentation Models
MLA Sample Pages 86
Documentation Systems  88
Linking to Reputable Sites 66
Posting an Existing Document 66
Protecting User Privacy 66
Writing for a Global Audience 67

References  81
MLA Documentation 82
• Figure 3–3. MLA Sample Page (from a
report) 86
• Figure 3–4. MLA Sample List of
Works Cited 87
• Web Link: Other Style Manuals and
Crafting Content for Web Pages
• Figure 3–1. APA Sample Page (from a
report) 80
• Figure 3–2. APA Sample List of
writing for the Web
Web Link: Alternative Forms of
Copyright  72
documenting sources 73
Digital Tip: Synchronizing
Information  60

Expanding Your Notes Soon After the
Interview 89
Interviewing by Phone or E-mail 89

Writer’s Checklist: Taking
Notes  91

Citing Sources 92
Common Knowledge 93

Web Link: Avoiding Plagiarism  93
quotations 94

Complete Contents
Audience and Writing Style 112
Openings and Closings 113
Goodwill and the “You”Viewpoint
Direct Quotations 94
Indirect Quotations 94
Deletions or Omissions 94
Inserting Material into
Quotations 95
Incorporating Quotations into Text

Direct and Indirect Patterns 116
• Figure 3–5. Long Quotation (APA
Direct Pattern
Message  117
Indirect Pattern 117
• Figure 4–6. Courteous Bad-News
Message  119
Primary Research 97

Clarity and Emphasis 120
Secondary Research 97
Library Research Strategies 98
• web link: Storing Search and

Online Catalogs (Locating
Books) 99
Online Databases and Indexes
(Locating Articles) 99
Reference Works 99
cover letters
Search Engines
Responding to Inquiries 124
• Figure 4–1. Acknowledgment  107
• Figure 4–2. Adjustment Letter
(Company Takes Responsibility) 108
• Figure 4–3. Partial Adjustment
Full Adjustments 109
Partial Adjustments 110
complaints 110
• Figure 4–4. Complaint message 
Web Link: Sample International
Correspondence  125
Writer’s Checklist: Writing
Correspondence  125
Web Link: Open Directory
International Listing  126
Letter Format 127
Heading 127
Inside Address 127
• Figure 4–10. Full-Block-Style Letter
(with Letterhead)

acknowledgments 107
adjustments 107
• Writer’s Checklist: Writing
Inquiries  122
• Figure 4–8. Inquiry  123
Inquiry  124
Writer’s Checklist: Evaluating
Print and Online Sources  103
(Accompanying a Product)
• Figure 4–9. Response to an
Web Subject Directories 101
Evaluating Sources 102
inquiries and responses
Writer’s Checklist: Using Search
Engines and Keywords  101
4. Correspondence
Writer’s Checklist:
Correspondence and
Accuracy  121
• Figure 4–7. Cover Message 

Lists 120
Headings 120
Subject Lines 120
Note-Taking Results  98
Internet Research Strategies 100

• Figure 4–5. Good-News
Style) 96
Writer’s Checklist: Using Tone to
Build Goodwill 116
Salutation 129
Subject Line 129
Body 130
Complimentary Closing 130
Writer’s Signature Block 130
Complete Contents
End Notations
• Figure 4–11. Alternative Headers
for the Second Page of a
Letter 131
Additional Pages
• Web Link: Writing Memos  132
• Figure 4–12. Typical Memo Format
(Printed or Attached to
E-mail) 133
Figure 4–13. Alternative Headers
for the Second Page of a
Memo  134

• Figure 4–14. Refusal with Low
Stakes  135
• Figure 4–15. Refusal with High
Stakes  136
sales letters

Writer’s Checklist: Writing Sales
Letters  138

Web Link: Sales-Letter
Resources  139
5. Business Writing Documents
and Elements
feasibility reports
Report Sections 143

Introduction 143
Body 143
Conclusion 143
Recommendation 143
Web Link: Feasibility Reports  144
incident reports

• Figure 5–3. Progress Report (Using
Letter Format) 148
• Figure 5–4. Activity Report (Using
Activity Reports 150
Memo Format 132

Progress Reports 147
e-mail format)
Continuing Pages 131
investigative reports
• Figure 5–1. Incident Report (Using
Memo format) 145
• Figure 5–2. Investigative
Report  146
progress and activity
reports 147
Proposal Strategies

Audience and Purpose 151
Project Management 151
Web Link: Proposal-Management
Software  151
Proposal Context and Types 152

Writer’s Checklist: Writing
Persuasive Proposals  152
Internal Proposals

Informal Internal Proposals
Web Link: Internal Proposals  153
Formal Internal Proposals
• Web Link: Complete Internal
Proposal 153
• Figure 5–5. Special-Purpose Internal
Proposal 154
External Proposals 156
Solicited Proposals 156
Unsolicited Proposals 156
Sales Proposals 157

Web Link: Sample Sales
Proposal 159

Web Link: Sample Grant
Proposals  160
Writer’s Checklist: Writing Grant
Proposals  163
Web Link: Resources for Preparing
Grant Proposals  163
Grant Proposals 159
titles 164
Reports and Long Documents 164
Memos, E-mail, and Online
Postings 165
Formatting Titles 165
Capitalization 165
Italics 166
Quotation Marks 166
Special Cases 166
Complete Contents
trip reports
Sample Formal Report 179
• Web Link: sample Online Formal
Reports  179
• Figure 6–2. Formal Report  180
• Figure 5–6. Trip Report Sent as
E-mail (with Attachment)
trouble reports (see incident
reports) 168
glossaries 197
tables of contents
6. Formal Reports
7. Design and Visuals
Digital Tip: Digitally Enhancing
Formal Reports  170
• Figure 6–1. Informative Abstract
(from a Report) 172
appendixes 173
executive summaries
Digital Tip: Creating Styles and
Templates  175
Front Matter
Title Page 175
Abstract 176
Table of Contents 176
List of Figures 176
List of Tables 176
Foreword 176
Preface 177
List of Abbreviations and
Symbols 177
Executive Summary 177
Introduction 177
Text 177
Conclusions 177
Recommendations 178
Explanatory Notes 178
References (or Works Cited)
Back Matter
Drawing Showing Custom
Features  201
Figure 7–2. Cutaway Drawing  202
Writer’s Checklist: Creating and
Using Drawings  202

• Writer’s Checklist: Creating
Flowcharts  203
• Figure 7–3. Flowchart Using
Labeled Blocks  203
• Figure 7–4. flowchart using
pictorial symbols  204
• Figure 7–5. Common ISO Flowchart
Symbols (with Annotations) 205
global graphics
• Figure 7–6. Graphics for U.S. and
Global Audiences  206
• Figure 7–7. International

Body 177

Preview 200
Writer’s Checklist: Writing
Executive Summaries  174
formal reports
• Figure 7–1. Conventional Line
Types of Abstracts 171
Writing Strategies 171

Organization for Standardization
(ISO) Symbols  206
Writer’s Checklist: Communicating
with Global Graphics  207
Line Graphs 208
• Figure 7–8. Double-Line Graph (with
Shading) 208
• Figure 7–9. Distorted and
Bar Graphs 209
• Figure 7–10. Bar Graph (Quantities
Appendixes 178
Bibliography 179
Glossary 179
Index 179
Digital Tip: Creating an Index

