Business Writing 101 | Chris Bolman | Skillshare
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12 Lessons (1h 16m)
    • 1. Welcome

      1:14
    • 2. The 7 Essentials of Effective Business Writing (Part 1)

      10:03
    • 3. The 7 Essentials of Effective Business Writing (Part 2)

      8:29
    • 4. Class Assignment

      1:26
    • 5. Writing Tips and Best Practices

      8:56
    • 6. Writing Better Emails

      6:49
    • 7. Presentations and Proposals

      9:22
    • 8. Copywriting for Digital

      8:24
    • 9. Chat Tools in Business

      4:56
    • 10. Resume Writing

      8:24
    • 11. Editing Tips

      4:46
    • 12. Conclusion

      2:50

About This Class

Want to become a better writer? Join entrepreneur, writer, and teacher Chris Bolman for an in-depth tutorial on how to improve your business writing. Designed for beginners, students, and early-to-mid-career professionals, Business Writing 101 will teach you:

  1. The Seven (7) Essential Principles of Effective Business Writing
  2. The most common (and effective) way to structure your business writing, ideas, and arguments
  3. Helpful tips on how to write better emails, presentations, business plans, and resumes

Stronger, clearer writing is one of the best tools to accelerate your career, so join the community and start improving your writing today!

Transcripts

1. Welcome: Hi, I'm Chris Holden. I'm an entrepreneur, writer, teacher, and I'm here today to tell you, and instruct you, on one of the most valuable skills that you can learn for your personal, and professional growth. Great writing. Before getting into business, I actually studied writing as an undergraduate at Oxford University. I've written pieces for publications like Harvard Business Review's, articles, and research reports that I've written have gotten millions of views online. I've also started my own brands where along the way I've crafted everything's from mission statements, and investor presentations, to website and add copied. Writing well takes practice. It can be challenging, but there are also seven principles of effective business writing that I want to break down and explain and teach to you, in this course. You can definitely make this happen. I've seen people along their careers make tremendous strides as a business writer. Even if this doesn't come naturally to you, that's perfectly okay. We're going to start from the basics, and then we're going to build up into more complex examples of great writing. Sharpen your pencils, fire up your computers, and let's break down how to make your communications more compelling and effective. 2. The 7 Essentials of Effective Business Writing (Part 1): If you're taking this course, presumably you want to improve as a writer, which means you may not necessarily be the most confident writer currently. That's nothing to feel self-confident about. A lot of great writers, even a lot of our famous novelists, people who have gone on to write bestsellers, really got to where they are because they practiced a lot. A lot of people make it a habit, particularly professional writers, to make sure that they write every single day. Through repetition and through practice and through smart-self editing, you can really make great strides and go from somebody who isn't necessarily feels most confident as a writer to somebody who's writing really consistently excellent pros and material and work. The other thing great writers also do is they don't just practice, but they also practice, think, and work with the right mental model, the right mental checklist, or the right framework for writing. That's why I want to break down and explain to you the seven principles of great or effective business writing. The best thing is, not only do these principles work for just business writing, but they pretty much apply to almost every other form of writing as well. So as you master them, as you get more comfortable and as you really learn to automatically think in these terms or again, use them as a checklist in you're writing, you'll be able to branch into other forms of writing if you want; social media, potentially writing for video or screenwriting, you can do more creative writing. It really opens up a lot of, not only personal creative possibilities, but also a lot of professional opportunities as well. So let's talk about the seven principles of great writing and break them down one by one. The first is thinking about your audience. I know obviously you're taking this course because you want to improve your own writing. This class is about you, the student, but it's really, really helpful and important as a writer to actually try to initially when you're getting started and particularly when you're planning out your writing, try to step outside yourself and think about your audience first and foremost, not just what you want to communicate. So there's a couple of important things to think about audience wise. The first is your audience's identity. Who is your audience? Particularly in a business context, where do they sit in the org structure? Are they senior to you? Are they not? Are they on the same team?Are they a stranger? Are they familiar? How well did they know you? Because thinking through who your audience is and also how you're going to reach them is incredibly helpful for thinking through the context, the tone, the information you might want to insert in your writing, how you want to present it, casual or conversational versus formal you might want to be. So it's really, really important to think about who your audience is? The other thing you also want to think about is have empathy for, what does your audience care about? Again, we live in a world of digital distraction. People are busy, everyone has their own cares and motives. I find the best, most effective writing really bridges the gap or finds a great middle ground between your goals and your communication objectives and what you're trying to accomplish, and what your recipient or your audience cares about. The other thing to also recognize and just understand is, again, we live in 2020, people may be taking this class in 2021 or beyond. We're in an era of digital replication. Tweets get re-tweeted, emails get forwarded, things get screenshotted and shared. So when you're writing for an audience, you also not just maybe want to think about your direct audience or the people that you're providing this to, but you also might want to think about who else might potentially see this communication? what context would be necessary to make sure people understand it? Is there anything in the communication that I might not want to include if it potentially was shared with a broader audience? That also can be really, really, really important. Finally, in terms of thinking about your audience, people have busy inboxes, people have meetings, they're jumping from one task to the next. Make sure you're getting people's attention. When you're combining this idea of really understanding the identity, who your audience is, empathy for them, what do they care about? What are their needs? What are their challenges? Then really thinking about how do you get their attention. That's when you're going to be able to craft the most effective business communications or messages for your intended audience or recipients. The next or second principle of effective writing is really thinking about goal and as I mentioned, this is where you're really trying to align your understanding of your audience with the goal that you're trying to achieve. In writing, particularly in business writing, there's four archetypes or themes or objectives that are commonly shared. I think it's really important when you're writing to think about which of these objectives are you trying to accomplish, and then break down how you're going to go about them so that you can really tailor and structured or writing to achieve them and meet your aims.So let's talk about each four. The first communication goal is informational. This is probably the most common one, which is I'm trying to provide an update, or a piece of data, or a fact, or a set of facts. I want to provide an informational update so that somebody who doesn't necessarily have the correct information or knows what's going on, can understand it. This can be a status report, this can be an email newsletter. You're updating your audience in a way so that they know what's going on so that they can have the latest information and then take action on it. News is an example typically of informational communication. So that's goal one. The next or the second goal is instructional. Instructional communication is normally trying to educate. We see this in customer service, FAQs, or product training materials. Again, a lot of times and increasingly more and more education is paired between written writing, but also things like instructional videos. But really try to understand when you're creating something, where you're trying to really teach someone something. In a sense, this class itself is actually a series of instructional videos. So I'm not just trying to inform you, but I'm actually trying to teach and help you can learn principles that will allow you to better your writing. So that's principle 2. The third goal of writing is persuasive communication. So instead of just trying to educate or inform someone and tell them what's going on or teach someone something. You're really trying to guide them or persuade them toward taking a specific action. Persuasive communication is the most like making a case. We'll talk a little bit more about this in other lessons as we go on in the class. But a lot of times in business writing. You want to think about making a case or an argument for what you're trying to deliver. Almost the same way that a lawyer would be making a case in a legal court or a judge would be examining or thinking about a case. You're trying to present a set of facts, you're trying to backup and reinforce your arguments, explain why they're the best or