Business Writing Essentials
Style

Guidance

Does it flow? Is it easy to follow? These are subjective issues. But because they are important to your reader, they should be important to you. Two simple techniques can help: transitions and links.

Transitions

Between related paragraphs, start the second paragraph with a transition sentence to connect them.

Connect to amplify: Repeat a key word or set of words.

... project managers X.

        Project managers also Y ...

Connect to contrast: Show differences between things.

... project X expanded.

        Project Y, though, shrunk ...

Connect to emphasize: Restate a key idea in a different way.

... project X was delayed.

        As the schedule slipped ...

Connect to expand: Show another aspect of an idea.

... causes project delays.

        Delays are not the only thing ...

Links

When a paragraph has related sentences, link them using words that guide the reader.

Link to compare:

in comparison, in the same way, likewise, similarly

Link to contrast:

although, however, in contrast, nevertheless, on the other hand, yet

Link to deduce:

accordingly, as a result, consequently, hence, so, therefore, thus

Link to elaborate:

after all, also, besides, for example, furthermore, in addition, moreover, specifically

Link to emphasize:

above all, indeed, in fact, most important

Link to order:

afterward, before, first, second, next, formerly, subsequently, then

Adding extra words? Really? I thought brevity is supposed to be a virtue! Okay, sure, most of the time. However, making it easy for any reader to follow your words and thoughts should be your primary goal. Transitions and links are helpful bits of social grease, the equivalents of facial expressions that help others understand what you are saying. Try it, you'll like it (because your readers will appreciate it).

Lesson: Guidance
Module: Style
Course: Business Writing Essentials