Brilliant Business Writing
How to Inspire, Engage & Persuade Through Words

By Neil Taylor
Pearson / Prentice Hall
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications Inc.
January 2009
ISBN: 9780273720799
220 Pages
$32.50 paper original

How much information do you read at work every single day? We are constantly bombarded with emails, brochures, letters, and much more. Now, how much of that information is interesting, or even memorable? Most business writing is boring, and not surprisingly, bored readers stop reading. That means it doesn’t do what it’s meant to do – to sell something, persuade someone, or even inspire them.

Brilliant Business Writingis about how you get your writing – everything from e-mails to board reports - to work harder. How do you structure your writing so it’s absolutely clear what you’re saying? How do you make your writing so compelling that your reader will stick with it? And how do you make it vivid enough that they remember it?

Brilliant Business Writinghas three big themes. It reveals how to:

• structure your writing so that you get your point across effectively

• make your language clear and straightforward

• inject a little magic to make your message more memorable, and make you worth listening to.

Throughout the book you’ll find real examples and practical tips to bring even the dullest business writing to life.


I.  Introduction: the trouble with business writing

II.  Think before you write: finding a structure that works

·  Who are you talking to?: thinking about your reader, and what they’re really interested in

·  Why even an e-mail can need contents

·  Why everything you learnt at school is wrong: turning conventional structure upside down

·  Being clear about the most important messages

·  He dies in the first line: the order of events

·  Starting in the middle: why you should never start with background

·  How many paragraphs?

·  Thinking like a website: using sub-headings for navigation

·  The 5 Ws: the most useful types of sub-heading

·  In short: Why a summary always helps

·  Uniting a piece: how a theme can help

·  Telling stories: what stories tell us about structure

·  You were saying: how explaining your structure makes it even stronger

III.  Learning to speak human: making your language clear

·  Writing more like you speak

·  The importance of reading aloud

·  Why actors invented punctuation

·  The curse of the long sentence

·  Getting to the point

·  Hello, hi, you: the writing choices we never think about

·  Writing German not Latin

·  Writing normal not legal

·  Getting personal

·  Writing active not passive

·  Using verbs not nouns

·  A never-ending game of boardroom bingo: avoiding corporate cliché

·  Writing to your sisters: having someone in mind when you write

·  Q&A: how questions can transform you’re writing

·  Really is a magic word: why certain words have special powers

·  And, but, so: how you can break the rules once you know them

·  Bad grammar: what to say to the language sticklers

IV. Just add magic: making your writing memorable

·  The clocks were striking thirteen: the importance of the first sentence

·  Thwack!: unusual vocabulary

·  Education, education, education: the power of repetition

·  From Stalin to Mr Bean: how metaphor helps

·  Poetry from the police: using alliteration and rhyme

·  The rhythm method: the importance of sound

·  Solo: how one word makes a difference

·  The friendly straitjacket: how constraints can make your writing stronger

·  Thinking like an actor: being present in your writing

·  Honestly: saying what you’re reader’s thinking

V.  Fight the good fight: stopping what will stop you

·  Why people might resist

·  How you win them round

·  A final checklist

Each point will be introduced with the writing tip, and backed up with an example either in the text or at the end.

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