Business Writing Tip: Question & Answer Format

Traditionally, business writing uses the "one thing after another" format, which usually means a plain recitation of the facts, circumstances, or whatever else needs to be said.

But, we have a number of other options, and some of them may provide more responses or better responses. Consider the Q & A format, for example:

Question: What's the Q & A format?

Answer: It's a series of questions and answers, used to communicate important information to readers.

Question: Where can a Q & A be used?

Answer: It can be used in advertising, employee communication, or any other business situation where you want to provide written information to other people.

Question: Why or when would you use this format?

Answer: When I have a lot of information and want to keep up the interest of readers, for example. The Q & A format breaks up the information into smaller, more digestable chunks, and makes the content seem less formidable to readers.

Question: But don't you need at least two people for this kind of format?

Answer: In the news media, Q & A means one person asks questions and another person answers. But, in a business writing context, Q & A also can mean the same person asks and answers.

Question: Can you give a real-life example?

Answer: Sure. I wrote one to promote my book, A Manager's Guide to Newsletters: Communicating for Results. In that case, the Q & A provided an insight into my motivations for writing the book, and its evolution from a descriptive to a strategic approach. The material might have been handled conventionally, but the Q & A gave it a ring of detachment with inherently more interest, I think. You can evaluate it for yourself, at: http://www.managersguide.com/unique.htm .

Question: Is there anything special about writing a Q & A?

Answer: I think a Q & A can take many forms, but generally I'd recommend that you use a conversational tone if possible. By doing that, you'll embrace the conventional sense of a Q & A, which is a discussion between two people.

Question: Did you write this Q & A by yourself?

Answer: Yes.

Question: And who are you?

Answer:

About The Author

Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. If you subscribe, you will receive, at no charge, communication tips that help you lead or manage more effectively. You can get more information here: http://www.CommunicationNewsletter.com

[email protected]

In The News:

Mori wins 2 top sports-writing awards  Elko Daily Free Press
Opinion | Why I Write  The New York Times
What Is Political Writing For?  Columbia Journalism Review
Loan write-offs pick up  The Daily Star
Should you write your own will?  Houston Chronicle

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