Business Writing And Training

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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As people's written communication skills continue to dwindle, the business writing and training industry grows apace. It's hard to believe that after 12-16 years of schooling, most people still don't know how to write, or at least write well. Maybe that's because poor writing is so pervasive that it actually recalibrates our sense of what good writing is.

If short e-mails, thank you notes, and other casual missives are bad, formal business writing is abysmal. Most executives are beginning with a skewed notion of good informal writing, so when they attempt to tweak it to suit their business needs, they're already starting with one foot behind them. Think about it this way: if you were saddled with soggy, rotten fruits and vegetables, how would you go about crafting a gourmet meal?

A Few Words on Good Writing

Writing takes on countless forms, from love letters and doctors' notes to odes and elegies. Most people spend their days mired in the former more than the latter and therefore believe they have a free pass to write with wanton disregard for formal rules and structure. After all, nobody's drafting a work order in the hope of winning a Pulitzer.

Good writing, however, for most purposes, is clear writing, even (especially) when the topic is complex. It's critical then for even the most basic notes to follow standard and recognizable conventions in order to avoid confusion. This is an important principle to remember, for even that short work order, if poorly worded or punctuated, can be misinterpreted. Imagine ending up one floor short in the construction of a high-rise or serving an allergic customer a potentially deadly plate of food simply because someone was reckless or ignorant in his or her written instructions.

The Rise of the Business Writing and Training Field

It seems there are many businesses nowadays that simply didn't exist 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Business writing and training services fall under that banner, to be sure. Is that because people a generation ago knew how to write and therefore had no need for such services? Is it because the Internet has enabled new and better ways for formerly "niche" businesses to market themselves? The answer is probably a combination of the two.

If businesses such as motivational speaking and professional organizing can grow into huge cash cows, it makes sense that business writing and training, which is arguably more useful, should follow suit. True to form, if you look around the Web, you'll find dozens of business writing and training courses, classes, books, and CDs that all profess to do the same thing: make you a better writer. As you'd expect, though, some of these products are more successful than others in achieving that aim.

Defining Good Business Writing and Training Products

The best business writing and training products have a few standard features. One is a do-it-yourself approach that lets users study and practice techniques at their own pace. You may, for instance, choose to spend more time studying business grammar or e-mail etiquette instead of job proposals and resumes. You should be free then to invest as much time as you see fit into the subjects that interest you.

Another aspect of business writing and training products that appeals to consumers is multimedia support. Taking lessons from a text book is only so helpful on its own. Of course, enforced with CD and DVD-based exercises, interactive tutorials, and links to further resources, these units become more relevant and are hence easier to retain. Finally, good business writing and training materials are designed for the lifelong learner, so they should be robust enough to accommodate your growing knowledge and improvement.

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