Distortion-Free Expressions of
Data  209
of Different Items During a Fixed
period) 210
Pie Graphs 210
Picture Graphs 210
Complete Contents
• Web Link: Resources for Preparing
Gantt Charts  210
• Figure 7–11. gantt chart showing
project schedule  211
• Figure 7–12. Pie Graph (Showing
Percentages of the Whole) 212
• Figure 7–13. Picture Graph  212
• Writer’s Checklist: Creating
tables 224
Table Elements 224
• Figure 7–19. Elements of a
Table  224
Table Number 225
Table Title 225
Box Head 225
Stub 225
Body 225
Rules 225
Footnotes 225
Source Line 225
Continuing Tables 225
Graphs  213
• Writer’s Checklist: Using
Headings  214
• Figure 7–14. Headings Used in a
Document  215
layout and design
• Figure 7–20. Informal Table 
Informal Tables
Design Principles 216
Grouping 216
Contrast 216
Repetition 217

Selecting Visuals
Integrating Visuals with Text 227
Typography 217
Typeface and Type Size 217

Figure 7–15. Primary Components
of Letter Characters  217
Type Style and Emphasis
• Figure 7–16. Type Sizes (6- to
• Figure 7–21. Chart for Choosing
Appropriate Visuals  228
• Writer’s Checklist: Creating and
Integrating Visuals  230
14-Point Type) 218
Page-Design Elements 219
Justification 219
Headings 219
Headers and Footers
Lists 220
Columns 220
White Space 220
Color 220
Page Layout and Thumbnails 221
• Web Link: Designing
Documents  222
• Figure 7–17. Bulleted List in a

Paragraph  222
Writer’s Checklist: Using
Lists  223
organizational charts
• Figure 7–18. Organizational
Chart  224
Fallacies About Listening
Active Listening 233
Icons 221
Captions 221
Rules 221
Preview 232
Visuals 220
8. P
resentations and
Step 1: Make a Conscious
Decision 233
Step 2: Define Your Purpose 233
Step 3: Take Specific Actions 234
Step 4: Adapt to the Situation 234
Planning a Meeting 235
Determine the Purpose of the
Meeting 235
Decide Who Should Attend 235
Choose the Meeting Time 235
Digital Tip: Scheduling Meetings
Online  235
Choose the Meeting Location
Establish the Agenda 236
xviii Complete Contents
Digital Tip: Conducting Online
Meetings  236
Figure 8–1. Meeting Agenda  237

acceptance / refusals (for
employment) 255
• Figure 8–2. E-mail to accompany an
• Figure 9–1. Acceptance (for
Employment) 255
• Figure 9–2. Refusal (for
Conducting the Meeting 238

Assign the Minute-Taking 237
Agenda  238

Deal with Conflict 239
Close the Meeting 239
• Figure 8–3. Minutes of a Meeting
(Partial Section) 241
• Writer’s Checklist: Items Included
in Minutes of Meetings  241

Practice 249
Delivery Techniques That Work 249
Presentation Anxiety 250
Writer’s Checklist: Preparing for
and Delivering a Presentation  250
9. J ob Search and



During the Interview 262
Delivering a Presentation 248
Letter (College Student Applying
for an Internship) 258
Figure 9–4. Application Cover
Letter (RECENT Graduate Applying
for a Graphic Design Job) 259
Figure 9–5. Application Cover
Letter (Applicant with Years of
Experience) 260
Before the Interview 261
Slides  248
• Figure 9–3. Application Cover
Flip Charts 246
Whiteboards or Chalkboards
Presentation Software 246
Opening 257
Body 257
interviewing for a job
• Figure 8–4. Presentation Slides  247
• Writer’s Checklist: Using Visuals in
a Presentation  248
• Web Link: Preparing Presentation

Closing 260
The Introduction 243
The Body 244
Transitions 245
The Closing 245

Determining Your Purpose 242
Analyzing Your Audience 243
Gathering Information 243
Structuring the Presentation 243
Using Visuals
application cover letters
Writer’s Checklist: Planning and
Conducting Meetings  240
minutes of meetings
Employment) 256
Behavior 263
Responses 263
Conclusion 264
After the Interview 264
job search 264
• Figure 9–6. Follow-up
Correspondence  265
Networking and Informational
Interviews 266
Campus Career Services 267
Strategic Web Searches 267
Social Media 267

Web Link: Finding a Job  268

Web Link: O*NET Online  268
Job Advertisements 268
Trade and Professional Journal
Listings 268
Employment Agencies ( Private,
Temporary, Government) 269
Complete Contents xix
Internships 269
Direct Inquiries 270

10. Style and Clarity
Web Link: Direct-Inquiry
Application Cover Letters  270
Job or Internship Applications

Web Link: Sample Job
Application  270
Writer’s Checklist: Completing a
Job Application  271

Sample Résumés 273

Web Link: Annotated Sample
Résumés  273
Analyzing Your Background 273
• Figure 9–7. Student Résumé (for an
Entry-Level Position) 274
• Figure 9–8. Résumé (Highlighting
Professional Credentials) 275
• Figure 9–9. Student Résumé (for a
Graphic Design Job) 276
• Figure 9–10. Résumé (Applicant with
Management Experience) 277
• Figure 9–11. Résumé (Experienced
Applicant Seeking Career
Change) 278
Figure 9–12. Advanced Résumé
(Combining Functional and
Chronological Elements) 279

Returning Job Seekers 281
Organizing Your Résumé (Sections) 282
Heading 283
Job Objective vs. Tagline 283



Preview 290
abstract / concrete words
affectation 291

Scannable and Plain-Text
Résumés 286
Web Link: Keywords and Digital
Formats for Résumés  287
Web-Posted Résumés 287
E-mail–Attached Résumés 287
Web Link: Affected Writing
Revised 292
awkwardness 292

Writer’s Checklist: Eliminating
Awkwardness  292
biased language

Sexist Language 293
Other Types of Biased Language 294
business writing style


Web Link: Buzzwords  296
clichés 296
coherence 296
compound words 297
conciseness 297
Causes of Wordiness 298

Writer’s Checklist: Achieving
Conciseness  299
connotation / denotation
emphasis 300
Achieving Emphasis
Position 300
Climactic Order 301
Sentence Length 301
Sentence Type 301
Active Voice 301
Repetition 302
Intensifiers 302
Direct Statements 302
Long Dashes 302
Typographical Devices 302
Qualifications Summary 284
Education 284
Employment Experience 284
Related Knowledge, Skills, and
Abilities 285
Honors and Activities 285
References and Portfolios 286
Digital Formats and Media 286
euphemisms 302

expletives 303
figures of speech 303
garbled sentences 304
idioms 305

Complete Contents
Web Link: Prepositional Idioms  305
intensifiers 305
jargon 306
logic errors 306


Web Link: Understanding an
Argument  308
nominalizations 308
parallel structure 308
Faulty Parallelism 309
plain language

Writer’s Checklist: Using Plain
Language  311
Web Link: Plain-Language
Resources  311
positive writing

Preview 326
Lack of Reason 306
Sweeping Generalizations 306
Non Sequiturs 307
False Cause 307
Biased or Suppressed Evidence 307
Fact Versus Opinion 307
Loaded Arguments 308

11. Grammar
repetition 312
sentence variety 313
Sentence Length 313
Word Order 314
Loose and Periodic Sentences 314
subordination 315
telegraphic style 316
Web Link: Getting Help with
Grammar 327
adjectives 327
Limiting Adjectives
Articles 327
Demonstrative Adjectives 327
Possessive Adjectives 328
Numeral Adjectives 328
Indefinite Adjectives 328
Comparison of Adjectives 328
Placement of Adjectives 329
Use of Adjectives 329

ESL Tips for Using Adjectives  330
adverbs 331
Types of Adverbs 331
Comparison of Adverbs 332
Placement of Adverbs 332
agreement 333
appositives 333
articles 334

