How to Write a Corporate Study Guide

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How to Write a Corporate Style Guide Abstract A corporate style guide, in the form of a booklet, is primarily used as a standard reference tool in corporate communications. Its importance is significant because it sets the quality and the tone needed by a corporation. In addition, it produces consistency in documents and documents generation; it creates good corporate image; and provides employees with trainings on the various standards.
In developing a corporate style guide it is imperative that management support is present, the target audiences should be properly identified, the steps in creating the style guide is followed, proper housing” of the manuscript is done, and there is a continuous process of updating and revising. A basic format of the style guide is given as illustrative example and other references are stated. Aside from online sources, there are books and journals where specific applications are cited such as references for general writing, legal documents, scientific and technical reports.
There are also references based on the International Standard Organizations for the presentation of documents, presentation of technical reports and other elated documents, abstracts of periodicals and documents, and others. These can serve as a reference tool in the development of a customized style guide that fits the need of the corporation. As a turn-out, creating an effective corporate style guide will eventually aid in attaining profits which is the very objective of any businesses. Writing styles differ from one person to another.
One may write on a very direct approach without prejudice, some may have several sweet words” before emphasizing an argument or a point; while others do write following a definite pattern based on a standard writing style. Whatever the writing style may be, it reflects the writer’s prerogative, motive, agenda, and emotions. It serves as a mirror for the writer, a reflection of his/ her thoughts and a reference to the reader. Writing in the corporate world differs from that of other forms of writing (essay writing, scriptwriting, and others).
It follows a definite standard common to the nature of the organization, a business, or a product. In corporate communications, employees must be able to communicate with each other and towards their customer in a manner that will reflect the image” of the company, thus it will e recognizable and most likely will enhance product awareness. The manner in which employees have a common standard of writing communication literature is called a writing guide or a style guide.
A style guide manifests in the form of a manual that consists of sentences, phrases,and methods in constructing a particular type of communications (manuals, booklets and brochures). It sets the definite standard of communication literature in corporate writing. It also provides discrete vocabulary and intonation necessary to the nature of a specific corporation. For instance, the writing style of a fashion company differs from that of a uncial institution. Setting a definite corporate style guide will give the company the overall quality and the tone to communicate effectively and successfully to the target audiences.
The importance of developing a corporate style guide gives the following advantages: a. Consistency in documents and document generations b. A good professional image c. Opportunities for the employees to be trained. A corporate style guide provides consistency in documents most especially in collaborative writings, and multi-authored writings wherein several people work on a specific document. Oftentimes, making a document consists of an tutor, the secretary of the author, an editor, and lastly, if possible, an artist.
If two or more people work together on a single document without a corporate style guide, the probability of inconsistencies are eminent. For several authors that have a limited access to each other or writing in different locations, a corporate style guide will eventually establish a standard format and will similarly promote consistency on the same document but on different locations of an organization. Thus, having a corporate style guide in the organization, with many writers if so required, will establish company logic leading to consistency in corporate writing (Carrageen-Smith 1991).
A corporate style guide also promotes a good professional corporate image since it is needed especially when the company is competing against other companies for a bid or contract, or persuading outside organizations to agree upon a certain argument based on the documents presented. It is also vital in the merging of several companies in promoting a sole corporate icon and in increasing customer satisfaction and consequently repeated business transactions.
A corporate style guide also can be used as an instruction guide ND a source of written rules and regulations for the newly hired employees. New employees can eventually create new documents with less supervision thus maximizing the time of the supervisor to do more tasks. If used as a training guide, a corporate style guide can reduce the time necessary to train new employees. Therefore a corporate style guide is a very indispensable tool in an organization. But how can a corporate style guide be developed?
The first basic thing to consider is the scope of the style guide: is the style guide to be applied to a specific department only (say on the technical side or on the management side only) or it will be representing the whole organization? For instance, if technical publications will be needed, a style guide may be developed along with the guidelines of the Chicago man al style. Whether it will be only a part or the whole organization, the following steps should be considered if it is desired to develop such a style guide: a.
Management Support should be acquired The first step in developing a corporate style guide is to achieve the support of the management (All 1988). The approval of management encourages and promotes company-wide recognition, even from those who refuses such. Once the higher management recommends the applications of a corporate style guide, all subordinates must adhere and follow the decision. However, the relative quality of the developed style guide itself will ultimately earn approval of such corporate style guide (Border 1975). B.
