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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Write E-Mails That People Won't Ignore | Bryan A. Garner, Harvard Business Review

I posted links earlier to the first two articles in this series on business writing by Bryan A. Garner, author of the excellent, authoritative Garner's Modern American Usage. The series draws on advice in Garner's latest excellent book, the HBR Guide to Better Business Writing.

Here are several excerpts from this third article by Garner:

  • Stick to standard capitalization and punctuation. ... Rushed e-mails that violate the basic norms of written language bespeak carelessness. And their abbreviated style can be confusing. ...
  • Get straight to the point (politely, of course). Be direct when making a request. ...
  • Be brief — but not too brief. ... [R]arely compose more than a single screen of reading. Focus your content, and tighten your language. ... But as you're trimming the fat from your message, keep the meat intact. ...
Here are the first two articles in Garner's series:
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Garner's article is featured today, March 7, in my daily online paper, Garbl's Style: Write Choices, available at the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription.

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