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Lead Buzz 03/05

Well-written business documents, leadership qualities and more

Write On

Too many business documents are too long and written from the writer's perspective instead of the reader's perspective, says Deborah Dumaine, author of Write to the Top: Writing for Corporate Success and founder of Better Communications, a Lexington, Massachusetts, firm that helps employees improve their writing skills. "Grammar isn't the biggest problem in business writing; it's getting the message across," she says.

Well-written documents help firms seem larger and more established. Better writing also boosts employee productivity, Dumaine says: Her clients report a 73 percent increase in productivity after employees are trained to write more effectively, since employees aren't composing documents that require going "back and forth to clarify," she says.

Private companies such as Dumaine's offer writing programs that average $200 to $600 per employee. Community colleges offer writing classes, too. Avoid programs where employees will get lectures on writing instead of getting practice.

If a class is too costly, give employees a book about business writing to keep at their desks, or create a bookshelf of writing resources. Who knows? Your company could have the write stuff after all.

California is the top state for entry-level job opportunities, with


of all entry-level jobs nationwide.
Statistic Source: MonsterTrak


of Americans feel integrity/morality is the most important characteristic defining a true leader; intelligence is second, with


Statistic Source: American Demographics/Zogby International

This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »