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Unformatted text preview: Enacting an Executive Tone and Presence B usiness writing is an interactive exercise: Writers and readers work togetheraccomplishing tasks, achieving goals, direct- ing othersthrough various business communications. A success- ful business writer must recognize that the eff ectiveness of his or her message depends as much on the information within the doc- ument as on the impression the reader has of that documents au- thor. Likability might sound silly as a key component of eff ective business writing, and credibility too lofty for the slews of emails and everyday documents we produce, but along that range rests the key consideration: character. Im intentionally using character for the words dual meaning: in the sense of the actual ink marks on a page and in the sense of the person who conceived of those marks in the fi rst place because each impacts the other. How we writeconsidering is- sues of word choice, mechanics, tone, organization, layout, and designimpacts the eff ectiveness of what we say. In business writing, how you come across as a person can be equally, if not more, important than what you write. 3 C H A P T E R C H A P T E R KPL-BUSWRITE-07-1201-003.indd 49 KPL-BUSWRITE-07-1201-003.indd 49 2/1/08 8:13:27 PM 2/1/08 8:13:27 PM 50 PART I: LEARNING BUSINESS WRITING BASICS Written documents act as messengers between writer and readers, but they do so without any of the fl exibility and respon- siveness of interpersonal interactions. If were speaking to some- one, we can perceive how were coming across (both in terms of clarity and character) as we go, and we can therefore react and revise on the fl y. But once we fi nish and transmit a business docu- ment, it is forever in the ether. You cant change it or fi x it. This is a critical point because we must always remember that writing lasts. Nearly all writing outlasts the original context: Reports and memoranda rest in fi le drawers or email servers or hard drives well beyond their immediate needs. Readers and writers reference, re- view, and reuse existing documents all the time. Emails or other electronic information that we assume are gone remain long after we hit the delete key. Therefore, the success of our business docu- ments, emails, presentations, and so on rests entirely on the words on the page and on the readers reactions. The range of possible reactions is vast, and identifying all possibilitiessatisfying all readersis a very tall order. We should never assume that weve thought of everythingeven the best writers cannot predict all responses across all audiencesbut we can make certain best guesses. We can craft business writing and communication that represents ourselves and our company well, with writing that gives our readers the information they need as clearly and immediately as possible....
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- Spring '11