Thursday, March 01, 2007

Writing Tip 24 - Highly Recommended Business Writing Book

I recently read a great book on business writing by Susan St. Maur, who is a business writing consultant and author based in Britain. Yes, even professional business writers like me seek the knowledge and experience of our peers (other professional writers).

The book is The Easy Way To Be Brilliant At Business Writing, and can be found here:

I recommend this well-organized and concise book to anyone seeking a general business writing overview filled with real insight into what works with various business audiences and why.

In The Easy Way To Be Brilliant At Business Writing Susan covers a lot of ground in a short, easy-to-read volume. Subjects range from all relevant "who is your audience and what are they getting out of it" issues, to the basics of grammar, editing and style, to the details of business writing environments (delivery devices - online, emails, websites, etc.) dominating today’s fast-paced business practice.

The mechanics of these writing mediums and the way they are used by audiences are explained to aid writing’s object: effective communication. Ms. St Maur delivers many practical suggestions focused on contemporary business writing and the technologies that bear upon the process.

Also explained and distinguished are various common types of business writing and document functions, and why each requires its own approach. Simple, but helpful descriptions of the basic structural elements of various business document types are provided.

Taking issue with the lingering formalities of a bygone business writing era, Susan appropriately notes that many are inapt in today's digital-quick business communication mediums. She speaks wisely, for example, of the difference between being sloppy or careless (which makes you look stupid) and relaxing the grammarian’s formality (which makes any non-high-brow audience more comfortable). Ms. St. Maur also astutely points out that for the business writer, punctuation is a tool.

Punctuate to be clear in your meaning and understood. Don’t worry about pointless punctuation formalities that no one cares about or remembers anyway. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Aside from being packed with useful writing tips (with a convenient tip summary at the end), this book is friendly, readable, down to earth, and really hits the essentials. It’s an honest manual that any business person seeking to communicate better should have at hand. I plan to add it to my shelf … and use it.