20 Quick Tips for Business and Technical Writers

A Writing Checklist

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  1. Allow adequate time to plan, write, rewrite, and edit your document.
  2. Know your topic thoroughly.
  3. Identify your specific purpose for writing--and write to achieve that purpose.
  4. Keep your audience in mind from start to finish: adopt the "you attitude."
  5. Present information clearly and accurately.
  6. Use concrete examples to clarify important concepts.
  7. Define unfamiliar technical terms and avoid needless jargon.
  1. Use the active voice and passive voice appropriately.
  2. Avoid excessive nominalization (long strings of nouns).
  3. Begin paragraphs with main points; don't bury key ideas in the middle.
  4. Use imperative sentences when giving instructions.
  5. Use bulleted or numbered lists for items in a series.
  6. Anticipate your readers' questions and respond to them directly.
  7. Keep quotations brief and credit your sources.
  8. Use meaningful headings and subheadings to highlight your organizational plan and guide your readers.
  9. Use appropriate graphics to enhance and illustrate key points.
  10. Briefly summarize your conclusions or recommendations at the end of the document.
  11. Read your draft aloud as you revise.
  12. Cut the clutter as you edit.
  13. Proofread your text--and ask someone else to proofread it as well.