The target Audiences should be clearly identified Writing a corporate style guide is quite the same as to writing in a document that is technical in nature. The author of the style guide style must intelligently consider his or her target audiences and to what or where they belong, their preferences as well as their needs. The target audiences of a corporate style guide represents the actual users of such style guide. Once the target audiences have been determined, the author of the style guide must not scheme an impression of relative dominance to his/her prospective clients.
The actual effectiveness of such a style guide can be destabilize if pressure or tension is eminent among the audience and the style guide author. One possible means to minimize potential pressure or tension is to become conscious that a style guide is just a guide only, and the effective way to develop such style in an organization or a corporation is to endow with a Tyler guide that promotes only to offer assistance or guidance. Thus, instead of reflecting a prognostic style of superiority, the guide must be tactful enough to reach the corporation’s target audiences. C.
Creating the Style Guide In creating the actual style guide, the author should start in a minimal level and must be able to meet the prevalent needs. Additions and improvements may be added once the initial stage is set and systematic evaluation has been conducted resulting in succeeding editions of the original style. Administering improvements in a gradual basis is consequently more effective than having it administered in a large scale (Blair 1970). Most of the sections included in a corporate style guide include sections on formats, specifications, the use of language, and document development.
The arrangement of the sections are arbitrarily based on the needs and objectives of the corporation. Nevertheless, insertion of the use of language section on the last part often eliminates the concept that such corporate style guide is relatively composed of conventional regulations and rules. The first category of the style guide is often the section of document development. It routinely traces the cycle of he document production from start to finish. This category may comprise any systematic or standardized time frame management in the process of document development.
Included in this section is the overview of the process in writing such as planning, second is organizing, then writing, followed by revising. The second part of the style guide is the specifications and formats section. It usually includes the rules for and several examples on the different documents a corporation eventually creates. All of the documents that necessitate a standard form or appearance, such as letters, ports, handbooks, and proposals should be included or be covered (Democratic 1977).
Also, the elements of formatting such as typeface, headings, margins, type size, presentation of graphics, and numbering system must be included. Therefore, specifications and formats section will become an easy reference or guide for the compositor, word processor, and the writer. The use of language section mostly includes punctuation, grammar, figures and tables, symbols and signs, references, and abbreviations. It is commonly placed on the last part of the style guide and it eventually does not quire a definite or collectively summary on language usage.
Often times what is included consists of the difficulties on language usage a certain corporation is experiencing. The section can be expanded if necessary. The use of language section, considering a corporate style guide, must not be too massive since exceptional style guides in the form of the American Psychological Association or the Chicago Manual offers ready-made referencing for the majority of the use of language situations. More so, it will be irrelevant to try to develop further on these established standards, in such way that if there is a certain language usage formats or rules applicable to the needs of the corporate.
Also, the developed corporate style guide must not be too stuffy; it should reflect direct to the point the specific needs of the company to achieve an effective corporate style guide. The author of the style guide must bear in mind that the guide is a resource tool and not a law book to avoid being stuffy or superior on the content of the guide. Avoiding the stuffiness or the superior impression will actually assist user reception. Examples should also be given in every section so that the user will have easy preference or comprehension on the rules and regulations that must be adapted.
For instance, the use of actual company, product or department names and documents must be included in the example to serve as an illustrative example or references to keep the interest of the readers and eventually aid in the learning process. The use of such illustrative examples also encourages or promotes repeated usage of the corporate style guide. Users will develop the tendency to read the regulations and rules subsequently and will focus only on the given examples rather than trying to comprehend the rules or regulations without any given examples.
