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The Writing Process in the Information Age: Planning Business Messages
The Communication Process
- Sender has idea
- Sender encodes message
- Sender selects channel and transmits message
- Receiver decodes message
- Feedback returns to sender
Factors That Shape Understanding
- Communication Climate
- Context and Setting
- Background, Experience
- Knowledge, Mood
- Values, Beliefs, Culture
Barriers That Create Misunderstanding
- Differing frames of reference
- Lack of language skills
Overcoming Communication Obstacles
- Realize that communication is imperfect
- Adapt the message to the receiver
- Improve language and listening skills
- Question your preconceptions
- Encourage feedback
Learning Outcome 2
Define the goals of business writing, summarize the 3-x-3 writing process, and explain how it guides a writer.
A digital message is one that is generated, stored, processed, and transmitted electronically by computers using strings of positive and nonpositive binary code (0s and 1s).
Defining Your Business Writing Goals
- Audience oriented
Introducing the 3-x-3 Writing Process
- Analyze audience & purpose.
- Anticipate audience and its reaction to message.
- Adapt message to audience
- Research background, collect info.
- Organize info.
- Draft first version.
- Edit for clarity.
- Evaluate whether the message will accomplish goals.
Pacing the Writing Process
- Prewriting 25%
- Drafting 25%
- Revising 50%
Learning Outcome 3
Analyze the purpose of a message, anticipate its audience, and select the best communication channel.
Why are you sending the message?
What do you hope to achieve?
Primary Purpose: To inform and to persuade
Secondary Purpose: To promote goodwill
Anticipating and Profiling the Audience
- Who is my primary reader or listener?
- Personal and professional relationship?
- How much is known about topic?
- Person’s education, beliefs, culture, attitudes?
- Will reaction be neutral, positive, or negative?
- How is secondary audience different from primary?
- Supply more background information?
- Reshape message for secondary audience?
Remember that receivers will be thinking…
Factors Affecting Channel Choice
- Message importance
- Amount and speed of feedback
- Need for permanent record
- Degree of formality
- Confidentiality and sensitivity
- Receiver’s preference
- Receiver’s technical expertise
Ten Levels of Richness in Today’s Workplace Communication Channels
- FACE TO FACE – Best for persuasive, bad-news, and personal messages
- TELEPHONE – Best choice when two people cannot meet in person
- VIDEO CHAT – Best for group interaction and consensus-building when members are dispersed
- E-MAIL – Best for routine messages that do not require immediate feedback
- IM – Best for short online messages that need a quick response
- LETTER – For external messages that require formality, sensitivity, or a written record
- MEMO – To distribute interoffice information, especially when e-mail is unavailable
- BLOG – To share ideas with a wide Internet audience and encourage responses
- REPORT – To deliver considerable data internally or externally
- WIKI – To provide a repository for digital information that can be easily changed
Learning Outcome 4
Employ expert writing techniques such as incorporating audience benefits, developing the “you” view, and using conversational but professional language.
Focusing on Audience Benefits
Putting yourself in the shoes of the receiver.
How can you solve their problems, save them money, or just understand their problems?
Cultivating the “You” View
“I, We” View
NOT: The warranty begins right away.
NOT: We have created an account dashboard that we love.
BUT: The warranty starts working for you immediately.
BUT: Your account dashboard gives you complete control.
“I, We” View
NOT: We take pleasure in announcing an agreement we made with Dell to allow us to offer discounted laptops in the student store.
NOT: I have a few questions on which I would like feedback.
BUT: An agreement with Dell allows you and other students to buy discounted laptops at your student store.
BUT: Because your feedback is important, please tell us your thoughts.
Emphasizing Receiver Focus
NOT: We are requiring all staffers to complete these forms in compliance with company policy.
NOT: Because we need more space for our new inventory, we are having a two-for-one sale.
BUT: Please complete these forms so that you will be eligible for health and dental benefits.
BUT: This two-for-one sale enables you to buy a year’s stock of supplies but pay only for six months’ worth.
Sound conversational but professional.
NOT: BTW, your report was totally awesome!
BUT: By the way, your report was well written.
NOT: The undersigned requests that all appropriately completed performance reviews be returned to the writer by the deadline of June 15.
BUT: Please return all performance reviews by June 15.
Learning Outcome 5
Improve the tone and clarity of a message by using positive and courteous expression, bias-free language, plain words, and precise terms.
Improving Tone With Positive Expression
- You overlooked
- You state that
- You failed to
- You claim that
- You are wrong
- You do not understand
- Your delay
- You forgot to
- You are careless
- But I don’t believe you.
- What were you thinking?
- It’s probably untrue.
- I am right.
- You are not very bright.
- You are at fault.
Improving Tone by Being Courteous and Sensitive
NOT: You must complete the report.
BUT: Please complete the report.
Employ bias-free language.
NOT: Our office girls can do this.
BUT: Our office workers can do this.
Prefer plain language and familiar words.
NOT: The remuneration is…
BUT: The salary is…
Use precise, vigorous words.
NOT: Please contact me.
BUT: Please e-mail (or text) me.
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