Here are my top five business writing resources:
1. Making an Impact
How to Make an Impact by Jon Moon does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s packed with hands-on, practical tips on using tables, graphs, bullet points and diagrams to get your point across – how and when to use them, and (just as importantly) when not to.
This book also contains tons of detailed advice on layout, formatting, comparing options and showing numbers – techniques that could take you years to figure out through trial and error. Invaluable.
2. Writing Persuasively
Andy Maslen’s Write to Sell is subtitled ‘the ultimate guide to great copywriting’. However, it’s one of the most entertaining and readable guides on effective business writing that I’ve come across.
It gives an overview of structure, tone of voice, punctuation and editing – guidelines you can apply to any business document from emails and reports to marketing materials and CVs. And if you loathe grammar, it won’t bore you to death either.
3. Small But Comprehensive
The Oxford Guide to Plain English by Martin Cutts is a bit drier, but works well as a pocket-sized reference book. It’s also inexpensive – good if you’re trying to instill Plain English usage across a large team.
4. Best Free Online Resources
I have used the free guides and glossaries on the Plain English Campaign website a lot over the years, especially the A-Z of Alternative Words, a searchable dictionary giving Plain English versions of formal words and phrases like ‘expeditiously’ (quickly) and ‘subsequent to’ (after).
It’s also worth having a giggle at the winners of the Golden Bull awards for some truly eye-watering examples of corporate gobbledegook.
5. Best Example Documents
If you’ve got to create new documents from scratch, adapting an example is often the quickest way. Shirley Taylor’s Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents contains samples of pretty much every piece of business correspondence you can imagine – complaints, quotations, enquiries, recommendations, cover letters and so on.
What are your top five business writing resources?
PS To learn more about business writing including bids, emails, reports, handling complaints and web writing, check out my Writing Courses.