Plain English at Work: A Guide to Writing and Speaking

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Oxford University Press, May 16, 1996 - Business & Economics - 304 pages
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Everyday we write countless memos, letters, and reports without a second thought. Likewise, we give presentations, both formal and informal. Often this writing and speaking gets criticized for being jargon-ridden, obscure, or long-winded--in short, for not being in "plain English." But what is plain English, and how do we go about writing and speaking it? In Plain English at Work, Edward Bailey gives the answer, with down-to-earth tips and practical advice. Bailey, an expert in business communication, gives us a simple model for writing:
? Style: write more the way you talk.
? Organization: make your point easy to find.
? Layout: use headings, lists, and other white space so readers can see the structure of your writing. Psycholinguists, Bailey points out, have proven that the techniques of plain English writing are far easier on your readers; experience has proven that writing in plain English is easier on you--the writer, too. Bailey also gives you a wealth of practical advice for presentations including:
? How to remember your talk.
? How to design visual aids.
? How to design computer presentations.
? How to set up the room you'll be speaking in.
? How to develop a successful delivery style. Perhaps most impressive are the many detailed tips he gives here. For instance, when using a pointer, hold it in the hand closer to the screen (otherwise, you turn your back on the audience, making it harder to hear you). When designing a visual aid, use at least 28-point type, and seldom use all capital letters (which are harder to read). And when presenting a bar chart during a computer presentation, build it--a bar at a time--to focus your audience's attention. Drawing on two earlier and popular books, The Plain English Approach to Business Writing and A Practical Guide for Business Speaking, this new volume has been significantly updated. It includes up-to-the-minute information on using computers, computer graphics, and typography for your writing, and on using the same technology for designing your presentations. The result is an authoritative and comprehensive single volume that will be the essential guide for everyone wishing to communicate more easily and effectively at work.
 

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Contents

What is plain English writing?
3
writing a readable sentence
9
getting to the point
25
adding visual impact
31
A model for writing
39
MORE ABOUT STYLE
45
Passive voice
47
Abstractness
54
Designing a successful presentation
131
Organizing your presentation
137
Using examples
152
Remembering what to say
158
Choosing visual aids
169
Designing visual aids
182
Designing visual aidsfurther tips
200
Designing computer presentations
211

Punctuation
60
MORE ABOUT ORGANIZATION
67
Blueprint
69
Executive summary
73
MORE ABOUT LAYOUT
79
Typefaces
81
Headings
94
Bullets
103
Graphics
110
FINAL WORDS ON WRITING
115
The writing process
117
Supervising writers
122
SPEAKING CLEARLY EASILY
127
DESIGNING YOUR PRESENTATION
129
Involving your audience and using humor
219
Rehearsing
228
GIVING YOUR PRESENTATION
233
Setting up the room
235
Using effective techniques of delivery
243
Presenting visual aids
250
Handling questions and answers
263
FINAL WORDS ON SPEAKING
269
Helping others speak better
271
Simpler words and phrases
277
Checklist for speakers
281
Checklist for setting up the room
283
Index
285
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About the author (1996)

Edward Bailey has a national reputation as an expert in business writing and speaking. A consultant to top clients in business and government, he is Professor of Business Communications at Marymount University near Washington, D.C.

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