Org 536 Best Practices in Business Writing and Communication

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  • 1. Best Practices in Business Writing and Communication Damon Ware ORG536 – Contemporary Business Writing and Communication Colorado State University – Global Campus Professor Brian Neff April 11, 2014
  • 2. PRESENTATION OVERVIEW Effective and Ethical Business Communication Professionalism in the Workplace Business Reports, Plans, and Proposals Business Presentations Intercultural Business Communication Writing Tips for the Business Professional Positive and Negative Messages The Use of Electronic Messages and Digital Media for Business Communication
  • 3. Communication – is the transmission of information and meaning from one individual or group to another. It is successful when the receiver understands it as it is intended. An organizations success depends on effective communication. Communication – involves speaking, listening, non-verbal communication, and writing. Through communication, people share ideas, communicate their needs and expectations, and make plans. People – in organizations communicate regularly: by phone, writing emails, at a meeting, making a presentation, writing a proposal or report, and even conducting an interview. COMMUNICATION (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 4. Importance of Effective Communication Establishes Effective Leadership & Decision Making Aids in Motivation and Morale Development Must be Able to Read, Listen, Speak, and Write A Skill Employers Seek in Potential Employees Increase Managerial Efficiency and Professionalism EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 5. Barriers to Communication • Things or people that hinder effective interactions or relationships. • Something that hinders transmission of information from one place or person to another. • An obstacle in a workplace that prevents effective exchange of ideas or thoughts. • Things that affect the flow of communication. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION Source: (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 6. SS ETHICAL COMMUNICATION Ethics refers to conventional standards of right and wrong that prescribe what people should do. Abide by the Law Give Credit to Others for Their Ideas Use Inclusive Language Tell the Truth Label Opinions So Others Know Facts from Opinions Communicating Clearly Being Objective Source: (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 7. Punctual PROFESSIONALISM IN THE WORKPLACE Be organized, prepared, and dedicated to your position. Be ethical, and realize the sensitivity of your position. Always dress professional and appropriate. All etiquette should be professional and respectful. Be puctual and adhere to commitments. (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 8. Be Animated • Be enthusiastic and show it through body language. Dress to Impress • You will undoubtedly be judged by your appearance. Vary Facial Expressions • Begin with smile, and vary facial expressions based on corresponding message. Punctuate Words • Keep audience interested by varying tone, volume, pitch, and pace. Speak Extemporaneously • Do not read from notes. Speak freely to come acrooss more competent. Move Around • Do not get glued behind a podium or obstruction. Movement makes you look more natural. NONVERBAL MESSAGES AND PUBLIC SPEAKING (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 9. Oral Communication • Learn foreign phrases • Use simple english •Speak slowly and enunciate clearly • Observe eye messages • Encourage accurate feedback •Check frequently for comprehension • Accept blame • Listen without interrupting •Smile when appropriate •Follow up in writing Written Messages •Consider local styles • Observe titles and rank •Use shorter sentences and paragraphs • Avoid ambiguous expressions •Strive for clarity •Use correct grammar • Cite numbers carefully •Accommodate the reader in organization, tone, and style. BEST PRACTICE FOR INTERCULTUAL COMMUNICATION (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 10. Prewriting •Analyze •Anticipate •Adapt Revising •Revise •Proofread •Evaluate Writing •Research •Organize •Compose WRITING PROCESS 3x3 Writing Process (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 11. Business Writing Tips • Know your audience and the result you would like to achieve. • Use a strong active voice and a conventional tone. • Replace hyperbole with solid facts and reputable testimony. • Convert product and service features with benefits. • Don’t rely solely on word processor spell check, read it out loud before sending. • Write from a customers perspective and what will interest them. • Be clear, concise, and to the point. WRITING TIPS FOR THE BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL (Khan, 2008) Source:
  • 12. SS WRITING ESSENTIALS Allow sufficient time. Finish data collection.Be consistent in verb tense. Save difficult sections. Work from a good outline. Provide a proper writing environment. Write rapidly; revise later. Use the features of your computer wisely. (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 13. CHOOSING CORRECT COMMUNICATION CHANNEL (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) CHANNEL BEST USE Blog When a person needs to present digital information that is available to others. E-mail When you need feedback but not immediately. Does have a lack of security. Face-to-Face When you need a rich interactive medium. Face-to-Face Group Meetings When a group decision or consensus is needed. Instant Message When you are online and need a quick response. Letter When you need a written record to explain, discuss, or collect information with others outside of the organization. Report or Proposal When you are delivering considerable data. Wiki When digital information must be available to others. Useful for collaboration where participants can add, remove, and edit content. Fax When a message must cross time zones or international boundaries, when a written record is significant. Memo When you need a written record to explain, discuss, or collect information within an organization.
