Monday, November 30, 2009

Stephanie A’s Tips on Courteous Writing

With all the hustle and bustle of the business world, it may be easy to overlook professional courtesy. However, good manners never go out of style. Everyone appreciates writing that has a kind and respectful tone. As professionals, we must keep in mind that our writing should include those little social niceties that everyone appreciates.

In order to incorporate these niceties into our writing, it may be helpful to know what courteous writing entails. Here are some great tips on incorporating courteous elements into our writing:

  • Proper salutations

Everyone appreciates having the correct salutation attached to their name. If a person is a doctor or if a woman is married, they expect to have the correct salutation in a business letter. I think that if a person has earned a specific title, like a Ph.D. or a law degree, they appreciate it when the appropriate salutation is used.

  • Proper greetings

The standard and most widely accepted way that a greeting is used to open a letter is “Dear,” followed by the proper salutation, and the person’s last name. If you write a letter without using this standard opening, it may immediately alienate your reader. Also, the greeting of “To Whom it May Concern,” often comes off as cold or distant.

  • Proper tone

You should always try to use the appropriate tone or attitude in your business correspondence. The better you know someone, the more informal the tone can be. However, in most business settings, the tone should remain somewhat formal. This formal tone relays the fact that your message is courteous, but should also be taken seriously. The proper tone should make the reader comfortable, while maintaining a certain level of respect.

  • Clarity

Courteous writing should be respectful, clear, and concise. Clarity is important because it does not waste valuable time. Confusing messages will often be perceived as wasteful by the reader. Clarity of thought and purpose is another essential element of a courteous letter.

These tips can help everyone become a more courteous writer. A little courtesy can go a long way in the business world. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a simple “please” and “thank you”? I know I do!

Check out these sites for more great tips on becoming a more courteous writer:

What NOT To Do
When Writing Professionally
by Alissa A.

Reference #1
Reference #2

Getting Attached: E-mail Attachment Etiquette By Adam Barreto

In this day and age, everybody recognizes this familiar little symbol.

As basic e-mail etiquette, if you send an attachment, be sure to reference it in the body of the e-mail. Briefly explain what the attachment is. According to the book Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century, you should cite, “… specific reference to the attachment in the body of your e-mail, describing its content, its format (I.E. the program used to create it), and sometimes its size.” The reason for this is two-fold. For one, it alerts the recipient that there is an attachment to be opened, and two it can assuage any fear of opening the attachment in case of a virus.

Attachments are an important part of e-mail messaging for various reasons. Attachments are used to preserve formatting. For example, in accounting, I use attachments to send my financial statements, prepared in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, because if I just pasted the information into the e-mail body, the formatting would explode and I would just have a jumble of numbers and symbols that were meaningless. The same thing may occur with visuals. Pictures and other visuals, if inserted into the body of the e-mail normally, would break up the text and make the e-mail both lengthy and hard to read.

Size is also a factor in e-mail attachment etiquette. I always compress my attachments because sending large attachments is something of a faux pas in the business community. Large attachments tend to take up lots of space in inboxes, which may have a set MB space limit and transmitting large files uncompressed can really slow down networks. Many companies have rules regarding sending attachments including that all attachment should be compressed or under a certain size so as to not use up unnecessary amounts of bandwidth.

Finally, consider the format of the attachment itself. As I previously mentioned, when I create excel spreadsheets and attach them to e-mails for accounting documents, I do so confident in the knowledge that my teacher (and my later employers) will have excel and be able to view my work. As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, make sure to make reference to the program and format used in the creation of the attachment, or if any special program is needed to uncompress it, if it is compressed. In my collegiate career, I have had numerous issues with not telling a professor the format of an assignment and having some confusion with grades. This is especially true with the recent switch from Word 97-03 to the new format of Word 07. I have taken to just making sure I correctly mention what format each attachment is in, so that my recipients do not have to struggle to open the attachment.

P.S. E-mail attachments can save on travel costs!


Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2002. Print.

Email Etiquette: 101 Email Etiquette Tips. Web. 01 Dec. 2009. .

"Top 3 E-mail Attachment Considerations Email Etiquette Tips and Proper Practices." Email Etiquette Discussions, Tips and Proper Practices. Web. 01 Dec. 2009. .

"How to Send Email Attachments." Media College - Video, Audio and Multimedia Resources. Web. 01 Dec. 2009. .

"Email Attachment Cartoons." CartoonStock - Cartoon Pictures, Political Cartoons, Animations. Web. 01 Dec. 2009. .

To IM or Not to IM? by Ashley A.

Many of us use instant messaging on a daily basis to communicate with family and friends, but is it appropriate to use instant messaging in the workplace?

“Over the past few years, electronic messaging has become widely used among workplace writers through computer-based instant messaging and chat programs, as well as through wireless devices such as “smart” cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) (Technical Communication, 62).”

Why is instant messaging used in the workplace?

Many people who work in an office will use instant messaging for short discussions, follow-ups, and immediate questions with colleagues and other business related contacts. Instant messaging has an advantage over e-mail because the messages are sent instantly in real time. Coworkers even use instant messaging to communicate with each other even when they just sit down the hall from each other or even when they sit in the next office or cubicle to the other person. Many people in the workplace also use instant messaging because the service is available on their iPhone and blackberry, these are phones commonly used by business professionals. Instant messaging is basically the text version of a phone call.

Instant messaging can be more beneficial for businesses that work in teams or have project groups rather than retailers or independent professionals.

Below, please find the 10 instant messaging Do’s and Don’ts:
  • DO adopt a user policy for instant messaging in your business
  • DON’T use instant messaging as a way to communicate sensitive or confidential information

  • DO organize your contact list to separate your business contacts from your family and friends

  • DON’T use excessive personal instant messaging at work
  • DO be aware that you instant messages can be saved and reviewed at a later time
  • DON’T compromise your reputation or your company’s liability in an instant message
  • DO be aware of viruses and related security risks while using instant messaging
  • DON’T share personal data or information through an instant message
  • DO keep your instant messages simple and know when to end the conversation

  • DON’T confuse our contacts with a misleading user


Dobrin, Sidney I., Christopher J. Keller, and Christian R. Weisser. Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. Print.

Texting: A New And Popular Way of Communicating By Daryl D. Scopino

Today, mostly every family have cell phones. One very popular feature of a cell phone is text messaging. Text messaging is the exchange of brief messages between mobile devices. Text messaging is very popular with people today because it is an easy and fast way to communicate. Ever since I purchased my cell phone, I found that I was communicating more with my friends, especially the ones who live in Connecticut and New York. I also found that it was much easier and faster to communicate and send information to people through text messages. Since I am fairly new at text messaging, I am becoming familiar with the ways people abbreviate words to make their messages as short as possible.

  • Here are some ways you can use abbreviations to make messages shorter:
  1. You can replace numbers with words. Ex. using "4" in place of for or "b4" in place of before.
  2. You can omit vowels in words. Ex. "txt msg" which means text message.
  3. You can replace spaces between words by capitalizing letters. Ex. "WhatTimeIsIt?"
  4. Also, you can use punctuations to form emoticons which express a mood or an emotion. Ex. :-) for a smile or to express that you are happy.
  5. Finally, you can use different abbreviations for various words. Ex. "BTW" which is short for By The Way, "CUL8R" which is short for See You Later", and BRB which is short for Be Right Back.
  • Remember, when text messaging, make sure you are aware of who the recipient of your text is.
There is no right or wrong way to abbreviate when text messaging. In some cases, you may text your friends and abbreviate words in a particular way that only you and your friend understand. If you were to mistaken your boss as your friend and send him/her a text message using your unique abbreviations, then your boss will most likely be very confused and can misinterpret what you have written. I actually had an incident like this not too long ago thinking I was text messaging my friend but, it turned out to be my mother. My mother was very confused and called me up panicking, thinking that something was wrong with me. So, to not have a whole lot of confusion and explaining to do, make sure you know who you are text messaging.