In addition, giving illustrative examples within the style guide will help users having poor skills in reading to comprehend and understand the regulations and rules more easily based on the examples rather than from literally reading it again and again. An example format of a basic style guide together with several suggestions is given below to visualize its creation. Style Guide for EX. Corporation Name of Company: EX. Corporation General Notes: This style guide is for the writing and editing of documents and materials to be released or published by the EX. Corporation that conforms to the corporate image and professional standards. State the specific applications of this style guide along with its related style guides References: ; Write the related references to be used like dictionaries, manual styles, usage and grammar guides, and on-line references Mechanics: ; Include drawings, charts, and tables if necessary giving important captions to each graphic element ; Punctuations should be referred to the available standards present such as the American Punctuation standard or the British Punctuation Standard Else of Language: ; Words and sentences should be short and simple; present tense and throng subject-verb agreement should be used and passive voice should be avoided; gender- neutral language is advisable ; Sentence-style capitalization should be applied on every heading ; The spelling and use of units should adhere to the declared chosen references Terminology: ; The terminology includes generally preferred words, acronyms and abbreviations Content of Topic Types: ; This contains the overview, conceptual, reference, problem solving, frequently asked questions, field-level, and the procedural topics ; The procedural topic contains the detailed instruction on how to accomplish a retain task, specifically it includes the following: 1. Task Title – Describes and identifies briefly the task process 2.
The purpose of the task procedure from the point of view of the users explaining also the effectiveness and expected outcomes of the task 3. The required prerequisite situations or conditions the users must accomplish before performing the task to be done 4. The step-by-step procedure or instructions to perform the task d. Assemble the Style Guide Once that the corporate style guide has passed through the process of its initial writing, subsequent revisions and approval, the next thing to consider is owe it is to be literally housed”. In most cases a 3-ring leaf-loosed binder is advisable and considerably very functional given the following reasons: 1 . The tab dividers can help identify the different sections on the style guide for ease of access 2.
The housing of the 3-ring binder can be laid on a flat surface like a desk while in use 3. And, any changes, additions, or revisions can be easily adjusted and inserted unto the binder Consequently, if a style guide is bounded there will be no possible alternatives but to reproduce all again if a certain section is edited or revised e. Update the Style Guide Style guide development is considered to be a continuous process and creating it is only the first step. There must be a relevant system or means Of updating it in order to keep abreast with the pace of the corporation. One way is to provide a space at the back of the guide for comments and suggestions from the users.
When a certain user has a new suggestion, the available space at the back of the guide can be easily accessed, completed, and sent to the author of the style guide for consideration to be included in the next revision or update. Most of the time, a committee will do the valuation and recommendation on the merits of the proposed suggestions made. Another method of updating the style guide is by conducting an annual re-evaluation or assessment of the present style guide and from it make necessary recommendations. Whatever method is applied or conceived, a style guide is always subjected for revisions to become efficient and effective. Aside from developing a customized style guide to fit the needs of a company, there are several standard style guides for scientific and technical specification communications available for references that can be used as a preference tool.
Examples of such style guides includes ISO number 8- which is the standard for the presentation of periodicals; 31- which is the standard for units and quantities, 214 – which is the standard of abstracts for documentations and periodicals; 7144 – which is the standard for the presentation of thesis and other relevant documents; 2145 – which is the numbering of the different sections or divisions including the subdivisions of documents written; and 5966 – which is the standard for the presentation of technical and scientific reports. Books, journals, and even Internet resources re available as references in the development of a customized style guide. Such style guides are categorized based on applications, such as style guide for general writing, for legal documents, for academic papers, for journalism, technical writing, electronic publishing computer industry, manuscript for publications, and academics.
This wide array of available resources for creating a style guide will eventually help the author adapt a guide specifically needed by the company. Given below are the sample references used in developing a style guide. A. A Writer’s Guide to Getting It Right by Bill Bryon . The Harvard Law Reviews A Uniform System of Citation. C. A Manual for Writers of Theses, Dissertation, and Research Papers by Kate L. Turban. D. The Wall Street Journal Guide to Business Style and Usage by Ronald J. Also. E. Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites authored by Sarah Horton and Patrick]. Lynch. F. Words into Type by Marjorie E. Skill g.
The Chicago Manual of Style, which is eventually, required by several academic publishers on journals and books publications. A corporate style guide can be considered as a small venture that can harvest hefty dividends. A corporation who is implementing its own corporate style guide will relevantly generate a premium, more reliable documents in a short span of time compared to an organization or a corporation that does not utilizes such a style guide. A quality manuscript will help in making or improving the sale, securing a desired or important contract, and persuading the target audiences, all of which will eventually turnout as profits for the corporation.

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