  • 14. • Summarize the central idea. • Include labels if appropriate. •Avoid empty or dangerous words. Subject Line • State the purpose for writing. • Highlight questions. • Supply information directly. Opening • Explain details. • Enhance readability. • Applay document design. • Be cautious. Body • Request action. •Provide a goodwill statement or a closing thought. •Avoid cliché endings. Closing PROFESSIONAL EMAIL (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 15. Electronic Mail Instant Messaging Text Messaging Blogs Wikis Social Networking • The communication channel of choice for businesses. • Interactive and immediate with real time exchanges of messages. • Short messages that are sent between mobile and wireless devices. • Web site with journal entries written and commented on. • Public or private web site to collaborate and access information. • Diverse members connect and collaborate in social communities. • Creates a permanent record. • Creates a permanent text record. • Connects many devices together for conversation. • Combine text, images , and links to information. • Database that records all changes. • A very popular use of the internet. • Recipient can read, print, forward, save, or delete. • Similar to phone conversations with private chat. • Short person to person inquiries and responses. • Good for information exchange and feedback. • A place for a large dispersed team to share and revise projects. • An excellent e- commerce opportunity for organizations. DIGITAL MEDIA BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 16. Positive Messages • Positive messages are often the easiest to write because the audience is expected to be fairly receptive of the presented information, thus they tend to follow the direct pattern by stating the idea at the very beginning following with the explanation. •Usually done in electronic mails, letters, and memos. •Types of Positive Messages:  Requests for Information/Action  Claims  Replies Negative Messages • Negative messages are usually difficult to write because the audience is being told exactly what they don't want to hear. Negative messages most often include refusing requests and delivering bad news to a customer or to those within an organization. Certain techniques that help soften the blow of bad news are applicable to all negative messages. Remember, when writing a negative message, the audience is likely to be unreceptive so be sure to use the indirect approach. •Ways to Reduce Negative Feelings:  Buffer the Opening  Be Empathetic  Clearly Explain Reasons  Remain Professional  Avoid Negative Words  Be Sincere  Close Politely and Pleasantly DELIVERY OF POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE MESSAGES (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 17. STRATEGY WHEN DELIVERING NEGATIVE MESSAGES (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Direct Strategy When the bad news is not damaging. When the receiver may overlook the bad news. When the organization or receiver prefers directness. When firmness is necessary. Indirect Strategy When the bad news is personally upsetting. When the bad news will provoke a hostile reaction. When the bad news threatens the customer relationship. When the bad news is unexpected.
