Presentation on theme: "Writing Business Messages"— Presentation transcript:
1 Writing Business Messages The 3 step writing processUnderstanding your audienceSelecting the right mediaOrganizing the message
2 LO1. Describe the 3 step writing process PLANWRITECOMPLETEAnalyze the situationAdapt to your audienceRevise the messageGather informationEstablish you credibilityProduce the messageSelect the right mediumControl your styleProofread the messageOrganize the informationCompose the messageDistribute the messageThis chapter is about the planning part!
3 Planning the message Analyze the situation Gather information - define your purpose & develop an audience profileGather information- obtain the necessary information & provide the required information to satisfy audience needsSelect the right medium- for delivering message; oral, written, visual, etcOrganize the information- define your main idea, limit your scope, select a direct or indirect approach & outline contentSo let’s look at defining your purpose
4 LO2. Explain why it is important to define your purpose carefully and list 4 questions that can help you test that purposeIt defines theoverall approachthe information neededthe appropriate mediumhow to organize your messageDetermines audience participationall messages have a purpose; to inform, persuade or collaborateHow can the purposes vary?
5 INFORMPERSUADECOLLABORATEless audience interactionmoderate audience interactionmaximum audience interactionaudience absorb info; either accept or rejectgive audience chance to ask questionsaudience adjust to new information, views, reactions, etcaudience don’t contribute to contentclear up any doubts audience may havecommunicator in controlcommunicator in moderate controlcommunicator has less controlHow can we test your purpose?
6 Testing the specific purpose of each message Ask 4 questionsWould anything change as a result of your message? - if no, don’t send itIs your purpose realistic? - if it is a drastic change, go slow….propose a first step…..message becomes the start of a learning processIs it the right time? – is it worth the time & effort to prepare & send message? Don’t send at a busy or difficult timeIs your purpose acceptable to your organization? – how do you expect them to respond? when?After defining your purpose, to analyze the situation, we need to develop audience profile
7 Develop the profile of your audience Identify the primary audience-some members are > important than others, don’t ignore the others’ needs but do address the primary members, i.e. decision makersDetermine audience size and geographic spread-this affects the approach, e.g. meeting vs. face to faceDetermine the audience composition-look for similarities & differences in culture, language, education, rank, attitudes etcGauge their level of understanding-do you have similar background to audience? sameeducation level?5. Understand expectations-details? summary? formal? informal?
8 LO.4 Discuss gathering information for simple messages and identify 3 attributes of quality informationInformal techniques to information gathering:- assemble information to include in message- if simple, all information is ready- if complex, research & analysis required, we need to know what to include, how to express & present it
9 To Gather Information - Consider other viewpoints put yourself in their shoes. How do you feel? What are you thinking? What is ahead for us?Read reports and company documentsreview financial statements, news releases, blogs, marketing reports, customer surveys, database & Knowledge Management SystemsTalk with supervisors, colleagues, & customerssometimes people are vital sources of information, they may be reliable & trust worthyAsk your audience for inputDon’t try to guess your audiences’ needs. If you not sure, askAfter information gathering, you have to ensure to satisfy your audiences’ needs for information
10 Providing the Requested Information Test your message by using the journalistic approach, who, what, when, where, why, howCheck to ensure information isAccurateEthical Information quality characteristicsPertinentWhat makes information accurate?
11 Accurateprevent embarrassment, lost productivity, due to safety & legal issuesif sources are people, double-check?ensure its current & reliablecheck dates, review calculationsdon’t make assumptionsprovide supporting information, upon requestWhat makes information ethical?
12 Ethical You could make an honest mistake if so, contact recipients asap and correct itthey will continue to have respect for youRemember it is unethical to omit informationinclude enough information to not misleadIf you are not sure about information qualitydo ensure that you offer enough to support your messagedo provide more, if requestedWhat makes information pertinent?
13 Pertinent some points are more important than others prioritize themfilter the massesfocus on audiences concernsgroup varying interests, use common sense to identify interestsLook at their job, age, income, education to clue in (see Lecture 1)Now we have quality information, how do we select the right media?