  • Text Messaging is convenient in specific circumstances.
There are times when it is not polite to call a person because calling can interrupt something as important as a business meeting or can irritate people that are around you in certain places. My former boss always said to text him before calling unless I had to talk to him about something that was urgently important. The reason for this was to make sure I did not interrupt the meeting that he was in or the tour that he was giving. Another good example, is if you are in a movie theater. It is very rude to have a phone conversation in the middle of the movie because it distracts the people around you from watching. Be polite, and text message the next time you are out at a movie or know that someone is doing something of importance.

  • For people that are new to text messaging like me, here are some more examples of common abbreviations and emoticons that you can use:

Work Cited:
  • Dobrin, Sidney I., Christian R. Weisser, and Christopher J. Keller. Technical Communication in the 21st Century. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2007. Print. (pgs. 331-333)
  • "Common Emoticons and Acronyms." Primitive Baptist Web Station. Web. 30 Nov. 2009. .
  • "Text Messaging, Chat Abbreviations and Smiley Faces - Webopedia." Webopedia: Online Computer Dictionary for Computer and Internet Terms and Definitions. Web. 30 Nov. 2009. .

Kerrilynn M's Quick Overview of Resources

Researching is the first step in writing a professional document. It is so important that you, as a writer know where to go for the information you are looking for. Most of the time you would not trust a personal website for credible information. Here is a quick guide to help to decide where to go for different types of information.

First of all, you need to decipher between a primary and a secondary source. A primary source is a source you can rely on completely. Primary sources are sources that provide information in “its original form.” Secondary sources provide information from primary sources, but the source tweaks it a bit. The authors of Technical Communication describe it as “interpreting, evaluating, summarizing, describing, or commenting on them.” I like to think of it has secondary sources getting their information from primary sources.

Popular Sources:

The World Wide Web – the internet is a great source of information if it is used correctly. Search engines, such as Google, or the newest one, Bing, are great assistants. The internet is great for finding secondary sources but there are a few down falls to it as well. Much of the information is unreliable. Anyone, anywhere can post information on the internet. Be sure the author is a credible author if you are going to use information from him or her. Also, beware of a website trying to charge you for information. Many newspaper websites charge for a dated article. Do not fall for that; your local library will most likely have old newspapers on record. Databases are also very helpful, and are full of scholarly resources.

Intranets – an intranet is an internet that is meant for one place, for example your work place may have an intranet. If you are writing a document pertaining to work, it is very likely you will find relevant, and credible information on your intranet. Give it a shot!

Books – okay, I know this is old school, but books still contain great information! It is possible to view many book online, but believe it or not, I find navigating through a physical is easier than the electronic version.

There are ways to conduct your own research as well…

Observing – observing something yourself gives you the advantage of that first hand information. You will not rely on someone else’s evaluation when observing something on your own.

Interview and Surveys – one of the most common things on television is interviews. You are able to focus on what you are looking for and will get the information straight from the source you are interviewing. Surveys are on a larger level and also allow you to construct it towards the information you want.

Experimenting – conducting an experiment allows you to test, and gain information on what it is that you are looking for.

There is so much out there that you need to be thourough and use the sources to your advantage. Also, keep in mind you can find your own research first hand by simply observing. Happy researching!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stephanie A's Persuasive Writing Tips


By stephlv3000 | View this Toon at ToonDoo | Create your own Toon

At some point in our careers, there may come a time when we need to write a persuasive message convincing others to act in a certain way. In order to do this, our writing needs to be effective and convincing. This style of writing may sound tricky, but these tips I found from should help:

  • Be confident

Use strong, unequivocal language in your writing to show your reader that you are confident and mean business.