ESL Tips for Using Articles  335
clauses 335
complements 337
conjunctions 338
dangling modifiers 339
English as a second language
(ESL) 339
Methods of Transition 319
Transition Between Sentences 319
Transition Between Paragraphs 320
Count and Mass Nouns 340
Articles and Modifiers 340
Gerunds and Infinitives 341
Adjective Clauses 342
Present-Perfect Verb Tense 342
Present-Progressive Verb Tense 342
ESL Entries 343
unity 321
vague words 321
word choice 321
mixed constructions 343
modifiers 343

tone 317
transition 318

Web Link: Wise Word Choices  322
“you” viewpoint

Web Link: English as a Second
Language  343
Stacked (Jammed) Modifiers
Misplaced Modifiers 345
Complete Contents xxi
Squinting Modifiers 345

Stylistic Use
ESL Tips for Determining
Mood 346
Types of Nouns 347
Noun Functions 348
Collective Nouns 348
Plural Nouns 349
objects 349
person 350
phrases 350
possessive case

Types of Verbs 370
Forms of Verbs 371
Finite Verbs 371
Nonfinite Verbs 371
Properties of Verbs

Gender 358
Number 358
Person 359
Using the Passive Voice
ESL Tip for Choosing Voice  376
12. P
unctuation and
Preview 378
ESL Tips for Understanding the
Subject of a Sentence  361
Sentence Types
Improving Clarity 374
Highlighting Subjects 374
Achieving Conciseness 375
restrictive and nonrestrictive
elements 359

Using the Active Voice

Subjects 360
Predicates 361
ESL Tips for Avoiding Shifts in
Voice, Mood, or Tense  372
Web Link: Conjugation of
Verbs  373
ESL Tip for Using Possessive
Pronouns  357
sentence construction
ESL Tips for Using the Progressive
Form  369
verbs 370
Prepositions at the End of a
Sentence 353
Prepositions in Titles 354
Preposition Errors 354
Structure 362
Intention 363
ESL Tips for Understanding the
Requirements of a Sentence  364
Past Tense 368
Past-Perfect Tense 368
Present Tense 368
Present-Perfect Tense 368
Future Tense 369
Future-Perfect Tense 369
Shift in Tense 369
Singular Nouns 351
Plural Nouns 351
Compound Nouns 352
Coordinate Nouns 352
Possessive Pronouns 352
Indefinite Pronouns 352
pronoun reference
pronouns 355

sentence faults 365
sentence fragments 366
tense 367
Constructing Effective Sentences
Using Abbreviations

Writer’s Checklist: Using
Abbreviations  379
Forming Abbreviations
xxii Complete Contents

Names of Organizations 380
Measurements 380
Personal Names and Titles 381
Common Scholarly Abbreviations
and Terms 381
Web Link: Using Abbreviations  382
Showing Possession 383
Indicating Omission 383
Forming Plurals 383
brackets 383
capitalization 384
Proper Nouns 384
Common Nouns 384
First Words 385
Specific Groups 385
Specific Places 385
Specific Institutions, Events, and
Concepts 385
Titles of Works 386
Professional and Personal Titles 386
Abbreviations and Letters 386
Miscellaneous Capitalizations 386
Colons in Sentences 387
Colons with Salutations, Titles, Citations,
and Numbers 387
Punctuation and Capitalization with
Colons 388
Unnecessary Colons 388
comma splice 389
commas 389
Linking Independent Clauses 390
Enclosing Elements 390
Introducing Elements 391
Clauses and Phrases 391
Words and Quotations 391
Separating Items in a Series 392
Clarifying and Contrasting 393
Showing Omissions 393
Using with Numbers and Names 393
Using with Other Punctuation 394
Avoiding Unnecessary Commas 395
contractions 396
dashes 396
dates 397
ellipses 398
exclamation marks
hyphens 399
Hyphens with Compound Words 399
Hyphens with Modifiers 400
Hyphens with Prefixes and
Suffixes 400
Hyphens and Clarity 400
Other Uses of the Hyphen 401

Writer’s Checklist: Using Hyphens
to Divide Words  401
Foreign Words and Phrases 401
Titles 402
Proper Names 402
Words, Letters, and Figures 402
Subheads 403
Exceptions 403
numbers 403
Numerals or Words 403
Plurals 404
Measurements 404
Fractions 404
Money 404
Time 405
Dates 405
Addresses 405
Documents 405

ESL Tips for Punctuating
Numbers  406
parentheses 406
periods 407
Periods in Quotations 407
Periods with Parentheses 408
Other Uses of Periods 408
Period Faults 408
question marks 409
quotation marks 410
Complete Contents
Direct Quotations 410

Words and Phrases 411
Titles of Works 411
Punctuation 411
With Strong Connectives 412
For Clarity in Long Sentences 412
slashes 413
spelling 414
Appendix: Usage

Web Link: Online Dictionaries  417
a lot 418
above 418
accept / except 418
affect / effect 418
also 418
amount / number 419
and/or 419
as / because / since 419
as such 419
as well as 419
average / median / mean 419
bad / badly 420
between / among 420
bi- / semi- 420
can / may 420
criteria / criterion 420
data 420
different from / different than 420
each 420
e.g. / i.e. 421
etc. 421
explicit / implicit 421
fact 421
few / a few 422
fewer / less 422
first / firstly 422
former / latter 422
good / well 422
he / she 423
imply / infer 423
in / into 423
its / it’s 423
kind of / sort of 423
lay / lie 423
like / as 424
media / medium 424
Ms. / Miss / Mrs. 425
nature 425
on / onto / upon 425
only 425
per 425
percent / percentage 426
reason is [because] 426
regardless 426
that / which / who 426
there / their / they’re 426
to / too / two 427
utilize 427
via 427
when / where / that 427
whether 428
while 428
who / whom 428
who’s / whose / of which 428
your / you’re 429
Index 431
Complete List of Model Documents
and e-Pages 461
this page left intentionally blank
Five Steps to Successful Writing
Successful writing on the job is not the product of inspiration, nor is it
merely the spoken word converted to print. It is the result of knowing
how to structure information using both text and design to achieve an
intended purpose for a clearly defined audience. The best way to ensure
that your writing will succeed — whether it is a proposal, a résumé, a
Web page, or any other document — is to approach writing using the
following steps:
You will very likely need to follow those steps consciously at first. The
same is true the first time you use new software, interview a job candidate, or chair a committee meeting. With practice, the steps become
nearly automatic. That is not to suggest that writing becomes easy. It
does not. However, the easiest and most efficient way to write effectively
is to do it systematically.
As you master the five steps, keep in mind that they are interrelated
and often overlap. For example, your readers’ needs and your purpose,
which you determine in step 1, will affect decisions you make in subsequent steps. You may also need to retrace steps. When you conduct
research, for example, you may realize that you need to revise your initial impression of a document’s purpose and audience. Similarly, when
you begin to organize your information, you may discover the need to
return to the research step.
The time required for each step varies with different writing tasks.
When writing an informal memo, for example, you might follow the first
three steps (preparation, research, and organization) by simply listing
the points in the order you want to cover them. In such situations, you
gather and organize information mentally as you consider your purpose
and audience. For a formal report, the first three steps require wellorganized research, careful note-taking, and detailed outlining. For a
routine e-mail message to a coworker, the first four steps might merge
as you type the information on the screen. In short, the five steps ex­­­­
pand, contract, and at times must be repeated to fit the complexity or
context of the writing task.
Five Steps to Successful Writing
Dividing the writing process into steps is especially useful for collaborative writing, in which you typically divide the work among team
members, keep track of a project, and save time by not duplicating
effort. When you collaborate, you can use e-mail to share text and other
files, suggest improvements to each other’s work, and generally keep
everyone informed of your progress as you follow the steps in the writing process. See also collaborative writing (Tab 1).*
Writing, like most professional tasks, requires solid preparation (Tab 1).
In fact, adequate preparation is as important as writing a draft. In preparation for writing, your goal is to accomplish the following four major

