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2001 - Writing That Works - How to Communicate Effectively In Business.3rd ed.pdf

2001 - Writing That Works - How…

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简介:本文档为《2001 - Writing That Works - How to Communicate Effectively In Business.3rd edpdf》,可适用于人力资源领域,主题内容包含WritingThatWorksThirdEditionHowtocommunicateeffectivelyinbusiness:emaillet符等。

WritingThatWorksThirdEditionHowtocommunicateeffectivelyinbusiness:emaillettersmemospresentationsplansreportsproposalsresumesspeechesKenmethRomanandJoelRaphaelsonIflanguageisnotcorrect,thenwhatissaidisnotwhatismeantIfwhatissaidisnotwhatismeant,ThenwhatoughttobedoneremainsundoneCONFUCIUSContentsEpigraphPreface:WhyaThirdEditionWritingThatWorksDon’tMumbleandOtherPrinciplesofEffectiveWriting“ILoveMyComputer”EmailtheGreatMailboxintheSkyMemosandLettersThatGetThingsDoneWritingforanAudience:PresentationsandSpeechesPlansandReportsThatMakeThingsHappenRecommendationsandProposalsThatSellIdeasAskingforMoney:SalesandFundRaisingLettersCopingwithPoliticalCorrectnessWritingaResumeandGettinganInterviewEditingYourselfMakingItEasytoReadOtherBooksThatWillHelpYouWriteBetterAcknowledgmentsAbouttheAuthorPraiseforWritingThatWorks,rdEditionPreviousBooksCopyrightAboutthePublisherPrefaceWhyaThirdEditionThefirsteditionofthisbookwaswrittenonatypewriterwedeliveredatypedmanuscripttothepublisherWewrotethesecondeditiononcomputersanddeliveredaprintedmanuscriptThiseditionwaswrittenoncomputersandemailedtooureditornomanuscript,notevendisksThatillustratesoneofthechangesinthewaypeoplecommunicatethatpropelledustoundertakeathoroughrevisionEmailhasbecomesoubiquitousthatweaddedachapterandrevisedseveralotherstotakefullaccountofitsinfluenceAnotherchangeinrecentyearsisthefadingoftheinternalmemodisplacedinmanyusesbyemail,inothersbythepresentation“deck”Ourpurpose,however,remainsunchangedWewrotethebooktohelpthosemillionsofnonprofessionalwriterswhomustusethewrittenwordtogetresultsinbusiness,ingovernment,ineducation,intheartsThat’sstillourgoalNorhavewefoundanycausetoabandontheprinciplesweespouseTothecontrary,thespeedandeaseofemailandwordprocessingserveasaninvitationtosloppywritingReplacingpaperwithaPCscreendoesn’tchangetheneedforclear,precisecommunicationAndreplacingaformalmemowithabulletpointedpresentationdeckdoesn’tjustifyloosethinkingInthesecondedition,weintroducedsomethoughtsonhowtoavoidthepitfallsofsexistlanguageWehaveexpandedthosethoughtsintoaseparatechapteronpoliticalcorrectnessandtheextenttowhichitshouldorshouldnotinfluencethewayyouwriteThroughoutthebook,wehavefreshenedexamplesandsharpenedpointsbypracticingwhatwepreachabouteditingComingfromaworldofthirtysecondcommercialshastrainedustocuttotheessenceandhelpedkeepthisbookslimandourmessageaccessibleNothingthatfollowsisacademicortheoreticalYouwillfindadviceyoucanacton,wheneveryouhavetoconvertemptyscreenorblankpaperintoaletter,amemo,areport,arecommendation,aproposal,aspeech,aresumeYou’llgethelpfromspecificsidebysideexamplesofgoodwritingversusbad“GenerationsagothetelephonekilledtheartofexecutivewritingNowit’spoisedforacomeback,”reportsTheWallStreetJournal,notingthatemailsendseveryonetoakeyboardNowondercompaniesinstitutewritingcoursesEffectivewritingishardworkevenforthebestwriters(