  • Use the active voice

Using the active voice instead of the passive voice will cause your writing to be more direct and concise.

  • Do your research

You must have your facts straight if you want your writing to be persuasive and taken seriously.

  • Use proper grammar and spelling

In order to be convincing, your writing must be grammatically correct. Errors will cause people to question your abilities.

These helpful tips can help anyone to write more persuasively!

For more of these great tips, check out this site:

Writing Effective E-mails

Due to the amount of technology now available, most people use e-mail as a main source of communication on a daily basis. E-mail provides the convenience of speed because the message can be delivered by the sender to the receiver in a matter of seconds. Price is another advantage of e-mail. By using e-mail as a method of communication, businesses are able to save money on shipping and mailing fees as well as photo copying and printing costs. E-mail also provides a convenience and organizational factor. E-mail is convenient because it is easier to use than the postal service. E-mail provides organizational tools by assigning a date and time to each email sent and received.

Since e-mail is so important for communication in the workplace, it is necessary for students and current employees to become knowledgeable on how to write an effective e-mail. One of the first steps to writing an effective e-mail is to choose an appropriate e-mail address. If you are going to be presenting people with professional information, you do not want your e-mail address to appear unprofessional. The second step to writing an effective e-mail is to use appropriate subject lines. If you are able to be specific in the subject line of our e-mail, then you are more likely to receive a quick response from your recipient. Before sending any e-mail, please be sure to edit and proofread all messages before sending them. If your e-mail spears to be sloppy and careless, your recipient may believe that you are unprofessional. When you are sending an email, you should be careful not to capitalize unnecessary words or letters because the e-mail may be interpreted by the recipient in a different matter than you originally intended.

On the website,, Dennis G. Jerz provides the top ten tips to writing an effective email.
• Write a meaningful subject line
• Keep the message focused and readable
• Avoid attachments
• Identify yourself clearly in the e-mail
• Be kind in your e-mal, never write in anger
• Proofread all e-mails before sending
• Don’t assume that your privacy is protected
• Distinguish the difference between a formal or informal situation
• Respond to all e-mails promptly
• Show respect and restraint

Dobrin, Sidney L., Christopher J. Keller, and Christian R. Weisser. Technical Communication in the Twenty-first Century. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

"E-Mail: Ten Tips for Writing It Effectively." Dennis G. Jerz. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. .
The Business of Business Abbreviations

So, you’ve been interviewed. You’ve been hired. You’ve written documents in professional language and throughout this process, you’ve seen countless abbreviations. Abbreviations and acronyms are the shortened versions of words which are use commonly. Abbreviation are used to save space, time and because the words they reference are specific enough that they cannot be easily confused with other words, but are common enough that abbreviating them saves a significant amount of effort. Chances are, sometime in your professional career you’ve seen, written or seen and written some form of abbreviation, whether it is a title, like Dr. or Mr. or CPA, or it is place like FL, FGCU or USA. But there are common business abbreviations which you should know. Especially now, in the digital age, where e-mail and other forms of electronic communication make abbreviations more common and necessary in everyday professional writing it is important to keep up to date with these common word replacements.

Basic common abbreviations:

These abbreviations are used all the time, usually without our conscious knowledge, in all sorts of professional business documents. These include:

As previously mentioned, titles like Mr., Ms., Dr., Sr.

Places are commonly abbreviated as I mentioned earlier as well. Continents, countries cities are all abbreviated in common writing. EU, UK, NY, STL.

E-mail and letter Abbreviations:

Among the most common forms of correspondence in the professional world in the 21st century, e-mail has created a whole new form of internet abbreviations. These along with older abbreviations used in letters before the advent of the internet include:

Asap, as soon as possible. Tells the reader that the action specified needs to be done… asap.
Cc, carbon copy, when you send a copy of a letter to more than one person, you use this abbreviation to let them know.
enc., enclosed. This is used to inform the reader that something has been enclosed with the document.
pp, per procurationem this Latin phrase is used to let the reader know that you are signing in lieu of the person who was actually supposed to sign a document.
ps, postscript. A postscript is something that you wish to add at the end of a written correspondence.
Pto, please turn over. This lets the reader know that the correspondence continues on the back of the paper. Not used in e-mail correspondence as e-mails do not have a front or back.
RSVP = "Répondez s'il vous plaît", which literally translates into “respond please”.

