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Advanced Writing Skills

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Title: Advanced Writing Skills Author: Velsoft SoftSkills Description: PowerPoint Slides Last modified by: Sharon Acer Created Date: 4/10/2005 9:50:56 PM – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Advanced Writing Skills


1
Advanced Writing Skills
2
Agenda
830-845 Session One Introduction and Course Overview
845-900 Icebreaker Top Ten Challenges
900-1015 Session Two The Three Cs
1015-1030 Break
1030-1115 Session Three Grammar and Writing Mechanics
1115-1145 Session Four Determining Readability
1145-1200 Morning Wrap-Up
1200-100 Lunch
100-115 Energizer Encyclopedia Excitement
115-230 Session Five Writing Letters
230-245 Session Six Dealing with Specific Requests
245-300 Session Seven E-mail Etiquette
300-415 Session Eight Business Documents
415-430 Workshop Wrap-Up
3
Session One Course Overview
  • Discuss your writing challenges.
  • Learn how to make your writing clear, concise,
    and correct.
  • Improve sentence construction and paragraph
    development.
  • Identify some ways to make your writer simpler
    and easier to read.
  • Learn about a tool that can determine how
    readable your work is.
  • Develop effective business letters for tough
    situations.
  • Discuss e-mail etiquette.
  • Develop an appropriate writing style and format
    for your letters, business cases, and reports.
  • Recognize standard ways of documenting materials.

4
Session Two The Three Cs
               
  • Writing Clearly
  • Use
  • Familiar Words
  • Concrete Nouns
  • Avoid
  • Jargon
  • Slang

5
Session Two The Three Cs
               
  • Writing Concisely
  • Use the active voice when possible.
  • Watch out for adverbs.
  • Dont be redundant.
  • Eliminate empty words.

6
Session Two The Three Cs
               
  • Writing Correctly
  • Style Style guide, spelling and grammar
  • Factual Is the content of the message correct?

7
Session Two The Three Cs
               
  • What are some possible resources for each of
    these projects?
  • Brochure with time management tips
  • University paper on dinosaurs
  • Newspaper article on the emergence of Internet
    fraud
  • Internal company e-mail on budget items
  • Company memo recommending a product
  • Training presentation on goal setting

8
Session Three Grammar and Writing Mechanics
               
  • Seven Ways to Simplify Your Writing
  • Parallelism
  • Style/Tone
  • Empathy/Reader Benefit
  • Emphasis
  • Sentence Unity
  • Sentence Structure
  • Paragraphs

9
Session Three Grammar and Writing Mechanics
               
  • More on Paragraphs
  • Unity In good paragraphs, the emphasis is on
    oneness.
  • Coherence Coherence is achieved by carefully
    organizing your thoughts/material.
  • Emphasis The paragraph closer is just slightly
    more important than the opener. Both are
    necessary.
  • Rhythm You should also vary the length and
    structure of your sentences so the pace of your
    writing doesnt become too monotonous or too
    choppy.

10
Session Three Grammar and Writing Mechanics
               
  • The active voice is
  • Direct
  • Reduces length
  • Clarifies the sentence
  • Produces a crisper, more vital style
  • The passive voice is
  • Indirect
  • Reverses the normal subject-verb-object pattern
  • Includes some form of the verb be, followed by a
    past participle
  • Usually considered weak, obscure, wordy

11
Session Four Readability
               
  • Mark out samples of 100 words each.
  • Divide the number of words in all the samples by
    the number of sentences. This will give you the
    average sentence length.
  • Count the number of words of three or more
    syllables in each 100 words. Dont count proper
    or words which are combinations of short, easy
    words.
  • Add the average sentence length and the number of
    hard words (as determined in the previous step)
    per hundred.
  • Multiply the sum by 0.4. The resulting number
    corresponds to the grade-level reading ability.

12
Session Five Writing Letters
               
  1. Letterhead
  2. Dateline
  3. Notations
  4. Inside Address
  5. Attention line
  6. Subject/Reference lines
  7. Salutation
  8. Body
  9. Complimentary close
  10. Signature Block
  11. Identification Section

13
Session Five Writing Letters
               
FULL BLOCK
14
Session Five Writing Letters
MODIFIED BLOCK
               
15
Session Five Writing Letters
               
SEMI BLOCK
16
Session Five Writing Letters
               
Folding Letters For large No.10 envelopes, begin
with the letter face up. Fold slightly less than
one third of the sheet toward the top, as shown
below. Then fold down the top third to within 6
to 7 mm of the bottom fold. Insert the letter
into the envelope with the last fold toward the
bottom of the envelope.
17
Session Six Dealing with Specific Requests
               
  • Information Requests
  • The first sentence of an information request is
    usually a question or a polite command.
  • The body of the letter can provide the necessary
    details. Make it easy to read, and use
    highlighting techniques to make the main points
    stand out, such as listed and bullets.
  • Use the final paragraph to ask for specific
    action, to set an end date if appropriate, and to
    express appreciation.

18
Session Six Dealing with Specific Requests
               
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Identify the reason for writing.
  • Suggest the confidentiality of the
    recommendation.
  • Establish your relationship with the client.
  • Identify the length of employment and job duties
    if relevant.
  • Describe the applicants professional and
    personal qualities.
  • Describe the applicants relationship with
    others.
  • Include specific details and examples.
  • Support negative comments with verification.
  • Compare the applicant with others in his or her
    field.
  • Offer an overall rating of the applicant,
    summarize significant attributes, and draw a
    conclusion.

