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Elements of an Executive Summary

What is an executive summary?

Is it really just a wrap-up of the contents of an entire report or proposal?

Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Before writing one, the first question relates to its purpose.
Every document has an overarching purpose and a writer must know the purpose in order to achieve it well. If you are responding to an RFP or proposing to sell services to a client, then the purpose of your document, and thus of your executive summary, is to persuade, even if you are also presenting lots of information.

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Which is correct? Just Deserts or Just Desserts?

My daughter recently asked me whether the correct word in this idiom was “deserts” or “desserts”.  Feeling cocky, I asserted that the right word was obviously “desserts”, as in the sweet reward for a job well done. Well, I was wrong. And my teenager was gleeful.

The word “desert” means “that which is deserved”.  It comes from the French.  And it is used today only in this idiom.  Since in every other case the word “desert” is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable and intended to imply a landscape with little water, I and countless others assumed that the Sahara DESERT scenario was the only usage of the word.  How wrong we were.

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What's the Best Way to Deliver Bad News in Business Writing?

What’s the best way to break bad news? As the old torch song goes, “Break it to me gently.”  If your reader is likely to be upset or angry about your message, do not state your message in the first paragraph. Instead, give the basis and reasons for your bad news first. Give the reader the opportunity to figure out the message himself before you hit him in the face with it. By delivering the blow at the end of your document, you will raise the likelihood that your reader will actually read the reasoning behind your message.

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Shaving Off Excess Words

I have a dog named Marko. He is a German shepherd and weighs over 75 pounds; people generally consider him to be a big scary-looking dog.  The mailman would rather walk around the block than come all the way to our door with the mail if Marko is nearby.  And you can forget about the meter reader. Recently, we took Marko to the groomers and told them to shave off his excess hair.  A few hours and many dollars later, we picked up what they said was our dog.  Bereft of his shaggy mane, Marko looked like a weakling. We could see his ribs, and he looked frail and vulnerable. Without all that hair, the truth was revealed: fierce Marko is actually a 14-year old canine with arthritic hips.  This shaved-down version of our dog did not look scary anymore.

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Why choose WorkTalk trainings?

  • Taught by a professional writer. +

    These courses are not taught by a general skills trainer who happens to teach writing. Elizabeth Danziger has been published by major publishing houses such as Random House and Harcourt Brace. Her work has appeared in many national magazines. She is an expert writer and editor who brings her knowledge as a resource to participants.
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    With plenty of exercises and opportunities for interaction, the Worktalk trainings move quickly. Subjects that were terrifying in grammar school become fun and interesting in these outstanding programs.
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    In trainings all over the country, Ms. Danziger has enabled participants to streamline their organizing process, eliminate persistent errors, and drastically cut their revision time. Clients spend less time on key communications while producing better relationships and results. Sales people get more positive responses from prospects.
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