the most effective or they should be followed, and then provide a clear action item or set of actions so that somebody can then absorb your case, understand it, and then go take those next steps. So persuasive writing is really all about changing behavior. Finally, the fourth category of communication goal is conversational or casual communication. This is when you're chatting with a colleague. You might be trying to do things that are culture building or friendship or relationship building, but you're doing it within a business context. I think it's really important to understand when you're doing conversational or casual writing because you can think a lot about your tone. With most of the other examples, particularly when you're writing on behalf of a brand, there's a certain potential tone,or even style guide or business voice or level of professionalism that you may want to think about and probably incorporate into your writing. Whereas when you are doing more casual or conversational writing, you're thinking a lot more about where your personal brand and your personality and your professional brand meet, and how you can talk and communicate in a way that simultaneously friendly, open, approachable, and helpful,but again, maintains that level of professionalism. So it's really, really helpful to think in this day and age what voice and tone and personality do you want to adopt in your writing, particularly in a business context where the spectrum can go from very formal to potentially very casual and conversational. The third principle of great writing is planning. A lot of times you might want to just dive right into writing something, but it can actually be really helpful to plan or map out what you're trying to articulate before you go ahead and get into writing. If you're a visual learner, you're a visual thinker, it can actually even be helpful to diagram it out or try to map out your key points. But I highly recommend, particularly if you're writing something important, long form, or in a professional context, to either write out a syllabus,an outline or a table of contents just outlining your core narrative or potentially even a quick diagram illustrating your main point, how you're going to make the supporting points or how you're going to reinforce that core point, and then any supporting evidence or data that's going to allow you to make that case. It's often said that clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. So before you dive right in and make sure you get your thinking clear, understand what you want to express, and then you can move on to the next step. That brings us to a structure which is principle 4. So structure is incredibly important in writing. There's a lot of different ways to think about structure and writing and it's really helpful to have a few basic mental models for structuring. A lot of times in business writing, what you're ultimately trying to do is you're trying to make a case for something. You may be trying to get your business funded, you may be trying to get someone to make a decision or compel your team to take action. You can think about making a case very similar to the way that one might imagine a lawyer or a judge would approach a legal case. When you're arguing a case, what you're trying to do is you're trying to convince or persuade other people to act on a set of facts. 3. The 7 Essentials of Effective Business Writing (Part 2): Once you have a sense of your plan in your structure, you can start getting going and it's time to start writing. I think the first most important thing and the next principle you want to think about is your headline. What is your attention getter? We live in an era of abundant digital information. People have busy inboxes, people are getting slacked, people are checking their phone. Your communications are often even in an office environment, communicating for attention. So you want to make sure that you're making your point early, you're not burying the lead or the headline and you want to have a strong clear opener or statement that's really going to again express your foundational point or idea or the argument that you're trying to make. Really hook someone's attention and then allow the rest of your communication to again support that point, enrich it, add additional context, and then hopefully conclude it in a way that people can then act on it. So again, think about once you've got your plan, once you've got your narrative, once you've thought about the case that you're trying to establish, think about a great headline. Often this could be the first or the second sentence that you're using, but you want to really deliver that early on. Again, I think it's common again, a mistake that I often see in writing is people will express their conclusion and use that to summarize the key point or thing that they're trying to say, and as a result, the core message gets buried or it gets pushed all the way to the end. Often one way you can do it, one way you can approach and often improve your writing is after you write something, look at your last sentence, look at your conclusion and potentially you might want to deliver that information earlier on in your communication, and maybe in some cases that actually should be the headline. Again, try to think like a journalist. Try to think like a marketer or a copywriter. It can help to read and study newspapers or journalists or publications that you respect to see how they approach headline development, and also look at the opening sentences and paragraphs of the articles and pieces that they're writing. It's really important to start strong, hook someone's attention, and then move on from there. For our 6th principle, you also want to think about efficiency and conciseness. Again, in terms of keeping someone's attention once you've hooked them and delivering a compact, effective communication, amount of information. Typically, the rule of thumb is always the shorter the better. With an e-mail, if you can accomplish it in one or two sentences, you should send it with one or two sentences. Even with kind of a broader narrative structure or a more complex idea, a common grid structure to use can be one opening paragraph of potentially one to three sentences. Where again, you lay out your headline, lay out your key point one to three, often two or three supporting points. These can be bullet points, they can be a numbered list, but the reinforcing facts and evidence surround the case that you're trying to make, and then a summary conclusion. Similarly, if you're doing this in a more long form piece of writing like a business plan, you probably want an opening paragraph like a hypothesis or a problem statement. You then want a solution statement as a second paragraph. Again, your supporting evidence and information and then your conclusion. Thinking about writing in that type of structure and thinking about using the least amount of words, the least amount of sentences and the least amount of paragraphs to express your idea is usually better. In some cases, you don't want to leave context out. You want to make sure that you're providing a complete picture and that you're providing complete information. So if you really feel your points are not being made or that you haven't fully established your argument, then you want to include more information, but once you get to the point where you feel like you've made your core points, you've laid out your supporting hypotheses or case and you feel like everything has been laid out from there. You really want to think about streamlining, cutting out unnecessary words, and we'll talk a little bit about that in the next class and delivering a really concise efficient thing. If you can deliver something that somebody can read really quickly and understand your point and then move on, that's one of the most important things you can do to be in a more effective and a better business writer. Lastly, I think the final important point that I really want to get across is the idea of directness and clarity around action. This is something often that less experienced writers struggle with and I think this is a really important area in a business context that's helpful to understand. Again, going back to the point that I'm making earlier around, making a case with your business writing. Again, the point of a case is you want someone to make a decision or you want someone to take action. So it's often very, very important to make sure that your writing is also delivering and communicating what you ideally suggest that action be or the type of decision you're driving toward. For example, if you're making a pitch presentation for your business, you might want to be seeking for more funding. You might want to make that funding ask and make sure it's really clear. Don't bury that or don't leave it up to somebody else to necessarily interpret what you're looking for, what you need, or if you're launching a new project and you're trying to lay out the roadmap, you want your team to be able to take that project plan and go start acting on it. So you want to make really clear like these are the next steps that we need to go do, or here are the follow up items. Again, as much as you want to think about delivering your core headline or core argument, delivering your supporting facts and evidence and the points that are going to reinforce that. You also want to make sure your concluding with a very direct clear call to action. Making your writing more actionable and making sure people can follow steps and that you've laid out a plan that people can then go run-off and work with is super, super important. That's ultimately the bow that ties up the full packaging and really makes whatever you're writing and work in a business context. Again, make sure you're working about and thinking through all seven of those considerations when you're writing. Obviously, if you're typing a quick slack or you're chatting with a co-worker, you may not go through exhaustively and really