Establish your primary purpose.
Assess your audience (or readers) and the context.
Determine the scope of your coverage.
Select the appropriate medium.
Establishing Your Purpose. To establish your primary purpose
(Tab 1), simply ask yourself what you want your readers to know, to
believe, or to be able to do after they have finished reading what you
have written. Be precise. Often a writer states a purpose so broadly that
it is almost useless. A purpose such as “to report on possible locations
for a new research facility” is too general. However, “to compare the
relative advantages of Paris, Singapore, and San Francisco as possible
locations for a new research facility so that top management can choose
the best location” is a purpose statement that can guide you throughout
the writing process. In addition to your primary purpose, consider possible secondary purposes for your document. For example, a secondary
purpose of the research-facilities report might be to make corporate
executive readers aware of the staffing needs of the new facility so that
they can ensure its smooth operation in whichever location is selected.
Assessing Your Audience and Context. The next task is to assess
your audience (Tab 1). Again, be precise and ask key questions. Who
exactly is your reader? Do you have multiple readers? Who needs to see
or use the document? What are your readers’ needs in relation to your
subject? What are your readers’ attitudes about the subject? (Are they
skeptical? supportive? anxious? bored?) What do your readers already
* Throughout this book, words and phrases shown as links — underlined and set in an
alternate typeface — refer to specific entries. The tab number in parentheses indicates
the entry’s location. If no tab number appears, the entry is in the same tabbed section
as the entry you are reading.
Five Steps to Successful Writing xxvii
know about the subject? Should you define basic terminology, or will
such definitions merely bore, or even impede, your readers? Are you
communicating with international readers and therefore dealing with
issues inherent in global communication (Tab 1)?
For the research-facilities report, the readers are described as “top
management.” Who is included in that category? Will one of the people
evaluating the report be the human resources manager? That person
likely would be interested in the availability of qualified professionals as
well as the presence of training, housing, and even recreational facilities
available to employees in each city. The purchasing manager would be
concerned about available sources for needed materials. The marketing
manager would give priority to a facility’s proximity to the primary markets and transportation to important clients. The chief financial officer
would want to know about land and building costs and about each
country’s tax structure. The chief executive officer would be interested
in all this information and perhaps more. As in this example, many
workplace documents have audiences composed of multiple readers.
You can accommodate their needs through one of a number of ap­­­
proaches described in the entry audience (Tab 1).
In addition to knowing the needs and interests of your readers,
learn as much as you can about the context (Tab 1). Simply put, context
is the environment or circumstances in which writers produce documents and within which readers interpret their meanings. Everything is
written in a context, as illustrated in many entries and examples throughout this book. To determine the effect of context on the researchfacilities report, you might ask both specific and general questions about
the situation and about your readers’ backgrounds: Is this the company’s first new facility, or has the company chosen locations for new
esl Tip for Considering Audiences
In the United States, conciseness (Tab 10), coher­ence (Tab 10), and
clarity characterize good writing. Make sure readers can follow your
writing, and say only what is necessary to communicate your message.
Of course, no writing style is inherently better than another, but, to be
a successful writer in any language, you must understand the cultural
values that underlie the language in which you are writing. See also
global communication (Tab 1), copyright (Tab 3), plagiarism (Tab 3),
and awkwardness (Tab 10).
Throughout this book, we have included ESL Tip boxes like this one
with information that may be particularly helpful to nonnative speakers of
English. The entry English as a second language (ESL) (Tab 11) includes
a list of entries that may be of particular help to ESL writers.
xxviii Five Steps to Successful Writing
facilities before? Have the readers visited all three cities? Have they
already seen other reports on the three cities? What is the corporate
culture in which your readers work, and what are its key values? What
specific factors, such as competition, finance, and regulation, are recognized as important within the organization?
Determining the Scope. Determining your purpose and assessing
your readers and context will help you decide what to include and
what not to include in your writing. Those decisions establish the scope
(Tab 1) of your writing project. If you do not clearly define the scope,
you will spend needless hours on research because you will not be sure
what kind of information you need or even how much. Given the purpose and audience established for the report on facility locations, the
scope would include such information as land and building costs, available labor force, cultural issues, transportation options, and proximity
to suppliers. However, it probably would not include the early history
of the cities being considered or their climate and geological features,
unless those aspects were directly related to your particular business.
Selecting the Medium. Finally, you need to determine the most ap­­­­­
pro­­­priate medium for communicating your message. Professionals on
the job face a wide array of options — from e-mail, voice mail, videoconferencing, and blogs to more traditional means, such as letters, memos,
reports, and face-to-face meetings.
The most important considerations in selecting the appropriate
medium are the audience and the purpose of the communication. For
example, if you need to collaborate with someone to solve a problem or
if you need to establish rapport with someone, written exchanges could
be far less efficient than a phone call or a face-to-face meeting. However,
if you need precise wording or you need to provide a record of a complex message, communicate in writing. If you need to make frequently
updated information accessible to employees at a large company, the
best choice might be to place the information on the company’s intranet
site. If reviewers need to make handwritten comments on a proposal,
you may need to provide paper copies that can be faxed, or you may use
collaborative software to insert and route comments electronically. The
comparative advantages and primary characteristics of the most typical
means of communication are discussed in selecting the medium (Tab 2).
See also writing for the Web (Tab 2) and the entries in Tab 5, “Business
Writing Documents and Elements.”
The only way to be sure that you can write about a complex subject is
to thoroughly understand it. To do that, you must conduct adequate
Five Steps to Successful Writing
research, whether that means conducting an extensive investigation for
a major proposal — through interviewing, library and Internet research,
careful note-taking, and documenting sources — or simply checking a
company Web site and jotting down points before you send an e-mail
message to a colleague. The entries in Tab 3, “Research and Docu­­
mentation,” will help you with the research process.
Methods of Research. Researchers frequently distinguish between
primary and secondary research (Tab 3), depending on the types of
sources consulted and the method of gathering information. Primary
research refers to the gathering of raw data compiled from interviews,
direct observation, surveys, experiments, questionnaires, and audio and
video recordings, for example. In fact, direct observation and hands-on
experience are the only ways to obtain certain kinds of information,
such as the behavior of people and animals, certain natural phenomena, mechanical processes, and the operation of systems and equipment. Secondary research refers to gathering information that has been
analyzed, assessed, evaluated, compiled, or otherwise organized into
accessible form. Such sources include books, articles, reports, Web documents, e-mail discussions, business letters, minutes of meetings, and
brochures. Use the methods most appropriate to your needs, recognizing that some projects will require several types of research and that
collaborative projects may require those research tasks to be distributed
among team members.
Sources of Information.
As you conduct research, keep in mind
all available information sources:
• Your own knowledge and that of your colleagues
• The knowledge of people outside your workplace, gathered
through interviewing for information (Tab 3)
• Internet sources, including Web sites, directories, archives, and
discussion groups
• Library resources, including databases and indexes of articles as
well as books and reference works
• Printed and electronic sources in the workplace, such as brochures, memos, e-mail, and Web documents
The amount of research you will need to do depends on the scope of
your project. Start by considering all of your potential sources, and then
focus on those that are most useful.
Without organization, the material gathered during your research will
be incoherent to your readers. To organize information effectively, you
Five Steps to Successful Writing
need to determine the best way to structure your ideas; that is, you must
choose a primary method of development. The entry organization
(Tab 1) describes typical methods of development used in on-the-job
Methods of Development. To choose the development method
best suited to your document, consider your subject, your readers’
needs, and your purpose. An appropriate method will help focus your
information and make it easy for readers to follow your presentation.
For example, if you are writing instructions for assembling office
equipment, you might naturally present the steps of the process in the
order readers should perform them: the sequential method of development. If you are writing about the history of an organization, your
account might naturally go from the beginning to the present: the chro­
n­­­­olo­­­­­gical method of development. If your subject naturally lends itself
to a certain method of development, use it — do not attempt to impose
another method on it.
Often you will need to combine methods of development. For ex­­
ample, a persuasive brochure for a charitable organization might combine
a specific-to-general method of development with a cause-and-effect
method of development. That is, you could begin with persuasive case
histories of individual people in need and then move to general information about the positive effects of donations on recipients.
Outlining. Once you have chosen a method of development, you are
ready to prepare an outline. Outlining (Tab 1) breaks large or complex
subjects into manageable parts. It also enables you to emphasize key
points by placing them in the positions of greatest importance. By structuring your thinking at an early stage, a well-developed outline ensures
that your document will be complete and logically organized, allowing
you to focus exclusively on writing when you begin the rough draft. An
outline can be especially helpful for maintaining a collaborative writing
team’s focus throughout a large project. However, even a short letter or
memo needs the logic and structure that an outline provides, whether
the outline exists in your mind, on a screen, or on paper.
At this point, consider layout-and-design elements that will be
helpful to your readers and appropriate to your subject and purpose.
For example, if visuals such as photographs or tables will be useful,
think about where they may be deployed and what kinds of visual elements will be effective, especially if they need to be prepared by someone else while you write and revise the draft. The outline can also
suggest where headings, lists, and other special design features may be
useful. See Tab 7, “Design and Visuals.”
Five Steps to Successful Writing
When you have established your purpose, your readers’ needs, and your
scope, and you have completed your research and your outline, you will
be well prepared to write a first draft. Expand your outline into para­
graphs (Tab 1), without worrying about grammar, language refine­
ments, or punctuation. Writing and revising are different activities;
re­­­­finements come with revision.
Write the rough draft, concentrating entirely on converting your
outline into sentences and paragraphs. You might try writing as though
you were explaining your subject to a reader sitting across from you. Do
not worry about a good opening. Just start. Do not be concerned in the
rough draft about exact word choice unless it comes quickly and easily — concentrate instead on ideas.
Even with good preparation, writing the draft remains a chore for
many writers. The most effective way to get started and keep going is to
use your outline as a map for your first draft. Do not wait for inspiration — you need to treat writing a draft as you would any on-the-job task.