14 Select the right media Media Options Oral Written Visual Electronic Medium- form of which you which you choose to communicate your messageProper selection make the difference; i.e. effective or ineffective communicationMedia OptionsOralWrittenVisualElectronic
15 in person presentations ORALface 2 facespeechesin person presentationsinterviewsmeetings
19 Media Advantages & Disadvantages OralOpportunity for feedbackAllows interactionEmotions can be expressedRestricted participationNo permanent recordNo opportunity to revise or editWrittenCan plan & controlDispersed audiencePermanent, viable recordNo distortionAvoid interactionsDo not emphasize inappropriate emotionsNo speedy feedbackLack of non-verbal cluesTime & resources to distributeRequires skill in preparation & productionVisualCan convey complex ideasLess intimidating than large blocks of textQuickly convey messageTo easily see relationshipsTechnical skills to createArtistic skills to designCan be difficult to transmitTakes more time to prepare than textElectronicDelivers messages quicklyReach dispersed audience> accessibility & openness> excitement & appealEasy to overusePrivacy & security concernsCan contribute to unproductivity
20 LO5. List factors to consider when choosing the appropriate media for your message Media RichnessMessage FormalityMedia LimitationsSender IntentionsUrgency & CostAudience PreferencesLet’s look at media richness
21 Media Richness Leaner, fewer cues, Richer, no interactivity > cues, Standard reportsStatic web pagesMass mediaPosters & symbolsCustom reportsLetters & memos& IMBlogswikisTelephone callsTeleconferencingVideoVideo IMFace 2 faceMultimediaVirtual RealityRicher,> cues,no interactivityA medium’s ability to:1.) convey a message through > 1 informational cue (visual, verbal, vocal, etc.2.) facilitate feedback3.) establish personal focus
22 Message Formality: Media Limitations: Sender Intentions: your media choice rules the style & tone of your message, e.g. change in café hours is better communicated on a blog vs. memoMedia Limitations:every medium have limitations, e.g. same time, same place with face 2 face communicationSender Intentions:media choice influences your audience perception of your intentions, e.g. a letter shows formality vs. phone callUrgency & CostYou have to gauge the two factors, face 2 face (urgent) but preparing a meeting may be costlyAudience Preferenceswhich option the audience prefers, delivering a diploma via fax!!!???
23 LO6. Explain why good organization is important to both you and your audience-1 Makes the difference between success & failureWhy organize?to not create any unnecessary work for readerskeep them interestedmaintain your reputation as a good communicatoryou will take less time to do draftssaves time & consumes less creativityyou compose what you actually needto get advance input from audienceIf working on a large project, its easier to divide tasks among co-workers
24 LO6. Explain why good organization is important to both you and your audience-2 It helps the audience in 3 ways:Helps the audience organize everythingHighlighting main points at the startInformation is logically presentedSatisfies the audiences’ need for informationHelps the audience accept messageBe diplomatic- acknowledge, sympathize, offer solution, be accountable & provide opportunities for further communicationSaves your audience timeOnly have relevant ideasIdeas are briefly outlinedIdeas are in a logical placeIdeas are accessibleSo how do we organize them?
25 LO7. Summarize the process for organizing business messages effectively Define your main ideaLimit the scopeChoose the direct or indirect approachGroup your points- create an outlineLet’s look at defining the main idea
26 Define your main ideacondense your information into 1 idea to get the broad subject or topicthe entire message supports, will explain or demonstrate that main ideaThe main idea is a specific statement about the topic of your messageThe main idea is obvious for simple messages & have little emotional impact on the audienceIf responding to a request, you start with the concept, “here is what you wanted!....”If persuading or delivering bad news, establish a relationship with the audience, highlight their interests in your main idea & emphasize a point you can both agree uponIf message is lengthy, e.g. a report, your main idea has to encompass all included pointsLet’s look at handling included points
27 Techniques to encompass points-1 Brainstorminggenerating ideas or questions without reflecting on relevance, accuracy or seeking approvalcan be done alone, but best with othersafter his, look for connections, trends, etc. to help define the main idea & supporting pointsSee a step by step guide to brainstorming
28 Techniques to encompass points-2 Journalistic Approachoutlines the who, what, when, where, how & whyfilters through the initial contentSee A journalistic approach to good writing: the craft of clarity By Robert M. Knight
29 Techniques to encompass points-3 Q & A chainstart with a question that appeals to the audiencework back towards your messageeach answer generate new questionsuntil you get all the information that needs to be in your message
30 Techniques to encompass points-4 Story teller’s toursome communicators feel it is better to talk throughthen express it in wordsplay it back, to find vague areas, lack of details, etc.go back, edit….until complete & concise
31 Techniques to encompass points-5 Mind Mappingstart with main ideabranch outconnect with any other idea that comes to mindsee Mind MapsLet us look at an example of defining the main idea
32 To inform employees about the improvements at the café. General purposeSpecific PurposeTopicMain ideaTo informTo inform employees about the improvements at the café.Improvements at the caféImprovements in food and facilities have been made to the café.After defining the main idea, how do we know what to cover?