treat them as a checklist. But again the more you're working, the higher the stakes, the more senior a person you're communicating with. When you're communicating with a larger team, these are all times where you really do want to have this in the back of your head or maybe even written down or in a document somewhere as a model that you can refer back to, and you can run through each of these steps to make sure you've thought and planned everything out. The more you do it, the more natural and second nature and intuitive it'll be, and you won't even need to check or reference anything. You'll automatically in your head be like, I planned this out. Here's my structure, here's my core point, here's my headline, and you'll be able to work a lot more efficiently and effectively. Then finally, this isn't really a fundamental point as far as the actual delivery of your writing, but I do think it's a really important and almost an eighth principle of writing is make sure to self-edit your work. Read what you've written. Ask other people for feedback if you can. If you need to use a third party tool like Grammarly or the Hemingway App, there's a lot of either free or relatively low-cost tools that can read your writing for you. But it's super important to proofread what you've written. Very, very rarely will I ever send someone out particularly to a stranger or somebody who's more senior, or if it's an important correspondence without really re-reading it. Again, I think the rereading process is an opportunity to make sure your thoughts and your argument in your case has been presented clearly. Again, it can be a great argument or great opportunity to streamline additional words or cut down on prepositions or complex phrases. But that's really an excellent way that automatically you can continue to get better as a writer. You can practice streamlining and improving your communications. You'll have a better sense of potentially problematic areas in your writing that you'll be able to look out for. Again, the more you self at it, the more you get help from other people and the more you review your own writing, the better you ultimately become as a writer, the faster you'll improve, and the stronger you'll be with your overall communications. Those are the seven most important principles of great writing. I highly recommend again, writing them down or screenshotting this. Keep this around with you, and again, as you're writing, particularly early on when you're practicing, make sure you're referring back to this as a checklist, and pretty soon it will become second nature. You won't even need it and you'll automatically work through and apply all of these by yourself. 4. Class Assignment: Now that we've walked through the seven principles of effective writing, I want to give you a little bit of homework or a class assignment that I think will be helpful practice for your business writing. I want you to attempt to write a business one-pager. The one-pager is a classic format in business and I think it's excellent for practice and developing as a writer because it's long enough that you still need to put in some effort, you need to think about your writing and your flux structure and flow of ideas but it's also short enough that you can't write long-winded paragraphs or go off the rails and provide a lot of complexity around your communications. It's a good length for us thinking about the balance between providing helpful evidence and information, but also streamlining and keeping things simple. We see one-pager is in lots of different places. A print ad in a magazine is a form of a one-pager, a product brochure is a one-pager, a business plan overview or summary is a one-pager. Pick either a product or a project or a business or even the current company that you're working at and try to write a one-pager for something that relates to your job or relates to your interests or something that you're excited about. Then make sure you also go through each of the additional lessons in the class because we're going to talk about some other best-practices, tips, tricks, and principles that you can use to structure your one-pager better and write it more effectively. 5. Writing Tips and Best Practices: Now that we have our checklist of writing principles that we want to consider every time we're writing, particularly based on the importance of the communication. Now let's talk about some important writing hacks, tips and tricks and ways that you can write more effectively along with some concrete examples. The first is making sure, as I mentioned, to streamline unnecessary words and minimize prepositions. An example of a preposition is a word length for, in, with or at, and they indicate relationships between other words. An example of a preposition or an example of a sentence that uses a lot of preposition would be, for many people, writing is a new challenge that can cause them a host of anxiety. Now, that's fine. That's a sentence and it works and it does convey the information. But a much simpler, more concise and efficient way to deliver that would be to say, writing is a challenge that gives many people anxiety. We're cutting out a lot of prepositions and we're really streamlining that communication. It's much easier to read, it's much easier to understand, and it's much more economical. However, if we wanted, we could even streamline that even more into writing gives many people anxiety. Again, the more you cut out prepositions and adverbs in your writing, particularly in business writing, the more people will be able to easily read and understand and then take action on the words that you're trying to communicate. Another really important thing when you're writing is to make sure that you're using an active tense. Really whenever possible. Again, this is actually something that I see as a bad habit that a lot of writers develop and really have difficulty correcting and I think for whatever reason we habitually can fall into this. But, it's really really important to use active present tense whenever possible, and I'll give you an example. A common mistake or a common type of writing or format that I'll see is, our latest report analyzed three important industry trends. I think the temptation is to use the past tense because the report was published at a certain point, the report was already published so it exists in the world. So you might want to think, because of that, I'm going to use past tense. But actually what you really want to do, particularly you get in corporate communications, in business communications they say, this report analyzes three important industry trends because it's an active report, it's out in the world, people can consume it, people can read it. Again, this is a great example of like whenever possible, try to think critically about where are you using past tense. Where are using passive tense versus active tense and if you can write in active present tense, it almost always makes your writing stronger, clearer, and little more punchy. Similarly, in terms of punchiness, pay a lot of attention to prepositions, also pay a lot of attention to just commas and prepositional phrases. So when you're reading your writing, if you're going through things. Whenever you see a sentence, if the sentence is using more than two or three commas and you're not doing like a comma denoted list, you could have like apples, oranges, and bananas. That's a good time to use a comma. But if you have multiple different phrases or multiple different sentence structures or fragments all separated by commas and you see that consistently really think about how you can chop those up and make them their own sentences. Like a lot of times when I'll go back and reread my sentences. When I have a two or three prepositional phrase sentence, it's almost always better at one point to actually just stop the sentence, use a period and then create a second shorter sentence. Again, streamlining your punctuation, thinking about comma usage can also make your writing a lot more punchy, a lot easier to read, and a lot more efficient and concise. Finally, on the punctuation side, I know this is like a hotly debated object and I think there are disagreements even among purists and stuff from a writing standpoint but think about exclamation point usage. This is another something that a lot of people really want to police in their writing. I think if you asked me a long time ago and I think if you asked like a classic business writer, they would say never use an exclamation point in business writing. I actually think standards have changed a little bit. Like one exclamation point in an e-mail or something like that can actually sometimes convey excitement and enthusiasm and energy. But I would generally say, if you're writing a press release, if you're writing a formal business communication, you really really shouldn't be using exclamation points. Again, if you're writing something that's a little more informal, a little more inspiring, a little more energetic you might want to use one exclamation point at a really important juncture, but otherwise make sure not to use them. Similarly, I think this overall idea of understanding the conversational tone of your writing is really really important. I know there's established style guides your company or your business probably has one, particularly if you're a larger organization. But I think in general, most people want to respond and find it easier to read conversational writing. If you're a government employee and you're writing a government memo, if you're a lawyer and you're writing a legal document, you probably need to keep things pretty formal. But if you're not, if you're working at a startup, if you're working at a smaller company, even if you're working within a larger organization. A lot of times look for opportunities to make your writing more conversational, and more casual. I think it'll really help you out and it will make your writing sound less formal and robotic and stuffy. Instead, it'll