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Friday, October 12, 2012

Warren Buffett’s 10 Steps To Better Report Writing | Ivan Walsh, Standard Operating Procedure Tips

Walsh is a fan of Buffett, not just because of Buffett's financial expertise but because of the clarity to readers of financial reports that he and his company publish.

Walsh introduces this article:
Buffett writes like he speaks. Direct, immediate and without pretension.
And continues:
Ever read an annual report from Warren Buffet. Try it. Easy, isn’t it? Few successful business-people write so clearly. There is no pretension, no haughty references to obscure allusions and no strange acronyms. It’s all there in black and white.
Building on what he's learned by studying Buffett's work, Walsh has written a short guide on writing business proposals in clear English. Walsh describes his guide:
It explains how to prepare an business documents that readers can digest in one reading. That’s the acid test. They shouldn’t have to read them twice and three times to get the meaning. It also covers how to use Plain Language writing techniques to win more business, accelerate your tender process, and encourage staff to contribute to the overall tender process.
Here's a summary of Walsh's advice, mostly headings of the 10 steps:
1. Start Early ...
2. Study the principles of Plain English ...
  • Identify your target audience i.e. Government departments.
  • Consider what they need to know.
  • Consider the technical terms they may, or may not, know.
  • Develop plain English writing guidelines for your staff.
  • Think about how to organize and format your Proposal.
3. Promote Plain English among your Staff ...
4. Contact an experienced proposal writer ...
5. Review previous Proposals and see where you can improve
Before you start writing, consider the following:
  • Literacy level. ...
  • Clarity. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Repetition. ...
  • Headings. ...
  • Format. ...
6. Create an outline to help readers find information faster ...
7. Write the [request for proposals], section by section, using plain language techniques ...
8. Review and Revise ...
9. Create an easy-to-read format ...
10. Get feedback – and share it ...
_______
This article is featured today (Oct. 12) in Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs--available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.
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