Monday, March 7, 2011

The End

This will be my last post on this blog until further notice. I am taking a hiatus to reconsider its overall value.

On that note, it seems appropriate to write this post on the topic of "ending well." How does one end a business letter, a formal proposal, a trade journal article? Are there any universal principles that work for all forms of business writing?

Yes, there are at least two: Always end on a memorable note, and always make your ending sound like an ending. If your text simply peters out, no one will remember anything you said 24 hours later. If you stop anywhere besides at a logical ending point, people will be scratching their heads and wondering what was cut off.

In business writing, the most common means of fulfilling both purposes is the call to action. Do you want readers to buy your product, fill out a survey, write a letter of protest to Congress? Tell them so--don't make them guess--and tell them as the last thing you say. Don't give them a chance to forget by distracting them with four paragraphs of additional information.

And I close this post--and this blog--with this call to action:

Never forget that Good Writing Is Good Business. Be intelligent, be conscientious, be considerate, be professional--and let it all show in every sentence you write.