Getting Started Quickly, Easily (Part 6): Formats: Because Writing is a Visual Art

Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked about how to get started quickly and easily with your business writing.  This week in Part 6, my focus is on Formats: Because Writing is a Visual Art.

We usually think of “writing” as being sentences and paragraphs—the way writing looked when we were in school. What we learned in school is called the narrative format. Some alternative formats are:

  • Outline
    This is just a listing, mostly good for an agenda or checklist.Example:
    – XXXXX
    – XXXX
    – XXXXXX
  • Narrative/Outline
    Combining the outline with the narrative creates a dynamite “one size fits all” format. It is the best way to use the bite-at-a-time principle to present information in the easiest to understand, easiest to remember, way. Example:
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    -XXXXXX
    -XXXXXX
    -XXXXXX
  • Question/Answer and Problem/Solution
    Best used for explaining (Q&A), or presenting options (P&S), in a quick way.Example:
    QUESTION
    : XXXXXX
    ANSWER
    : XXXXXXXXXX
  • Log
    The log format can be easily adapted for a variety of uses. It is an excellent format when you have a great quantity of information going to a number of people, but not everyone needs to read everything.Example:
    XXXXXX                              XXXXX
    XXX                           XXXXXXXXX

I hope that you’ve found this post useful!

Gail Tycer is a strategic business communication authority: professional speaker; writer, author, editor; coach, consultant, facilitator, and strategist. More free business writing tips from Gail Tycer are available here, and information about Gail’s Business Writing workshops is available here.
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