The entry writing a draft (Tab 1) describes tactics used by experienced
writers — discover which ones are best suited to you and your task.
Consider writing the introduction last because then you will know
more precisely what is in the body of the draft. Your opening should
announce the subject and give readers essential background information, such as the document’s primary purpose. For longer documents,
an introduction should serve as a frame into which readers can fit the
detailed information that follows. See introductions (Tab 1).
Finally, write a conclusion that ties the main ideas together and
emphatically makes a final, significant point. The final point may be
to recommend a course of action, make a prediction or judgment, or
merely summarize your main points — the way you conclude depends
on the purpose of your writing and your readers’ needs. See conclusions
(Tab 1).
The clearer a finished piece of writing seems to the reader, the more
effort the writer has likely put into its revision (Tab 1). If you have followed the steps of the writing process to this point, you will have a rough
draft that needs to be revised. Revising, however, requires a different
frame of mind than does writing the draft. During revision, be eager to
find and correct faults and be honest. Be hard on yourself for the benefit
of your readers. Read and evaluate the draft as if you were a reader seeing it for the first time.
Check your draft for accuracy, completeness, and effectiveness
in achieving your purpose and meeting your readers’ needs and
Five Steps to Successful Writing
expectations. Trim extraneous information: Your writing should give
readers exactly what they need, but it should not burden them with
unnecessary information or sidetrack them into loosely related
Do not try to revise for everything at once. Read your rough draft
several times, each time looking for and correcting a different set of
problems or errors. Concentrate first on larger issues, such as unity
(Tab 10) and coherence (Tab 10); save mechanical corrections, like
spelling and punctuation, for later proofreading. See also ethics in writ­
ing (Tab 1).
Finally, for important documents, consider having others review
your writing and make suggestions for improvement. For collaborative
writing, of course, team members must review each other’s work on
segments of the document as well as the final master draft. For further
advice and useful checklists, see revision (Tab 1) and proofreading
(Tab 1).
WEB LINK    Style Guides and Standards
Organizations and professional associations often follow such guides as
The Chicago Manual of Style, MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing,
and United States Government Printing Office Style Manual to ensure consistency in their publications on issues of usage, format, and documentation.
Because advice in such guides often varies, some organizations set their
own standards for documents. Where such standards or specific style
guides are recommended or required, you should follow those style guidelines. For a selected list of style guides and standards, visit bedfordstmartins
.com/bwc and explore the Web Links at the Student Site.
The Writing
The Writing Process
The “Five Steps to Successful Writing” essay (page xxv) describes a sys­
tematic approach to writing and functions as a diagnostic tool for assess­
ing problems. That is, when you find that a document is not achieving its
primary purpose, the five steps can help you pinpoint where a problem
occurred. Was the audience not fully assessed? Is additional research
needed? Does the document need further revision? Many entries in this
section expand on the topics introduced in the “Five Steps,” such as audi­
ence, collaborative writing, selecting the medium (Tab 2), writing a draft,
and others. Entries related to the research process, including such topics
as finding, evaluating, and using sources, appear in Tab 3, “Research and
audience 3
persuasion 28
collaborative writing 4
point of view 28
conclusions 6
preparation 31
context 9
process explanation 32
defining terms 11
promotional writing 32
description 12
proofreading 34
ethics in writing 13
purpose 36
global communication 15
readers 37
introductions 16
revision 37
organization 20
scope 39
outlining 22
writing a draft 39
paragraphs 25
Explore how technology can improve your writing process. Go to for e-Pages on collaborative writing, outlining,
proofreading, and more.
audience 3
Considering the needs of your audience is crucial to achieving your
purpose. When you are writing to a specific reader, for example, you
may find it useful to visualize a reader sitting across from you as you
write. (See correspondence, Tab 4.) Likewise, when writing to an audience composed of relatively homogeneous readers, you might create an
image of a composite reader and write for that reader. In such cases,
using the “you” viewpoint (Tab 10) and an appropriate tone (Tab 10)
will help you meet the needs of your readers as well as achieve an effective business writing style (Tab 10). For meeting the needs of an audience composed of listeners, see presentations (Tab 8).
Analyzing Your Audience’s Needs
Determine the readers’ needs relative to your purpose and goals by asking key questions during preparation.
• Who specifically is your reader? Do you have multiple readers?
Who needs to see or use the document?
• What do your readers already know about your subject? What are
your readers’ attitudes about the subject? (Are they skeptical?
Supportive? Anxious? Bored?)
• What particular information about your readers (experience,
training, and work habits, for example) might help you write at
the appropriate level of detail? (See scope.)
• What does the context or medium suggest about meeting the
readers’ expectations for content? See layout and design (Tab 7)
and selecting the medium (Tab 2).
• Do you need to adapt your message for international readers? If
so, see global communication, global graphics (Tab 7), and interna­
tional correspondence (Tab 4).
In the workplace, your readers are often less familiar with the subject
than you are. Be careful, therefore, when writing on a topic that is
unique to your area of specialization. Be sensitive to the needs of those
whose training or experience lies in other areas; provide definitions of
nonstandard terms and explanations of principles that you, as a specialist, take for granted. See also defining terms.
Writing for Varied and Multiple Audiences
In writing to a varied audience, as in writing for the Web (Tab 2), visualize a few readers with different backgrounds but who share a purpose
or need in reading your text. For documents aimed at multiple
The Writing Process
The Writing Process
collaborative writing
audiences with different needs, consider segmenting the document for
different groups of readers: an executive summary for top managers, an
appendix with detailed data for technical specialists, and the body for
those readers who need to make decisions based on a detailed discussion. See also formal reports (Tab 6) and proposals (Tab 5).
When you have multiple audiences with various needs but cannot
segment your document, first determine your primary or most important readers — such as those who will make decisions based on your
content — and be sure to meet their needs. Then meet the needs of secondary readers, such as those who need only some of the document’s
contents, as long as you do not sacrifice the needs of your primary readers. See also persuasion and “Five Steps to Successful Writing” (page
collaborative writing
Collaborative writing occurs when two or more writers work together to
produce a single document for which they share responsibility and
decision-making authority. Collaborative writing teams are formed
when (1) the size of a project or the time constraints imposed on it
require collaboration, (2) the project involves multiple areas of expertise, or (3) the project requires the melding of divergent views into a
Using Collaborative Software
Collaborative writing software and online systems help teams of stu­
dents, employees, researchers, and others work together on a common
writing task whether they are in the same office or in different countries.
Online synchronous whiteboards, for example, allow teams to collabo­
rate online, discuss, and edit texts in real time. Many such technologies
also make it easy to conduct live chat sessions for brainstorming ideas,
share documents with new collaborators, track changes from one ver­
sion of a document to the next, alert collaborators when a document is
altered, and export documents for offline editing. Word processing,
Web-based file sharing, and collaborative systems like wikis enable team
members to draft, review, edit, and comment with text or voice on their
collective work. To see these processes in action, go to the e-Pages at and select “Reviewing Collaborative Docu­
ments,” “Using Collaborative Software,” or “Using Wikis for Collabora­
tive Work.”
collaborative writing
Tasks of the Collaborative Writing Team
The collaborating team strives to achieve a compatible working relationship by dividing the work in a way that uses each writer’s expertise and
experience to its advantage. The team should also designate a coordinator who will guide the team members’ activities, organize the project,
and ensure coherence and consistency within the document. The coordinator’s duties can be determined by mutual agreement or, if the team
often works together, assigned on a rotating basis.
Planning.   The team members collectively identify the audience, pur­
pose, context, and scope of the project. See also meetings (Tab 8).
At this stage, the team establishes a project plan that may in­
clude guidelines for communication among team members, version control (naming, dating, and managing document drafts), review proce­
dures, and writing style standards that team members are expected to
follow. The plan includes a schedule with due dates for completing
initial research tasks, outlines, drafts, reviews, revisions, and the final
w PROFESSIONALISM NOTE Deadlines must be met because team members rely on each other and one missed deadline can delay the entire
project. A missed project deadline can result in a lost opportunity or, in
the case of proposals (Tab 5), disqualify an application. Individual writers must adjust their schedules and focus on their own writing process
to finish drafts and meet the deadline. See “Five Steps to Successful
Writing” (page xxv). w
Research and Writing.   The team next completes initial research
tasks, elicits comments from team members, creates a broad outline of
the document (see outlining ), and assigns writing tasks to individual
team members, based on their expertise. Depending on the project,
each team member further researches an assigned segment of the document, expands and develops the broad outline, and produces a draft
from a detailed outline. See also writing a draft and research (Tab 3).
Reviewing.   Keeping the audience’s needs and the document’s purpose in mind, each team member critically yet diplomatically reviews
the other team members’ drafts, from the overall organization to the
The Writing Process
single perspective that is acceptable to the whole team or to another
group. Many types of collaborations are possible, from the collaboration
of a primary writer with a variety of contributors and reviewers to a
highly interactive collaboration in which everyone on a team plays a
relatively equal role in shaping the document.
The Writing Process
clarity of each paragraph, and offers advice to help improve the writer’s
work. Team members can easily solicit feedback by sharing files and
then working with track and comment features that allow reviewers to
suggest changes without deleting the original text.
Revising.   In this final stage, individual writers evaluate their colleagues’ reviews and accept, reject, or build on their suggestions. Then,
the team coordinator can consolidate all drafts into a final master copy
and maintain and evaluate it for consistency and coherence. See also
PROFESSIONALISM NOTE As you collaborate, be ready to tolerate some
disharmony, but temper it with mutual respect. Team members may not
agree on every subject, and differing perspectives can easily lead to conflict, ranging from mild differences over minor points to major showdowns. However, creative differences resolved respectfully can energize
the team and, in fact, strengthen a finished document by compelling
writers to reexamine assumptions and issues in unanticipated ways. See
also listening (Tab 8). w
Writer’s Checklist: Writing Collaboratively
 Designate one person as the team coordinator.
 Identify the audience, purpose, context, and scope of the project.
 Create a project plan, including a schedule and style or format
 Create a working outline of the document.
 Assign sections or tasks to each team member.
 Research and write drafts of each document section.
 Follow the schedule: meet due dates for drafts, revisions, and final
 Use the agreed-upon standards for style and format.
 Exchange sections for team member reviews.
 Revise sections as needed.
 Meet the established deadlines.
The conclusion of a document ties the main ideas together and can
clinch a final significant point. This final point may, for example, make
a prediction or offer a judgment, summarize key findings, or recommend

