RE: Business Writing Course

Subject: RE: Business Writing Course
From: "Margaret A. Smith" <msmith -at- aros -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 10:22:21 -0700

The books I've found most helpful in teaching business writing are these:

***Effective Business Writing. A Guide for Those Who Write on the Job, by Maryann Piotrowski. A simple, straightforward (and inexpensive) book that combines discussion of grammar and mechanics with descriptions and examples of various business letters and memos.

***Plain Style. Techniques for Simple, Concise, Emphatic Business Writing, by Richard Lauchman. A wonderfully practical guide on writing effectively, directed toward an audience that doesn't know or care to know grammar terms and rules. (Engineers???) And its Table of Contents, like that of Strunk and White, can stand alone in providing meaningful information.

***Technical Writing and Professional Communication. For Nonnative Speakers of English, by Thomas Huckin and Leslie Olsen. A complete textbook, including teaching examples, that covers A-Z of researching, organizing, and conveying technical information. It covers more than you could in a "crash course in business writing" and it's a little pricey, but its inclusion of an English reference for nonnative speakers would be helpful in your situation.

I also second what Nicolette said: use lots of examples, preferably from your real-world writing, and discuss why they work or don't work or how they could be improved. And don't forget to emphasize the tech writer's mantra of first determining purpose and audience.

Good luck.

Margaret A. Smith
Abet Information Design
(801) 583-1858

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