33 Limiting your scope What is scope? range of presented information overall lengthlevel of detailmust correspondwith main idea
34 Range of presented information Main ideaImprovements in food and facilities have been made to the café.Major pointsnew lunch menunew hot beveragesnew ambienceSupporting informationfull balanced meals; not just sandwiches, pies, etc.new cappuccino machine & herbal teas availablenew furniture & change in music
35 Length of messagelimit your major points to about 6 or so, better if lessGroup supporting pointsNew hot beverages New ambiencenew cappuccino machine - new furnitureherbal teas available - change in music
36 Level of detailif message is brief, use 1 paragraph each for the main idea, major points & supporting pointsif longer, the major points must be developed by supporting pointsLength depends on the following:nature of messagefamiliarity with topicif audience will be receptive to your conclusionyour credibilityWe know what to include & its detail, but how do we present it?
37 Choosing between Direct & Indirect Approaches Eager Interested Pleased Neutral Displeased Uninterested UnwillingDirect ApproachIndirect ApproachAudience ReactionEager/interested/pleased/neutralDispleasedUninterested/UnwillingMessageOpeningStart with the main idea, the request or good newsStart with a neutral statement that acts as a transition to the reasons for bad newsStart with a statement or question that captures attentionBodyProvide necessary detailsGive reasons to justify a negative answer. State or imply the bad news, and make a positive suggestionArouse the audience’s interest in the subject. Build the audience’s desire to comply.CloseClose, with a cordial comment, a reference to the good news or a statement about the specific action desiredClose cordiallyRequest action.
38 How to choose between the two options analyze your audiences’ likely reaction to your purpose & messageconsider the unique circumstance of each messagethe audiences’ situation should be taken into considerationWhat are the different types of messages?
39 Different types of messages Routineinvolve daily matters of operating a business, e.g. change in office hoursaudience are neutraleasy to prepareuse direct approachPositiveconvey good news, e.g. announcementsaudience are pleased to hear from youNegativedeliver bad news, e.g. job losswill disappoint audienceuse indirect approachPersuasiveAsking audience to give, do or changeSo we know how to approach the message but how do we present it?
40 Outlining the content Why do we use outlines? Save time Get better resultsEasy navigationEasy to see relationships between componentsStay on trackCommunicate in a systematic wayMessage becomes coherent and flow into each otherHow to outline data?
41 Alphanumeric OutlineThe following are improvements made in food and facilities at the café:Newi. full balanced mealsB. New hot beveragesi. new cappuccino machineii. new herbal teasC. New ambiencei. new furnitureii. change in music
42 Decimal OutlineThe following are improvements made in food and facilities at the café. 1. New menu 1.1 full balanced meals 2. New hot beverages 2.1 new cappuccino machine 2.2 new herbal teas 3. New ambience 3.1 new furniture 3.2 change in music
43 Organizational Charts Change in café hoursNew ambienceNew furnitureChange in musicNew lunch menuNew hot beveragesNew cappuccino machineNew herbal beverages
44 Summary Clarify the purpose of your message on the onset Provide the required informationSelect the right mediaDevelop an outline of the planned content
45 Questions Traditionally, communication is either oral or written. i.) Give 3 examples of oral communication used in business. ii.) Briefly outline 3 advantages of oral communication. iii.) Briefly outline 3 disadvantages of oral communication. 
46 2. The 3 step writing process can help you produce all kinds of business messages. a) You are going to write a routine request message. The first step is to plan a message. Describe, in a logical order, the 4 tasks involved in planning a message. 
47 3. Organizing a presentation. i 3. Organizing a presentation. i.) Describe how you would define the main idea of your presentation.  ii.) Give 2 reasons why it is particularly important to limit your scope for oral presentations. 
48 4. You have to write many negative business message in your career. i.) Give 5 circumstances in which you would use the direct approach in a letter which contains bad news for its recipients. ii.) When would you use an indirect approach in a negative message? iii.) What are the sequence of elements in a message using the indirect approach?