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Reviews and Excercises

Business writing is
different from creative writing in that
it is very direct and
"bottom-line based."
This direct vs. indirect difference requires
different organizational patterns.


Email Writing Is Different
A major factor in failed written business communication is that the business writing process doesn't fit the writing model most of us learned in school. Effective email communication is a learned skill. The overall purpose of this training is to teach you the process and the skills needed to be a better and faster writer of business emails.

shuttle A process is a step-by-step method used to achieve a goal. Process is basically a check list. When we are faced with a large task, we can easily get overwhelmed by the enormity or the complexity of that task. The use of a process allows us to break the large task into smaller, more manageable pieces. Then we can prioritize these pieces and get to work on them.

The POWR Writing Process

  • Plan
  • Organize
  • Write
  • Revise

The POWR writing process consists of four major phases - Plan, Organize, Write, and Revise - with each phase having multiple elements. The KCI POWR writing process focuses on your readers and allows you to plan your writing so that it meets your reader's expectations and needs

The first two phases emphasize planning and organizing issues that should be addressed before you begin to write. The planning phase covers the issues that will clarify the purpose, analyze the reader, brainstorm the content, and select the main points. In the organizing phase, you sequence the main points in a way that makes the content readily understandable and accessible to readers.

The writing and revising phases add flesh to the framework produced in the first two phases. A draft email is written and then revised in two stages to produce a finished copy that can be sent to the readers.

This process is designed specifically for business and technical writing. However, you can use this systematic, repeatable process to make any writing project go more quickly and more easily.

Emails Should Read Short
Every email should "read short" regardless of its length. Some short emails read long . . . some read short regardless of their physical length. The goal is to make all of our emails "read short".  A reader should be able to read for the purpose and the important points without being required to plow through a lot of detail first. Time spent reading is, after all, money.

Write From The Reader's Perspective
Effective business emails must always be written from the perspective of the people who read them. Emails should be designed and written so that the purpose and action desired are crystal clear and located up front. Supporting information should be sufficient to permit the reader to achieve the desired action: No more and no less.

The following exercise should give you some insight on the readability and characteristics of effective business emails. Take a look at the examples and see what makes them readable and what characteristics make them effective.

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Unit I - Page 7 of 9
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