Conclusion and Recommendation
Enrolling employees in the deluxe program at AeroFitness
would allow them to receive a one-month free trial membership. Those interested in continuing could then join the club
and receive a 30 percent discount on the $1,200 annual fee
and pay only half of the one-time membership fee of $500.
The other half of the membership fee ($250) would be paid
for by ABO. If employees leave the company, they would have
the option of purchasing ABO’s share of the membership to
continue at AeroFitness or selling their half of the membership
to another ABO employee wishing to join AeroFitness.
Club membership allows employees at all five ABO warehouses to participate in the program. The more employees
who participate, the greater the long-term savings in ABO’s
health-care costs. Overall, implementing this program will help
ABO, Inc., reduce its health-care costs while building stronger
employee relations by offering employees a desirable benefit.
If this proposal is adopted, I have some additional thoughts
about publicizing the program to encourage employee
participation that I would be pleased to share.
I recommend, therefore, that ABO, Inc., participate in the
corporate membership program at AeroFitness Clubs, Inc., by
subsidizing employee memberships. Offering this benefit to
employees will demonstrate ABO’s commitment to the
importance of a healthy workforce.
Summarizes key
Points to
Makes a
figure 1–1. Conclusion
The way you conclude depends on your purpose, the needs of your
audience, and the context. For example, a lengthy sales proposal might
conclude persuasively with a summary of the proposal’s salient points
and the company’s relevant strengths. The following examples are typical concluding strategies.
Our findings suggest that you need to alter your marketing to
adjust to the changing demographics for your products.
Figure 1-1
The Writing Process
a course of action. Figure 1–1 is a conclusion from a proposal to reduce
health-care costs by increasing employee fitness through sponsoring
health-club memberships. Notice that it summarizes key points, points
to the benefits, and makes the recommendation.
The Writing Process
As this report describes, we would attract more recent graduates
with the following strategies:
1. Establish our presence on social-networking sites to reach more
college students before they graduate.
2. Increase our advertising in local student newspapers and our
attendance at college career fairs.
3. Expand our local co-op program and establish more
Based on the scope and degree of the storm’s damage, the current
construction code for roofing on light industrial facilities is inadequate.
Although our estimate calls for a substantially higher budget than
in the three previous years, we believe that it is reasonable given
our planned expansion.
Although I have exceeded my original estimate for equipment, I
have reduced my labor costs; therefore, I will easily stay within the
original bid.
The concluding statement may merely present ideas for consideration,
may call for action, or may deliberately provoke thought.
ideas for consideration
The new prices become effective at the first of the year. Price
adjustments are routine for the company, but some of your
customers will not consider them acceptable. Please bear in mind
the needs of both your customers and the company as you implement these price adjustments.
call for action
Please send us a check for $250 now if you wish to keep your
account active. If you have not responded to our previous letters
because of some special hardship, I will be glad to work out a
solution with you.
thought-provoking statement
Can we continue to accept the losses incurred by inefficiency? Or
should we take the necessary steps to control it now?
Be especially careful not to introduce a new topic when you conclude.
A conclusion should always relate to and reinforce the ideas presented
context 9
For guidance about the location of the conclusion section in a report,
see formal reports (Tab 6). For letter and other short closings, see cor­
respondence (Tab 4) and entries on specific types of documents throughout this book.
Context is the environment or circumstances in which writers produce
documents and within which readers interpret the meanings of those
documents, whether they are reports, e-mails, or Web pages. This entry
considers the significance of context for workplace writing and suggests
how you can be aware of it as you write. See also audience.
The context for any document is determined by interrelated events
or circumstances both inside and outside an organization. For example,
when you write a proposal to fund a project within your company, the
economic condition of that company is part of the context that will
determine how your proposal is received. If the company has recently
laid off a dozen employees, its management may not be inclined to
approve a proposal to expand its operations — regardless of how well the
proposal is written.
When you correspond with someone, the events that prompted you
to write shape the context of the message and will affect what you say
and how you say it. If you write to a customer in response to a complaint, for example, the tone and approach of your message will be
determined by the context — what you find when you investigate the
issue. Is your company fully or partly at fault? Has the customer incorrectly used a product? Contributed to a problem? (See also adjustments,
Tab 4.) If you write instructions for office staff who must use high-volume
document-processing equipment, other questions will reveal the context. What are the lighting and other physical conditions near the equipment? Will these physical conditions affect the layout and design of the
instructions? What potential safety issues might the users encounter?
See also layout and design (Tab 7).
Assessing Context
Each time you write, the context needs to be clearly in your mind so
that your document will achieve its purpose. The following questions are
starting points to help you become aware of the context, determine how
it will influence your approach and your readers’ interpretation of what
The Writing Process
earlier in your writing. Moreover, the conclusion must be consistent
with what the introduction promised the report would examine (its purpose) and how it would do so (its method).
The Writing Process
you have written, and assess how it will affect the decisions you need to
make during the writing process. See also “Five Steps to Successful
Writing” (page xxv).
• What is your professional relationship with your readers, and how
might that affect the tone, style, and scope of your writing?
• What is “the story” behind the immediate reason you are writing;
that is, what series of events or perhaps previous documents led to
your need to write?
• What is the preferred medium of your readers, and which medium
is best suited to your purpose? See also selecting the medium
(Tab 2).
• What specific factors (such as competition, finance, and regulation) are recognized within your organization or department as
• What is the corporate culture in which your readers work, and
what key values might you find in its mission statement?
• What are the professional relationships among the specific readers
who will receive the document?
• What current events within or outside an organization or a
department may influence how readers interpret your writing?
• What national cultural differences might affect your readers’
expectations or interpretations of the document? See also global
As these questions suggest, context is specific each time you write and
often involves, for example, the history of a specific organization or your
past dealings with individual readers.
Signaling Context
Because context is so important, remind your reader in some way of the
context for your writing, as in the following opening for a cover message
to a proposal.