  • 18. Know Your Audience • How will this topic appeal to this audience? •How can I relate this information to my listeners’ needs? •How can I earn respect so that they accept my message? •What would be most effective in making my point? Facts? Statistics? Personal experiences? Expert opinion? Graphic illustrations? Demonstrations? Case histories? Analogies? •What measures must I take to ensure that this audience remembers my main points? KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 19. Powerful Multimedia Presentations • Start with the text. •Select backgrounds and fonts. •Choose images that help communicate your message. •Creat graphics. •Add special effects. •Create hyperlinks to approximate the Web browsing experience. •Engage your audience by asking for interaction. •Move your presentation to the Internet. MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATIONS (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 20. Before Presentation •Prepare Thoroughly •Rehearse Repeatedly •Time Yourself •Check the Room •Greet Members of the Audience •Practice Stress Reduction PRESENTATION DELIVERY After Presentation • Distribute Handouts •Encourage Questions •Repeat Questions •Reinforce Your Main Points •Keep Control •Avoid “Yes, But” Answers •End with a Summary and Appreciation During Presentation • Begin with a Pause •Present Your First Sentence From Memory •Maintain Eye Contact •Control Your Voice & Vocabulary •Move Naturally •Use Visual Aids Effectively •Avoid Digressions •Summarize Your Main Points and Arrive at the High Point of Your Talk (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 21. Informal Reports • Informal reports are generally 1-3 pages. • Are less formal and can use casual language. • Generally shared internally within an organization. • Audience usually is knowledgeable about contents. • Written as a memo or letter. • Highlights facts and specific recommendations. • Written using first and second person styles. Formal Reports • Formal reports are longer, structured, and require attention to detail. • Must be understandable to the audience. • A formal report explains detailed analysis. • Generally written for individuals outside of the organization. • Needs careful planning. • Used for more complex data. • Used to analyze, interpret, draw a conclusionn, and provide a recommendation. • Written using third person style. FORMAL AND INFORMAL REPORTS (Business Communication Articles, 2013)
  • 22. Direct Strategy • Identify the problem or need briefly. •Announce the recommendation, solution, or action concisely. •Explain fully the benefits of the recommendation. •Include a discussion of pros, cons, and costs. •Conclude with a summary specifying the recommendation and necessary action. Indirect Strategy •Refer to the problem in general terms in the subject line. •Describe the problem or need your recommendation addresses. Be specific. •Discuss alternative solutions. •Present the most promising alternative last. •Show how the advantages of your recommendation outweigh the disadvantages. •Summarize your recommendation. •Ask for authorization to proceed if necessary. DIRECT/INDIRECT STRATEGY OF FORMAL REPORTS (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  • 23. Components of Formal Reports • Cover •Title Page •Letter or Memo of Transmittal •Table of Contents •List of Illustrations •Introduction •Body •Conclusions •Recommendations •Appendix •References FORMAL REPORT WRITING (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 24. Components of Business Proposals • Copy of the Request for Proposal •Letter of Transmittal •Abstract or Executive Summary •Title Page •Table of Contents •List of Illustrations •Appendix FORMAL BUSINESS PROPOSALS (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 25. Components of Business Plan • Letter or Transmittal and/or Executive Summary with Mission Statement •Table of Contents •Company Description •Product or Service Description •Market Analysis •Operations and Management •Financial Analysis •Appendixes FORMAL BUSINESS PLAN (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Source:
  • 26. References • Business Communication Articles. (2013). Difference between formal and informal reports. Retrieved from • Crompton, D. (2012). The 100 most influential people in business ethics. Retrieved from • Dalhousie University. (2014). Intercultural communication certificate. Retrieved from • Education Portal. (2010). Pay attention in English comp: 10 ways youll use writing in your career. Retrieved from • Effective Business Communication. (2013). Retrieved from • Ferreira, A. (2013). Global and regional. Retrieved from • Finkle, L. (2011). Business plans: What is it and why do I need it. Retrieved from • Guffey, M., & Loewy, D. (2011). Business communication: Process and product (7th Ed.). Independence, KY: Cengage Learning. • Houston Chronicle. (2014). How to decline a business proposal graciously. Retrieved from • Khan, S. (2008). Effective business writing tips for professionals. Retrieved from • Muovo Malta (2011). Non-verbal communication enhances effective communication. Retrieved from • Neuendorff, M. (2011). Bond with your audience through humor. Retrieved from • Under 30 CEO. (2013). 10 alternatives to the formal business plan. Retrieved from