These are just a few of the many abbreviations you will no doubt encounter as a business professional. You will likely also encounter some abbreviations specific to your industry or business, like accounting or law. Learning and using these abbreviations is crucial to your development as a business professional.

P.S. Please follow this link to enjoy a humorous video on abbreviations.


"MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide: MLA 2009 Abbreviations - The OWL at Purdue." Welcome to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). Web. 24 Nov. 2009. .
"Formal Letter Writing Tips - Articles -" English Language (ESL) Learning Online - Web. 23 Nov. 2009. .
"Why we use the abbreviations we use (or not) | The Editors Desk | STLtoday." St. Louis Sports, News, Jobs, Classifieds, Entertainment & Weather. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. .
"YouTube - talk about abbreviations." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. .

Alen Fidahic Effectively Organizing Documents

Organization is defined as the coherent arrangement of information in ways that make sense to and are useful to readers. Organizing work-related documents is extremely important because the writer’s ideas must be clearly stated. If the writer’s ideas are all scattered throughout the document, readers may stop reading the document. Many active individuals like to read material they can clearly understand and that is straightforward. There is not a whole lot of time for a busy audience to be reading a document that is hard to follow. Several ways a writer can organize their document consist of stating a firm purpose, addressing the purpose to the intended audience, and applying the information in a well developed strategy.

The first thing a writer must do before starting to write a document is to have an original and solid purpose in order to communicate information more efficiently. It is relevant to have a purpose when writing because the writer must have an outline to follow all through the document. A weak purpose will eventually lead to a poor document, but on the other hand, a well developed purpose will impact a reader more deeply. The writer needs to have a good idea of what they are writing about and why they are writing the document so both they and their audience can understand the purpose better.

After stating a firm purpose, a writer must address the purpose to a specific audience. The audience consists of the people who are going to read the paper. The writer might consider who is going to read this paper, what the audience knows about the topic and, what they need to know. Not all grade students will understand a scientific paper about stem cell research. When you know the audience you are writing for, you can express your information much more thoroughly.

Finally, after addressing the purpose to the audience, the writer has to organize their thought. There are numerous ways a writer can execute their strategy, but all in all the strategy will have to guide readers along an easy path. Writers should use transitional sentences and support their ideas, so the reader can follow the author with ease. Illustrating examples and facts makes it easier for the readers to understand the purpose of the document, since some may be able to relate to a similar situation. All strategies consist of organized and well expanded thoughts.

When an effectively organized document is published, readers will have a better understanding of the text because there was a distinct purpose, the specific audience was targeted effectively, and the text was written with a well developed strategy.


Miller, Patricia. “Addressing Your Audience”. Slideshare. Nov. 23 2009


“Stating Your Purpose”. Effective Public Speaking Skills”. Nov. 23 2009


Most Commonly Misspelled/Misused Words by Alissa A.

Misspelled words can cause a lot of embarrassment! Whether in a professional document, or a casual one, it is extremely important to be sure your document is perfect!

Imagine if you were the one who signed off on this banner behind Hilary Clinton? Do you think this person is still employed?

What about these tattoos? Most tattoo artists would notice a misspelled word and bring it to the client's attention, but what if the artist doesn't notice?!? Now you are stuck with a permanent reminder of your spelling mistake!

And what if you're a pastry chef? Perhaps the client gave you the wrong spelling, but wouldn't it be nice to know the difference and not be the cause for serious embarrassment of not only yourself, but of the clients, too?

