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The Elements of Business Communication

Timeless Tips for Improving Your Writing
by

Jennifer Bouchard

on 28 September 2015

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Transcript of The Elements of Business Communication


Communication

Long words are no better than small ones.
Clarity
Banish the clutter.
Be yourself.
Listen.
Learn the rules.

Timeless Tips for Improving Your Writing
Be Yourself.
Listen.
Learn the rules.
Simplicity
Humanity
On writing good well …
What's Wrong with Business Communication Today?
In this seminar, we will discuss:
Business communication today
The roots of good writing
Grammar and punctuation
Writing for the customer

Jargony
Passive
Aloof
Too casual
OR
Too formal
1. Don’t duck the bad news.
“Will felt the reader was in serious trouble most of the time, floundering in a swamp, and that it was the duty of anyone attempting to write English to drain this swamp quickly and get the reader up on dry ground, or at least to throw a rope.”
2. Show some compassion.
3. Use stronger verbs.
4. Write for multiple audiences.
5. Clean up your jargon.
"Clear thinking becomes clear writing." - William Zinsser
What am I trying to say?
Have I said it?
If the reader is lost, the writer probably hasn't been clear enough.
Take care of your writing
Good writing is hard work.
Banish the clutter.
advise (tell)
assistance (help)
sufficient (enough)
outreached (called)
Don’t use three words when one will do.
due to the fact that (because)
for the purpose of (for)
with the exception of (except)
Never say anything in writing that you wouldn't comfortably say yourself.
"There is no style store."
"I am responding to your letter...''
Write in the first person, when possible.
Read your writing out loud.
The Elements of Style
AP Style Guide
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
A panda walks into a cafe.
He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires.
"Why?'' asks the confused waiter as the panda makes his way for the exit. The panda tosses him a badly punctuated wildlife manual.
"I'm a panda,'' he says at the door. "Look it up.''
The waiter turns to the relevant entry:
Commas,
Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off.
Charles the First walked and talked. Half an hour after, his head was cut off.
Pause, breathe
Use commas in a series.
I am enclosing a copy of the claim, the approval letter and the Explanation of Benefits.
Use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses.
Dr. Evil submitted the claim, but he billed the wrong CPT codes.
Use a comma to set off introductory elements.
When you submit a claim for reimbursement, please be sure your billing information is up to date.
Use a comma to set off parenthetical elements.
Dr. J, the basketball player, is not authorized to perform surgery.
Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives.
That tall, distinguished, good looking fellow
Apostrophes
Use a comma to set off quoted elements.
Page 23 of the Certificate of Benefits says, “All hot stone therapies are excluded from this plan.”
Use a comma to avoid confusion.
Possessives
Use the apostrophe for:
Dr. John's services
Charles' head
The lawyers' practice
Use an apostrophe for omitted letters
I've
would've
can't
it's
they're
'tis
rock n' roll
the '80s
"Panda. Large, black-and-white mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots, and leaves.''
But NOT for Possessive Pronouns
his
hers
theirs
its
yours
ours
Use an apostrophe for
forming plurals of lowercase letters
Mind your p's and q's
There are three p's in hippopotamus
The Colon
Use a colon to introduce lists, tables, bullets, quotes, etc.
A colon should not separate a verb from its complement, or a preposition from its object.
Wrong
- To get approval you need to submit:

Correct
- To get approval you need to submit the following documentation:
Wrong
- Please send your appeal to:

Correct
- Please send your appeal to the following address:
Use a colon after the salutation in business letters, but not personal ones.
Dear Dr. Phil:
Dear Grandma,
Active Voice
Dr. Freud saw the patient.
He was seen.
Strong
Weak
The patient was seen by Dr. Freud."
Weakest.
Examples
PASSIVE
This letter

is in response
to your June 1, 2012 letter regarding D’s complaint that her claims
were denied.

ACTIVE
I
am responding
to your June 1, 2012 letter regarding D’s complaint that Cigna
denied
her claim.
PASSIVE
At the time the authorizations
were made
, CPT code 1111
was entered
as the authorized service because no specific CPT codes w
ere given
.

ACTIVE
When
we

authorized
the request,
we

entered
CPT code 1111 into our system because D
r. Evil did not provide
any specific CPT codes in his request.
PASSIVE
Letters
were sent
to Dr. Who advising this service
would be covered
at the in-network rate.

ACTIVE
We sent
letters to
Dr. Who

informing

him that
we would cover
the procedure at the in-network rate.
Updates to your spelling and grammar check
Let the technology help you.
Remember Charles and his talking head.
What?? You don't have all the answers?!!
She
[utilizes/uses]
the available documents to help her write the letter.
I am
[currently]
having the claim reprocessed.

I am having the claim reprocessed.
QUOTATION QUESTION -
I have this long quotation that I need to include in a letter. How should I format it?
Answer on page 36-37:
Introduce with a colon and enclose in quotation marks.
OR
Begin on a fresh line and indent.
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail...but that every word tell."
How Can We Improve Our Business Communications?
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