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About this book

Offers a comprehensive interdisciplinary introduction to professional writing for different media, synthesising methods and ideas developed in linguistics, journalism, public relations and marketing. This third edition contains new material on public relations writing and social media, as well as additional material on digital sources.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Writing Process

Abstract
The skill of writing is acquired through conscious and persistent effort: unlike our ability to speak, it is not an innate skill. There are several reasons that writing is more complex than speaking. One is that it is separate from any form of physical interaction: writing can take place at a totally different time and place from reading. This leaves the written text more open to misunderstanding than the spoken text. Since they are not likely to be present when their readers read their document, writers must try to perceive their text from the readers’ point of view and write in a way that is clear and relevant to their audience. Another reason is that writing is thought-active. The simple fact that you want to write about a topic triggers thought processes that give this topic a particular shape out of a range of alternatives. To paraphrase Flannery O’Connor, we don’t know what we think until we read what we write. The changes that take place from thinking to writing explain why many novice writers complain that their final result is not what they initially wanted to express, or that what they mean comes out differently on the written page.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 2. Style and Effect

Abstract
Even if you have all the conceptual aspects of a written project thought out, and have a plan of the information that you want to communicate, you may find that you get stuck in some other areas. For example, you may find that you have difficulty in putting ideas into words, cannot think how to begin, or how to end, a sentence, or find that your sentences are invariably too short, too long, unclear or monotonous. Furthermore, since style differs quite drastically from spoken to written form, attempting to write as you speak can only lead to ineffective communication (unless, of course, you are writing dialogue). As the poet T. S. Eliot famously once said, ‘if we spoke as we write, we would find nobody to listen; if we wrote as we speak, we would find nobody to read’. This chapter gives insights into recognising and choosing appropriate style and expression for particular genres, and in constructing sentences in an effective and clear manner.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 3. Short Business Documents

Abstract
The previous chapters looked at planning and stylistic considerations relevant for different kinds of writing. Here we look at the writing that professionals do every day, and the formats of short business genres, such as memos, email and oral presentations.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 4. Research Methods

Abstract
In many cases, creating professional documents means finding information, assessing its relevance for your purpose, and integrating it in your text. Analysing the information that you find not only provides you with facts and usable data, but also makes you aware of the effects of different styles and writing strategies on audiences. As all good writers are by definition also good readers, text-analysis skills are essential in highlighting the structures and methods of organisation in which a writer presents ideas. Being able to understand facts, issues and arguments is fundamental for successful participation in any kind of professional activity. Correlatively, being able to critically analyse the shortcomings and ambiguities of a document assists in avoiding such problems in your own writing.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 5. Business and Technology Journalism

Abstract
The ability to develop new products, invent new methods for doing things or discover how the universe works requires also the ability to communicate your results to various groups for support, funding or publicity. In such cases, your audience could comprise people who may not have the same level of technical knowledge as you, but who may have an interest, financial or social, to learn about your findings. This chapter looks at techniques that will assist you to write an appealing and informative article for a specialist magazine or company newsletter. It also describes in more detail the features of journalistic writing, which were introduced in Chapter 2 and will be developed further when discussing writing for the public in Chapter 6.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 6. Writing for the Public

Abstract
This chapter looks at some major business genres targeting a public audience and the situations in which they are used. It begins with an overview of public relations writing, and then focuses on writing press releases, content for business websites and contributions to social media sites.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 7. Reports and Proposals

Abstract
This chapter looks at longer business documents, in particular proposals, business plans and investigative reports. The guidelines and formats outlined here are based on standard, international conventions where English is the medium of communication. Keep in mind, however, that format and structure of reports vary to a certain extent to suit the needs of the particular company, writing situation and audience. As noted before, many companies have in-house templates that should be used. In all, however, the framework presented here will alert you to the factors that you should take into account when writing reports and creating templates and style guides for others to use.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 8. Critical Thinking for Management

Abstract
The ability to reason logically and objectively is considered vital for professional success. In fact, ‘objectivity’, ‘critical thinking’ and ‘problem solving’ are key words in management positions. Together with skills in leadership, teamwork and communication, a demonstrated ability in dispassionate analysis of critical issues is highly sought-after in most professional positions. This chapter addresses this need by describing the main problem areas, especially as they relate to the communication tasks of professional fields.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 9. Working in Teams

Abstract
Many projects in business and industry require collaboration for their completion. In fact, teamwork is rapidly becoming the norm in many business projects, especially those that entail the cooperation of specialists in different fields. Therefore, a discussion of the concepts and terms that underlie teamwork and collaboration has an important role in a guide to business communication.
Sky Marsen

Chapter 10. Revising and Editing

Abstract
This chapter gives guidelines on revising and editing a document and on sentence structure. It aims to give an awareness of the communicative effects of grammatical structures and enable you to gain control over the ‘mechanics’ of writing. It complements Chapter 2 in focusing on language as an important component of writing and communication. The chapter begins with an overview of sentence structure, and proceeds by explaining some common language troublespots: active and passive voice; participial phrases; subject-verb-pronoun agreement; punctuation; and relative clauses. It ends with a discussion of revising and editing considerations.
Sky Marsen
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