19
Session Six Dealing with Specific Requests
               
  • Letters Refusing Requests
  • Start with a buffer that identifies previous
    correspondence either incidentally or as a
    subject line, and then begins with a neutral
    statement on which both reader and writer can
    agree.
  • Then plant a key word or phrase that leads
    naturally to the explanation.
  • The explanation presents valid reasons for the
    refusal and avoids problem words that will be
    seen as negative. The bad news can be
    de-emphasized to soften the blow. Avoid language
    that causes hard feelings.
  • If possible, suggest an alternative or a
    substitute, or perhaps a compromise.
  • Renew good feelings with a positive statement,
    without referring to the bad news.

20
Session Six Dealing with Specific Requests
               
  • Letters of Persuasion
  • Persuasive appeals generally fall into two broad
    groups emotional appeals and rational appeals.
  • Emotional appeals are associated with the senses.
    They include how we see, feel, taste, smell and
    hear. Strategies that arouse anger, fear, pride,
    love and satisfaction are also emotional.
  • Rational strategies are those associated with
    reason and intellect. They appeal to the mind.
  • Rational appeals include reference to making
    money, saving money, increased efficiency, and
    making the best use of resources.

21
Session Seven E-mail Etiquette
  • Limit e-mails to a single subject, and make sure
    the subject line reflects it.
  • Maintain the same level of formality that you
    would when writing a letter.
  • Be careful when using sarcasm and humour.
  • Only use capitals when using acronyms. Otherwise,
    using capitals is seen as shouting and is
    considered rude.
  • Keep it short less than a page. Anything longer
    should be sent as an attachment.
  • Dont write anything in an e-mail that you
    wouldnt write in a letter or say in person.
    Always be professional and calm.
  • For important, sensitive, emotional, or longer
    e-mails, it is often a good idea to save the
    e-mail after writing it and come back to it a
    while later to proofread it.
  • Always ensure the e-mail is addressed correctly.
  • Unless you are absolutely sure it is OK, avoid
    sending large attachments. You should also make
    sure your attachments are virus-free and can be
    opened by common programs.
  • Like other business documents, remember to keep
    your writing clear, concise, and correct.

               
22
Session Eight Business Documents
  • Set up your business case by including
  • Executive Summary/Business Case Summary
  • An introduction to the proposed change
  • Appropriate background information
  • A mission statement for the proposed change, if
    desired
  • Costs of the change
  • Benefits accrued from the change
  • Conclusions from your research
  • Why the organization should consider the idea
  • Principles to guide development
  • Recommended scope of change
  • Projected Cost/Benefit Analysis
  • Cost of recommended program
  • Measurement, Outcomes, Evaluation
  • Anticipated overall results

               
23
Session Eight Business Documents
               
  • Tips for Writing Requests for Proposals
  • Preparation, preparation, preparation.
  • Know what you want.
  • Know what the people who respond to your RFP will
    need to know and what they will want to know.

24
Session Eight Business Documents
               
Direct Approach The direct approach, in which
recommendations come first, is the up-front or
psychological approach. This format is often
used in short reports and when recommendations
are more-or-less straightforward. Indirect
Approach Typically, the longer, more formal
report has many more parts, including a cover,
letter of transmittal, synopsis or executive
summary, table of contents, appendices, and a
bibliography.
25
Session Eight Business Documents
               
Book, One Author 1. Sara White, Profiting in the Knowledge Age A Canadian Guide to the Future (Toronto McKnight Publishing, 1999), p.25. Book, Many Authors 2. John Doe, Jane Smith, and Sara White, Profiting in the Knowledge Age A Canadian Guide to the Future (Toronto McKnight Publishing, 1999), p.25. Journal Article 3. John Drovich, Peace in the Middle East, Canadian Journal of International Studies 19, no. 5 (1999) 23-45. Magazine Article 4. Bill Safer, Future Leadership, Canadian Management, April 1999, 45 Newspaper Article 5. Trisha Khan, Beyond 2000 Working in the Next Century, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 August 1999, B3. Government Publication 6. Human Resources Development Canada, How to Find a Job (Ottawa Supply and Services Canada, 1996), 30. Encyclopedia Article Without an Author 7. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., s.v. Great Lakes. Interview 8. Izzy Asper, interview by author, 14 June 1999.
26
Session Eight Business Documents
               
Book, One Author White, Sara. 1999. Profiting in the Knowledge Age A Canadian Guide to the Future. Toronto McKnight Publishing. Book, Same Author 1990. Life After your Career. Toronto McKnight Publishing. Book, Many Authors Doe, John, Jane Smith, and Sara White. 1999. Profiting in the Knowledge Age A Canadian Guide to the Future. Toronto McKnight Publishing. Magazine or Journal Article Drovich, John. Peace in the Middle East, Canadian Journal of International Studies 19, no. 5 23-45. Newspaper Article Khan, Trisha. 1999. Beyond 2000 Working in the Next Century. Winnipeg Free Press, 22 August, B3. Government Publication Human Resources Development Canada. 1996. How to Find a Job. Ottawa Supply and Services Canada. Interview Asper, Izzy. 1999. Interview by author. 14 June.
27
Session Eight Business Documents
               
Electronic Sources Generally electronic sources
will follow the guidelines for print
publications. However, some information, such as
page numbers, may not be available. Cite what you
can find, including the date you accessed the
information and the web address. Example Brown,
Ronnie R. 1995. Photographs That Should Have
Been Taken. Room of Ones Own. (Online) Cited
Feb. 18, 2005. Available from www.photographstogo.
com/poetry.
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