Welcome to Dr. Jay's Power Writing Home Page, now an award-winning home page through the University's Effectiveness of Teaching Award. Many of my students will find these pages and links helpful in their writing assignments. In addition, for others visiting this home page, they may find hints that will help them in writing reports, memos, presentations, and letters. From time to time I will provide sayings, exercises, and concepts that will assist day-to-day writing.

Because this page is being created after numerous book readings and courses, I realize you want other links and ideas not entirely understood. I will provide an e-mail address, allowing you to communicate at any time.

Ten broad categories will be used to link the 51 links. The following contents hypertable includes the necessary links and added links:
  1. Everything You Need to Know about the Course
  2. So You Want to Know about Specific Documents?
  3. Benefit Yourself with Writing Exercises
  4. How about Some Writing Tools and Aids?
  5. Writing Requires Inspiration and Perspiration
  6. So You Think You Know How to Find a Position and Keep It?
  7. Oral Communication Requires Special Effort
  8. Become the Total Communicator
  9. Certain Skills and Knowledge Help You Succeed in College and Communication
  10. Hotlinks That Will Allow Even More Communication Experiences

By popular demand I am now going to try to classify the different links so it will be even easier to find the information and with minimum effort. Course materials will be considered first:

Frequently Asked Questions


Everything You Need to Know about the Course

Syllabus for CourseUpdated--July 31, 2006

Grading Standards

Class Policies for SuccessUpdated--May 25, 2006

Office Hours for Current SemesterUpdated--July 31, 2006

Books and Selected, Recommended References for the StudentUpdated--May 25, 2006

Different Assignments during Semester (Including Due Dates)Updated--May 25, 2006

So You Want to Know about Specific Documents?

Memo Analytical Report Updated August 2, 2001

You May Find Memoitis Updated April 2, 2001

Proposal Writing Makes Report Sail Updated March 24, 1999

Professional E-mail Needs Attention Updated April 21, 2003

Executive Summaries Complete the ReportUpdated November 27, 2006

Business Plans Make MoneyUpdated August 17, 1999

Article Summaries Allow ReflectionUpdated--April 16, 1999

Letters . . . We Get Stacks of Letters and Business Notes Updated--September 19, 2005

Benefit Yourself with Writing Exercises

Grammatical and Punctuation Exercises Excite the Writing Palette Updated--September 29, 2006

Style Makes You Word ConsciousCreated--March 24, 2000

Jargon, Weasel Words, and Gobbledygook Updated--September 10, 2001

Ah, Report Sentences and Phrases!Updated--September 3, 1999

Talking Captions Catch the Reader Updated

Answers Mysteriously Appear Updated--February 26, 1999

English As Second Language Students Need Special CurrencyUpdated--October 13, 2003

How about Some Writing Tools and Aids?

Make Your Bibliographies Count Updated--September 10, 2003

Spelling Gives Me Trouble Updated April 17, 2006

Become a Verbivore Updated March 20, 2002

Bytes Become Bits Updated--February 16, 2000

Readability Helps the Level Updated--March 27, 2000

Questions, Questions, and More Questions Updated--April 19, 1999

Define Your Search Engines with Keywords Updated--October 8, 1998

Tables and Charts Enhance Reports (Including Tie-In and Makeup) Updated--April 14, 2000

Proofreading Strikes the Mark Updated--September 22, 2006

Writing Requires Inspiration, Time Management, and Perspiration

Inspiration Requires Perspiration Updated--January 8, 1999

Miscellaneous Thoughts from Anywhere about Good Writing Updated April 3, 2003

Creativity Causes Juices to Flow Updated, June 29, 2004

Time Management Helps Communication Life Updated--February 5, 1999

So You Think You Know How to Find a Position and Keep It?