andevenonacomputer),buttheprinciplesaresimpleTheydon’trequireunusualtalentorspecialskillsTheyareeasytounderstandandeasytoputintouseWhatyoudoneedisadegreeofdeterminationtheperseverancetobesureyou’vesaidwhatyouwanttosayThisbookaimstohelpyoudothatwithlessdifficultyandmoreconfidence,andgettheresultsyou’relookingforfromeverythingyouwriteWritingThatWorks“ToomanyofthecommunicationsIgetaremeaningless,”observesaleadingCEO“Theydon’thelpmeunderstandwhatactionthewriterwantsmetotakeTheywastemytime”Wecouldfilladozenpageswithcomplaintsofthissort“Unclear,poorlywritten,orconfusing”istheverdictofvicepresidentsoftwohundredmajorUScompaniesonafullthirdofthebusinesswritingtheyconfrontNewYork’sCommissionerofEducation,frustratedthatsomanyofthelettersandmemospassingthroughhisofficewere“confusing”or“didnotanswerquestionsquicklyenough,”orderedhistopofficialstotakeacourseinwritingAndsoitgoesItaddsuptoachorusoflamentsthatsofewpeoplecanputathoughtintowordsthatmakeitclear,stateitprecisely,andtakenomoreofthereader’stimethaniscalledforYetclarity,desirableasitis,isnotthegoalThegoaliseffectivecommunicationwritingthatworksWhatdoesthereaderneedtoknowtocomprehendyourreportandendorseitsconclusionsToapproveyourplan,andpayforitTorespondswiftlytoyouremailTosendmoneyforyourcharity,yourcandidate,yourproductorserviceToinviteyoutoajobinterviewTomaketherightbusinessdecisionYou’renotlikelytogettheresultsyouseekifyourwritingismurky,longwinded,boggeddownbyjargon,andtopsyturvyinitsorderofthoughtJustasunproductiveiswhattwoStanfordprofessors,JeffreyPfefferandRobertISutton,call“smarttalk”WritingintheHarvardBusinessReviewin,theprofessorsidentifysmarttalkasamajorobstacletotakingactioninbusinessAcharacteristicofsmarttalkisthatitisunnecessarilycomplicatedorabstract(orboth)PeopleseldomactonwhattheycannotunderstandGoodresultsareevenlesslikelyifyoufloodthereaderwithinformationthatisn’torganizedtoleadtoanactionorisn’trelevanttoagraspofthesubjectEventhefederalgovernmentisstartingtorecognizethebenefitsofsimple,clearwritingTheSecuritiesandExchangeCommissioninauguratedtheplainlanguagemovementbyorderingmutualfundcompaniestorewritetheirprospectusesTheVeteransBenefitsAdministrationtrainedemployeesinitsinsurancedivisionhowtowritemoreclearly,andtheresponseratetoitslettersincreasedsavingtheagency$,ayearCompaniesareseeinghowconfusingcommunicationtiesuptheirservicecenters,andhowclearcommunicationsmakesthemmoreefficientandcompetitiveOneexecutivesuggestsadisciplineputtingdownfirstwhatyouwantthereadertodo,nextthethreemostimportantthingsthereaderneedstounderstandtotakethataction,thenstartingtowriteWhenyou’redone,hesuggestsaskingyourselfwhetherifyouwerethereader,wouldyoutakeactiononthebasisofwhatiswrittenPeoplewhowritewelldowellTogetactionfrombusypeople,yourwritingmustcutthroughtotheheartofthematterItmustrequireaminimumoftimeandeffortonthereader’spartTheimportanceofthisincreaseswiththeimportanceofyourreaderAtanylevel,readersarelikelytobeswampedeitherwithpaperworkoratwentyfourhouradaystreamofemail,orbothJuniorexecutivesmayfeelobligedtoplowthrougheverythingthatcomestheirwayThepresidentdoesn’tanddamnedwellwon’tAseniorexecutivesaysthisaboutaclient:Hisdeskisusuallyabsolutelyclean,butIknowthatsomewhereinthatman’slifethere’satremendouspileofpaperIfIwanthimtoreadthememohimself,I’dbettergetrighttothepointandI’dbetterbeclear,orhe’lljustpassitalongtosomebodyelse,withatestylittlenoteaskingforatranslationThebetteryouwrite,thelesstimeyourbossmustspendrewritingyourstuffIfyouareambitious,itwon’thurttomakelifeeasierforpeopleaboveyouBadwritingslowsthingsdowngoodwritingspeedsthemupTheonlywaysomepeopleknowyouisthroughyourwritingItcanbeyourmostfrequentpointofcontact,oryouronlyone,withpeopleimportanttoyourcareermajorcustomers,seniorclients,yourowntopmanagementTothosewomenandmen,yourwritingisyouItrevealshowyourmindworksIsitforcefulorfatuous,deftorclumsy,crisporsoggyReaderswhodon’tknowyoujudgeyoufromtheevidenceinyourwritingTheirjudgmentofyouspecificallyincludestheevidenceyougivethemintheemailyoudashoffItcomesasasurprisetomanypeoplethatreadersofemaildonotabandontheirstandardsjustbecausetheyarelookingatascreenratherthanapieceofpaper“Becauseit’sjustemail,”saysChristieHefner,CEOofPlayboyEnterprises,“peoplethinktheydon’thavetobegrammaticalorspellthingsrightortakethetroubletowritewellIt’sveryannoying”Slapdashcomesacrossasslapdash,wordyaswordy,andpoorspellingandgrammarassignsofignoranceorsloppinessItisbesttosticktostandardEnglishusageandtoobservetheconventionsofspellingandpunctuationWeadvisethisnotoutofacademicfussinessbutfromobservinghowthingsareIfyouwrite“it’s”withanapostrophetosignifythepossessiveof“it”(wrong),insteadofthecontractionof“itis”(right),notallreaderswilldetectyourlapseButthosewhodomaybetheoneswhocountTherestillseemstobesomecorrelationbetweenliteracyandseniorityImportantmattersareusuallyexaminedinwritingeitherinapapertobestudiedprivately,orinaformalpresentationItisn’tenoughthatyouknowallaboutyoursubjectYoumustmakeyourselfcleartosomebodywhohasonlyafractionofyourexpertiseAboveall,youmustexpressyourpointofviewpersuasivelyWehaveseenhundredsofpapersthatassertapointofviewwithenergeticenthusiasm,butastonishinglyfewthatmakeapersuasivecaseOftenenoughthecaseitselfisagoodoneButthewriterselfdestructsinanyorallofthewayswegointolateron“Itisanimmutablelawofbusiness,”saidtheformerheadofITT,HaroldGeneen,“thatwordsarewords,promisesarepromises,butonlyperformanceisreality”Byitself,goodwritingisnoguaranteeofsuccessButwordsaremorethanwords,andpoorperformancecanoftenbetracedtopoorcommunicationYourabilitytowritepersuasivelycanhelpyougetthingsdoneandarriveatyourgoaltoday,thismonth,orduringthedecadesofyourcareerMakingtimetowritewellWritingbetterdoesnotmeanwritingmoreThereispaperenoughinourlivesnowdespitethecomputerandemailandpreciouslittletimetoreaditThisbooksuggestssomeofthewaysthatimprovingyourwritingcansavetimeforotherpeopleButwhataboutyourtimeWhileyourespectthetimeofothers,youmustalsoprotectyourownIttakestimetowritewellPeoplearewrongwhentheysaythereareonlytwentyfourhoursinaday,observesmanagementguruPeterDruckerthereareactuallyonlytwo,perhapsthree,thatyoucanuseproductively,andthedifferencebetweenbusyexecutivesandeffectiveonesishowtheyusethattimeEffectivemeanspickingyourspots,concentratingyourenergiesonamajordocumentorprojectorspeechthatwillmakeadifferenceThebiggesttimewasterisshufflingthingsfromonepiletoanotherwhileyoudrowninaseaofindecisionEffectiveexecutivestrytohandlepaperonlyoncehardtodo,butitworksTheydeleteorrespondtoemailonthespotTheydecidequicklywhethertoanswer,file,ortossoutTheyrespondtoeasymattersinstantlybyreturnemailorthroughcommentswrittendirectlyonlettersandmemosandreturnedatonceOrsendshorthandwrittennotes(orenotes)ofdirection,praise,orcriticismMajorpapers,ontheotherhand,requirestudyReadthemactively,gettotheprincipalarguments,anddecidewhatmustbedoneConsidera“maturingfile”forknottyproblemsManydisappearifgiventimeOtherscallformorethoughtThereisnorulethatsaysyoumustanswerorfileeverythingthatissenttoyouFortunecolumnistStewartAlsopbecamesoswampedwiththefloodofemailthathefirststoppedrespondingtoeverymessage,thenstoppedreadingthemallHisreasoning:ThefactthatsomeonesendsmeamessagedoesnotautomaticallyimposeanobligationonmyparttorespondIfthatweretrue,thenitwouldlogicallyfollowthatIshouldallowstrangerstorulemylifeIdon’tlikethatideaSoI’vestartedtodeletemessageswithoutreadingthemfirstThiskindofdisciplinesetsasidethetimeforthetrulyimportantasopposedtothemerelyurgentIthelpsyouclearthedecksattheofficeorathomeforthejobsthatreallymatterHighamongthemwillbemajorpiecesthatyouwriteTherestofthisbookprovidesspecificadviceonskillsandtechniquesthatwillhelpyouputwhatevertimeyouspendonwritingtogooduseImplicitoneverypageistheideathetruththattheultimatetimesaveriseffectivecommunicationDon’tMumbleandOtherPrinciplesofEffectiveWritingWhenGodwantedtostopthepeoplefrombuildingtheTowerofBabel,hedidnotsmitethemdownwithathunderboltHesaid:“…letusgodown,andthereconfoundtheirlanguage,thattheymaynotunderstandoneanother’sspeech”HecouldthinkofnosurerwaytokeepthetowerunbuiltthantogarblecommunicationsWhiletheLordconfoundedlanguageonpurpose,humansdoitinadvertentlyalbeitwithsimilarresultsThesuggestionsinthischapterwillhelpyouavoidthatfateforyourowntowers,whatevertheymaybeAboveall,don’tmumbleOnceyou’vedecidedwhatyouwanttosay,comerightoutandsayitMumblerscommandlessattentionthanpeoplewhospeakupKeepinmindEBWhite’ssoberinginjunction:“Whenyousaysomething,makesureyouhavesaiditThechancesofyourhavingsaiditareonlyfair”Insteadofthis……saythisItisgenerallydesirabletocommunicateyourthoughtsinaforthrightmannerDon’tmumbleToningyourpointdownandtiptoeingarounditmay,inmanycircumstances,temptthereadertotuneoutandallowhismindtowanderHerearesomemoresuggestions:MaketheorganizationofyourwritingclearMostpeople“writebadlybecausetheycannotthinkclearly,”observedHLMenckenThereasontheycannotthinkclearly,hewenton,isthat“theylackthebrains”Wedaretoassumethatyou,asareaderofthisbook,arebrainyenoughtothinkclearlyYouknowhowtoorganizeyourthoughtsintoacoherentorderNowyoumustmakethatorganizationcleartothereaderWhenyouwriteanythinglongerthanafewparagraphs,startbytellingthereaderwhereyouaregoingThecommitteeproposesthatthecompanyinvest$millioninalibraryFirstyoumustknowwhereyouaregoingyourselfMakeanoutlineofyourmajorpoints,placingsupportingdetailsintheirproperpositionThen,inyourpaper,useyouroutlinetosignalthemajorpointsforyourreaderUnderlineandnumbereachimportantsectionheadingThisservesthesamepurposeaschaptertitlesinabookEndwithasummaryAndkeepinmindthatasummaryisnotaconclusionYoursummaryshouldintroducenonewideasitshouldsummarize,asbrieflyaspossible,themostimportantpointsyouhavemadeIfyourpapercomestoaconclusionthepointofyourcaseyoursummaryshouldsummarizethattoo,tofixtheessentialsofyourmessageinyourreader’smindSummary:MakeanoutlineuseyouroutlinetohelpyourreadernumberandunderlinesectionheadingssummarizeNote:Somelengthydocumentsstartwithasummary,oftencalled“ExecutiveSummary”ThesameprinciplesapplyUseshortparagraphs,shortsentencesandshortwordsThreemajorarticlesstartatthetopofthefrontpageofeveryissueofTheWallStreetJournalThefirstparagraphsofthesearticlesarenevermorethanthreesentenceslongManyparagraphscontainonlyasinglesentenceThefirstsentencesthemselvesarecrispandcompact:ItallbegantocrumbletheafternoonMom’sBestCookies,Inc,firedMomThecultofJamesDeanwasfosteredbyhisearlydeath,anditdidn’thurthishometownanyIt’sofficialWallStreetisdeclaringwaronsexismBycontrast,hereisanexampleofthekindofmumblingfirstsentencethatconfrontspeopleintheirofficereading:ThisprovidestheArgus,MitchellDohnperspectiveonaconsumers'eyeviewofthecurrentpositionandgrowthpotentialofBlake’sTeaandJones’sTea,themajorentriesofNationalBeveragesintheEnglishteamarketTheWallStreetJournalisbroadlyreadbeyondbusinessandWallStreetReadersandeditorsalikegivemuchofthecredittoitsreadabilityJournaleditorshaveputintopracticethissimpleprinciple:ShortsentencesandshortparagraphsareeasiertoreadthanlongonesAndeasiertounderstandAsforshortwords,youdon’thavetoturnyourbackontherichesandsubtletiesoftheEnglishlanguageNobodywillexcoriateyouforusingalongwordwhoseprecisemeaningnoshorterwordduplicatesButprefertheshortwordtothelongonethatmeansthesamething:Preferthis……tothisNowCurrentlyStartInitiateShowIndicateFinishFinalizeSpeedup,movealongExpediteUseUtilizePlace,putPositionRelianceonlongwords,whichareoftenmoreabstractthancommonshortones,canbeasignthatyouhavenotworkedoutexactlywhatyouwanttosayIfyouhavedistilledyourthinkingtoitsessence,youwillprobablybeabletoexpressitinsimplewordsHereishowGeorgeBernardShaw,inhisdaysasamusiccritic,describedhisstartledresponsetoanewwork:“IdidwithmyearswhatIdowithmyeyeswhenIstare”OnceShawhadfiguredoutwhathisunusualreactionhadbeen,hewasabletodescribeitinwordsofonesyllableShakespeareexpressedthedeepestemotioninthesimplestwordsSaysKingLearonthebrutalmurderofhisbelovedFool:“Andmypoorfoolishang’dNo,no,nolife!Whyshouldadog,ahorse,arat,havelife,andthounobreathatallThou’llcomenomoreNever,never,never,never!”TheReader’sDigestoncepublishedanarticleonthepowerofshortwordsThelastsentencepointedout,tothesurpriseofmostreaders,thatnowordintheeloquentthreepageessayhadmorethanonesyllableMakeyourwritingactiveandpersonalGoodwriterschoosetheactivevoiceoverthepassivevoicewheneverpossibleandit’spossiblemostofthetimeActiveverbsaddenergytoyourwritingThat’swhythey’recalledactiveThissimplepracticealsoimprovesyourwritingbymakingitmorepersonal,ahumanbeingtalkingratherthananinstitutionThepassivevoicehideswhoisspeakingortakingactiontheactivevoicerevealsitPassive,impersonalActive,personalItisrecommendedWerecommendHeshouldbetoldGetAlicetotellhimPersonalsacrificesarebeingmade,althoughthedegreeofparticipationisnotabsolutelyidentifiableWeseepeoplemakingsacrificesHowmanypeopleWecan’tsayforsureAlotofbusinesswritingmumblesalonginthepassivevoicebecausehighschoolEnglishteacherstoldusnottostartsentenceswith“I”withoutthefirstpersonsingular(preferring“thecookieswereeatenbyme”to“Iatethecookies”)Butthereareplentyofgoodwaystosubstituteactiveforpassi

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