Links to lists of commonly misspelled and misused words:

Remember to NOT always rely on spellcheck! Spellcheck doesn't catch misused words, like if you confuse accept with except or hear with here.

These mistakes can make you appear just as bad or worse! KNOW your language! And if you're not sure-ask me! I'm happy to proofread your work! Email Me!

Manuel Moscoso - Education of Writing

Writing can be so simple for us, but yet be a bit difficult when you know your work is going to be global. It is easy to sit down and write instructions on how to do something; however, will it be the same if someone from Europe were to read it? Will words you choose come across the same to them, or different?

When writing to a global audience, you need to make sure the words you choose are appropriate to everyone around the world. You have to make sure that the words you use will not offend someone from a different country, so research is a must. Some words that are chosen in English are not the same when translated to a different language, so words have to be chosen wisely.
Using slang is also a “no-no”. This is an example of slang. Not everyone will understand, “You better buy this exciting new item! They’re selling like hot tamales!” Make sure you use REAL terms that everyone can understand.

Speaking of “hot tamales”, humor has to be cut out when speaking to a global audience. Not everyone will understand your jokes, so just say what you have to say without any jokes or humor. Speaking from a personal experience, I tried translating something in English to Spanish and it just came out totally wrong! Therefore, be cautious in how you write things.

Lastly, when using numbers like measurements, clothing sizes, road speed, you have to make sure it’s understandable to all. For example, if someone is a size 6 in jeans, say the inches like 28 size waist plus the cm. Also, try not to shorten things like saying 24/7. Not everyone understands it. Say, “24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

To sum things up:
Choose words carefully
Sentences short/simple
To the point
Replace dialects with literal language
Do not reference pop culture
Avoid humor/sarcasm
Learn universal measurements, dates, and times


Rudick , M, & O'Flahavan, L. (2009). Web writing for the world: five tips on writing for global readers . Retrieved from

Kendall, N. (2009, April 28). Writing for a global audience. Retrieved from

The Importance of Using Memos in the Workplace By Daryl D. Scopino

Hey everyone! This week's blog is a discussion on using memos in the work place. A memo is a document that brings attention to problems and also solves problems. For example, a memo can address a new information such as policy changes, price increases or it can persuade readers to attend a meeting or change a certain procedure. Today, we have the capability to use e-mails. We choose to send emails over distributing memos because it is easier to use, cheaper, faster to distribute, and easier to store. However, there are some cases in the work place where a memo is needed.

  • Examples of when to use a memo over an e-mail in the work place:
  1. When the message is longer than a page on the computer.
  2. When the message requires careful formatting.
  3. The message requires detailed graphs and visuals.
  4. The message contains highly important information
  5. The message contains sensitive information
There are also many times where people find themselves in situations where they are required to use memos in the work place over e-mails to get information out. Here are forms of memos that you can use for specific situations:
  • Directive memos: Provides information about policy changes or tasks the readers should perform.
  • Field reports: Provides details about a field visit to an outside location.
  • Lab reports: Describes the results of an experiment, procedure, or study.
  • Minutes of a meeting: contains a written record of the participants and discussion in a meeting.
  • Progress/status memo: Supplies information about the status of a project or assignment (usually written by supervisors).
  • Response memo: Gives answers to questions asked in the past.
  • Trip reports: Includes details about the events and expenditures of a business trip.
Here are some samples of the different types of memos:

Work Cited:
  • Dobrin, Sidney I., Christian R. Weisser, and Christopher J. Keller. Technical Communication in the 21st Century. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2007. Print. (pg. 334-341)
  • "Online Technical Writing: Example Progress Report 3." PrismNet : Austin TX VOIP, Broadband Colocation, Web Hosting. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. .
  • "Types of Memos." Welcome to Writing@CSU. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. .

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kerrilynn M's Using Visuals in Professional Documents

Using visuals in professional writing can earn an employee points on their report, but can hurt them as well. There are many different uses for visuals in writing, to guide readers, to clarify, to enhance and to grab attention. Writers need to beware however, because there are many technicalities when it comes to adding visuals to a report.

