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Workplace Writing Planning an Appropriate Writing Strategy: The Rhetorical Situation.

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Presentation on theme: "Workplace Writing Planning an Appropriate Writing Strategy: The Rhetorical Situation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Workplace Writing Planning an Appropriate Writing Strategy: The Rhetorical Situation

2 Writer’s Primary Role is to Accommodate the Audience

3 Planning your Writing  Identify your audience  Establish your purpose  Formulate your message  Select your style and tone

4 QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE  Who will read my work?  What is my reader’s job title or position?  What is my reader’s relationship to me? Client? Supervisor? Potential customer? Colleague? Team member?  How much does this reader know about my organization?  What is my reader’s education level?

5 Considering the Reader’s Reaction  What does my reader value?  How is my reader likely to react to my message?  How might I organize my message with readers’ perceived reaction in mind?

6 How many people make up my audience?  Will just one person read what I write or will many people read it?  How far up the organizational ladder might my document go?  Will my boss want to approve my work?  Will I potentially be communicating with a global audience?

7 Readers’ background  How much will my audience know about the particular problem or issue?  Does my audience need to be briefed or updated?  Are my readers familiar with technical terms and descriptions?  Will I need to include visuals?

8 My readers’ expectations  Do they expect just an or do they assume I’ll send a formal letter?  Will they expect me to follow a certain format and organization?  Are they looking for a one-page memo or for a comprehensive report?  Should I use a formal tone or conversational style?

9 What is my audience’s attitude toward me and my work?  Will I be writing to a group of disgruntled and angry customers?  Will I have to be sympathetic while being firm about the company’s decisions?  Will I need to arouse their interest?  Will they be eager and friendly?

10 How will they read my document?  Will my readers be skeptical?  Will my readers simply skim my document?  How might I approach my document for both skeptics and skimmers?

11 What do I want my readers to do after they read my work?  Do I want them to purchase something?  Do I expect them to approve my plan?  Do I expect them to acknowledge my message? How?  Do I expect them to take immediate action?  Do I expect them to share my message?

12 ESTABLISHING YOUR PURPOSE  Your purpose controls the amount & order of information included  Be sure you know why you’re writing  Make sure your reader knows why you’re writing  State your purpose & scope clearly at the beginning of the document  Get to the point right away

13 Formulating your message  Decide on the scope of your document  Decide on the details of your document  Decide on the format  Decide on the organization  Decide how to adapt the document to the intended audience

14 Select your Style and Tone  Style helps to determine how well you communicate with your audience  Style can determine how well your readers receive your message  Tone expresses your attitude toward the issue  Tone expresses your attitude toward your reader  Tone is partly indicated by the words you choose.

15 Which sentence has more appeal?  I need all employees to complete the questionnaire by September 30.  By completing the questionnaire by September 30, you will be helping our company decide which mutual funds to include in our 401K plans.

16 Two different approaches  I need all employees to complete the questionnaire by September 30.  By completing the questionnaire by September 30, you will be helping our company decide which mutual funds to include in our 401K plans. The first sentence is demanding information. The second requests information and shows you a benefit for submitting it. It answers the readers’ question of ‘What’s in it for me?”

17 Appeal to Your Audience Unless you make an effort to connect with your audience, chances are your message is not going to be communicated. Write from the reader’s point of view. Emphasize what the reader wants to know.

18 The “You” Viewpoint  Change your mindset from “I” or “we” to “you.” Instead of “We must receive your receipt with the merchandise before we can process your refund,” say, “So you can receive your refund promptly, please enclose the sales receipt with your merchandise.”

19 Good Workplace Writing Good workplace writing is not just a matter of composing grammatically correct sentences. Good workplace writing takes into account how the reader interprets the message. It creates a tone of good will and keeps the readers’ interest. Source: Michelle Howe, President, “How Write You Are” Business Communications


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