The contemporary writer may bewail the changes wrought by the Web's "speeding billboards" reading model (see Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
) but as this book rightly points out written text remains the most valuable and important part of most websites. It goes on to suggest that writing business English might even be "the business cycle itself".
In this cross-cultural and web-connected age (a cliche but no less true for that) the writer must deliver correctness, clarity, impact, and, critically, customer focus. Pitched between How to Write Effective Business English
and Executive Writing Skills for Managers
this is the middle volume of a valuable trilogy summarising some of today's latest expertise in business, intercultural, and Web writing in English. Concise, knowledgeable, and effective, in some ways this handbook supersedes older guides such as Informative Writing: Your Practical Guide to Effective Communication
The book both encourages and helps you to continually improve your written skills and, through them, discover how many opportunities you can create for yourself. In general it recommends that you:
* work to keep getting better,
* don't hold yourself back,
* not set limits,
* follow its technique of Written Word Power skills.
As a primer I have extracted the following KEY POINTS:
1. Analyse, understand, and write for the reader, i.e. WRITE FOR PEOPLE NOT PROCESSES.
2. Give pointers to the main items that your audience needs. Highlight these and/or put them up front.
3. Use the POWER WORDS that the book lists (some are in this review). SET YOURSELF APART. Use "the Wow Factor" to develop "Brand You" and SHINE.
4. Learn from others - both from their effective language and from their mistakes.
5. Write to open up OPPORTUNITIES.
6. Use plain English and edit. Keep it tight but not over-tight.
7. Use positive, proactive words.
8. Avoid words that put up barriers.
9. Follow the 4 steps: CORRECTNESS, CLARITY, IMPACT, CUSTOMER FOCUS.
10. PLAN key points well before you write.
11. Be topical, interesting, newsworthy.
12. Actively highlight key messages.
13. Include a clear summary for busy readers, where you can.
14. Write a story/narrative. Show what follows what. Lead into future action.
15. WORDS ARE A WEBSITE'S MOST VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT FEATURE.
16. Think carefully before posting/publishing/sending in cyberspace (and don't I know that from some of my Amazon reviews).
17. Remember to refresh your English writing style regularly.
18. Be aware of how your online mistakes can go viral.
19. And the candle on the cake: writing business English is a key and HIGHLY TRANSFERABLE skill.
P.S. I found part one of the trilogy rather noddy but, based on this second volume, would hold out higher hopes for part three.