When using images in a professional document, as the writer you must ensure the images establish the sense of professionalism that you wish to portray. There are different types of images that may be used throughout the document.

  • Using Color: Many people believe professional is black and white and nothing else. Using color enhances presentations when it is used effectively. Color can be used to draw attention, to organize or identify parts of a presentation, or to simply make it look better. Make sure that you are using the right colors for the right purposes, for example, warm colors draw attention. To add to that, colors can change, or enhance a mood. Red is a color that is known to be associated with anger. For more information on using color in professional documents take a look at the power point provided by Owl at Purdue.

  • Icons: Icons are used to trigger the reader’s mind to think about what the writer wishes them to think about. For example, a logo. A logo is a small visual that not only is a symbol representing an idea, but it will most likely remain in the readers’ memory for a long time.

  • Graphs, Charts and Tables: These types of visuals are used in more formal presentations. If your task as a writer is to portray numbers, and figures, then a graph is the best way to go. It is complicated for both a writer and a reader to follow a detailed narrative about this years budget compared to the last ten years. It is much easier and more organized to make a graph portraying this information. There are number of graphs, charts and tables to choose from. It all depends on what type of information you are working with. For example, a pie chart is used to visualize how much of something was spread out in certain areas. A good example of this is a budget again, one splits their income to pay all their bills, certain percentages of the income goes to different areas and a pie chart adequately displays those numerics. For help on constructing graphs check out the YouTube videos posted at the bottom of the page. Also, this is a link to a site that gives examples of graphs, and explains the differences between them.

  • Photographs: Photographs are actually used a lot on professional reports. Everyone has seen photographs in report at one time, for example instructions for putting a shelf together. Many companies take pictures of the actual steps for the reader/buyer to follow.

  • Videos, and Animation: For online viewing, as a writer you may want to include videos and/or animation. Videos, like photographs may be used for many things. Videos can give instruction, guidance, explain more thoroughly, or even entertain. Animation accomplishes much of the same tasks, but is mostly used for showing things that are non existent.

It is crucial to use caution when you are using images or illustration in a professional document. Make sure that you are using them tastefully; do not overwhelm your reader with pointless pictures. To add to that, if a graph is used, be sure it is the correct graph, or the information may be misunderstood by the reader. Most of all, do not forget that you are writing this document for professional purposes. Comedic images and so forth may not be appropriate. It is ok to digress from the old black and white once in a while!


Dobrin, Sidney I., Christian R. Weisser, and Christopher J. Keller. Technical Communication in the 21st Century. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2007

Monday, November 16, 2009

Once you are hired: Professional Writing in Accounting

First off, let us ask a quick question. What do accountants write? You've been hired and now you need to correspond with your supervisors and colleagues in the appropriate professional language. So back to our question, what will you be writing as an accountant?


Professional business memos follow a strict format, as do most memos. But business memos tend to be more formal so following the proper memo structure is important. This format may vary from company to company so it’s important to learn the specifics for your particular workplace. In general though, a memo follows this format.

To: Recipient name and job title
From: Your name and job title
Date: Date the memo was written or sent (sent is the standard but your company may vary.)
Subject: Topic of memo

This heading provides all the necessary information as an introduction so that the recipient knows what to expect in the memo. Again this type of correspondence is especially more formal so always use full names and titles where appropriate, never nicknames. The subject is also of interest in that you should make sure it clearly and concisely states the purpose of the memo. For example:

Subject: Behavior
Subject: Appropriate Office Behavior

Which more clearly states the purpose of the memo?

Body and Closing

The body should describe more specifically, what the subject alluded to. It should give support for any conclusions drawn or any actions being taken. An action should be part of the memo, in other words, the memo should be asking it recipients to do something. The closing restates the action to be taken and should briefly thank the recipient for their expected adherence to the action. The ending does not need a signature, as the writer was introduced in the heading, but a signature is becoming more common. Check with your company’s format in this detail.


