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Part IV: Communicating for Results > Writing with Confidence

Chapter 23. Writing with Confidence

Many managers and executives understand that the highest-paid administrators are among the world’s best ghostwriters. The better your communication skills (especially writing), the more time you save your manager and the more valuable you become. Rate yourself as a writer by answering the following questions:

Yes No 

I always keep my audience in mind when I write. Do they want to know every fact or just the “bottom line”? Are there cultural issues?

I have no problem with the basics: grammar, spelling, and punctuation. (If your answer is “no,” buy a handbook and dictionary and take a brush-up class.)

I know the difference between active and passive construction, and try to use the active wherever possible. (Examples: Passive—The temp was hired by Mary. Active—Mary hired the temp.)

I choose simple words to communicate clearly. (Examples: Complex— Subsequently, we’ll require your endorsement. Simple—Later, we'll need your signature.)

I make it a point to state clearly the specific purpose of my letters or memos. Preferably, in simple words in the first paragraph.

I keep a file of sample letters and memos so I can quickly put together an appropriate response to the routine requests we receive.

I personalize letters and memos so the recipient will feel recognized.

If there is any doubt about how a name is spelled, I double-check it. I understand how important a person’s name and title is.

I know that it is hard to proofread my own work, so I have a “buddy” in the office with whom I exchange important letters, reports, etc.



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