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EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS Boston College Law School Office of Career Services E-MAIL ETIQUETTE RULES AND A GRAMMAR REVIEW February 28, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS Boston College Law School Office of Career Services E-MAIL ETIQUETTE RULES AND A GRAMMAR REVIEW February 28, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS Boston College Law School Office of Career Services ETIQUETTE RULES AND A GRAMMAR REVIEW February 28, 2011

2 Etiquette  What is the role of in the work force?  When to Use versus a letter  Content  When is an response necessary?

3 Etiquette  When to Use  Networking Introductions  Applying for Positions  Following Up on Applications  Responding to Messages

4 Etiquette  Networking Introductions: What to Include?  Keep the message short  Address the recipient professionally: Dear Mr. or Ms.  Tailor the to the recipient – avoid language that makes it sound like a mass mailing  Do not include your resume as an attachment  Ask to set up a time to talk; it is easier for the recipients to spend a few minutes speaking with you than asking them to respond at length by to a series of questions

5 Etiquette  Networking Introductions: What to Say? Dear Mr./Ms. Lawyer: Mary Jones suggested that I contact you. I am a second-year student at Boston College Law School with an interest in _____. I would like to learn more about how to get into the field, and Ms. Jones thought you would have some valuable advice. Please let me know if there is a convenient time to talk or if we could meet for coffee. Thank you, (add your name)

6 Etiquette  Applying for Positions:  Attach a cover letter and a resume  Have a short message in the body of the even though your attached cover letter will be more detailed: Dear Mr. /Ms. Lawyer: Please accept my application for the position of _______. Attached please find a copy of my cover letter and my resume. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, (add your name)  Include all attachments before you send

7 Etiquette  Following Up on an Application:  When to Use and When to Call  What to say if using Dear Mr./Ms. Lawyer: I am writing to reconfirm my interest in the position of ______. Last Wednesday, I interviewed with ____ and she suggested that I follow-up with you today to check on the status of my application. [or] I applied for the position of _____ in January, and I will next be in California on ____. If you are interested in meeting with me, I would be happy to make myself available at your office at any time during this period. Attached please find another copy of my resume for your convenience. Thank you for your consideration. Very truly yours, (add your name)

8 Etiquette Following Up on an Application: Thank You Notes  When to use ?  When to send a letter or a hand-written note?  What to say?

9 Etiquette  Effective Subject Line Messages:  For Informational Interview Requests  BC Law Student Seeking Advice (about ___ )  Request for Advice  For Attaching an Application  Application for Summer Position  For Following up on an Application  Thank you  Checking on the Status of an Application

10 Etiquette  When is a response to an required?  Answer: Almost Always  In the legal setting, is the preferred means of communication; it is not merely a tool to disseminate information  Examples of situations where a prompt reply is expected:  When someone conveys an offer  When someone agrees to meet with you  When someone tells you about an opportunity or gives you a job lead  When someone gives you a work assignment (even if you do not know the answer, you need to respond that you have received the project)  Failure to reply may convey disinterest

11 Effective Business Communications A QUICK GRAMMAR REVIEW

12 Grammar Every message to an employer (or a potential employer) serves as a writing sample  The subject line should be professional  The message and the subject line should be free of typographical errors  Rules of grammar and punctuation always apply

13 What is a sentence?  Contains a subject and a verb  Starts with an upper case letter  Ends with proper punctuation  Expresses a complete thought USE FULL SENTENCES IN PROFESSIONAL S. NO FRAGMENTS (like this!).

14 Grammar Rules  Even though is a more informal means of communication than a typed letter, the standards are the same:  Check subject and verb tense agreement  Avoid common texting abbreviations  Avoid grammatical mistakes  Follow rules of punctuation

15 Punctuation Reminders  Use double quotation marks to enclose direct quotations.  Place commas and periods inside quotation marks  Use parentheses to enclose nonessential elements within the sentence  Use a dash or dashes to indicate sudden changes in tone or thought and to set off sentence elements

16 Capitalization  Capitalize the first words of sentences, parts of letters, resolutions, and entries in outlines  Capitalize proper names, nicknames, official titles, degrees of persons, nobility, and relatives  Capitalize titles of written works, songs, newspapers, and films. Not articles within titles  Capitalize days of week, months of year, holidays  Capitalize names of nations, states, towns, counties etc.

17 Word Choice  For professional communications, standard English is appropriate  Slang, jargon, and technical language are rarely appropriate  Avoid pretentious or biased (sexist, racist) language  Use dictionary or thesaurus if uncertain  Beware of blindly substituting a word from the thesaurus. Nuanced meanings can detract from your message

18 Grammar: Words Commonly Confused  affect (to have an influence on) v. effect (result)  accept (to receive) v. except (other than)  cite (quote an authority) v. sight (the ability to see) v. site (a place)  elicit (to bring out) v. illicit (illegal)  its (possessive of it) v. it’s (contraction of it is)  principal (most important, head of school) v. principle (basic truth or law)  who’s (contraction of who is) v. whose (possessive)

19 Common Pitfalls  A pronoun should clearly refer to its antecedent  Spell out numbers under 11  Use a comma before “and” in a series  Structure items in a series or bulleted lists similarly; use parallel structure  Watch out for wordiness  Use active sentences rather than passive ones  Place a comma between two independent clauses if separated by “and”, “but”, “or”, “nor”

20 Spell Check Spell Czech in Knot You’re Friend  For any professional writing, do not rely on Spell Check. Proofread carefully or print the message out and edit it on paper before you hit send.  Many mistakes are in the message subject line, which are not picked up by Spell Check. So, double check the subject line as it is the first thing that the reader will see.

21 Proofreading Content  Verify dates, numbers, and deadlines  Recheck reference points and legal citations  Check names and titles  Verify that attachments are referenced in text and are indeed attached before sending

22 Grammar: Some Resources Book Resources:  Strunk & White, The Elements of Style (also on line)  The Chicago Manual of Style (online edition is not free)  Bryan Garner’s Books, i.e. Garner’s Modern American Usage; Garner on Language and Writing On-line resources:  (dictionary and thesaurus)  


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