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Chapter 15. Style Facilitates Effective Communication - Pg. 68

68 Chapter 15. Style Facilitates Effective Communication In this lesson you learn key writing principles that will immediately make your documents more effective and inviting to read. An Overview of Style While the thinking behind your writing is more important than your writing style, you can sabotage the communication of your best thinking by not paying attention to a few key style principles. Most of these principles might seem like common sense. Yet as obvious as they are, using them consistently is not easy. Applying them to your writing requires effort and practice. We continue to be amazed in our writing workshops by how obvious these principles seem to the participants, but how few of them actually apply them to their business writing. You may also recognize the following principles because they consistently appear in style guides, writing courses, and books on writing. While many style principles exist that can help you be more effective, we have included in this lesson those most appropriate to business writing. For more in- depth instruction on style, we recommend The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White. Plain English Style refers to how you communicate, not what you communicate. Style Principle One: Be Concise Concise writing communicates more clearly, shows respect for the reader's time, and builds the writer's credibility. If you apply only one principle to your business writing, make sure it's this one. Professor William Strunk Jr. makes the point eloquently in The Elements of Style: Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all of his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. With Professor Strunk's advice in mind, consider the following example. Not concise. The key objective of the Brand X promotion plan is to maximize trial in order to leverage the Brand X technology strength that provides super performance among consumers. To accomplish this, we plan to execute the identical three introductory events used in test market. Concise