During our meeting last week on improving quality, you mentioned that we have previously required usability testing only for
documents going to high-profile clients because of the costs
involved. The idea occurred to me that we might try less-extensive
usability testing for many of our other clients. Because you asked
for suggestions, I am proposing in the attached document a
method of limited usability testing for a broad range of clients in
order to improve overall quality while keeping costs at a
Of course, as described in introductions, providing context for a reader
may require only a brief background statement or short reminders.
defining terms 11

Jane, as I promised in my e-mail yesterday, I’ve attached the
human resources budget estimates for the next fiscal year.
As the last example suggests, always provide context for attachments to
e-mail (Tab 2).
defining terms
Defining key terms and concepts is often essential for clarity. Terms can
be defined either formally or informally, depending on your purpose,
audience, and context.
A formal definition is a form of classification. You define a term by
placing it in a category and then identifying the features that distinguish
it from other members of the same category.
Category Distinguishing Features
An auction is
a public sale in which property passes to
the highest bidder through
successively increased offers.
An informal definition explains a term by giving a more familiar word or
phrase as a synonym.
• Plants have a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship with
certain kinds of bacteria.
State definitions in a positive way; focus on what the term is rather than
on what it is not.
negative In a legal transaction, real property is not personal
positive Real property is legal terminology for the right or
interest a person has in land and the permanent
structures on that land.
Avoid circular definitions, which merely restate the term to be defined.
circular Spontaneous combustion is fire that begins
clear Spontaneous combustion is the self-ignition of a
flammable material through a chemical reaction.
The Writing Process

Several weeks ago, a financial adviser noticed a recurring problem in the software developed by Datacom Systems. Specifically,
error messages repeatedly appeared when, in fact, no specific
trouble . . .
The Writing Process
In addition, avoid “is when” and “is where” definitions. Such definitions
fail to include the category and are too indirect.
a binding agreement between two or more parties.
• A contract is when two or more parties agree to something.
The key to effective description is the accurate presentation of details,
whether for simple or complex descriptions. In Figure 1–2, notice that
the simple description contained in the purchase order includes five
specific details (in addition to the part number) structured logically.
Shopping Cart
Continue shopping
Part No.
IW 8421
Infectious-waste bags, 12″ × 14″,
heavy-gauge polyethylene, red
double closures with self-sealing
adhesive strips
5 boxes
200 bags
per box
Print shopping cart
Subtotal $164.90
Shipping charges
Total $172.89
Submit order
FIguRE 1–2. Simple description
Complex descriptions, of course, involve more details. In describing a mechanical device, for example, describe the whole device and its
function before giving a detailed description of how each part works.
The description should conclude with an explanation of how each part
contributes to the functioning of the whole.
In descriptions intended for an audience unfamiliar with the topic,
details are crucial. Details will help readers conjure the specifics of the
new image, object, or idea that the writer wants to convey, and can thus
be the deciding factor in whether the new concepts are understood and
the document is effective. In the following description of a company’s
headquarters, notice the detailed discussion of colors, shapes, and features. The writer assumes that the reader knows such terms as colonial
design and haiku fountain.

