Introduction

This book combines—and significantly updates—two previously separate books of mine:

• The Plain English Approach to Business Writing

• A Practical Guide for Business Speaking

The goal of both books was similar: to help people communicate clearly and easily to busy people at work.

Plain English is the key. It helps you as a writer and as a speaker. Combining the previous books now gives you help in two very important types of communication for people in business: writing and speaking.

Here's what I suggest:

• If you think your more immediate need has to do with writing, just read the chapters in order. The writing part begins the book.

• If, however, your more immediate need is to give a good presentation, turn to Chapter 17 and start there.

If you decide to start with Chapter 17, though, I urge you to return eventually to the beginning of the book and read the part on writing. The writing and speaking parts of the book complement and reinforce each other.

You should find plain English a very practical, effective, and easy way to communicate. For me, and for many others, it has been a real breakthrough, a lifting of a burden.

I continue to express my gratitude to two people who helped lead me to plain English many years ago. One I never met: Rudolf Flesch. But I read his books and found them wonderfully motivating. The other person, Dr. Tom Murawski, is one of my best friends. He gave me one of those books by Flesch and has inspired me ever since.

Other people have been very helpful:

• Janet Hiller, my wife, who read and commented on everything. She is terrific.

• Brooke Bailey (my brother) and Cathy Bailey (his wife) for their excellent advice on the draft of this book.

• Sister P. J. Cahill and Professors Joan Feeney, Charles Hurst, Arthur Meiners, Robert Sigethy, and Maribeth Wyvill—my colleagues at Marymount University.

• Dr. Jim Gaston—friend and colleague for nearly 20 years.

• Don Insko, who made important contributions to the graphical elements of this book.

• Dr. Fred Kiley, Dr. Greg Foster, Dr. Joe Goldberg, and Ms. Judy Clark—my friends at the National Defense University.

• Reviewers Max Boot, Bob Brofft, Jim Casimir.

• Marilou and Edward Bailey, my parents; and Jeannette and Laura, my daughters. They provided inspiration.

My thanks to my students—both at Marymount University and in classes I have taught to my business clients—who contributed excellent examples of plain English for this book: Dr. Robert Anthony, Sharon Breighner, Alison Furlough, Michael Gallagher, Serge Illaryonov, JefferyJenkins, Brenda Jones, Michael Kopito, Sheila Marion, Doyle Mitchell, John Motz, Pennye Perez, Angelica Rayhrer, Danielle Rice, Guy Sahatjian, Susan Shelton, Deborah Tompkins, Brenda Wagner, Antoinette Washington, and David Witmer.

My acknowledgment to the Coca-Cola Company for granting me permission to use its trademark.

Finally, my appreciation to those at Oxford University Press: Liz Maguire (my editor), Joellyn Ausanka, and Elda Rotor. I am indeed fortunate to have worked with Oxford and with them.

Fairfax Station, Virginia fanuary 1996

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