The Little Black Book of Business Writing

The Little Black Book of Business Writing

Mark Tredinnick
Geoff Whyte
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: UNSW Press
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vkq6g
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  • Book Info
    The Little Black Book of Business Writing
    Book Description:

    The Little Black Book of Business Writing is for everyone who writes for business purposes, in the commercial world, the private sector, the trades and the professions. Mark Tredinnick and Geoff Whyte help readers write the kinds of documents that confront them most days at work – letters, emails, web writing, reports, minutes, tenders, ministerials, board papers, media releases, newsletters, marketing documents, policy proposals, business cards, newsletters, position descriptions, job ads, notes to financial statements, instruction and safety manuals, speeches, presentations and various kinds of technical papers. The Little Black Book of Business Writing helps people write at work with economy, impact and efficiency.

    eISBN: 978-1-74224-537-9
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-5)
  3. THANKYOUS
    (pp. 6-6)
  4. PROLOGUE: GOOD WRITING HABITS AND HOW TO GET THEM
    (pp. 7-13)

    Far more of us write than ever wrote before, and too few of us know what we’re doing.

    The larger part of most people’s work is writing: emails, letters, reports, contracts, tenders, proposals, responses to tenders, minutes, newsletters, media releases, marketing copy, presentations, applications, sales pitches, resignation letters. The works. At any given moment at work, you’re more likely to be doing what we’re doing now—trying to make sense with your fingers on a keyboard—than just about anything else. Writing is most of our work.

    But in the same era when we’ve sat everyone in front of a...

  5. CHAPTER 1 WRITE AS IF YOU MEAN BUSINESS
    (pp. 14-36)

    In this bookbusiness writingincludes all kinds of functional writing. Byfunctional writingwe mean writing that isn’t written as literature. creative writing may, among other things, inform its readers, but it isartperformed with words, and it aims to work the way art (or entertainment) works. What it has to tell us is much less significant than how; in creative writing, the journey’s the thing. In functional writing, the point is altogether the point. The function of the writing is to inform someone of something. It won’t help to bore or confuse or annoy your reader. The...

  6. CHAPTER 2 TWELVE BIG IDEAS
    (pp. 37-71)

    Don’t tell anyone, but business writing is the same as any other kind of writing, except it’s about business.

    Writing well at work demands the same kind of attention and uses the same kind of language as any other decent piece of writing—it employs the same diction, the same range of sentences, and it is precisely the same kind of exercise in sounding out meaning on paper. There is no special tone required; you don’t have to talk in tongues. The only thing that distinguishes business or bureaucratic or academic or professional writing from any other kind of writing...

  7. CHAPTER 3 SEVEN HEAVENLY VIRTUES
    (pp. 72-95)

    To put all this another way: there are seven deadly sins of business writing and seven heavenly virtues.

    Foreswear the former, observe the latter, and write your way—and your readers’ way—out of business writing hell.

    Beware all rubrics, of course, including the one that follows. They always oversimplify; this one oversimplifies a tremendously complicated business—writing on time and on budget in the real world. All the same, this list arises from two decades of deep immersion in and quiet late-night reflection upon the best and worst habits of functional writers. And it offers a business writer a...

  8. CHAPTER 4 THE BUSINESS-WRITING CANON
    (pp. 96-157)

    The document you have to write, whatever else defines and constrains it, is a piece of writing—and there’s nothing much you don’t know now about how to write anything, if you’ve read the first three chapters of this book. Write like you’re talking about something you know to someone you trust; have a point and make it (and make it first); favour everyday words over commercial, academic, bureaucratic or other language; favour short words over long ones; mix up the length of your sentences; take more care but employ less formality than you’re used to; don’t parrot the lingo...

  9. CHAPTER 5 THE HELP DESK
    (pp. 158-197)

    Welcome to the help desk.

    If you’ve come this far, you’ll have your seven heavenly virtues down, and you’ll have workshopped them on some key business documents. If you’re starting here, you should note that the last chapter took apart twelve of the most common business documents, and showed readers how to put them back together again more elegantly. This is a troubleshooting chapter; it offers guidance—dos anddon’ts, tips and tricks—for handling many of the micro problems you’ll encounter writing at work. It should help you find your way out of some of the tightest spots in...

  10. CHAPTER 6 BEAUTY IS TRUTH—LEADERSHIP, VIRTUE AND GOOD PROSE STYLE
    (pp. 198-218)

    This book has put the case for clear and graceful writing at work, and in the public space. We’ve tried to show, through how we’ve written, through tips and tools and tutelage, how you might—by courage and technique—lift your writing game in whatever line of business you’re in.

    But we have a loftier ambition, too. This book, we dare to hope, may help you, in your small way—shaping lovelier, leaner, more useful and efficient sentences on the shop floor or at the coalface, against a tight deadline—to smarten up, deepen and enliven the conversation in which...

  11. NOTE ON SOURCES
    (pp. 219-221)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 222-224)