Their company’s headquarters, which reminded me of a rural college campus, are located north of the city in a 90-acre lush green
ethics in writing
You can also use analogy to explain unfamiliar concepts in terms of
familiar ones, such as “U-shape” in the previous example. See figures of
speech (Tab 10).
Visuals can be powerful aids in descriptive writing. For a discussion
of how to incorporate visual material into text, see Tab 7, “Design and
ethics in writing
Ethics refers to the choices we make that affect others for good or ill.
Ethical issues are inherent in writing and speaking because what we
write and say can influence others. Further, how we express ideas affects
our audience’s perceptions of us and our organization’s ethical stance.
See also audience.
ETHICS NOTE No book can describe how to act ethically in every situation, but this entry describes some typical ethical lapses to watch for
during revision.* In other entries throughout this book, ethical issues are
highlighted using the symbols surrounding this paragraph. v
Avoid language that attempts to evade responsibility. Some writers
use the passive voice (Tab 11) because they hope to avoid responsibility
or to obscure an issue: “It has been decided” (Who has decided?) or
“Several mistakes were made” (Who made them?).
Avoid deceptive language. Do not use words with more than one
meaning to circumvent the truth. Consider the company document that
stated, “A nominal charge will be assessed for using our facilities.”  When
clients objected that the charge was actually very high, the writer pointed
out that the word nominal means “the named amount” as well as “very
small.” In that situation, clients had a strong case in accusing the company of attempting to be deceptive. Various abstract words (Tab 10),
technical and legal jargon (Tab 10), and euphemisms (Tab 10) are
unethical when they are used to mislead readers or to hide a serious or
dangerous situation, even though technical or legal experts could interpret those words or terms as accurate. See also word choice (Tab 10).
*Adapted from Brenda R. Sims, “Linking Ethics and Language in the Technical
Communication Classroom,” Technical Communication Quarterly 2, no. 3 (Summer
1993): 285–99.
The Writing Process
wooded area. The complex consists of five three-story buildings of
red-brick colonial design. The buildings are spaced about 50 feet
apart and are built in a U-shape surrounding a reflection pool that
frames a striking haiku fountain.
The Writing Process
ethics in writing
Do not deemphasize or suppress important information. Not including information that a reader would want to have, such as potential
safety hazards or hidden costs for which a customer might be responsible, is unethical and possibly illegal. Likewise, do not hide information
in dense paragraphs with small type and little white space, as is common
in credit-card contracts. Use layout and design (Tab 7) features such as
type size, bullets, lists, and footnotes to highlight information that is
important to readers.
Do not mislead with partial or self-serving information. For example,
avoid the temptation to highlight a feature or service that readers would
find attractive but that is available only with some product models or at
extra cost. See also logic errors (Tab 10) and positive writing (Tab 10).
Readers could justifiably object that you have given them a false impression to sell them a product or service, especially if you also deemphasize
the extra cost or other special conditions.
In general, treat others — individuals, companies, groups — with
fairness and with respect. Avoid language that is biased, racist, or sexist
or that perpetuates stereotypes. See also biased language (Tab 10).
Finally, be aware that both plagiarism (Tab 3) and violations of
copyright (Tab 3) not only are unethical but also can have serious profes­
sional and legal consequences for you in the classroom and on the job.
Writer’s Checklist: Writing Ethically
Ask yourself the following questions:
 Am I willing to take responsibility, publicly and privately, for what I have written? Make sure you can stand behind what you have written.
 Is the document or message honest and truthful? Scrutinize findings and
conclusions carefully. Make sure that the data support them.
 Am I acting in my employer’s, my client’s, the public’s, or my own best long-term
interest? Have an impartial and appropriate outsider review and com­
ment on what you have written.
 Does the document or message violate anyone’s rights? If information is con­
fidential and you have serious concerns, consider a review by the
company’s legal staff or an attorney.
 Am I ethically consistent in my writing? Consistently apply the principles
outlined here and those you have assimilated throughout your life.
 What if everybody acted or communicated in this way? If you were the
intended reader, consider whether the message would be acceptable
and respectful.
global communication
global communication
The prevalence of global communication technology means that the
ability to communicate with audiences from varied cultural backgrounds
is essential. The audiences for such communications include clients and
customers as well as business partners and colleagues.
Many entries in this book, such as meetings (Tab 8) and résumés
(Tab 9), are based on U.S. cultural patterns. The treatment of such topics might be very different in other cultures where leadership styles,
persuasive strategies, and even legal constraints differ. As illustrated in
international correspondence (Tab 4), organizational patterns, forms of
courtesy, and ideas about efficiency can vary significantly from culture
to culture. What might be seen as direct and efficient in the United
States could be considered blunt and even impolite in other cultures.
The reasons behind these differing ways of viewing communication are
complex. Researchers often measure cultural differences through such
concepts as the importance of honor or “face saving,” perceptions of
time, and individual versus group orientation. Because cultures evolve
and global communication affects cultural patterns, you must be able to
adapt to cultural variations. The checklist that follows offers useful
approaches that can help you adapt.
WEB LINK    Intercultural Resources
Intercultural Press publishes “books on intercultural, multicultural and
cross-cultural studies and informative country guides to help you do busi­
ness and form strong relationships in foreign countries.” (See http:// For other resources
for global communication, visit and explore the
Web Links at the Student Site.
The Writing Process
If the answers to these questions do not come easily, consider asking a
trusted colleague to review and comment on what you have written.
The Writing Process
Writer’s Checklist: Communicating Globally
 Discuss the differing cultures within your company or region to rein­
force the idea that people can interpret verbal and nonverbal com­
munications differently.
 Invite global and intercultural communication experts to speak at
your workplace. Companies in your area may have employees who
could be resources for cultural discussions.
 Understand that the key to effective communication with global audi­
ences is recognizing that cultural differences, despite the challenges
they may present, offer opportunities for growth for both you and
your organization.
 Consult with someone from your intended audience’s culture. Many
phrases, gestures, and visual elements are so subtle that only some­
one who is very familiar with the culture can explain the effect they
may have on others from that culture. See also global graphics
(Tab 7).
Every document must have either an opening or an introduction. An
opening usually simply focuses the reader’s attention on your topic and
then proceeds to the body of your document. A full-scale introduction,
discussed later in this entry, sets the stage by providing necessary information to understand the discussion that follows in the body. In general,
correspondence (Tab 4) and routine reports (Tab 5) need only an opening; formal reports (Tab 6), major proposals (Tab 5), and other complex
documents need a full-scale introduction. For a discussion of comparable sections for Web sites, see writing for the Web (Tab 2). See also
Routine Openings
When your audience is familiar with your topic or if what you are writing
is brief or routine, then a simple opening will provide adequate context,
as shown in the following examples.
Dear Mr. Ignatowski:
You will be happy to know that we have corrected the error in
your bank balance. The new balance shows . . .
To date, 18 of the 20 specimens your department submitted
for analysis have been examined. Our preliminary analysis
indicates . . .
Opening Strategies
Opening strategies are aimed at focusing the readers’ attention and
motivating them to read the entire document.
Objective.   In reporting on a project, you might open with a statement of the project’s objective so that the readers have a basis for judging the results.

The primary goal of this project was to develop new techniques to
solve the problem of waste disposal. Our first step was to
investigate . . .
Problem Statement.   One way to give readers the perspective of
your report is to present a brief account of the problem that led to the
study or project being reported.

Several weeks ago a manager noticed a recurring problem in
the software developed by Datacom Systems. Specifically,
error messages repeatedly appeared when, in fact, no specific
trouble. . . . After an extensive investigation, we found that
Datacom Systems . . .
For proposals or formal reports, of course, problem statements may be
more elaborate and a part of the full-scale introduction, which is discussed later in this entry.
Scope.   You may want to present the scope of your document in your
opening. By providing the paramete…
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