Effective Business Writing

Effective Business Writing

Improve your career prospects by learning how to develop powerful written documents that draw readers in and keep them motivated to continue to the end. This course will help you identify gaps and eliminate problem areas in your writing skills.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
  • Details
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements
  • Instructor
  • Reviews



Do you have a nagging suspicion that a small improvement in your writing skills might also improve your career prospects? Don't let small gaps in your business writing skills prevent you from reaching your full potential!

It doesn't matter whether you're a clerical worker, an engineer, or an executive. If you communicate with others in writing, you need this course to help you identify and eliminate problem areas. By the end of this course, you'll know the secret to developing powerful written documents that immediately draw readers in and keep them motivated to continue until your very last, well-chosen word.


In this first lesson, you'll learn a brainstorming technique that will help make writing easier and more fun for you right away. You'll learn how to disentangle the efforts of your creative and critical sides, and you'll come to understand why both sides are important components of good writing. You'll also learn why writing is one of the best problem-solving tools around.

Here's where you'll learn a helpful system for organizing your writing, whether it's an email, a formal letter, or a company-wide memo. You'll start by picking out a document that you have to write anyway so that you can put your new writing knowledge to use right away. You may as well get some work done while you're learning, right? Next, you'll nail down why you're writing this particular document and who your reader is. A second brainstorming technique will help you have fun thinking through these two questions.

In this lesson, you'll learn to make your readers do what you want. Your readers will be happy, too, since they'll get what they want in this win/win system. You'll learn the seven basic benefits you can offer your reader and how to write the crucial first sentence of your document. You'll learn one more brainstorming technique that will help you capture good ideas, words, and phrases.

Master seven strategies for putting your ideas in order and learn how poor sequencing can sabotage your efforts. You'll also discover the best way to end any document. It's an idea that may surprise you!

Revising, formatting, editing, and proofreading may all sound similar, but they're four distinct activities. In this lesson, you'll learn how revision is a process of exploration and discovery. You'll learn formatting strategies that will invite your reader in. You'll also learn to be a ruthless editor and professional proofreader.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to write clearly and concisely. You'll explore three mistaken notions that lead business writers to use lots of convoluted phrasing and needlessly long words. You'll examine the pitfalls of using business clichés, jammed modifiers, trendy words, jargon, foreign words, redundancies, and hedging adjectives.

In the last lesson you learned what words to remove from your document. In this lesson, you'll learn what words you should include to make your business writing more compelling. You'll learn the four parts of the written communication process. You'll find out why the verbs and nouns you choose make a major difference. You'll also learn more ways to make the task of writing more enjoyable for you.

In this lesson, you'll look at strategies for good spelling and punctuation. Everyone needs this review! To keep it fun, you'll get to deal with the topics of spelling and punctuation by taking some easy quizzes. It's a chance to learn by doing. See how good your spelling and punctuation skills really are. You'll learn that punctuation is not a tyranny of rules, but an evolving protocol to help you communicate. Finally, you'll capture your weak areas on a Tips Card.

Why do you have to bother with grammar? You'll find out why in this lesson. Take the Grammar Blitz Quiz to discover your grammar strengths and weaknesses. It will help you fill in the gaps that remain after years of boring grammar classes. You'll learn why using the active instead of the passive voice can be a demonstration of your integrity. You'll also explore the traps pronouns set for those who are sensitive to gender issues.

Getting the tone right in business writing can be tricky, especially in email. In this lesson, you'll get to tackle your worst moods with one more brainstorming technique. You'll learn how to defuse any negative emotions that might get in the way of your problem solving. You'll also learn how your attitude toward your reader, your topic, and your own needs determines your tone. As you go through the lesson, you'll learn two easy ways to eliminate unintentional tone mistakes.

In this lesson, you'll learn why being able to say "no" with grace is a crucial business skill. A five-part format will give you a solid strategy for writing documents that say "no" while retaining the goodwill of your reader. You'll learn how to keep bad news letters, memos, and emails positive and helpful.

