You are here

Business Writing Today

Business Writing Today
A Practical Guide

Third Edition

May 2018 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Business Writing Today prepares students to succeed in the business world by giving them the tools they need to write powerfully, no matter the challenge. In her highly-practical text, author Natalie Canavor shares step-by-step guidance and tips for success to help students write more clearly and strategically. Readers will learn what to say and how to say it in any medium from tweets and emails to proposals and formal reports. Every technique comes with concrete examples and practice opportunities, helping students transfer their writing skills to the workplace.

“This is the real-deal writing guide for serious business majors.” 

–Astrid Sheil, California State University San Bernardino
About the Author
Chapter 1. Business Writing Today—And You
Why Workplace Writing Matters

How Employers See Writing

Defining Business Writing for Today

Now, Back to You

The Impact of the Digital Age

How to Use This Book

Practice Opportunities

Chapter 2. Write to Accomplish Goals
How and Why to Plan Your Messages

Step 1: Identify Your Short- and Long-Range Goals

Step 2: Analyze Your Audience Systematically

Bridging Generational Differences

How Understanding Other People Helps You

Writing to Groups

Practice Opportunities

Chapter 3. Put the Planning Structure to Work
Decide What Response You Want

Apply Your Audience Analysis

Brainstorm Your Content Points

Lead With Strength

Middle Well

Finally, End Well

Choose How to Organize

The Goldilocks Principle: How Much Is Just Right?

Manage Your Tone

Practice the Planning Structure

Practice Opportunities

Chapter 4. Create the First Draft
Choose the Familiar Words of Conversation

Build Clear, Concise Sentences

Build With Action Verbs

Work With Short Paragraphs

Use Good Transitions: Words, Phrases and Devices

Sidestep Tone Traps

Practice Opportunities

Chapter 5. Edit Your Writing
Ten Principles of Power Editing

Practical Editing Stage 1: Content Review

Practical Editing Stage 2: Review Language and Structure

Commonsense Fix-It Techniques

Sidestep Business-Speak

Fixing Some Grammar Glitches

The Fixer Takeaway

Editing Down Long Copy

How Correct Must Business Writing Be?

Finally: Proofread

Remember: Many Ways Can Work

Practice Opportunities

Resources for Part II

Chapter 6. Use the Techniques of Persuasion
Line Your Toolkit With Essentials

Adopt Persuasion’s Triple Play: Ethos, Logos, Pathos

Write to Build Trust

Acknowledge Other Viewpoints

Build Persuasion Into All Your Writing

Show Don’t Sell!

Use Language Magic

When the Story Is Yours: Finding, Shaping, Telling

Draw on the Transformation Story Model

Tips for Writing the Story

Explore the Emotional Dimension

Remember the Graphic Dimension

Learn From a Model Business Writer: Warren Buffett

Practice Opportunities

Selected Resources for Chapter 6

Chapter 7. Building Relationships With Everyday Messages
Use E-mail Strategically

Apply the Planning Structure

Build in the Right Tone

Don't Bury the Lead!

Communicating About Work Problems

Some E-mail Q&A

Practice Opportunities

Chapter 8. Writing More Formal Messages
When to Write Letters—And How

Craft Letters for Specific Situations

Use Messages to Network

Writing to Fix Business Problems

The International Dimension of Business Writing

Practice Opportunities

Chapter 9. Creating Strong Business Documents
Writing Tips for Business Documents

Create Reports That Win Support

Develop Big-Picture Project Reports

Write Solid Personal Reports

The Executive Summary: Techniques and Options

Sample Executive Summary for a Report

Writing Proposals That Win

Succeeding With Grant Applications

A Word on Business Plans

Practice Opportunities

Chapter 10. Craft Your Writing for the Interactive World
Strategizing Your Digital Presence

Adapting to Interactive Media

Ten Tips for Using Online Media

Website Writing: What’s Different

How to Strategize a Website

Blogging: Know Why, Know How

Joining Online Communities

Choose to Brand Yourself

Think Global: The Internet Lives Everywhere

Practice Opportunities

Selected Resources for Social Media and the Internet

Chapter 11. Present Yourself: Write Well to Speak Well
The Elevator Speech: Why and How to Write It

Developing Speeches and Presentations

Prepare Talking Points for In-Person Occasions

Writing Tips for Spoken Media

Creating Better PowerPoints

Planning and Using Video

Translating Verbal Into Visual

Practice Opportunities

Selected Resources

Chapter 12. Win Your Opportunities: Writing for the Hunt
Plan a Résumé Based on Strengths

Write to Outshine the Competition

Develop Strong Cover Letters

Practice Opportunities

Appendix: Activities, Practice, Planning
Sentence Rewrite Practice (Nobody’s Perfect)

Unfortunate Real-World Examples to Diagnose

Writing and Ethics: Conversation and Debate

Handle Unfamiliar Media: A Newsletter Project

Make Your Own Cheat Sheets

Develop Your Interviewing Skills

Five Favorite Assignments

Create Your Personal Writing Rx


“This is the real-deal writing guide for serious business majors.” 

Astrid Sheil
California State University, San Bernardino

“An easy-to-read, informative guide with practical, real-world examples supported by evidence. It reads like the author is your personal tutor elevating you on the path to success.” 

Alyssa Wertz
Merrimack College

“An excellent introductory text with advice useful to the most seasoned professional; it covers virtually all the bases of professional writing in today’s workplaces. It is much more than simply what its title implies—a business writing handbook.” 

M. Elizabeth Weiser
Ohio State University

“A comprehensive book that is a comfortable read.” 

Mary Lynn Engel
Saint Joseph’s College

“The book provides a solid foundation for technical writers who are just entering the field. At every level it shows audience-centered communication as paramount to success in the business world.”

Geoffrey Luurs
North Carolina State University

“Business Writing Today is an excellent practical resource for anyone hoping to succeed business writing 2.0.” 

Michelle Davidson
University of Toledo

“It’s full of practical advice that places emphasis on audience, purpose, and identity. An affordable text that doesn’t get caught up in the details of spacing and appearance, but instead focuses on what makes good writing good.” 

Steven Engel
Marygrove College

“The book is concisely written, well-organized, and has plenty of up-to-date examples.” 

Rod Carveth
Morgan State University

“This is a good introduction to business communication that allows students to easily understand concepts. The writing is conversational. Examples for what not to do are followed up with how to revise those examples. This text does not merely tell you how to write. It shows you how you might write the draft or how you write now, and then provides you with a good example of how to revise or write differently next time.” 

Renee Nelms King
Eastern Illinois University