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1 Organizing and Writing Business Messages Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 4e Copyright © 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Organizing and Writing Business Messages Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 4e Copyright © 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Organizing and Writing Business Messages Mary Ellen Guffey, Business Communication: Process and Product, 4e Copyright © 2003

2 2 Organize Your Data Group Ideas into Patterns Direct pattern for receptive audiences Indirect pattern for unreceptive audiences

3 3 Audience Response Determines Pattern of Organization If pleasedIf neutral Direct Pattern Good News or Main Idea If mildly interested

4 4 If unwilling or uninterested If hostile Indirect Pattern If displeased or disappointed Bad News or Main Idea Audience Response Determines Pattern of Organization

5 5 Patterns Saves the reader time Sets a proper frame of mind Prevents frustration Respects feelings of audience Encourages a fair hearing Minimizes a negative reaction Direct PatternIndirect Pattern Routine requests / response Orders / Acknowledgments Nonsensitive memos / emails Informational reports Informational oral presentations Bad news Ideas that require persuasion Sensitive news

6 6 Create Effective Sentences Use short sentences. Emphasize important ideas. Use the active voice for most sentences. Use the passive voice to deemphasize the performer and/or to be tactful. Avoid dangling and misplaced modifiers.

7 7 Use Short Sentences Sentence Length 8 words 15 words 19 words 28 words Comprehension Rate 100% 90% 80% 50% Source: American Press Institute

8 8 Emphasize Important Ideas Position the most important idea at the beginning of the sentence. Make sure the most important idea is the subject of the sentence. Place the main idea in a short sentence. All production and administrative personnel will meet on May 23, at which time we will announce a new plan of salary incentives On May 23 all personnel will meet to learn about salary incentives.

9 9 Use the Active Voice for Most Sentences Active voice: We lost money. Active voice: I sent the e-mail message yesterday. (The subject is the performer.)

10 10 Use Passive Voice To Deemphasize the Performer and/or To Be Tactful Passive voice: Money was lost (by us). Passive voice: The e-mail message was sent yesterday (by me). (Passive voice test: Ask By whom? If you can fill in the performer, the verb is probably in the passive voice.)

11 11 Avoid Dangling Modifiers Dangling modifier: To be hired, an application must be completed. Revision: To be hired, you must complete an application. Revision: To be hired, fill out an application. (In the last example, you is understood to be the subject of fill.)

12 12 Avoid Misplaced Modifiers Misplaced modifier: The patient was referred to a psychiatrist with a severe emotional problem. Revision: The patient with a severe emotional problem was referred to a psychiatrist.

13 13 Discuss only one topic in each paragraph Compose short paragraphs for effective business messages Arrange sentences in a strategic plan Link ideas to build coherence Use transitional expressions for coherence Create Effective Paragraphs

14 14 Group similar ideas together Start a new paragraph for each new topic Keep paragraph length at 8 to 10 lines maximum Discuss One Topic in each Paragraph

15 15 Direct Plan: main sentence followed by supporting sentences (for defining, classifying, illustrating, and describing ideas) Indirect Plan: supporting sentences followed by main sentence (for describing causes followed by effects) Arrange Sentences in a Strategic Plan

16 16 Direct vs Indirect Paragraph Indirect approach: According to a recent poll, more than half of all white-collar workers are now dressing casually at work. In our own business, our consultants say they stand out like sore thumbs because they dress in traditional suits. Therefore, I recommend we establish an optional business casual policy that allows consultants to dress casually, if they wish. Direct approach: I recommend we establish an optional business casual policy that allows consultants to dress casually, if they wish. According to a recent poll, more than half of all white-collar workers are now dressing casually at work. In our own business, our consultants say they stand out like sore thumbs because they dress in traditional suits.

17 17 Use Transitions for Coherence Also Moreover First... Second... For that reason, Therefore, Additionally and ContinuationPauseReversal For instance For example, Strictly speaking, In other words, In effect, As a result, or However, On the other hand, Conversely, Nevertheless, Otherwise, but


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