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Better business writing

How to improve your business writing and communication skills

Susan Schoenfeld

Even though “good writing skills” usually aren’t listed in an employee’s job description, writing is essential to professional success regardless of what level you're at in an organization. Getting your message across, whether internally or externally, requires a firm grasp of best practices for effective and strategic communication, such as determining the goal of your message and choosing the appropriate medium for your audience.

In just 90 minutes, expert Susan Schoenfeld teaches you how to improve your writing by getting to the point, using appropriate language, organizing your thoughts, and communicating in a way that builds trust, respect, and connections with others.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

  • How to choose the appropriate channel of communication
  • How to make sure you send the message you intended
  • How to communicate more effectively with different generations
  • Tips for effective business writing
  • How to organize your thoughts and write an outline

And you’ll be able to:

  • Write and respond to emails
  • Write a memo
  • Write a meeting announcement and a meeting agenda
  • Write both a business and informal letter
  • Write a proposal
  • Write a business case
  • Have better control of your emotions and tone when engaging in written communication

This training course is for you because...

  • Your role requires sending written communication to people within and outside of your organization.
  • You're in a technical position where you need to communicate your department’s goals and needs with other departments.

Prerequisites

  • Experience working in a business environment

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Susan Schoenfeld works with the Leaders Institute providing team-building programs for corporations. Susan has over 20 years of corporate experience. Previously, she was a professional development and performance management consultant at Baker & McKenzie, spent more than 11 years as professional development director at Foley & Lardner LLP, and was the training manager at Extendicare Health Services. Susan has taught courses at several universities, including Marquette University and UWM, and has provided customized coaching, seminars, strategic planning, and motivational speaking services to individuals, businesses, and community groups statewide. She has also taught several workshops to law firms and legal associations and has coached executives on management skills and presentation techniques. Some of her clients include Hyatt Corporation, Time Warner, and the National Association of Realtors. Susan is a certified DISC instructor and has authored articles for several professional journals.

Schedule

The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introduction to business writing (25 minutes)

  • Lecture: The purpose of business writing; goals and objectives; how to determine which channel of communication to use; generational differences when choosing how to communicate; how to be sure to send the intended message
  • Hands-on exercise: Paraphrase examples
  • Group discussion: Identify examples of facts versus inferences; discuss a situation where you used the wrong channel of communication
  • Q&A

Tips for improving your business writing (25 minutes)

  • Lecture: How to improve your business writing; how to proof and edit your work
  • Hands-on exercise: Distinguish between the active and passive voice; make information more concise and simplify language; avoid gender-biased language
  • Q&A
  • Break (5 minutes)

Emails, meetings, business letters, and more (25 minutes)

  • Lecture: How to organize your thoughts; considerations when writing emails; when to schedule a meeting; how to set up a written request for a meeting; writing meeting announcements; writing a meeting agenda; visuals used in meetings; how to write meeting minutes; the business letter format
  • Hands-on exercise: Organize a jumbled example outline
  • Discussion: Have you ever received an argumentative email? How did you handle it?
  • Q&A

Memos, business proposals, and business cases (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: How to write a memo; how to write a business proposal; how to write a business case
  • Discussion: Jeff Bezos's advice; writing effective memos
  • Hands-on exercise: Form a clear argument
  • Q&A