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Writing a Business Brief BSB115 – Management

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1 Writing a Business Brief BSB115 – Management
Prepared and Presented by Graham Klaassen (4S Study Skills Program Coordinator)

2 On Completion of this Seminar, you will be able to..
Describe the characteristics of a business brief Explain the advantages of a business brief Discuss the process for developing a business brief

3 What is a Business Brief
A verbal or written report that: – gives the receiver information they need to make an informed decision. OR - provides information so the receiver is up to date on an issue.

4 Purpose of a Business Brief
Provide a summary of an issue/topic Identify relevance (Make it relevant) to the business Identify any implications – positive & negative Recommend course/s of action including arguments for and against suggested action/s.

5 Other important points
Written objectively Written in a persuasive, active tone Short and to the point Provide enough information to enable a decision to be made quickly

6 The Essence of a writing a Business Brief
Extracting the maximum amount of information then conveying this information in the minimum number of words without losing or distorting the ORIGINAL meaning.

7 Structure of this Business Brief
Cover Page – See Task sheet for details Introduction Analysis of the Topic – As per task sheet template OR modify the structure as you see fit. One or two Recommendations Reference List (APA Style)

8 Structure of the brief Section Explanation Introduction
Approx. word count Introduction Identify the purpose of the report and define the management issue Analysis of the issue Give a general overview of the issue (i.e. consider what it means, how it can be applied, when it should be used). Explain how the issue is or isn’t relevant to your particular business. Weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and determine whether you think the issue is something your business should consider as part of the management strategy. 250 Recommendations Make One or two recommendations for your business that suggest a course of a action from your analysis of the management issue. If you conclude from your analysis of the business issue that it is good for your business, then recommend ways to implement it in your business. Reference list Use QUT APA – see Cite/Write for further information. List only the sources you have referred to/cited in your brief not ones that you have simply read. Andrea Reid T&L Consultant School of Management Not included in the word count

9 Before you start writing, be sure you are clear about…
Why you are writing the brief? For who are you writing the brief? What does your audience [the CEO] need to know most about the business issue? What points you will cover/leave out?

10 Your assigned “Contemporary Business Issue”
First – The number of the group to which you have been assigned. – 1, 2, 3 etc. Second – the letter of the alphabet you have been assigned within your group E.g. Articles Group 3 - Group member 3A

11 Characteristics of a good Brief
Short – always as short as possible Concise – every word is used as efficiently as possible Clear – simple and to the point: include only what matters to the reader

12 Characteristics of a good Brief
Reliable – information must be accurate, sound and dependable: point out any missing information Readable – use plain language, active voice, white space, subheadings etc.

13 Developing a Business Brief
Research your assigned “contemporary business article” Read and re-read material Note main argument/s or theme/s, the seminal work, key concepts and any supporting material Summarise what you have read

14 Developing a Business Brief
Define any key terms (if necessary) Use your own words Revise until you have an accurate summary Give only the “heart” of the message omit repetition, detailed explanations

15 The 3 secrets to a good brief
Write in the active voice/tone Use short sentences < 16 words Your choice of words – for impact and to assist manage word count (brevity)

16 Some tips on Writing a Brief
Usually have three main parts The purpose of the Brief (Introduction) A summary of the facts (Background) and implications for your organisation The conclusion and/or recommendation (refer to the Task sheet for suggested headings)

17 Writing the Brief – The Introduction
OR Purpose of the Brief - A concise statement that: Should explain to the reader why the brief matters (one or two lines.) Can be set out in the form of a statement about what the rest of the brief is about OR as a question which the brief then answers. 100 to 150 words MAX

18 Writing the Brief – The Introduction
Also should include: A short definition / explanation of the management issue Some background information on the issue – select whichever may be of relevance for your issue Who or What or When or Where or Why 100 to 150 words MAX

19 Writing the Brief – The Analysis
Overview of the issue Details the reader needs in order to understand what follows Typically this section adds to the history of the issue and/or other background information contained in the Introduction.

20 Writing the Brief – The Analysis
Relevance/key considerations An unbiased summary of important facts, considerations, developments and RELEVANCE – everything that needs to be considered before making a decision. Substantiate statements with evidence from your research etc.

21 Questions to help you frame your thinking ...
Is the topic and issues raised important for my type of product and industry? Is the topic and issues raised important for my competitors and/or suppliers and/or labour market? Is the topic and issues raised likely to impact on the general environment? Is the topic and issues raised an important management consideration for my organisation?

22 Writing the Brief – Recommendations
Recommendation/s should present the best and most sound advice you can offer drawn from the conclusions of your analysis. Make sure they are clear, direct and are substantiated by the facts you have put forward in the analysis section of the Brief

23 Structure of Recommendations
Focus on what should be done about the issue. What specific actions or decisions need to be taken? How will they be implemented? Monitored for effect? What about ethical and social responsibility considerations or intercultural/international perspectives? Are the recommendations a logical conclusion of your decision-making process?

24 Key points - writing recommendations
Begin with a short statement that leads into the recommendations and persuades the reader to take your recommendations seriously List your recommendations using a numbered or bulleted format Usually present in order of importance or in the order you dealt with them in your analysis Use action/imperative verbs that give the reader an instruction to do something

25 Active recommendations
Which one do you prefer? Passive: It is recommended that 400m2 of the vacant space on the ground floor of 6-12 Main Street be set aside for the development of a staff fitness centre. OR Active: Set aside 400m2 of the vacant space on the ground floor of 6-12 Main Street to develop a staff fitness centre.

26 Active Recommendations
Model for recommendations: Begin with a Projecting opener: - a concluding statement from your analysis that justifies your course of action and leads into the recommendations Active verb + what needs to be done...

