Business Writing as a Method of Persuasion

This blog post demonstrates my understanding of business writing. After completing the assigned reading on how to construct a business report, I developed the following guidelines for my students. As their final assignment, they will create a type of “business report” in the form of an instructional design plan. These guidelines incorporate my understanding of business writing, and the attached Committee Summary applies this understanding to my own business report.


Your final assignment for this course is an instructional design plan for the project you have been developing all semester. Think of this document as a report you would submit to your supervisor, manager or boss in order to get approval (and possibly funding) for your project.

This type of instructional design plan is a call to action, written in a professional tone. Remember, it should be persuasive, using evidence to move your reader towards a specific action.

The instructional design plan should incorporate your work from the entire semester, but in a concise format. Remember to eliminate redundancies and be succinct in your writing. The plan should include:

  • Introduction
  • Analysis of the learning need, the learners, and the context
  • Project goals and learning objectives
  • Details of your design plan, including learning tasks, technology, implementation & evaluation
  • Conclusion

When preparing your Instructional Design Plan, be sure to consider the following:

Target Audience
As you prepare your plan, consider your theoretical audience – who would be reading this plan and using it to make decisions about whether to move forward? What prior knowledge would your readers have – what do you need to define versus what they already know? Understanding your readers will help you to select language, tone, and content. Be sure to consider all readers – there may be both primary readers and then secondary readers who also receive your report.

Organization of Content
The plan will include many assignments you completed this semester, and you must combine those assignments seamlessly to produce one cohesive document. Organize your content by chunking similar material together. The document should progress from general to more specific. Elements should be arranged in order of importance, with most important up front. Each section should naturally flow into the next.

Tone of Voice
You developed this plan over fourteen weeks of intense research, reading, and writing around your topic. You now know much more about instructional design than you did at the beginning! Your tone should be one that instills confidence in your readers – convince them to trust you and your viewpoints. Use an active voice, be respectful in tone and choose non-discriminatory language.

Document Layout
The writing should be direct – be sure to eliminate redundant information and unnecessary details. Format your document so that it is easy to scan and locate relevant information. This means you should utilize headers to denote each section, and format headers in large, bold font. Incorporate bullets and numbered lists where appropriate. Use images, charts and graphs where they can reinforce key points. Don’t overwhelm your reader with content – leave ample white space on the page.

Grammar & Mechanics
As a final step prior to submitting your instructional design plan, copyedit your paper. Be sure to review all of the spelling, grammar and mechanics – and make appropriate corrections. For your report to be viewed as credible, it is essential that your structure is clear, your language is appropriate, and you conform to the standards of good writing.

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