Sharpen Up Your Resumes and Employment Communications Updated--February 5, 2007

Network Your Way to Success Updated--October 27, 2006

Successful Job Interviewing Updated--November 1, 2006

Oral Communication Requires Special Effort

Conversation Requires Listening Updated--April 2, 2003

Listening in the Information Age Updated--September 3, 1999

Presentations Provide Golden Opportunities Updated-- September 3, 1999

Dictation Opens the MillenniumCreated July 6, 1999

You and I Have Simply Got to Meet Updated--April 19, 1999

Become the Total Communicator and Alter Communication Behavior

Blogs Provide Personal Communication New--January 29, 2007

Ethics Always Need Fine Tuning Updated--September 24, 2003

Etiquette, Dress for Success, and Ways to Succeed Updated--April 7, 2000

Recognize Office Politics As Communication Tool Updated May 24, 2006

Negotiating Ability Gives You the EdgeUpdated May 17, 2000

Nonverbal Communication Helps Us Live Updated--November 10, 1998

Personal Statements Require Thought Updated--June 14, 2000

Certain Skills and Knowledge Help You Succeed in College and Communication

Memory Makes World Go Around Updated--July 10, 2002

Reading Helps You Acquire Knowledge Updated--September 5, 2007

Notetaking Cinches the KnowledgeCreated--July 22,2002

Becoming a Pro at Being a StudentCreated--September 5, 2007

Check the Hotlinks

Hotlinks Provide Advice Updated--November 10, 1999

Provide the Syllabus

Although you can purchase the syllabus for this business writing course, you may want to look at the same material on the Web. You may want to download and just print certain pages of the syllabus for your convenience. The syllabus dates will change from semester to semester. Also, you may find deletions and additions to the assignments and the coverage in class. Please note the Syllabus purchased in the Bookstore is much more complete than the Web with special examples and special exercises. You should not depend exclusively on the Web for your syllabus for this class.

Know the Grading Standards

You will notice the grading standards in the purchased syllabus. Further, you may want to download and print the grading standards for handy reference in your notebook or somewhere else. Don't forget to look at both numbers when you receive a graded assignment. The top number immediately tips you off how you understand the content and the style. Style means your personal expression of your thoughts. In this case, you want to strive for active writing that encourages the use of verbs.

Operate with Policies

Policies mean how you can effectively act in the classroom. They suggest the importance of etiquette or executive etiquette in the classroom. You will notice that policies for success include the issue of late work and the class demeanor so important to learning. One semester I had a student who placed his feet on the desk or table and constantly interrupted. This type of behavior is not appropriate for the college classroom.

We are not going to spend our time correcting students who exhibit high school behavior. A college classroom is a place for learning, not expressing doubts about the requirements for etiquette.

Help Occurs with Office Hours

Office hours mean different things to different folks. For some people it is a chance to chat about the impending assignment. For others they can unburden their concerns in a face-to-face meeting with the professor. For whatever reason you should take advantage of the office hours and see your professor. So few students for one reason or another never visit their professors' offices. What a shame. You may need that professor's name later for a recommendation or to sign some paper. You should know what the person is like. Often, you can come to a professor you know for advice. Don't be afraid to visit the fourth floor and find your professor's office at BB4214. No one will bite, and you will be glad you came.

On your syllabus you are given office hours and other opportunities for communication. Please either come personally, drop an e-mail, or leave a voice mail about any concerns you have. Your professors are here to help.

Selected References Help Growth

Selected references allow you to peruse the bibliographic list and find those books that help you write more clearly. Often, you will find a book on grammar or punctuation for additional hints. You may want a book on business writing style. Additionally, I will provide titles of books on the Web that are quite recent.

Note the Assignments for Updates

Eventually, it may not be necessary for the bookstore(s) to sell the syllabus. You may find almost everything you need, including the weekly assignments, on the Internet. Those assignments will include letters, memos, parts, presentations, and out-of-class exercises. Please check this link for weekly assignments and any hints to help you prepare for these assignments. Also, updates will be included on the Internet. Remember that the most recent additions to the weekly assignments are on the Internet.

