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    Dos and Don'ts of Writing Effective Business Documents

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    What rules should a writer follow when creating effective business documents? What should the writer avoid?
    Why is document design important in written business communication? For example, how can attention to white space improve a document?
    What are some guidelines for integrating effective visuals into your business communication? What copyright laws must you adhere to? Provide examples.
    What are some rules to follow when creating a Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation? Provide examples.
    How do you determine the information to communicate in a business presentation?
    Why is it important to include visuals in your presentations?

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    What rules should a writer follow when creating effective business documents? What should the writer avoid?
    A writer should be concise prose is clear and compelling; reading it requires it a minimum of time, effort, and hassle. If your prose is clear and concise, then readers are more likely to read it thoroughly, to understand it accurately, and to appreciate its message. Briefly stated, a paragraph is a group of sentences about one specific idea. This paragraph, for instance, deals with the definition of a paragraph. There is no set length for a paragraph, but, generally, three full sentences is considered the minimum and half a page is considered the maximum.
    A writer should avoid:
    Remove unnecessary introductory phrases. Like clarifying phrases, introductory phrases are often unnecessary. It is appropriate to specify a particular author ("According to Smith,") but superfluous to mention that information originated from a vague, unnamed source ("Reports show that..."). It is appropriate to clarify a sentence's relationship to its preceding sentence ("Conversely,") but unwarranted to specify its content's general existence ("It has become clear that...").
    Eliminate general wordiness. As a rule of thumb, use the fewest words that can communicate your message clearly. If you can eliminate a word or phrase without eliminating essential meaning, then do so. This is not an absolute law; nevertheless, if you establish it as a general goal, then your writing will greatly improve.
    Sometimes it is easy to determine when to start a new paragraph?because you have moved from one topic to another. You may have written a large number of sentences about a specific topic, let's say more than twelve (or more than 200 words). At that point, you may need to ask the question Is this paragraph too long? As has been stated, there is no limit in terms of the number of sentences in a paragraph, but, when a paragraph takes up about half of a page or when it looks like it is too long, then it may be too long. If, upon reading it, you find that the topic has shifted slightly, that is a good place at which to divide the paragraph. For instance, if the topic sentence is how much the business climate has changed during the past twelve months, and, after a number of sentences in which you explain that idea, the topic has shifted to the importance of communication in the workplace, that may the point at which to begin a new paragraph.

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    Solution Summary

    The dos and don'ts of writing effective business documents are examined.