sound a lot more easy to read and things like that. Some good basic examples here are one, using contractions wherever you can. If you're writing things like don't use, cannot, don't use do not. You should write, can't, you should write don't. Using contractions in your writing is a great way to make things seem less stuffy and more conversational and easy to read. Similarly, thinking about the way that you're balancing more casual conversational terms. For example, a lot of things that we say when we're actually talking will inject phrases like, like or sort of, or I think. You often don't actually want to include those in your writing. For example, instead of saying, I think we should follow Kelly's recommendation, you should just say let's follow Kelly's recommendation. I think people are assuming and hoping that you're thinking when you're writing and that you're thinking through your different decisions. So whenever you can cut those things out, you actually should cut those out. Like I wouldn't consider those conversational pieces. I would actually just consider them unnecessary filler that you can often streamline. Another really important point in terms of conversational writing is just to cut out jargon and buzzwords. I know we all work in different organizations, in different industries which might have different contexts and different potentially insider lingo. But a lot of times there's a big distinction between words that help clarify and words that often just people throw in to sound official or sound important, but they don't really have any informational value. 6. Writing Better Emails: Now let's talk about one of everyone's favorite business writing topics and probably least favorite general topics, writing emails. Emails are really important and they can often be someone's first impression of you. They're also commonly one of the most often things that we do as a business writer. Many of us write dozens of emails and send them out every day. Good emails can reflect really well on your thinking and professionalism whereas bad or mediocre or poor quality emails can confuse. They can potentially even hurt feelings. Words have power. When you're thinking about writing good emails, a lot of the core principles tie back to the seven essential principles of great writings that we already talked about. But let's break down in email in the context of those principles. The first thing when you're writing an email is you want to think about your subject line. I know a subject line can often be something people brings over or it can feel like a throwaway. But again, in crowded inboxes subject line can be extremely important particularly if you're writing a sales email, a marketing email, or you're sending out something internally within the company like an HR announcement. That can be really important. I typically think there's actually a spectrum or two different strategies that you want to think about going for when you're writing an email. The first is try to be really clear cut with exactly what the email is about, so that just from reading the subject line, somebody knows what the email is about. An example would be get a $100 gift card. I know exactly what that email is about. I might care or not care about getting the gift card, but I understand what the email is about or too helpful case studies. I know that this email is sending me these case studies. That's one tactic is being very specific and literal and trying to communicate that as short as possible. Again, typically you want to target about 3-5 words for a subject line. The second alternate option or strategy, is to be really creative and unconventional. Often if you're sending a cold email, if you're emailing somebody who you're not necessarily expecting them to open it, if you're sending an email to a stranger, you might want to go for something a little more creative and provocative. Something that will create intrigue or curiosity that will then inspire them to actually open and read the email. In this case, you might want do something like an interesting analogy. I've seen little bits of a memorable song lyric work really well. In some cases, even tossing in like an emoji can work really well on this. But think about something that will again, really attract someone's curiosity and make them want to read. I think there's two spectrums, you either want to go for the very literal, very explicit, descriptive subject line or you want to go for the intriguing, curiosity inspiring subject line. But where I think you don't want to fall or where I think people often get lost in translation is in the middle where you create a little bit of a muddle, vague, not super clear subject line. It's not really that interesting or inspiring and as a result of that fact, people potentially gloss over it. They don't open it. Ultimately what you wrote doesn't even get communicated or conveyed to the audience that you're trying to reach. I think that's the important thing for subject line. Go for short and punchy and either go really descriptive and really specific, or go for intriguing and curiosity inspiring. Once you've gotten your subject line nailed down, let's look at the body and the structure of an email. Again, going back to the seven principles and thinking about the rule of the can be really helpful here. Typically when I'm structuring and email or I'm thinking about what I want to convey, there's two options. The first is if I'm sending a really short informational email where I just want to confirm something or make a quick point and I'm going to ask myself, can I accomplish this in 1-2 sentences? If I can great, then I'm going to do that. If I need to present a larger argument again, if I actually need to make the case for something or share some important Info, this is where I'll go for the rule of three structure. Typically I'll do an opening paragraph or headline of 1-3 sentences where I lay out my core point in my argument, I get someone's attention and then start to lay out my case. Then I'll choose three supporting points. Again, either bullet points or a numbered list. I'll present my facts and my data and my information, or I'll summarize things and then I'll have my concluding call to action and sign off where I'll summarize everything and make it clear to someone what those next steps should be. That's a great structure you'd go for an email. Again, don't do that every single email you write, because again, you're going to come across really formulaic and robotic and stuffy. But again, whenever you're trying to send across an update that's a great template or structure to work off of. Again, think about that whole idea of, again, how do you make a case as clearly and as succinctly as possible? If you can, if you're ever including anything where you don't feel like it's necessary, you don't feel like it adds to the support that you need, feel free to cut it out. Again, the rule of three is just a guiding principle. If you only need to make two points, awesome, make two points. If you only have one most really key point of supporting data, that's awesome, you can do it with one. Always look to streamline and reduce length where you can, but try to operate that off that general structure and then adapt from there. Another thing that again I think is really important in addition to trying to be short and succinct with your writing overall, is using lots of line breaks and spaces. People don't want to read dense paragraphs. I actually have this hypothesis that if you take something and literally just split it into shorter paragraphs, it automatically becomes more inviting. It becomes easier to skim and I think people are more likely to read it and really internalize your information. For example, if we just look at these two emails as an example, they're the exact same email. All I've done in the second one is I've sort of broken out the paragraph structure into more single-line examples. For whatever reason, and I think you'll agree with me, it automatically becomes easier for us to read the second email and understand the points, whereas the first email it looks a little denser, it looks a little less inviting. Our brains like to order information into small groups. I think the more you can really compartmentalize and streamline information and presented in bite-sized chunks, the easier it is for somebody to read and understand it. Again, think about this process of how you can break up your sentences and really just never use long paragraphs. Again, if you're writing an email, unless again you're writing a legal memo or something that's really official and important and you have to convey a lot of information, I would never use more than three sentences in a single paragraph. Finally, again, proofread your emails, go through after you've written it, just read it through really quick. Look if there are opportunities to improve it, look if there anything stylistically that you might want to adapt or ways that you can strengthen what you're writing. Again, you'll often find great opportunities to make the email even better. 