Memo Analytical Report Requires Different Interpretation

For years the College of Business required a full-blown analytical report bound with special parts. Now, our department is trying a memo analytical report with the essential elements kept. Your syllabus reflects a traditional analytical report that will require considerable modification. Check this Web page often for how the memo analytical report differs from the traditional analytical report.

Memos Affect Us All

Memos are the lifeblood of business. Few businesses can operate without some form of memo. That memo may be an e-mail in today's business, but it, nevertheless, is a memo. Please check this link about memos and memo formats for hints on preparing this important business document.

Proposal Memos Allow Us to Persuade

Proposal Memos allow us to persuade clients, customers, and committees we have some idea or product to sell. We put our bodies on the line with our backgrounds, our budgets, and our know-how to convince other about ideas worthy of funding. Every word has to persuade an audience we have the knowledge and expertise it requires. Proposals reflect a high form of memo writing that either sells or not. Your proposal has to stand out from the multitude. Please check this link for an actual example of a student proposal.

E-Mail Becomes Necessary to Know

A brave new world of communication has reached us. We now need to know how to send communications by e-mail and the proper "netiquette" for sending those messages. Please check this link for e-mail format and advice to improve the sending of these electronic messages.

Add the Polish of Executive Summaries

What part of the report is read first? You guessed it. It is the executive summary. Therefore, this link represents that most important part of the analytical report. Please check this link for summary hints that will make your report so much better.

Business Plans Allow Us to Become Entrepreneurs

Business plans are not necessarily included in every business communication course. Business plans differ from analytical reports, because business plans are constructed for the marketing, financial, and management know-how of the firm. The analytical report helps to solve a problem; the business plan helps to launch a business or an opportunity. You will see on this web site major thinking of entrpreneurs who write business plans for a living.

Article Summaries Allow Reflection

Article summaries represent a strange breed of summary writing. In my article summaries you are asked to provide a summary and a reaction. Article summaries are intended to see whether the student understands the reading material, whether a magazine, newspaper, or newsletter article. You are asked to put together the skills of precis writing and short paragraphs to create a shortened version of the piece. In academic terms the article summary might be called an abstract. Usually, an abstract refers to an abstract of a dissertation or a master's thesis.

Fundamentals of Letter Writing Need Emphasis

In most business communication books you see the format of a full-block letter, modified form, and simplified style. All that is fine, but the fundamentals of letter preparation go even deeper. What is an inside address? What formal close do you use in a business letter? Do you indent the paragraphs? All these fundamental questions deserve answers in this important link.

Grammar and Punctuation Add Ingredients

Grammatical and punctuation exercises are meant to cause the student to think about these subjects. Particularly, I will try to include exercises about agreement of subject and verb, use of antecedents, and interpretation of commas and semicolons. Also, it is never appropriate to think apostrophes don't count. One should know about the technique of using "of" to see whether an apostrophe is needed.

Style Makes You Word Conscious

Originally, these web pages did not possess a link on style. Style represents such an individual way of expressing ideas. Some writers can express their ideas in short sentences. Others take a long time to make their point with beautiful wording. That is style. Also, style includes the ability to keep the reader in mind and actively writing a thought. The web pages on style will grow as student interest in the subject grows.

Jargon Possesses a Double-Edged Sword

Jargon usually contains two elements: technical and gobbledygook. Sometimes jargon is useful when one wants to communicate quickly with acronyms and short phrases. An overworked phrase like "the bottom line" communicates quickly what the message is. However, overworked phrases like "per this letter" and "at this point in time" often turn off the listener instead of communicating the omessage. In numerous books by such well-known authors as Blake and Bly and Zinsser, jargon called gobbledygook is attacked. Jargon and gobbledygook are exercises not to be overlooked.

Report Sentences Need Careful Construction

This section of the Web page means sentences relating to the writing of Purpose, Problem, Scope, Considerations, Analysis, and Decisions will be included. You will have a chance to improve the faulty construction and illogical thinking implied in selected sentences and paragraphs.