27 Active recommendations
As the analysis clearly shows, organisations that have a highly trained and motivated staff boast a distinct competitive advantage over their competitors, therefore to gain this commercial benefit ABC Ltd should: Establish a routine training program for all new staff that includes ... Provide all staff with five days’ professional development each year specifically targeted at … Develop and ongoing mentoring program for …

28 Remember… Concentrate on the main ideas
Do not add ideas (even if you have an abundance of related information) Do not include any personal comments

29 Finally – how is it assessed!
Criteria Sheet tell you what is required Depth of knowledge Quality of analysis of information Recommendations Structure of the Brief Referencing – APA style

Eliminate unnecessary words! You have only 500 words +/- 10% with which to work. Make every word count – choose your words carefully – why use two when one will do?

31 How to be concise. An example
Because the ability to communicate effectively plays an important part in an accountant's success on the job, many employers screen prospective accountants for adequate skills in oral and written communication. In fact, one study shows communication skills to be the most important factor in decisions to hire. Employers view the ability to write and speak effectively as even more important than a prospective employee's academic results. (66 words)

32 How to do it … Summarise / breakdown your material:
The ability to communicate effectively is important to an accountant's success (11) It is an important factor in deciding whether or not to hire prospective employees (14) Employers’ value communication skills more than academic results (8) (Total 33)

33 Re-assemble the material …
Employers value the importance of oral and written communication in accounting, and therefore prefer to hire graduates with effective communication skills. (21 words)

34 Avoid Wordy phrases Due to the fact he was unemployed, he had to use public transport. [13 words] Because he was unemployed, he had to use public transport. (passive) [10 words] He used public transport because he was unemployed. (active) [8 words]

35 Reduce fat prepositional phrases
at the present time basic essentials as a matter of fact in the event that in this modern world in accordance with now essentials in fact if today with

36 Remove Fillers such as… it, that and there
There are three trusses that the beam rests on. The beam rests on three trusses. There were six workers absent from the night shift. Six workers were absent from the night shift. It is obvious that we must meet the deadline. Obviously we must meet the deadline.

37 Use Transitional Expressions Comparison (= Similarity) preferably single word transitions
in the same way just so … as furthermore in addition as well as the same like equally both also each of similarly

38 Use Transitional Expressions Contrast (= Difference) preferably single word transitions
on the other hand on the contrary whereas in contrast in spite of different from except for yet instead of conversely unlike still but while

39 Use everyday words Long, Heavy, Formal Everyday words wherewithal
cognizant germane nadir remuneration salient Everyday words means aware relevant low point pay important

40 Avoid Foreign phrases Do not use bona fide in toto milieu
modus operandi raison d'être Use genuine altogether surroundings method primary reason, justification

41 Sentences – use short sentences in a Brief
All sentences have a Subject → Verb → Object Write in the active NOT passive voice For example: Passive: The door was closed by Adam. Active: Adam closed the door.

42 Using References You use citations and references to:
support your ideas and arguments using expert facts or ideas acknowledge (to give credit for) facts and ideas you have used avoid plagiarism.

43 There are two parts to a reference
The in text citation Located in the text of your essay Can be direct quote, paraphrase, summary Includes some of the details of your source The reference list entry Located at the end of your essay Includes all the details of all source/s used Different to Bibliography

44 Referencing In text - citations References Citation 1 Reference 1

45 Example of Paraphrasing
Original (Direct quote) “A new piece of independent study proves for the first time that in-store sampling not only has dramatic sales impact on the day of the sampling event, but also increases sales of established products and line extensions, as well as new products, for many weeks following” (Stanton, 2009, p.1). (46 words) Paraphrase In-store sampling has now been shown to create increases in sales in all lines of a product – new, existing and extended – not only when sampling takes place but also in the period directly following the event. (Stanton, 2009) (36 words)

46 Example of Summarising
There are a range of strategies to use when marketing a product and a slogan is one of the key tools. Miller (2008) believes that slogans need to brief and memorable so that consumers recall the slogan and link it to the product. Miller’s article is on the importance of a slogan in marketing a product. The second sentence is a summary of one of the main ideas in the article.

47 References using APA Style – some points to consider
Indented Directory of small businesses in Australia. (2003). Melbourne, Vic: McMillan Institute of Telecommunications. (2008). Report on the telecommunications industry (Report No ). Sydney, NSW: Corporate Publishing Limited Latest advertisements. [Video]. (2009, November4). Retrieved from MacDonald, N. (2004, December 7). Working overseas. The Courier Mail. Retrieved from McCulloch, R. & Reid, A. (2010). Starting Your Business Degree: academic skills for success. Brisbane, Qld: Print Australia. Turner, K. Ireland, L. Krenus, B. & Pointon, L. (2008) Essential Academic Skills. Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press Alphabetical Order A range of Scholarly Sources

48 7 point editing guide Is the purpose of the brief clear?
Is the language simple, economical and clear? Is everything there that needs to be there? Is there anything there that is not essential to the purpose?

49 7 point editing guide Is the brief easy to read, understand and remember? Do the sections lead logically from one to another? Has the brief been carefully edited and proofread?

50 Remember – If in doubt - questions are the answer
You should consult The assignment task sheet Your lecture notes Your textbook You can talk to… Your tutor or the unit’s e-tutor Your colleagues in class Student Learning Advisers – located in B113a Consultation with a 4S tutor

51 Resources Australian National University “Writing a Briefing Note” Writing for Government – “How to write a Briefing note”

52 Resources QUT cite/write:
QUT kick START / study SMART: Register for workshops and tours: Peer mentors: Studywell resources (Blackboard site):

53 4S program contact details

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