7. Presentations and Proposals: Now that we've mastered writing better e-mails, let's talk about longer form writing, like business plans and presentations. First, I think it's important to differentiate your visual medium, whether you're writing like a long form business plan or like a memo with something that would be almost primarily text-based or you're writing more or creating more of a visual presentation which is going to have lots of slides, illustrations, and references. I think in general, particularly, again, at 2020/2021, and in this day and age, you want to try to pair your writing with visual example. As I mentioned earlier around making your case and structuring your argument, if you have the opportunity to present an important piece of data or an important part of your argument as an image or as a visual, instead of writing it out, I would highly recommend doing that. A picture's worth a thousand words. As good or as strong as you might be or be able to become as a writer, whenever you can pair your writing with good visuals and accompaniment and emphasis, that's really going to help clarify your point and help someone really see and visualize it, I highly recommend doing so. Again, even if you're writing a memo or anything like that, if there's an opportunity to insert an image, or insert a fact, or something like that as a chart, or something else, I highly recommend doing it. The second important thing to understand in general about business narratives is that they have a common narrative structure to begin with. This is actually really true in most storytelling that we use in our life. If you think about movies as an example or like Disney movies, Disney movies have a common story arc that exists almost through every movie that Disney has made, or Pixar has made, or even most other studios. Often, you have an individual character, somebody who seems pretty regular or a generic, not to exceptional. They're going to go on some journey, or quest, or search for discovery. Along the way, they're going to run into challenges, they're going to experience adversity. It's going to look like the challenges are too great and they might not be able to succeed, but against all odds or overcoming incredible circumstances, they're going to rise to the occasion, they're going to become the hero that they were meant to be, they're going to achieve their goal or succeed in their mission, and then they're going to live happily ever after. That's a very, very common movie storyline that exists in a lot of our cinematic and cultural storytelling. It's the hero's journey. Similar to the hero's journey framework in literature and film, there's a business journey framework that's very commonly used in narrative structures. I think it's really helpful to understand and think about where it can be used in your writing. Because we see it everywhere from Apple product announcements to Y Combinator Pitch Decks. It's really, really helpful for clearly articulating a business case or story in a way that people can understand and then take action on. So the general structure works like this. Typically, you're going to start out by outlining a business problem or observation. For example, not enough people are effective business writers or a lot of people want to learn how to improve their business writing. Or you could even have some fact-based version of it like 80 percent of people in business don't feel comfortable with their writing. There I'm outlining a problem. Once you outline your problem, then you want to outline the solution. We've outlined the question, we've outlined the problem, the issue, what's the answer? Here, again, you want to quickly summarize the answer. We're going to create a short-form educational Skillshare video on business writing that will be easy to consume and easy to listen to, that will help make people better writers. We laid out the problem, that's the answer, that's the solution. Then again, similarly, just in the same way we talked about making a case with your business writing, or your argument, or an email, you want to do the same thing in your presentation, or in your business plan, or in your memo. Again, layout three examples of supporting points; your facts, your evidence, your data, your charts, your visual aids, things that are going to reinforce the case that you're trying to make, and then you want to end with your conclusion and establish your ask, or your actions, or your next steps. For example, we need to make better writers. A lot of people want to improve their writing, we're going to create this class to make better writers. Here's a couple of pieces of evidence on why this class will be effective. Twenty-five percent of people or 50 percent of people who took the class said that they improved in their writing within the next 3-6 months, and then here's the next steps, try to class for free, or take the first lesson, or something like that. That's the general structure that you want to operate on, and it works great in memos and it works really, really well in visual presentations when you're presenting slides. Similarly, again, going back to the idea that we talked about a little bit earlier around planning and structure, I highly recommend making a table of contents, or sketching out the outline of the case that you want to make before you start writing. Particularly, with slides, this can be super helpful; whatever I'm making a slide deck or a presentation, before I start making slides, I will always make myself a table of contents of literally do like S1 for slide 1, S2 for side 2, and like S1 will be the intro, S2 will outline the problem. S3 will introduce the solution, things like that. Every time you write a slide or every time you have a page, you should have, or actually, really, with long form writing every time you have a paragraph, there should be one core point or argument that you're trying to make, and then you're moving on to the next point. In fact, actually, earlier in my career when I was doing some consulting work, the consulting firm that I was working at, we actually had a templated structure where every one of our slides had exactly one headline, exactly one chart, or one piece of data, and then one concluding fact. Those were the only things that you are allowed to include in your chart or in your slide. Doing so actually allowed us to have very structured, easy-to-follow, easy flowing narrative structures. In the presentations that we are delivering, people were able to understand them really well. I found it really effective. So if you can even encode this into your own structure in different ways, or go onto the Internet, and search for presentation templates, or things like that, there's a lot of good examples that already exist on the Internet today. But try to follow that general structure of one idea, one point per slide, or one idea, one point per paragraph, or per supporting point or bullet, and then move on from there. If you're understanding that narrative structure, if you're working through and structuring your presentations and your business plan in that way, I think generally you'll find people are much more likely to read through, understand what you're doing, and able to follow your arguments. It's very commonly, this is actually used pretty much throughout business, so for example, I think a lot of people know if you've read anything about Amazon.com, Amazon actually uses this structure as a precursor to all of the meetings that they hold. Whenever there is a formal meeting and Amazon, someone is responsible for writing a six-page document or a six pager that's outlining these issues. What's the problem or what's the issue? What's the circumstance? What's the situation? What's the potential solution or proposed set of actions? What's the supporting evidence? Then what needs to be done as far as next steps? At the start of the meeting, everyone actually will read through the document themselves, in almost like a quiet study hall fashion, and then meeting will start, and people will discuss what they just read. It's a great way. I'm not necessarily advocating that you do this type of thing and your company or you force every meeting to start with a six pager, but it's a great way to structure your thinking, layout your important information, make a good argument, and make sure that everyone is up to speed and well-educated, and has the context they need to make a decision. Again, thinking about how to structure your planning or your thinking into visual but also written communications in a way that people can understand, can be really effective. Similarly, if you're going to do this with slides, really tried to streamline and use the same type of narrative structure, situations, circumstance, problem, into solution, into supporting evidence and facts, and then actions and next steps. One key idea or point per slide. Try to run through this idea as quickly as possible, cut out filler, cut out additional slides that don't reinforce your points, and you should be able to learn and deliver a really compelling message or presentation a lot better and more effectively. Ultimately, because people do respond well to storytelling, because people respond well to emotional narratives, or personal narratives, wherever possible, if you can insert a good story, a good helpful analogy, a personal example, or an anecdote from your own life, it can also help to make your writing, or your presentation, or your case even more effective. Think about that balance between big picture fact-based, evidence-based analysis, and your own personal narratives, and relatable storytelling. Typically, when you balance those two elements together, you'll make the best, most interesting, and most engaging presentation or story to deliver to your audience. 