Talking Captions Catch the Reader

Students continue to have trouble with talking captions. Talking captions are not questions or one word. Please check this link for examples of talking captions and exercises to improve your talking caption writing. As you think about talking captions, remember they are meant to stop and let the reader pause about your good thoughts. Even figure titles in charts require talking captions for effectiveness. Don't be upset if your company does not use talking captions; perhaps, it does not realize the value of this technique.

Answers Mysteriously Appear

Certain students have asked me for the answers to certain Grammatical and Punctuation Exercises as well as the Jargon and Gobbledygook. These answers are provided on their own link, so you will have a chance to do the exercise before checking your answer. This link may be withdrawn if the exercise is used as an out-of-class assignment. In the meantime, look for the link for answers to help you check what you have done.

English As a Special Language Students Need Recent Currency

If we are going to improve our understandings with different cultures, then this link allows us to gain insight. You are introduced to how Hispanics, Armenians, Middle Eastern, and Asian people handle the differences and nuances of the English language. You experience that global feeling so essential to understanding our world cultures. You begin to appreciate why English sentences are written differently in different cultures.

In a typical business communication you discover people from different countries. Not everyone speaks English the same way. It is wonderful to listen to the cacophony of sounds in a classroom where someone learned British English as opposed to American English. The richness of the Spanish language needs special emphasis. The Slavic and Asian languages add to the special quality of a classroom. All these languages may be the first language of the student, not English. Therefore, it behooves the instructor to appreciate some of the nuances of these languages that interfere with and change the writing of English sentences. Please check this link for special insights gleaned through courses and hard understanding of how the myriad languages change the teaching of business communication.

Make Your Bibliographies Count

When you start preparing bibliography for research reports, you need tools to make your life easier. In this link you will see ideas for bibliographical entries and ways to structure certain thorny problems in writing footnotes and bibliography. Don't forget under the hotlinks1.html you have a link with Purdue University for handling electronic sources, such as the Internet.

Spell Checker Doesn't Always Work

Spelling is not something to neglect in good business writing. You need to pay attention to the construction of words. This link about the spell checker not being the answer to all words is worth considering. I will also cite spelling references that help the business writer. Please check this link, and let me know what words you would like to add.

Become a Verbivore

To truly succeed in business, you need to become a verbivore with your business communication. You need a method to become a lover of words. Words will assume prominence in your tool bag when you write. You may someday write non-fiction articles or some type of serious publications that others will want to read. Your words are your money in the bank. Please check the site about verbivores for more help on increasing your vocabulary.

Technical Vocabulary Should Not Throw Us

Sometimes we just want to know technical vocabulary that relates to the computer or whatever. For instance, when someone uses the phrase, "spamming of the queue," it would be nice to know what that means. This link about technical vocabulary and computer terms should aid your understanding.

Readability Helps the Level

Students constantly need to check their readability of documents they prepare. A good device is the readability index. We have learned three different indexes, and you will find some discussion of these indexes on the readability link. Remember that readability indexes as guides are influenced by the choice of words, the length of words, and the length of sentences.

The Instrument Determines the Data

Certain students have asked about additional help to write their questions for their questionnaires and interview guides. This link about questions and more questions allows anyone interested to check out question examples and ways to improve writing of the questions. Question writing is a art that needs to be practiced.

Define Words Carefully with Search Engines

Search engines usually give researchers and students fit. Check this link about search engines for steps in better searching and the advantages of certain search engines. You will find your time rewarded, because search engines can add to your bag of tricks in finding better data.

Tables and Charts Enhance Report

When a report writer composes the Report Proper (Considerations-Analysis-Decision), this person needs to illustrate points. Those illustrations are the tools called tables and charts. These tools enhance your report as you communicate data and information. Readers expect tables and charts in well-written reports. Check this link for ideas on how to present your data effectively.

