Presentation on theme: "EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS"— Presentation transcript:
1 EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS Boston College Law SchoolOffice of Career ServicesEFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONSETIQUETTE RULESANDA GRAMMAR REVIEWFebruary 28, 2011
2 E-Mail Etiquette What is the role of e-mail in the work force? When to Use versus a letterContentWhen is an response necessary?
3 E-Mail Etiquette When to Use E-Mail: Networking Introductions Applying for PositionsFollowing Up on ApplicationsResponding to Messages
4 E-Mail Etiquette Networking Introductions: What to Include? Keep the message shortAddress the recipient professionally: Dear Mr. or Ms.Tailor the to the recipient – avoid language that makes it sound like a mass mailingDo not include your resume as an attachmentAsk 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 E-Mail Etiquette Networking Introductions: What to Say? Dear Mr./Ms. Lawyer:Mary Jones suggested that I contact you. I am a second-year studentat Boston College Law School with an interest in _____. I would liketo learn more about how to get into the field, and Ms. Jones thoughtyou would have some valuable advice. Please let me know if there isa convenient time to talk or if we could meet for coffee.Thank you,(add your name)See Handout with some templates.
6 E-Mail Etiquette Applying for Positions: Attach a cover letter and a resumeHave 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 sendAn attached cover letter will look more professional than just including the txt in the body of the . You have no control as to what font the text will appear on someone else’s computer or Blackberry. And for that reason as well as compatibility, consider using pdf versions instead of word versions.And double check to make sure you have included the attachment. (Attach first?)
7 E-Mail Etiquette Following Up on an Application: When to Use and When to CallWhat to say if usingDear Mr./Ms. Lawyer:I am writing to reconfirm my interest in the position of ______. LastWednesday, I interviewed with ____ and she suggested that I follow-upwith you today to check on the status of my application. [or]I applied for the position of _____ in January, and I will next be inCalifornia on ____. If you are interested in meeting with me, I wouldbe happy to make myself available at your office at any time during thisperiod. Attached please find another copy of my resume for yourconvenience.Thank you for your consideration.Very truly yours,(add your name)Sometimes it is better to call to follow up on an application.Assess the situation.can be impersonal.If you have interviewed with them and you know them, a personal call can make more of a connection.If you want to show how eager you are for a position and pitch your case, then phone may be preferred, even though there Is the threat that you fall into voice mail.If most of your communications with the organization have been through , then continue with that mode. And here are some sample messages……
8 E-Mail 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?Something special about a handwritten note or a letter.If it absolutely has to get there fast, then use an (and consider following up with a real letter/note).The thank you has to be perfect—as with all thank you notes, they are writing samples. They need to be perfect.ContentMake the note special. Remember if you send something by it can (and may) be shared throughout the organization. So, avoid sending identical s to multiple lawyers at the same organization.If someone goes out of their way to help you, then send a note.If you are writing to a judge, send a formal letter or a note on business stationary, like Crane’s.
9 E-Mail Etiquette Effective Subject Line Messages: For Informational Interview RequestsBC Law Student Seeking Advice (about ___ )Request for AdviceFor Attaching an ApplicationApplication for Summer PositionFor Following up on an ApplicationThank youChecking on the Status of an ApplicationAim for simple, but descriptive subject line messages.The subject line should not be blank.
10 E-Mail Etiquette When is a response to an e-mail required? Answer: Almost AlwaysIn the legal setting, is the preferred means of communication; it is not merely a tool to disseminate informationExamples of situations where a prompt reply is expected:When someone conveys an offerWhen someone agrees to meet with youWhen someone tells you about an opportunity or gives you a job leadWhen 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 disinterestOne last slide on etiquette….when to reply….
11 Effective Business Communications A QUICK GRAMMAR REVIEW
12 E-Mail Grammar Every e-mail message to an employer (or a potential employer) serves as a writing sampleThe subject line should be professionalThe message and the subject line should be free of typographical errorsRules of grammar and punctuation always apply
13 What is a sentence? Contains a subject and a verb Starts with an upper case letterEnds with proper punctuationExpresses a complete thoughtUSE FULL SENTENCES IN PROFESSIONALS. NO FRAGMENTS (like this!).People make judgments about you before they meet you based on your writing.Remember the types of sentences you learned in grade school and vary the sentence structure in your ocrrespondence:Simple – contains one main clause. He left.Compound- contains two main clauses- He left and she followed.Complex – contains one main clause and at least one subordinate clause – If he leaves, he will be sorry.Compound- Complex – contains at least two main clauses and at least one subordinate clause. He is leaving because I told him to, but he would like to stay3. Think about your sentence length and complexity and err on the side of simple, declarative sentences. Your professional correspondence is meant to convey information rather than wax poetic.
14 Grammar RulesEven though is a more informal means of communication than a typed letter, the standards are the same:Check subject and verb tense agreementAvoid common texting abbreviationsAvoid grammatical mistakesFollow rules of punctuationThe Attorney General is accomplished.The Attorneys General are an accomplished group.2. Write out “thank you” not THX!
15 Punctuation Reminders Use double quotation marks to enclose direct quotations.Place commas and periods inside quotation marksUse parentheses to enclose nonessential elements within the sentenceUse a dash or dashes to indicate sudden changes in tone or thought and to set off sentence elementsDick said, “Hi, Jane.”Jane said, “Hi to you, Dick.”I am very pleased (if not, relieved) to see you at this program today.The employer called me to ask if we ever taught our students grammar—a most disturbing question.
16 CapitalizationCapitalize the first words of sentences, parts of letters, resolutions, and entries in outlinesCapitalize proper names, nicknames, official titles, degrees of persons, nobility, and relativesCapitalize titles of written works, songs, newspapers, and films. Not articles within titlesCapitalize days of week, months of year, holidaysCapitalize names of nations, states, towns, counties etc.Welcome to our programGrandpa, Dean Brown, Marcus Welby, MD , Queen ElizabethGreat Expectations, The Chicago Tribune and Mao’s Last Dancer, Fire and Rain (note that the article in the middle is not capitalized_.Tuesday, March 1 ChristmasAllston Montana Libya and Suffolk County
17 Word ChoiceFor professional communications, standard English is appropriateSlang, jargon, and technical language are rarely appropriateAvoid pretentious or biased (sexist, racist) languageUse dictionary or thesaurus if uncertainBeware of blindly substituting a word from the thesaurus. Nuanced meanings can detract from your message1. Try not to insert highly technical language describing your relevant engineering experience.Don’t insert foreign phrases like ‘joie de vivre” or slang like my teenage son’s who say that the bball center was “sick” in last night’s game.When using thesaurus if not sure the word you are choosing is precisely appropriate, look it up in the dictionary.EXAMPLE COLLEAGUE means associate, fellow workerSynonyms: aide, ally, assistant, auxiliary, buddy, chum, co-worker, coadjutor, cohort, collaborator, companion, compatriot, compeer, comrade, confederate, confrere, crony, friend, helper, pal, partner, teammate, workmate
18 E-mail 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 11Use a comma before “and” in a seriesStructure items in a series or bulleted lists similarly; use parallel structureWatch out for wordinessUse active sentences rather than passive onesPlace a comma between two independent clauses if separated by “and”, “but”, “or”, “nor”The boat sailed perfectly, despite its damaged hull.Two EightI ate some apples, oranges, and cherries.Susan ran by a large hyena, an emaciated ostrich and a tall giraffe.Wordiness: Think about sentence length SHORT words MEDIUM words LONG – Beware when they are 19+Avoid passive voice: Exams are hateful vs. I hate taking exams.I like well written sentences, but I hate learning grammar.
20 Spell Czech in Knot You’re Friend Spell CheckSpell Czech in Knot You’re FriendFor 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 citationsCheck names and titlesVerify that attachments are referenced in text and are indeed attached before sending
22 E-mail 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 WritingOn-line resources:(dictionary and thesaurus)