8. Copywriting for Digital: Increasingly, a lot of us are also writing more and more for digital media, websites, social media, ad copy and things like that. Whether you're a freelancer or you have your own personal website or portfolio or you're doing it in a business context, I think being able to effectively copyright for digital is really important. Copywriting typically is thought of as an advertising discipline. I think it's really a process of writing very short, clear, punchy, potentially provocative copy text that's really going to compliment your visuals, right? The original copy writing a lot of it was based around print advertising, like things that would appear in magazines and newspapers. I actually think one of the ways that you can really get better as a copywriter or as a short form writer or improve writing for your website is actually to study the work of advertising agencies and even going back and looking at older print ads, when you're writing for digital websites and social media, you're really trying to balance message and media and you're really trying to write as short as possible. Again in this case, you almost always want to write one sentence for a headline. Again, typically think of a headline almost as an email subject line or similar, go for that three to five, maybe seven words. If you need to express your point and then whenever you're writing supporting information, we want to follow the similar principles of really short paragraphs. One, maybe two sentences and really trying to create as much white space as possible. Not leaning too much on information density. Don't create what's called cognitive burden. Don't really try to make people think too much. Really try to focus on getting your message across and really complementing it with the visuals, the images, the facts, the figures and other things, potentially video that you're sharing out. When you're copywriting, I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is really trying to articulate your why, your purpose or your mission and trying to match or meet what your audience cares about or what the people who are going to be reading and consuming the information are following you. What they want out of the interaction or what they're trying to accomplish or what their goals are. I finds a lot of the best copywriting really finds that great middle ground around understanding audience and expressing audience empathy and relating to your audience in a way that is really going to resonate with people, while also expressing who you are, what your mission is and what you're about as a brand or as a person or as an organization. Let's look at a couple of examples. The first example is actually from my own company's website, Brightest. I wrote a lot of this copy so I understand it pretty well. I'll break it down how I was thinking about it and how I structured it. Again, you'll see here initially at the start, create a better future achieve anything. We're starting out with a very inspirational, inspirational type headline. Want to talk about a better future, we want to communicate that were a positive brand and this is how we're going about it. In short, as few words as possible. Next, exactly what we're about. A descriptive sentence, we designed smart software for social impact, measurement, sustainability, community engagement and virtual events where good things happen. Reinforcing the aspirational with more literal and more descriptive and then I'm immediately providing some action. You can try brightest for teams if you're an organization or you can do good and find volunteer opportunities as an individual. Again, immediately tying together the inspiration, the supporting evidence or factor literal information and then the next step. Abiding or trying to follow a lot of what I talked about in our communication principles. Then we've got some social proof and then similarly again, a short description of benefit. We then have a little bit again, another aspirational sentence or another benefit statement and then this is about as much information and probably about a small text is you'd really want to consume how are present on a website. If anything, this might even be a little longer or a little buzz wordy, but I'm just providing that in as an example. This idea of a context block or a part of your website is really important. Think about breaking down your website into, here's the headline, here's the supporting proof point and then here are the action steps that I want people to take. Similarly, you can also break down an Instagram post or a tweet along the same lines, right? If you're sharing it in a professional context, you typically want to get somebody's attention, present a little bit of information, maybe presents some visuals and then ultimately have them go do something or at least engage with your brand or your message more. Thinking through these principles, again, thinking about structure, headline, attention-getter, supporting evidence, making your case, and then actions and next steps but really applying it in a digital medium or on a website. If we look at a couple other examples, right? Here's seventh generation and I think they do a good job of doing a similar thing that I'm talking about. Start your morning like the planet depends on it. Again, combining this aspect of their mission and their brand and what they're about. They're making household products but they're trying to present that in an inspirational way because they assume you care about sustainability because they're making sustainable products. Then they have the more very literal like these are the actual products that we make; body wash and deodorant and then here's the action item. Learn more. Similarly, they have again aspirational information, some literal product information and then more information about their mission, their message and who they are as a brand. Then you can see different ways that they're combining their mission and trying to make it relevant to you are putting it out into the world and making it actionable. A great example of them thinking about their products, thinking about their brand, what they stand for, why did they do what they do and what did they think you or what did they think their audience cares about? Trying to effectively communicate that in short form, limited text, pretty concise and then a lot of supporting visuals. Similarly, we can look at a website on non-profit like Charity Water. Again, they have exactly the same messaging hierarchy or information principles. If you look up in the navigation, right? Why water like, why is this important? What did we do? Who we are and here's how you can get involved or you can donate. Similarly, you see immediately up front a visual representation of what they're trying to accomplish, who they're serving, who they're helping, what they want you to do and how you can get involved. Again, limited texts, lots of visuals, lots of aspirational writing and copywriting also paired with some more fact-based descriptions and data and evidence supporting the points that they're trying to make. Again, I find really being a researcher, an ethnographer or an anthropologist or even a historian about good writing can really help you. Again, you don't necessarily have to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch. Find your favorite Squarespace website, your favorite Shopify website. Look up your favorite ad agency on Instagram or do some research and try to find some great reference examples. Oftentimes you can find good structures to emulate. You might be able to find good inspiration and you'll also understand and see common design patterns, both from a writing standpoint, but also from a visual representation standpoint. Again, you don't want to be too templated or too formulaic, right? We don't just want to copy what other organizations are doing. We really want to personalize it and make it ours and make sure that our messaging stands on its own. But it is a really good example. Whatever you're doing, this type of writing or this type of design research or you're designing your website find three to five examples of other sites you like. Find three to five examples of other writers who you really respect and emulate. You think they do a good job presenting the type of things or communicating to the type of audience you're trying to reach and try to think about how you can adapt and use that for inspiration in your own writing. 9. Chat Tools in Business: Before we move on, I want to say a quick couple of words on chat apps for business. Obviously, you know, it's 2020, a lot of us are using Slack, we are using Microsoft teams, maybe Facebook messenger or other forms of chat, and I think it's important to just touch on them quickly from a business writing standpoint, because there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Obviously, we're chatting. So we're not trying to lay out like a really complex business case or thesis or anything like that, and I think, you don't necessarily need to try to apply the seven principles of effective writing to every single slack message that you write. It`s probably overkill. But I do have three quick things that I want to run through that are important and helpful tip potentially keep in mind. The first thing is that because chat is so conversational, because it's so real-time, and because it's so short form, you do want to make sure that you're providing sufficient context when you're chatting people in a business context. Again, particularly if you're messaging a teammate or somebody that you maybe don't work with us frequently. I think one of the problems that I see and I've actually run into this with more junior people at my company is a lot of times I'll get a chat for a request or a piece of help that doesn't necessarily have the proper context or the full information. As a result then I need to clarify like, hey, just want to make sure I understand what you're asking for, maybe I need to ask some follow up information it creates a back and forth and all of a sudden both of us are less productive and it actually took more time than the request necessarily should have taken. So just keep in mind that whenever you're chatting someone again, particularly because of notifications, because of pings, maybe desktop notices, you're probably disrupting or interrupting someone's flow potentially when they're trying to work. So I think the first thing to ask yourself is if I'm chatting someone, is this urgent, does this need to be responded to right now, or could this chat potentially actually be better off as an email or something that somebody could respond to later? Then secondly, am I providing all of the context and all of the information in this chat that somebody needs to respond to it effectively. Again, particularly if it's an issue, or a question, or an observation, or a point, really makes sure that you are providing sufficient evidence. If you need to add a second sentence, if you need to add a link or a screenshot, that can go a long way to helping make sure somebody understands what you're talking about and they can give you a timely and complete