Level Three Everything

Andrea, the owner of the insurance consulting firm who discovered that her boilerplate business letters needed to be proofed using Level Two standards says, "My proposals are more complex, even though I send out only one proposal per subject and they're not huge. Five to ten pages is quite modest by some proposal standards. I once saw a grant proposal that ran over a hundred pages. But still, this is my bread and butter. It is essential to me that my proposals are perfect in every way.

"I used the assessment to figure out what level of proofing is appropriate for my proposals—Level Two, like for my letters, or what. My scores were as follows."

1. Your communication will be distributed only within your organization. 1

2. Using the Formality Index, you've determined that your communication is very informal. 2

3. Your message is upbeat and fun. 1

4. If your readers misunderstand your message, no negative consequences will result. 1

5. Your communication is short. 1

6. Your communication is simple. 1

7. Your communication includes only one section. For example, it's a 100-word newsletter article, a business letter, a memo, or an E-mail with no attachments. 1

8. Only one subject is included in your communication. 3

9. Using the Matrix of Persuasion, you've determined that your readers are on your side and that they have the resources to do as you ask; in other words, you've assessed your writing task as Easy. 5

"My score totaled sixteen—Level Three: Everything. This makes sense, given that my business success rides on my proposals convincing the 'powers that be' to hire my company. That means they have to be perfect in every way."

Proofing to Level Three standards includes assessing all of the elements listed in the checklists for Levels One and Two (see pages 128 and 130), plus the following:

1. Is your format correct?

2. Are there other items you could include, and if so, should you?

3. Consider how difficult or easy it is to read your text; is it an appropriate level of difficulty?

4. Are you using your readers' names enough? Are you using them too frequently?

5. Is your text specific enough to prove your points?

6. Have you evaluated the consistency of your sentences' grammatical constructions, bulleted lists, noun/pronoun agreement, subject/verb agreement, and other parallel construction issues?

7. Have you confirmed peoples' names by asking them if they're correct?

8. Have you added all information that could and should be included?

9. Are the margins correct, is the paper clean (or the E-mail intact), is the envelope of good quality, and are all aspects of the communication designed to achieve its objectives?

10. Have you looked at the document page by page to be certain that there are no awkward page breaks (for example, a section heading beginning at the bottom of a page)?

Business Correspondence

Business Correspondence

24 chapters on preparing to write the letter and finding the proper viewpoint how to open the letter, present the proposition convincingly, make an effective close how to acquire a forceful style and inject originality how to adapt selling appeal to different prospects and get orders by letter proved principles and practical schemes illustrated by extracts from 217 actual letter.

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