This page supplements material from my book 7 Steps to Better Writing.  It provides videos that amplify the chapter “Applications – Preparing Informative Documents.”

General Advice

The following video explains principles appropriate for most business documents. The narrator advocates:

  • Get to the point quickly
  • Write short and direct sentences and paragraphs
  • Include a call to action
  • Be professional and polite
  • Revise to improve word choice, structure, and flow

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Email

The following videos explain how to write a business letter.

The following videos provide further ways to improve your email messages.

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Memos

The following video explains how to write a business memo.

The following video explains how to improve memos.

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Letters

The following video discusses how to prepare a business letter.

In the following video, Shelly Davies explains how to compose the content of an effective business letter. Her focus is communication tone. She advocates writing in “an authentic, conversational voice” and keeping the reader in mind when crafting a message.

The following video provides more suggestions upon the purpose, formatting, and content of business letters.

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Reports

The following brief video discusses important aspects of business reports.

The following video provides suggestions for writing a short business report.

In the following 20-minute video, David Taylor discusses in detail the content and formatting of a typical report. This example is from a university course, but most of what Taylor teaches applies in business. Exceptions to Taylor’s advice are actual business reports typically 1) use more sophisticated formatting, 2) do not use in-text citations, and 3) do not follow the APA style guide.

With regard to a business report, the following video shows what constitutes a strong conclusions section.

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Presentations

The following video presents 7 tips for a strong presentation:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Use structure so each ideas builds on the prior idea
  3. Use visuals
  4. Repeat key points
  5. Tell a story
  6. Relate by being authentic
  7. Practice

In the following video, Jason Teteak shares 5 tips for starting a presentation. He recommends:

  1. Give a confident introduction
  2. Provide your credentials
  3. Deliver a hook
  4. Provide an agenda
  5. Give a credible statement

If you find Teteak’s suggestions useful, you also will want to check out Jerry Weissman’s advice. The best source for gain his insight is his book Presenting to Win. Weissman states that “the vast majority of presentations fall prey to the following problems:”

  1. No clear point
  2. Failing to show the audience what benefits you offer
  3. Confused flow
  4. Too detailed
  5. Too long

Weissman shows how to solve these problems. Following his guidance will make you a powerful and persuasive presenter.

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Articles

in the following video, Thomas Frank discusses writing essays and research papers in school. What he says also applies to writing articles for business or social media. (Useful content ends at 8:30.)

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Blogs and Scripts

In the following video, Derek Halpern discusses how to write a blog post, a marketing email, or a script for a video or podcast. He introduces a process to overcome writer’s block and “pump out great content fast.”

Halpern’s steps are:

  1. Accumulate tons of ideas. Write them down when they occur. The more, the better.
  2. Eliminate bad ideas. Do this by asking:
    • Can I cite any research or data? Do I have any personal breakthroughs or know someone who had a personal epiphany with this topic?
    • Do I have an opinion about this?
    • What are the key takeaways?
  3. From the remaining topics, pick the top idea and outline a few bullet points.
  4. Follow the outline and write the blog post, script, or email.
  5. Edit. Make it flow from start to finish.

Midway (4:55) through the following video, TED Talks curator Chris Anderson explains how to prepare a powerful talk. He says:

  1. Focus on one major idea. Give context, share examples, and make it vivid.
  2. Give your listeners a reason to care. Stir curiosity by asking intriguing questions. Reveal a disconnection in someone’s worldview.
  3. Build your message piece by piece with familiar concepts. Use metaphors.
  4. Make your idea worth sharing. Brighten up someone’s day, change their perspective, or inspire them to do something differently.

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Business and Sales Proposals

In the following video, Devon Dean teaches how to write a strong proposal for an internal project.

In the following video, Dave Lorenzo explains how to get your proposal accepted.

Marc Wayshak provides keys to great sales proposals. He says:

  1. Follow a discovery conversation
  2. Lay out objectives
  3. Restate the value of achieving the objectives
  4. Provide 3 options for accomplishing the objectives
  5. Make the proposal double as a contract

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Conclusion

Apply what you have learned. Go forth and write great documents.