Do you have a nagging suspicion that a small improvement in your writing skills might also improve your career prospects? Don't let small gaps in your business writing skills prevent you from reaching your full potential!
It doesn't matter whether you're a clerical worker, an engineer, or an executive. If you communicate with others in writing, you need this course to help you identify and eliminate problem areas. By the end of this course, you'll know the secret to developing powerful written documents that immediately draw readers in and keep them motivated to continue until your very last, well-chosen word.
Ann Linquist is a continuing education instructor on college campuses, at corporations, and with non-profit organizations. She has helped thousands of adults learn to tackle their writing tasks with enthusiasm. Having written everything from novels to newsletters, articles to ad copy, Linquist is able to address the writing needs of each individual. The breadth of her background ensures a powerful, involving learning experience that builds on the strengths of each participant.
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
In this first lesson, you'll learn a brainstorming technique that will help make writing easier and more fun for you right away. You'll learn how to disentangle the efforts of your creative and critical sides, and you'll come to understand why both sides are important components of good writing. You'll also learn why writing is one of the best problem-solving tools around.
Here's where you'll learn a helpful system for organizing your writing. You'll start by picking out a document you have to write anyway so you can begin to put your new writing knowledge to use right away. You may as well get some work done while you're learning, right? Next, you'll nail down why you're writing this particular document and who your reader is. A second brainstorming technique will help you have fun thinking through these two questions.
In this lesson, you'll learn to make your readers do what you want. Your readers will be happy, too, since they'll get what they want in this win/win system. You'll learn the seven basic benefits you can offer your reader and how to write the crucial first sentence of your document. You'll learn one more brainstorming technique that will help you capture good ideas, words, and phrases.
Master seven strategies for putting your ideas in order and learn how poor sequencing can sabotage your efforts. Finally, you'll discover the very best way to end any document. It's an idea that may surprise you!
Revising, formatting, editing, and proofreading may all sound similar, but they're four distinct activities. In this lesson, you'll learn how revision is a process of exploration and discovery. You'll learn formatting strategies that will invite your reader in. You'll also learn to be a ruthless editor and professional proofreader.
In this lesson, you'll learn how to write clearly and concisely. You'll explore three mistaken notions that lead business writers to use lots of convoluted phrasing and long words. You'll examine the pitfalls of using business clichés, jammed modifiers, trendy words, jargon, foreign words, redundancies, and hedging adjectives.
In the last lesson you learned what words to remove from your document. In this lesson, you'll learn what words you should include to make your business writing more compelling. You'll learn the four parts of the written communication process. You'll find out why the verbs and nouns you choose make a major difference. You'll also learn more ways to make the task of writing more enjoyable for you.
Today, we'll look at strategies for good spelling and punctuation: Everyone needs this review! To keep it fun, you'll get to deal with the topics of spelling and punctuation by taking some easy quizzes. It's a chance to learn by doing. See how good your spelling and punctuation skills really are. You'll learn that punctuation is not a tyranny of rules, but an evolving protocol to help you communicate. Finally, you'll capture your weak areas on a Tips Card.
Why do you have to bother with grammar? You'll find out why in this lesson. Take the Grammar Blitz Quiz to discover your grammar strengths and weaknesses. It will help you fill in the gaps that remain after years of boring grammar classes. You'll learn why using the active instead of the passive voice can be a demonstration of your integrity. You'll also explore the traps pronouns set for those of us sensitive to gender issues.
Getting the tone right in business writing can be tricky. In this lesson, you'll get to tackle your worst moods in one more brainstorming technique. You'll learn how to defuse any negative emotions that might get in the way of your problem solving. You'll also learn how your attitude toward your reader, your topic, and your own needs determines your tone. As you go through the lesson, you'll learn two easy ways to eliminate unintentional tone mistakes.
In today's lesson, you'll learn why being able to say no with grace is a crucial business skill. A five-part format will give you a solid strategy for writing a letter that says no while retaining the goodwill of your reader. You'll learn how to keep bad news letters positive and helpful.
All about e-mail: Here's an up-to-date review of all the ways e-mail is different from other kinds of business writing. You'll learn tips on how to write e-mail that gets the job done. You'll find out some of pitfalls of using e-mail, including its legal status in court. You'll also discover how to manage the tone of your e-mail so that it doesn't accidentally offend your reader.