San Luis Obispo Technical & Business Communicators

February 27, 2012 Event Summary

“Writing for Professionals: Choosing the Best Style for Your Content, Context, and Audience”

This timely event focused on the challenges we face as business or technical communication professionals when we sit down to any writing project! As we know, writing projects can prompt all sorts of practical questions, such as, How formal should it be? When is a first-, second-, or third-person approach ideal? Should I use an active or passive voice? Should I pursue a formal, procedural, conversational, journalistic, or opinion style of communication? Which point of view is most appropriate?

Business communication specialist Elizabeth McGregor, principal of Fine Lines Communications (, answered these kinds of questions — and more. During the event, she:

  • Helped us rummage through our cluttered “language attics” and clear out piles of awkward constructions and misguided phrasing.
  • Shared a variety of writing “best practices” and additional sources of advice that will help us achieve greater clarity and proficiency in the genres in which we communicate most often.
  • Explained how to avoid some of the embarrassing mistakes, such as redundancies, excessive modifiers, a lack of consistency, and other unhelpful practices that can prevent our audiences from effectively using our information.

Here are the topics Elizabeth covered:

Topic 1: Know Your Purpose and Your Audience

Elizabeth explained why it’s so important to identify your purpose, context, genre, and anticipated readers, and create that all-important audience profile.

Topic 2: General Style Refresher

Elizabeth answered questions such as these:

  • What are the most important writing and editing guidelines I need to keep in mind as I begin any project?
  • How should I format my documents for audiences whose attention is constantly split?
  • Can my computer’s editing and grammar-checking tools help me improve my writing?
  • Where can I turn for help with industry-specific style questions? (Tip: See the List of Resources and References, below!)

Topic 3: Specific Business-Writing Applications

Elizabeth delved more deeply into a few domains in which we tend to experience the most difficulty. She also provided a variety of handouts (see the downloads below), including “before-and-after” examples.

As a result of this event, we have greater confidence that our communication projects are intelligible and appropriate, and will actually help our audiences perform!

See below to access Elizabeth's presentation materials and handouts...

Downloads & Resources

For best results, please use the following tips when downloading files:

  • Windows Internet Explorer: Right-click the link and select Save Target As... You will be prompted to save the file to a specific location on your hard drive.
  • Other platforms or browsers: Right-click the link (click and hold on the Mac) and select Download link to disk to save the file to a specific location on your hard drive.

Download Elizabeth's presentation handouts:

Event Facilitator:

Elizabeth McGregor is a communications specialist, freelance writer, marketing consultant, speaker, and principal of Fine Lines Communications. Elizabeth strives to teach and inspire entrepreneurs to promote themselves from the inside out through effective communication, copywriting, marketing, and public relations. Her client work, articles, and essays span several genres, including business and technology, personal development, marketing content, and creative writing.

SLO TBC usually holds its events on the 4th Monday of the month from October through June. We generally take a break over the summer and resume in the fall. For more information, please contact us.