Better Business Writing



Course Description

When you’re fumbling for words and pressed for time, you might be tempted to dismiss good business writing as a luxury. However, it’s a skill you must cultivate to succeed: You’ll lose time, money, and influence if your emails, proposals, and other important documents fail to win people over. This course gives you the tools to express your ideas clearly and persuasively so clients, colleagues, stakeholders, and partners will get behind them. The class is very hands on: participants engage in numerous business writing exercises. Topics include:

  • Grab and keep readers’ attention
  • Earn credibility with tough audiences
  • Trim the fat from your writing
  • Strike the right tone
  • Review and edit documents
  • Write short documents
  • Brush up on grammar, punctuation, and usage


A basic familiarity with the subject matter is helpful, but not required.

Course Outline

Course Outline

Lesson 1: The Foundations of Good Writing

  • The Four Stages of Writing
  • A Dozen Grammatical Rules You Must Know
  • A Dozen Punctuation Rules You Must Know
  • Common Usage Gaffes
  • Dos and Don’ts of Business-Writing Etiquette
  • A Primer of Good Usage

Lesson 2: Delivering the Goods Quickly and Clearly

  • Know Why You’re Writing: Inform, Persuade, etc.
  • Principles of influence
  • Understand Your Readers
    • Key expectations and Requirements
    • Perform a stakeholder analysis
    • Persuasion
  • Formulating Your Persuasive Argument
  • Logical Arguments
  • Logically Weak Arguments
  • Manipulative Arguments: Appeals to Conformity, Fear, etc.
  • Divide the Writing Process into Four Separate Tasks
  • Write Your Main Points in Full Sentences
  • Write in Full – rapidly
  • Improve What You’ve Written

Lesson 3: Developing Your Skills

  • Be Relentlessly Clear
  • Learn to Summarize Accurately
  • Waste No Words
  • Be Plain-Spoken: Avoid Bizspeak
  • Use Chronology When Giving a Factual Account
  • Be a Stickler for Continuity
  • Learn the Basics of Correct Grammar
  • Get Feedback of Your Drafts from Colleagues

Lesson 4: Avoiding the Quirks That Turn Readers Off

  • Don’t Anesthetize Your Readers
  • Watch Your Tone

Lesson 5: Incorporating Visuals

  • Use Graphics to Illustrate and Clarify
  • Best Practices: Photographs
  • Best Practices: Tables
  • Best Practices: Bar Charts, Pie Charts
  • Best Practices: Drawings
  • Best Practices: Flowcharts
  • Best Practices: Organizational Charts

Lesson 6: Common Forms of Business Writing

  • Best Practices: Emails
  • Best Practices: Business Letters
  • Best Practices: Memos and Reports
  • Best Practices: Performance Appraisals
  • Best Practices: Business Plans

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Course Code


Course Duration


Instructions Method

Instructor Led