Below are some tips for each paragraph of the Exercise 7.13 assignment:
I’ve made great progress on the college internship program for our company. Though the program isn’t yet ready for implementation, I can’t believe I’m far from making it so. First, eliminate as many of the “I’s” as you can. Focus on the reader; remember all documents benefit from using “you-attitude.” Next, eliminate the vague word “great.” Even summary statements can provide concrete detail. Instead of “great progress,” offer specifics by answering the “five W” questions of WHAT, WHY, WHEN, WHO, and WHERE. Not all the “five W’s” will apply, but think of them to give you ideas for detail.
To date, I’ve drafted a plan for the program, contacted several HR managers at comparable companies about their programs, and established a proposed budget for the program. Here’s your opportunity to elaborate. Again, use the”five W’s.” Consider: WHAT the plan entails. WHO was contacted (give names) and WHERE are they located? WHEN was all this done? Don’t limit yourself to these questions. Ask answer more to get more detail.
Consider too, that this letter comes from a subordinate to a superior. Hence, it’s even more important to emphasize what the reader (the superior) wants to know and how the reader will benefit. Perhaps the plan includes hiring interns who can relocate to locations across the country; this helps Bob Smith, the Director of Human Resources, recruit talented new managers. You can use this benefit in your letter, but do come up with some of your own. Make the benefits specific and positive.
I’d be further along, but Rob made a mistake when he contacted State University about the program. He accidentally indicated the program would begin in 2010, but year is actually 2011. It is a silly mistake, but not a fatal one. I wouldn’t worry about the error, as it shouldn’t be a problem to fix it. Use positive words! Eliminate the words “mistake, accidentally, silly, fatal, worry, error, not, problem and fix.” If a negative is truly not important, omit it. Again focus on “you-attitude,” on what the reader wants to know–in this case, the reader wants to know WHAT has been done. Focus on what has been accomplished, not on blaming, not on “fixing.” Use positive words like accomplish, complete, and so forth.
If you have any questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to contact me. The word “hesitate” is listed in the book as a negative word. This is one of those phrases that writers include when they don’t know what else to write. Another phrase you’ll encounter is “feel free.” Just write: “Please contact me if you have questions.”
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