Proofreading Strikes the Mark

In my opinion, proofreading makes or breaks a report or any business document. One cannot be too careful. Proofreading techniques are rarely taught in school unless your computer or skills teacher emphasized them. People all know how to proofread. Just look for the errors. How do you find those errors? Do you know what to look for? Check this link for additional hints that may help your next proofreading experience.

Inspiration Requires Perspiration

Whenever someone is writing, hearing how others conquered writer's block or whatever problem adds to the enjoyment of creating a piece of good writing. This section of the Web page will be devoted to encouraging through any reasonable means possible your enjoyment of the subject. You may have dreaded writing a business communication in the past; that will change. Check inspiration writing.

Miscellaneous Thoughts Provide Bridge

Those titles and some thoughts about their contents will be contained under Miscellaneous Thoughts on Improving Writing to encourage contemporary thinking.

Business Communication Requires Creativity

In addition to the mindmaps and other creative endeavors, you will experience creativity whenever you write thoughtfully. Creativity requires planning and that spark from your right brain. Stay tuned to this section for DeBono's thinking and others about how to release your creative juices.

Time Management Helps Communication Life

Every semester I have students who ask me about how to better manage their time. You should check this link for specific ideas in that category. All of us need to manage our time better, and I have spent part of a lifetime studying that subject. Do you know about priorities? Are you able to avoid wasting time when crucial projects count?

Guerrilla Tactics Do Work in the Job Market

This section was created because many students and non-students graciously visit with me each semester about their concerns with the tools of job search: resumes, application letters, and employment letters. Now that 105 does not sufficiently cover resumes and cover letters, perhaps this link is needed more than ever. In this link I will provide some of the best thinking of writers and practitioners of the job search. Also, an emphasis on Federal resumes and their differences with KSAs has been added. So many good books and references exist. Please stay tuned to this link for information about the tools of job intelligence .

Network Your Way to Success

Networking represents a crucial part of communication. You need to meet people, especially individuals engaged in the same line of work you want to pursue upon graduation. Therefore, this link is devoted to networking your way to success. In this link you will find helpful questions, related hints, and suggestions for writing networking memos.

Job Interviewing Requires Insight

Most people, especially businesspeople, make mistakes because they do not understand the subtle communication of job interviewing. How do you know when to ask a question? Who should take the initiative in a job interview--the interviewee or the interviewer? How do you handle difficult questions? All these job interviewing hints are contained in this link. Many good books exist on the subject, but this link provides some summaries that you may use whenever encountering tough situations. We all need common sense when it comes to interviewing.

Conversation Requires Listening

Conversation is a most neglected skill in our society. The art of conversation is almost lost. To become a good conversationalist, you have to be a good listener. You have to be willing to learn from the other person as you practice the art of the conversation. Don't let the TV or other technological advances get in your way. Practice makes perfect.

Listening Furthers Communicating Power

Listening, a most neglected activity, needs some special attention. In addition to always remembering the S (Sensing)-I(Interpreting)-E(Evaluating)-R(Responding), certain ideas about listening deserve our best thinking. In this link you will be exposed to the best thinking about listening concepts.

Presentation Requires Thought

You have been asked to prepare a presentation. Obviously, you have something worthwhile to say, or you would not have been asked. This section of the home page allows you to visit with the authorities in how to give a presentation. For your benefit, I will also offer some ideas based on years of hard knocks about what to do and what not to do in giving a presentation. Therefore, please check the presentation hints for thoughts about this crucial subject in business communication.

We all have to give presentations. Work life is made up of presentations. Most people fail miserably at giving presentations, because they forget the information has to communicate. Look for opportunities to give presentations and the responsibility to show your audience you understand what you are talking about.

