Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Writing Phase

Writing consists of using a sequence of letters, characters, symbols, tactile signs or words to form a
thought. However, writing style is the manner in which you choose to present information to the reader.
This includes word choice, sentence structure, paragraph flow, punctuation and other factors associated
with the writing phase.
As presented in Chapter Three, knowing the reader(s) and purpose determines the style and tone in
which your content is written.When strategically applied, these writing techniques eliminate 5-D readers:
Distracted, Disinterested, Disengaged, Disenchanted and Discouraged.
Manual Techniques
This chapter presents nine practical techniques for writing business and technical documents: Triangle
and Inverted Triangle, Expanding, Planning-the-Piece, The P-F-S Rule, Mathematical Formulae, Venn
Diagram, FencePost Scheme, Coring and Endings. However, some are best used for technical writing by
a Subject Matter Expert (SME). These techniques reinforce the four characteristics of effective writing as
defined by the American Management Association (see Tip Sheet Four). They ensure that relationships
among ideas are clear and flow smoothly from one section to the next.
Triangle and Inverted Triangle
When writing your document, you have two options for presenting the information: triangle or inverted
triangle. Using the triangle approach requires putting the most important information at the top, in the
beginning of your report or correspondence. Whereas when using the inverted triangle, you “set the
stage” by presenting background information first and the main point last.


The Expanding Technique helps develop a topic sentence or key statement that expresses the main
focus of your document. Normally it’s placed at the beginning of your document in the introduction.
Expanding adds substance to short choppy sentences and aids in removing writer’s block. Once you
identify a short, choppy sentence that is incomplete or unclear, expand that sentence by asking and
answering six questions or less: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?


Send to the Human Capital and Development Branch Manager.
Who – already answered
What – the progress report
When – July 25
Where – Houston office
How – Federal Express
Based on what you want to emphasize, determines where to write your response in the sentence (see
options below).
• How – Using Federal Express, send the progress report to the Human Capital and
Development Manager’s office in Houston.
• When – On July 25, send the progress report by Federal Express tothe Human Capital and
Development Manager’s office in Houston.
• What – The progress report will be sent by Federal Express to the Human Capital and
Development Manager’s office.


This technique can be called “targeted writing” since it’s critical that every part of your correspondence
is clearly defined in order to achieve the desired results. Your message can only have one purpose and
you must know the target reader(s). Responding to the questions below helps you make word, sentence
and paragraph choices to produce the “write” results in your document.

  • What is the single purpose of your correspondence?
  • Who is the target reader? 
  • Who could be the secondary reader(s)?
  • What do you desire the person to do after reading your letter?

• What buzzwords or jargon should be used, if any?

• Which connotation, denotation or neutral words would be most appropriate?

Negative: There are over 2,000 vagrants in the city.

Neutral: There are over 2,000 people with no fixed address in the city.

Positive: There are more than 2,000 homeless in the city.

The three expressions above refer to exactly the same people, but invoke different associations in the
reader’s mind: a “vagrant” is a public nuisance while a “homeless” person is a worthy object of pity and

When planning-the-piece, consider choosing words for what they mean (dictionary or denotations) and
for what they suggest (emotional associations or connotations).

• Which type sentence should dominate the letter, memo or email?

Observation – a statement that can be verified by you through the personal act of seeing or being
directly involved

Inference – a statement that you have not personally verified; but, whose truth or falsity could be
established, either now or in the future

Judgment – a statement that can never be verified. It contains terms that cannot be measured objectively;
an opinion.