Another big part of professional writing in accounting is e-mail correspondence. Now, again, this is not like normal e-mailing where using smilies and other informal speech is allowed. A business e-mail is a formal document that requires a proper heading with dear and a title, as well as a signature. The body should clearly state purpose and what action if any should be taken.

Accounting Documents:

These types of professional documents usually follow some approved GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) formatting that does not allow you to change their substance for the obvious reason that their substance is wholly related to the finances of a company and any changes may cause financial and legal ramifications. So, in general, if you are an accounting, you know and strictly adhere to these guidelines.

In conclusion, we've discussed several forms of professional writing you may be asked to prepare or view during your career as an accountant and I hope that you now have a better understanding of how to best create and present these pieces in a manner consistent with you professional goals.


"Business Memo Format - LoveToKnow Business." Starting A Business | Home Based Business | Business Cards and more... Web. 17 Nov. 2009. .

"Strategy Memo." Comment Central - Times Online - WBLG. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. .

Stephanie A’s Legal Writing Tips

For those of us interested in working in the legal field, it is important to have a good understanding of the type of writing that will be required. Legal writing is actually quite different than other styles of writing, so I thought I would do a little research to find useful writing tips that can help those interested in working in a legal environment.

The University of Miami School of Law offers some great advice on how to become a better legal writer. Here are some of the tips that stood out to me:

  • Avoid using the Passive voice

Legal writing should be persuasive. When you use the passive voice, it sounds like you are unsure of yourself, and it lacks clarity. Instead, use the active voice to make your writing more direct and effective.

  • Avoid wordiness

Unnecessary phrases tend to make legal writing cluttered. Try to use short, concise phrases instead. For instance, do not use “due to the fact that” when “because” will suffice.

  • Use gender-neutral language

Avoid using masculine nouns and pronouns for general reference. Use gender-neutral synonyms instead, such as “worker” instead of “workman,” and “persons” instead of “men.”

  • Be consistent

Clear legal writing requires consistency. Once you pick a term, use the same term for each reference. For instance, if you use the word “case,” do not change it up with “a piece of litigation” or “suit.” This may cause confusion. Just stick with the same term. It is more important to be understood than to seem repetitious.

I hope these tips will be helpful to anyone planning on working in the legal field. Legal writing is a bit tricky, but with these tips we should be on our way to becoming better legal writers!

For more of these great tips, check out this website:

Alen Fidahic Preparing For A Job Interview

After completing an intensive and demanding resume, many candidates search for potential jobs. A resume is an extremely important and critical part of a job interview, but preparing for a job interview is crucial as well. Many people are often stressed and nervous when planning for an employment opportunity. Getting ready for a job interview can give you an advantage to getting hired. Here are some tips on preparing for intimidating job interview.

· Before arriving to a job interview, make sure you become familiar with the company and a little regarding the organization.

· Be able to briefly describe your previous job experiences and how they relate to the job you are applying for.

· Prepare to answer broad question like “Why should I hire you?”, Why do you think you are qualified for this job?”, and “Why do you want this job?”

· Practice interviewing with friends or family to improve your answers.

· Arrive freshly groomed, neat, and in appropriate attire. Don’t go to an interview in jeans, a suit should be worn nearly all times.

· Never smoke, chew gum, or chew tobacco.

· Arrive at least fifteen minutes early and know where you are going.

· When you meet your interviewer greet them with a firm handshake, and obtain their name. Address them according to their name.

· Most importantly relax and present proper manners. Do not slouch, or use slang. Also promote eye contact.

· Ask questions about the company and don’t ask about the salary or benefits until you have been offered the job.

· Remember to shake the interviewer’s hand before leaving the interview.


“Occupational Outlook Handbook." United States Department of Labor. 17 Dec 2007. Web. 16 Nov 2009. .