Dictation Opens the Millennium

When you hear the term, dictation, you may thinking of someone listening to a speaker and taking shorthand or some other abbreviated alphabetic form. In the truest form, that is dictation. Now we turn to technology. Technology has changed the way we dictate. First came dictating machines, originally conceived by Thomas Alva Edison. Dictating machines last well into the early 1990s, where lawyers and doctors especially take advantage of that technology. Don't forget the stenotype machine used by the court reporter during civil and criminal trials. Now we face a new kind of dictation, to computers without the help of a keyboard. That will certainly change the way we conduct business; a voice and our voice patterns make the understanding of this link necessary. Our communication through changing technology constantly improves with speed and simplicity.

You and I Have Simply Got to Meet

In this link you will learn about whether meetings have a place in business communications. Meetings are often considered a necessary evil, but there are many ways to improve the use of meetings. You should treat meetings as important from the leader's and the member's viewpoints. Both viewpoints contribute mightily to the success or failure of a meeting.

Ethics Always Need Fine Tuning

As you know, ethics is dear to my heart. We cannot operate effectively without ethical standards in our business communications. Too many people are trying to go through life with situational ethics. The issue of plagiarism will also be considered on this ethical link. Please check out your ethical standards by visiting this part of the Web.

Good Manners Mean Good Business

You are judged by the way you act and appear. A sloppy dress for success can label a person as a sloppy person. In this link you will be introduced to the thinking of Letitia Baldrige, Judith Martin, and John Molloy, among others. They will talk you about the need for etiquette and good manners. Manners make the person. Therefore, enjoy this link of etiquette, dress for success, and ways to succeed. I may even quote management thinkers like Peter Drucker and Tom Peters who talk about ways to success.

Office Politics Make or Break Communication

For years I have preached we need a course in office politics for anyone graduating. Why am I so adamant on this point? People fail because they cannot get along with other people. We cannot wave a crystal ball and expect office politics to appear. You have to appreciate what is going on in the boss's and the coworker's heads. To do that, you need the tools of office politics to survive and thrive.

Negotiate Your Way to Success

We all negotiate every day of our lives. We may not be aware of the tools, but whenever you try to sway someone to your thinking, you are negotiating. Negotiating has reached a high sophistication with seminars and courses now given on the subject. You can tricks of the trade from this link that will help you when buying a car or asking for a raise.

Personal Statements Require Thought

Every semester someone asks me about how to write a personal statement for law or some graduate school. Finally, I decided to create a link for personal statements that could be used ad infinitum. The link gives hints on what graduate and law schools are looking for when they read your personal statements.

Memory Can Be Developed

Jokes are constantly made about people's failing memories. None of us needs to fail to remember something. Make a practice of remembering names and events. Make it a challenge to remember, and use this link to aid that process.

Reading Spells Success

If there is one activity that seems missing in a college environment, it is more attention to reading. We have to read to succeed. Reading brings us knowledge. We become informed because we are willing to read. Check this link for hints on how to make your reading or textbooks or pleasure reading more productive.

Notetaking Cinches the Knowledge

Notetaking cannot ever be ignored in a college environment or anywhere where notetaking is necessary. Ideas for improving notetaking are included on this link. Notetaking is a skill that can be developed. It will serve you dividends the rest of your life.

Nonverbal Communication Helps Us Live

Nonverbal communication as discussed in most business communication textbooks means everything from the eyes to the handshake to the facial expressions. It includes kinesics or body language and the entire environment one finds oneself in. To many specialists nonverbal communication includes everything but written language. In this link you will explore the thinking of modern theorists and practical specialists about how nonverbal communication is employed. You will become more adept at reading people if you take to heart the thoughts on this link.

Check Those Hotlinks

Also, please refer to hotlinks1.html for additional help with writing skills and special exercises. In addition, this section features various links that allow you to learn about all kinds of writing. Furthermore, even some fun links are provided.

Send me an e-mail at jay.christensen@csun.edu

Copyright(c)G. Jay Christensen, 1997, All Rights Reserved

Last updated, Wednesday, September 5, 2007