response. The next thing that I think is really important to just remember and keep in mind is that everything you're chatting often can be archived and can potentially be shared or screen shared out. Again, I think a lot of us often think of chat as this very lose casual flippant type of conversation. But with larger organizations because of digital archiving, again, because of screenshots, because of sharing, copy-pasting and things like that, I would make sure that you're never chatting anything even if it's just like a conversational aside that you wouldn't feel comfortable having be read back to you or being read out loud in public. I think actually this same principle goes for emails, right. Never send an email on a corporate server that you wouldn't be okay having that email read out loud in public, because things do get archived, legal cases occasionally do get happened. I'm not necessarily saying that you yourself personally are going to get sued, but sometimes legal cases happen that are completely unrelated to you, and as a result of archiving and discovery, messages need to be brought back up. They need to be printed out and other people are going to read them or they might be shared in court. Again, just make sure cover your bases, don't ever put anything in writing in a business context or inside your organization or on your organization server that you don't feel comfortable with, that you wouldn't want to stand by, or that you wouldn't be okay having be re-shared. Then finally again, think about the message and the medium and the goal that you're trying to accomplish with your writing. Make sure that your chat is really intended for the correct recipients. If there are other people who potentially should also know about the information you might want to tag or include them too, you might want to create a new chat room or area if you're trying to bring people into a thread, and try to make sure that your conversation is really clear in deliberate upfront. Another thing that I see commonly with slack specifically is issues around information discovery with comment threading. For whatever reason, I think slack's user experience here just isn't quite up to par, and a lot of times when you actually comment on a specific thread, it doesn't appear in the stream and often it's much easier to miss. So typically, I would recommend almost never commenting and using the official slack comment feature on a thread, I would almost always reply to a chat or to a thread with a new post so that it appears in the stream. So with that, hopefully just a couple quick principles and tips and things to keep in mind so that you're chatting safely and effectively and productively, and you're making the most out of your work, you're saving yourself time, but you are also saving your teammates time too. So everybody hopefully is communicating better and working more productively. 10. Resume Writing: Depending on where you are in your career, writing an effective CV or resume can actually be one of the most important business documents that you need to prepare. Let's talk a little bit about the structure of a good resume and what can make your resume more effective. First, when looking at structure, let's think about the resume, again, through the seven principles that we've outlined. It's important to have a clear headline. It's important to make a strong case for yourself as an individual, support it with facts, and then tie everything together. When we're looking at the structure of a resume, there's a couple of things that we want to keep in mind. The first is I highly recommend having a headline or an opening paragraph that's really going to describe you as an individual. What inspires you? Who are you? What are you motivated by? What really sets you apart or distinguishes your work from that of others? Having this idea of a profile, or a headline, or an initial piece that sets up your resume can be really good and it can really help emphasize your candidacy, particularly in situations where you don't get an opportunity to include a cover letter. The next is talking about your professional experience. Here, again, I think there's a couple of good principles and tricks and rules to try to abide by. The first is taking into account your audience and what they're actually caring about. Rather than having one single type of resume, you should have a template you're adapting and customizing for different organizations you're sending it to. If you can research and know specifically who's going to be reviewing your resume, let's say it's a smaller company and you can research on LinkedIn who's head of HR or who the recruiter likely is, learn about them and their interests. Next, you want to communicate, again, in concise, clear bullet points supported by facts and some figures the achievements that you have accomplished in your past work. Very often, I see vague or unclear statements, like "Worked with sales and marketing to create presentations and collateral for target accounts." That sounds fine. I think that would be a generic part of a role that many people could work, but there's nothing really unique or special about it, and it's also not quantified. You're not providing sufficient evidence. Instead of that, a better version would be "Created 10 new business pitches which lead to $250,000 in revenue", or "Created 10 new business pitches which lead to four new enterprise customers, a 40 percent win rate". The more you can focus on clear, tangible, relevant benefits you've accomplished that helps support both the case you're trying to make, but also make it clear that what you contributed to the company and how you made it better, the stronger you'll be able to present your overall case. The more you focus on clear tangible benefits that you delivered the company and clear tangible achievements that you accomplished, the stronger you'll make your case on your resume. Here again, the rule of three can be great. Focusing on your three most recent accomplishments and then three bullet points per recent experience or job that you've had can really help provide the right balance of order, context, structure, and achievements and proof points in your resume. Another important principle in resumes is really this idea of letting your work speak for you. Let your work show itself, don't try to describe it. If you're an engineer and you have a GitHub profile, make sure you're including it and make sure you're including the side projects. If you're a photographer or a designer, include your portfolio site. If you're a writer, include links to your writing, include case studies, include examples of what you're doing. I think one of the most common mistakes that I see writers make or younger people make, people earlier in their career, on resumes is they try to describe their work where often let your work standing out is actually going to make a stronger case for you. I almost always look at people's side projects, look at people's websites, look at examples of work that they've done in their personal life. That can be a really great way to set yourself apart. I think the more that you can show that you're not just going through the motions, you're not just checking boxes, you're not just clocking in and out, but you're really passionate or excited or trying to develop yourself in these professional areas, or in this type of role, or in this aspect of your career, it really shows that you're a unique candidate, you're motivated, you're driven, and you have a high threshold to succeed and achieve and continue to advance yourself. Another thing to keep in mind with your resume overall is a resume is just a document. Similar to the way that you're trying to make a case by presenting your arguments, you may want to present a case beyond your resume. In some cases, actually leaning less on your resume as an attribute in your hiring process can be better for you. Let me give you a concrete example. If somebody sends me their resume or just submits their resume through a traditional job website, I may or may not see it and I may or may not be able to give it a lot of attention. Even for us at Brightest, as a small company, we receive hundreds of resumes for job posts. Unfortunately, that's just the reality that a lot of recruiters live in. By comparison, if you sent me an email or if you sent me a message on LinkedIn, it's much more likely that at least I'm going to take a look at it. I might or might not get to you as a response, but you have a better chance of standing out because you're in a smaller pool of people who took that extra step and showed that initiative. Something that I think is really effective when you're applying for a job is what I call the "Solve a problem and sell yourself" pitch or example case. Here, you might want to do a little research on the company, do a little research on the recruiter, and try to find an example of a problem or an opportunity or an issue the company looks like. Then pitch yourself as the solution to that issue in a really short e-mail using a lot of the principles we described. A great example would be, let's say you're looking to work at a company. You're a writer, and you look on their website and their website doesn't have any case studies. We know that social proof in case studies helps increase conversion rates and helps make a stronger case for why you should do business or work with an organization, and so the company should probably have case studies on its website. If you wrote to the Head of Marketing or you wrote to the Director of Marketing, or even to the recruiter, or potentially even the Chief Executive or somebody who's senior at the company and said, "Hey FYI, I just wanted to introduce myself. I noticed you don't have any case studies on your website. Research shows that case studies increase conversion rates by 50 percent. I have a background writing case studies and have written successful case studies for companies X, Y, and Z, where I achieved great business outcomes. I'd