• Organize the steps you’ve detailed so they
correspond to the sections of your outline, and
make sure you have enough information for each
section. If any are lacking, go back to your
research and flesh them out. If they are lacking
because you discover they aren’t actually necessary, revise your outline.
• Finally, dive in. You’ll find you’ve done the
bulk of the work already, which should set you up
for smooth sailing now that it’s time to prepare
the finished project.
Every big project consists of all the work
that’s done along the way. It seems obvious, but
it can be hard to remember when excitement or
Breaking down big projects into smaller, easily identifiable pieces is the key to accomplishing
any big feat, whether it’s for work or not. When
you find yourself overwhelmed at the start of a
big project, remember that you’ll accomplish it
bit by bit.
See how this approach might work for your
next social media campaign, product launch or
business meeting. C
Kim Werker (kimwerker.
com) is a writer, editor and
facilitator of creative adventure who lives in Vancouver.
MORE IN ARCHIVES
search “Kim Werker.”
FOR YOUR BUSINESS
BY JESSICA NATALE WOOLLARD
IF YOU EMAIL your colleagues, you’re a
writer. If you post on social media, you’re a
writer. If you draft a report, design a poster
or chat online with a customer, you’re a
writer. Every one of us who uses the written
word to communicate is a writer.
Writing is often the primary way you
interact with people in business. The clearer
and stronger your writing is, the more likely
the reader will decode the message you
intend to send, then take the desired action
and conduct business effectively with you.
These five tips will help you craft clear,
persuasive messages to improve your communication with clients and colleagues.
•Reduce words that signal doubt.
Strong writing is confident and authorita-
tive. In order to be persuasive, the best writ-
ing takes a position. Sometimes, writers
cower instead of being bold; they use timid
language that diminishes their persuasive-
ness. Reduce words and phrases such as
“just,” “possibly,” “perhaps,” “almost,”
“could,” “apparently,” “somewhat,” “may”
•Put statements in the affirmative.
Using “do not” is a roundabout way of creat-
ing a negative when a synonym in the affir-
mative exists. For example, instead of
writing “Do not forget to order more paper,”
say “Remember to order more paper.” Other
examples: “not certain” becomes “uncer-
tain,” “did not accept” becomes “rejected”
and “not possible” becomes “impossible.”
• Replace the verb “to be” with active
verbs. Invigorate your writing by reducing
your use of the verb “to be.”
Your writing is stronger when you use
active verbs. Active verbs strengthen your
In the second sentence above, the verb
“strengthen” pushes the sentence forward
and adds colour.
•Keep subject and verb together.
Sentences are easiest to understand when a
central subject takes a central action verb
and the two are placed near each other in
the sentence. Here are examples of what to
do and what to avoid.
Sentences, when subject and verb are
separated, as in this example, perplex
Sentences perplex readers when subject and verb are separated, as in the previous example.
• Limit exclamation marks. An exclamation mark at the end of a sentence
won’t generate interest or add importance. If you use exclamation marks
beyond their function (after an exclamation like “Wow!” “Hey!” “How wonderful!”), use them sparingly. C
Costco member Jessica Natale Woollard is a
Tips to improve your writing for business
writer and communications strategist. ©
THE OLDER I GET, the more I look back to my
school days, feeling grateful for the lessons that
I was sure, at the time, would never be useful in
For example, had I known that writing a
book involves the exact same steps I learned to
take when I wrote my first science report in
grade ;, I may not have complained so much
about having to revise my outline over and over
again as a young adolescent.
These same steps can be used to tackle any
big project, really; they aren’t limited to writing
books or science reports.
When tackling a big, daunting project:
• Break it down. Write an outline that covers
all the information you’ll need to prepare or the
steps you’ll need to complete, in the order in
which you’ll do it. Use a word processor’s
ordered-list function to automate the number-
ing of your outline.
• Do your research and break that down,
too. Use index cards, a notebook or an app to
collect details and make notes on every step in
Managing a project
through small steps