The Elements of Business Writing: A Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Documents by Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly

Category: Communication

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Why: I need to create introductory slides of my business today.
Goal: Learn to write a draft that obeys – all – writing principles.

Action: Separate Facts, Opinions, and Stats to Prove Your Case.

3 Key Concepts

  1. Learn principles and follow them.
  2. Business writing should be conversational.
  3. Your goal is to answer reader’s doubt with words.


How to separate facts from opinions?

  • Ask for data (proof).

This book lives its principles. The structure is easy to follow: a practical rule book for writing.

Principles of Composition

  1. Use the active voice.
  2. Use simple language.
  3. Write in a conversational style.

Principles of Organization

  1. Organize subjects according to the way your readers think. (answer all doubts)
  2. Use an executive summary: 3 major points about the document.
  3. Separate fact from opinion.


  • Cannot be proven.
  • Based on thoughts, feelings, or their understanding.
  • Can be changed.

I think…
I believe…


  • Can be proven.
  • Based on data.
  • Cannot be changed.

Research says…
Evidence shows…

Every man has a right to be wrong in his opinions.
But no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.

Bernard M. Baruch

Principles of Tone

  1. Write to express, not to impress.
  2. Give the bad news first.
  3. Be your most pleasant self.

Principles of Persuasion

  1. Stress benefits, not features.
  2. Tell the reader what to do next.
  3. Before making a request, give the reader a reason to respond.

Principles of Format

  1. Use wide margins to aid readability.
  2. Use numbered lists to present a series of ideas.
  3. Put names in “cc” lists in alphabetical order.

To sum up

Each element of writing makes your business document clear and concise. Moreover, it underlines the goal of writing: to get your point across efficiently.

Facts or Opinions?

Goal check: I learned a handful of business writing principles; they help me craft a professional proposal.

Wasu’s Review
( 5.0 / 5.0 )

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