love to show you how I can come in, write case studies, and do other things that would be helpful to help set your business apart and help you grow and increase sales and bring on more customers and partners." That type of e-mail that's super personalized, understands a business's context, understands a business's goals, and uniquely positions you as the right person to deliver that solution is so much more effective and so much more likely to get your foot in the door or get you to that initial interview than just sending your resume across. I highly recommend thinking about the resume as just one tool in your toolkit. It's still an important document to write. You want to make sure that it's error-free, it's clear, it's strong, and it's well-presented, but overall, I think selling yourself and thinking about other creative ways to support what you're doing can be a great example. For example, I've seen people get hired by creating dummy social media accounts that showcase some of their visual and social media management work. I've seen people get hired by creating YouTube videos that outline a problem and propose a solution. I saw someone actually get hired at a plant based meat company based on a YouTube video that they created where they outlined potential ways that that organization could market more effectively to the youth or student demographic. Whether it's via video or visuals, or writing, think about ways to strengthen your case, highlight business issues or opportunities that a company might or might not be taking advantage of right now, and really try to position yourself as the right person to solve those issues, and then deliver your resume on top of it to really reaffirm your case. I think taken together, that will do a lot for you as a candidate. It will help open a lot more doors, get you a lot more interviews, and ultimately, hopefully get you where you're looking to go in your career. 11. Editing Tips: Ultimately, by applying the principles that we've talked about in this course, you're definitely going to improve as a writer. One of the first keys is just to practice. Almost every great writer from Ernest Hemingway to EB White and Toni Morrison made it a rule that they would write every single day. They made it a habit, they practiced, and that allowed them to not only create a large body of work, but really to hone their craft as a writer. It's important to keep writing and keep practicing. The more you think you need the practice, the more you should be writing. Secondly, obviously, you want to make sure that you're also self-editing and proofreading your own work. This is also so important. There's a couple of important rules and principles to follow when editing or proofreading, and let's talk about those. The first is give yourself some distance and take breaks. A lot of times we'll be in a rush and we'll write something and maybe we'll just skim it really quick and then we'll hit send or move on. That's often not the best environment to work as an editor. Typically, we do our best editing work when we take a break, remove ourselves, distance yourself a little bit from the work that we've done and then we come back rested with fresh perspective. If you can, if you have time, write something, stop, take a break and then come back and edit it when you feel rested and you're ready to reapply your energy. The next thing that you want to do is obviously, we want to run through the checklist of writing principles that we've established and really proofread our work for any troublesome issues. We want to look for problematic words. Again, words like really, very, seems, like, that, sort of, I think, problematic prepositions, over complicated phrases. Again, focusing specifically on passive tense, active strong verbs, fact-based communication, short sentences, really make sure that you are trying to achieve that as much as possible in your writing and where you're not, try to pare it down or streamline things as much as you can. Another great self editing step can be to go read your writing out loud. If you're in a place where you have the privacy or the ability to do that or, if you're able to go take a walk somewhere. Being able to hear yourself presenting or delivering your speech is incredibly helpful and can really help again, identify problematic areas where things are maybe a little too cumbersome or a little overly complicated, and you can potentially identify opportunities to streamline them down. A lot of famous speeches in history, whether they've been delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King or by Winston Churchill, they're not only great speeches, but if you actually read the transcripts of them, they're also extremely well-written. If e-mail had existed at the time, they could have served as a very effective e-mail or memo or something like that. You want to think about creating and crafting writing that not only reads well, but could actually be spoken out loud effectively too. Finally, if you need help, don't just always lean on yourself. Don't put all the pressure on yourself to make sure that you're editing effectively and that you're identifying areas for improvement. If you work with other people, if you have mentors, if you have someone else that you know who's a really good writer that you respect, see if they'll review writing and give you feedback. Again, depending on where your comfort levels are, who you know, who's in your network, getting a second set of eyes on something can be extremely helpful and can also again help you distance yourself or get a distance set of perspective on your writing that will provide fresh insights and really constructive feedback. Finally, there's lots of tools, digital tools that exist today. Hemingway is a great digital tool that can proofread your writing and give you some recommendations and tell you your reading level. There's tools like Tightly and Grammarly. If you feel like you need them, access those tools. Again, you want to be conscious a little bit about potentially data security. If you're inside an organization, you may not want to use Grammarly because of its data archiving policies or its privacy policy. Obviously, make sure that you're using things and sharing information in a way that's compliant with your organization. But a lot of these tools are really great and they can give you a really efficient instant, semi-professional proofread or edit on your writing. They will almost always highlight opportunities to improve. I even today, I've been writing for years. I have a writing background, but even me I'll put things into Hemingway, and I'll often find areas for improvement or, you know, it'll identify an overly complex sentence that I can then streamline. Make sure you're proofreading, make sure your self editing, make sure you're practicing, get help where you need it when you can and if you can't, lean on third-party tools and lean on other resources. But again, the more you edit, the better a writer you'll be, and the more you'll be able to improve your writing more quickly to deliver more effective communications. 12. Conclusion: With that, thank you so much for taking this class. I hope I've shared some helpful tips, examples, and frameworks to really help you improve your business writing and get to where you want to be in your job and in your career. Above all, remember the seven principles of effective business writing and really try to use them as a checklist in your writing. Practice with them. Again, there'll become second nature and before you know it, you'll automatically be able to write and think in those terms as a class exercise and it's a parting assignment. I'd love to see you take on a one pager. I think one pagers are a great writing practice length, because they're short enough that they require you to condense and really streamline a lot of your information. But there's still long enough that they allow you a good opportunity to practice. Using the framework in these information structure that we've talked about in the class, which is an introductory paragraph outlining your problem or your key statement or your thesis or your observation. Then a supporting solution or an example that's going to make your argument. Then providing, maybe up to 3 examples of evidence and data in support of your argument, or maybe up to 3 benefits statements in support of your product. That's a really great example or practice exercise that can help you get some really great practice in business writing. You can use this to structure essays and blog post. You can use this to structure product one pagers, promotional materials or things like that. It can even be used to structure a website. Or it can be a great resource for pitching your business. A lot of cases, I'll see people do a business one-pager. They'll sort of have that as a pitch document. Then they'll use a longer presentation when they're actually talking to people. Try to create a really effective one-pager or for something that you're excited about. Again, it can be your own business, can be your project. It can be a product you're excited about. If you're not working on anything directly that you think is relevant or that you feel you have an idea. Feel free to pick something that you respect and admire, so you can choose somebody else's company, somebody else's product. But think about pitching it really trying to frame problem, solution, evidence and then conclusion and action item as your structure, practice it. Feel free to post it in the class tutorial. Again, don't post anything that you feel is proprietary or that you would want to share publicly. But post it in the class, and I'll try to review it and give you some feedback if I can. Thank you so much again, for taking this class. I hope you have a great rest of your week and good luck, and you can definitely become a better writer. I believe in you, you're going to make it happen. Just practice, apply the seven principles. Make sure to proofread and you're halfway there. Thanks.