This lesson will provide an up-to-date review of all the ways that email is different from other kinds of business writing. It will teach you how to write emails that get the job done quickly and efficiently and explain their legal status in court. You'll also discover how to manage the tone of your emails so that you don't accidentally offend your reader.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Ann Linquist

Ann Linquist is a continuing education instructor on college campuses, at corporations, and with non-profit organizations. She has helped thousands of adults learn to tackle their writing tasks with enthusiasm. Having written everything from novels to newsletters, articles to ad copy, Linquist is able to address the writing needs of each individual. The breadth of her background ensures a powerful, involving learning experience that builds on the strengths of each participant.


After taking several types of business courses, I found the Effective Business Writing course the most beneficial to me! Ms. Linquist was always helpful when commenting on assigments and answering questions. I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to make writing easier and getting results!

I cannot even begin to express how much all your knowledge and advice has changed the way I think about things not just in writing but how I approach situations in life. I know that this course has run it's course and must come to an end. I really do feel like you have become an important part of my life. You have lent me a machete to my intellectual thicket and blossomed new ways of thinking and writing. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to make me a better writer and more importantly a better person. I hope that you can bestow all your knowledge and wisdom on the next group and I can only hope they appreciate you as much as I do.

This is the best writing class I have ever taken! I had a difficult time writing in college, which has continued into my business career. I recently received a promotion, which requires me to email top-level executives. I would sit for hours just typing and deleting. Writing is not second nature yet, but you have given me valuable information to get me well on my way. I appreciate mostly your timely and honest feedback. I will definitely be recommending this class to others. Thank you for developing a class that works.

We have a Winner! The class is perfect for folks who want to refresh and enhance their writing skills. The methods are fun, creative, and instructive. There are so many helpful things: Printer friendly versions of the lessons are a convenient study guide and a valuable reference source; Discussion area is great for interaction and feedback; Quizzes and assignments help you evaluate yourself; Supplementary material exposes you to a wealth of additional information. The experience is challenging and fulfilling. This course is a real confidence builder!

Your class was fantastic! Your enthusiasm, well-organized approach, caring attitude, and effective teaching style all inspired me to become a better writer. You gave me valuable tools to improve my writing skills and instilled confidence in me that by exercising what you taught and with continued practice, I can communicate effectively. And it was all done in an atmosphere of fun. Perhaps most of all, you made me think. Again, thanks, and may all you give be returned to you a hundred fold.

Your six week on-line course has provided more valuable information than eight years of higher education. Beyond the information it has provided motivation and confidence. Proceed to enlighten a few more students. (Not too many, as I do not like competition.)

You taught me more applicable writing skills and tips than any class I’ve ever attended. The lessons were short, useful, practical, and applicable to my daily written communications both personally and professionally. Your format using short chapters with multiples examples of the tips you provided in each lesson made the lessons powerful. I loved the fact you don’t agree with all the writing rules taught such as one-sentence paragraphs. Instead you’ve given me the tools to enjoy writing. I hope you will continue to share your joy of writing with others. You’re an excellent instructor with a natural talent at putting your students at ease and motivating each to do their best.

Excellent course! I actually teach college-level business writing, and was taking this course as a refresher to make sure that I was not teaching outdated material. I found the course useful and informative-- exactly what I was looking for, and sure to help anyone who wishes to improve his or her business writing skills. Thanks so much!

Thank you so much for teaching me to like to write. I couldn’t have completed this class without your consistent feedback and the hard work from my peers. This is my first online class and I felt like I was in a real classroom. I never heard your voice, but as I read each chapter, the words became an imaginary voice. I now cluster and dialogue before I take on any writing assignment. It’s fun, easy, and it helps me think through any problem that may rise.

This business writing class has been very informative and fundamental. For example, I’ve never thought about proofreading a document over and over again. I never even thought to write, leave it alone, and come back to it the next day. I perform each of these strategies and I’ve noticed immediate changes in my writing. Everything makes sense. Now I stay on topic, I include a benefit when necessary, and I tell the reader how to proceed.

I now have the courage and knowledge I need in order to approach any difficult writing piece. I have now mastered some important skills to get best results from my letters and emails. Thanks so much for all your help.

Self-Guided Course Code: T14512
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: ebw