title:Business Writing Tip: Question & Answer Format author:Robert F. Abbott source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_864.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:06 category:business_and_finance article: 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: ZZZZZZ

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