EBW—Detailed Course Outline

This shows detailed contents of Effective Business Writing and how the course is structured. It would be impossible to cover everything listed here in two days, so we select content to emphasize and deemphasize depending on the needs of each group.

Each module represents one half day of training—approximately 3 hours.

Module One

This module introduces the writing process and teaches you how to structure and clarify your ideas.

Understand writing as a process: Learn a four-step process applicable to any writing situation. You learn how to create better quality documents in less time, every time.

Know your purpose and audience. These are essential and too often overlooked components of effective writing.

Plan your document to save time in the long run.

  • Generate your best ideas
  • Gather and organize data
  • Create an outline

Draft quickly and painlessly.

Persuade your reader. Frame your ideas as benefits.

Structure your draft to clarify your message.

  • Bottom lining: recognize your main idea and ensure it comes first
  • Headings: make them informative
  • Lists: use to break up complex information
  • Layout: reveal the shape of your thoughts so readers can quickly scan


Module Two

In this module, you learn the elements of style that help engage readers and maximize the clarity and persuasiveness of your message.

Be reader centred. Make your writing compelling by expressing your message from the reader’s point of view.

Be positive. Create a positive, upbeat impression.

Compose in a modern style. A friendly, professional tone demonstrates your approachability.

Be concise. Cut out the fat that slows your prose. Concise writing shows you at your most focused and energetic.

Use strong verbs. Make your writing more vibrant by using verbs.

Prefer the active voice. Evoke a personal connection and add clarity to your style by preferring the active voice.


Module Three

Learn to avoid embarrassing mistakes that erode your credibility and your organization’s with a lively refresher of grammar and punctuation.

Identify and correct these common grammar errors

  • Subject/verb agreement
  • Noun/pronoun agreement
  • Parallel structure
  • Dangling modifiers
  • Sentence fragments

Punctuation Review

  • Apostrophes
  • Commas
  • Semi-colons
  • Dashes, colons, quotation marks

Usage: identifying words that are often misused.

Capitalization and hyphenation


Module Four

A practical look at letters, emails and short reports. For some groups, we create case studies. For others, we have participants work on their own writing. For mixed or general groups, we provide templates and case studies for the following most popular career builders:

Giving Bad News Diplomatically

  • Use templates for structuring bad news messages
  • Learn to use a tone that will maintain goodwill
  • Begin smoothly, end gracefully

Short recommendations

  • Write a powerful opening paragraph that gets to the point and engages the reader
  • Structure your recommendation for a large, diverse audience
  • Persuade your readers
  • Edit for clarity and readability


Email etiquette

  • Write informative subject lines
  • Get to your point fast and write an engaging opening paragraph
  • Layout for maximum readability
  • Practice the rules of email etiquette to be a courteous and responsible user