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Introduction - Pg. vii

vii Introduction Welcome to the 10 Minute Guide to Effective Business Writing. This book is based on a workshop we developed several years ago to enable middle managers to write more effectively. The principles discussed in this book can be applied at any level or among any functions in a business. We've seen time and again that when participants learn and begin to use the process described in this book, they quickly develop confidence in themselves as writers, and consequently begin writing more effective documents. Throughout this book one theme will emerge: The key to effective business writing is clear thinking. This book outlines a process that helps you organize your thoughts, clarify your purpose, evaluate your logic, identify missing information, and refine your thinking--all before you start to write. Once your thinking is clear, the writing is easy. Of course, having an easily readable style and using proper grammar are instrumental in making a document as effective as possible. However, the importance of clarifying your objectives and map- ping out your thinking can hardly be overstated. We will, in a number of lessons, provide guidance on appropriate grammar and style and direct you to other resources for more in-depth treatments on these subjects. We will concentrate our efforts in this book in the areas we believe are most neglected and, at the same time, most critical to developing the average business writer into an exceptionally effective one. One final note: The examples used in this book are adapted from the workshops we've conducted and our experience as line managers in various organizations. We have not altered the documents in any way, except to eliminate references to specific individuals and organizations.