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Improve Your Business Letter And Report Writing

In the September 2007 edition of Better Business Focus, the lead article is “Updating Your Message” in which Jane Basdell, MD of Plain Words Ltd explains how the BASDELL Business Writing Model can improve your business reports and business letters.

Do I hear you asking “Everybody can write. That’s what I did at school. Why do I need to improve my writing skills?”

You may be one of the exceptions who can write clearly and communicate what you mean to say.

But it is surprisingly rare and I have one big client who has spent a lot of money with me because the most senior management are convinced that most of the other managers don’t get their message across in a clear, structured way.

The BASDELL Business Writing Model helps you to approach your writing task in a logical process.

  1. B = Brief – understand why you are writing the document. What are you trying to achieve?
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  2. A = Audience – consider who will read it. What do they want? How can you help get your message across easily?
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  3. S = Structure – create the structure. Plan your writing so that it follows a logical structure. Do you remember being told that planning what you were going to write was the secret to doing well in your school exams. It is the same in business writing.
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  4. D = Draft – write the first draft. Just getting started is often the hardest part, especially for people who know that they struggle to write effectively. Jane’s advice is to start and see what flows and if you hit a mental block then mark it and leap past it.
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  5. E = Edit – edit and polish it. Read it and ask yourself whether your message is getting across? Are some of the phrases awkward? Can you make it easier to read?
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  6. L = Leave It – put it to one side and come back to it. This is a great tip because when you come back your mind will be fresh and you will see what you’ve written, not what you think you’ve written.
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  7. L = Learn – get feedback from the readers. Find out what the people who received it think. What did they like? What caused unexpected difficulties?

Jane Basdell has written an excellent article on how anybody can improve their business writing and my brief summary does not really do it justice.

On a side point, I think I’ll have to come up with an acronym based around my name.

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