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Business Writing Today

Business Writing Today
A Practical Guide

Second Edition

384 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Confident writers succeed. Whatever career you aim for, good writing enables you to win more opportunities, perform better on the job and build the relationships you want.

In this practical, reader-friendly guide, Natalie Canavor shares a step-by-step framework that professional communicators use to determine what to say, and how to say it, in every situation. This guide shows you how to use strategic writing to achieve your own immediate and long-range goals in all media, from email to resumes, blogs to proposals, tweets to video.  Discover easy to learn tools and techniques to recognize and fix your own writing problems, without grammar lessons.

Business Writing Today prepares you to better understand the business world and communicate in ways that achieve your aims in today’s highly competitive work environment.


  • A new chapter explores writing methods used by professional journalists and PR specialists including how to create media releases, find information, and interview effectively 
  • ‘View from the Field’ boxes feature advice from professionals who share their first-hand insights on a range of cutting-edge communication tactics
  • ‘Success Tip’ boxes give practical ideas for succeeding in the workplace and leveraging your communication skills
  • Expanded coverage of the job application process includes best practices for writing successful resumes, cover letters, and networking
  • Expanded coverage of writing for oral communication covers planning for presentations, tips for crafting personal stories, ideas for using video and creating effective visuals
  • 'Practice Opportunities' provide exercises and activities to promote active learning, group projects and class discussion.
Part I: A Structured Planning System for All Your Communication
Chapter 1: Business Writing in the Digital Age—and You
Why Employers Value Writing

How Employers See Writing

Good Writing—and You

Business Writing Redefined for the Digital Age

How to Use This Book

Writing to Accomplish Goals: Building the Foundation for Every Message
Identifying Goals on Multiple Levels

Framing Messages for the Audience

Maneuvering Generational Divides

Writing to Groups and Unknown Audiences

Chapter 3: Putting the Planning Structure to Work: Always Know What to Say
How to Decide on Best Message Content

Choosing an Organization Technique

Adopting the Right Tone

Applying the Process to Challenging Messages

Part III: Writing Techniques
Chapter 4: Good Sentences, the Right Words
Assembling Strong Sentences

Applying Readability Guidelines

Choosing the Right Words

Using Vigorous Verbs

Knowing the Clues to Wordiness

Editing: Many Ways Can Work

Chapter 5: The Whole Picture: Creating Your Best Message
Writing With Short Paragraphs

Building in Good Transitions

Avoiding Word Traps

Avoiding Tone Traps

Editing What You Write

Fielding Common Grammar Problems the Commonsense Way

Part IV: Types of Business Writing
Chapter 6: Writing E-mail and Building Your Professional Image
Use E-mail to Accomplish Goals

Apply Strategic Thinking to the Situation

Build in the Right Tone

Use E-mail to Support Internal and External Networking

Chapter 7: Writing Resumes and Cover Letters
How to Write for a Competitive Edge

Creating Resumes to Showcase Individual Skills

Customizing Cover Letters to the Job

Writing to Connect with Employers and Networks

Chapter 8: Writing Letters and Memos: They Still Count
When to Write Letters

Planning Letters that Achieve Your Goals

Strategizing Letters for Common Situations: Using Internal Memos to Build Relationships

Part V: Writing Persuasive Messages
Chapter 9: Writing to Persuade: The Tools and Techniques
Deploying The Tools of Persuasion and Advocacy

Writing Techniques for Persuasive Materials

How to Find, Shape and Tell Stories

Graphic Ideas and Guidelines for Good Presentation

Chapter 10: Writing to Persuade: Creating Successful Business Documents
Writing the Executive Summary

Preparing Effective Reports

Writing Formal and Informal Proposals

Applying for Grants

Part VI: Writing Online
Chapter 11: Writing for Websites and Online Media
How to Translate Print Writing into Online

Planning a Website and Home Page

Creating Copy for Online Media

Developing Content Ideas

Chapter 12: Blogging, Social Media and Micromedia
How Business Sees Social Media

Using Social Media to Accomplish Goals

Planning and Writing Blogs

Using Twitter Power

Creating Online Profiles

Part VII: Writing for Oral Presentation, Video and Public Relations Purposes
Chapter 13: Presenting Yourself: Write Well to Speak Well
Finding Your Own Story

Developing the Elevator Speech

Writing for Presentation and PowerPoint

Working with Video

Chapter 14: Applying Journalism and Public Relations Techniques
Writing Media Releases and Pitches

Creating Headlines and Subheads that Attract

Gathering the Right Information: Research Tips, Interviewing Techniques and Questions

How to Prepare Talking Points for Many Occasions

Applying This Book’s Techniques to Additional Media and Channels of the Unforeseeable Future

Chapter 13: Present Yourself: Write Well to Speak Well
Finding Your Personal Story

Developing Your Personal Story

What You Can Do With Metaphors

The "Elevator Speech": Why You Need It, How to Write It

If You're a New Career Builder

Crafting Presentations and Speeches

Writing Tips for Spoken Media

Creating and Using PowerPoint Well

How to Plan and Use Effective Videos

Translating Verbal Ideas Into Visuals


Chapter 14: Putting Journalism and Public Relations Techniques to Work for You: Professional Strategies, Techniques and Tips
Reaching Your Audiences With the "New" Media Release


The book has great information and I was able to adopt it for the MBA program.

Dr Astrid Sheil
Communications , California State University San Bernardino
June 27, 2016

The content areas, especially the focus on digital media communication and on oral communication, seem useful and interesting.

Dr Alexis Poe Davis
Language Literature Dept, Mount Olive College
November 11, 2015

I teach scholarly writing for online doctoral students in Business Psychology and found this text to be user friendly, chapters are easy to apply without having to read entire text and very informative for real world application.

Dr Deborah Bowman
Accounting , Chicago Sch Of Psychology
September 25, 2015

A very practical and easily accessible book for my learners

Mr Daniel Slade
Work Place Learning , City of Bristol College
February 10, 2016

To improve students' writing skills

Dr Joseph Vella
Marketing , University of Malta
September 4, 2015

An excellent resource and a must read for all students.

Mr Paul Matthews
Business Administration , University College Birmingham
April 30, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 6

Chapter 10

Natalie Canavor

Natalie Canavor is a business writer, author, journalist and former college instructor. Throughout her successive careers as a magazine editor and public relations manager, she originated programs to help people communicate more effectively. Today she focuses on this work with practical programs for business and professional audiences, college students and writing instructors.Natalie taught advanced writing seminars for NYU’s MS program in public relations and corporate communication for six years, and created a number of courses and workshops on strategic messaging for businesspeople, professionals and entrepreneurs.Her byline as a... More About Author