BUSINESS WRITING MADE EASY By Suzan St Maur
If you've ever sent the `wrong' email or been too formal in your blog or just written a letter that was subsequently ignored - this is the book to read.
Business Writing Made Easy is simple guide that cuts out the mystique that is often applied to what ought to be a direct and functional process.
What I immediately liked was the book's `tone of voice'. It talks to the reader, like a mentor giving support and advice rather than a stiff old bombastic tome. The feeling of talking continues throughout e.g. in the section of advertising, Suzan asks us to consider `what do you need to say?' before anything else. Likewise she advises in `Writing for the web' that "complex thinking doesn't work".
There is great comfort in knowing that even complicated tasks can be simplified. Mark Twain said "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead" and Suze's book helps achieve just that.
I have read various stuffy and rule-bound style guides published by the major UK newspaper editors. I have also read other popular grammar guides which although amusing are generally a `look how much I know' vehicle for the author. Suzan's guide is designed for the reader to find a winning point on every page. I randomly opened the book in the blog section and immediately learned that one can run three blogs simultaneously (personal, business and special interest) to achieve maximum effect. A simple concept, but it's only obvious when you read it.
Likewise, in her advice on producing brochure copy, Suzan points out how people rarely read from start to finish, we flick through from back to front and back again. She calls this `Grasshopper reading' and provides some neat strategies for capturing the readers' attention however they read.
Given the book's title, it is wonderfully targeted at sorting out work-place issues succinctly and with a business-led justification. I particularly enjoyed the section on the driest of experiences, report writing. Again, Suzan explains how to deal with obligations (facts, details, procedures) and also entices me with her expertise on how I can still keep my individuality. Read it and see!