Best practices in business writing and communication


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Best practices in business writing and communication

  1. 1. Best Practices in Business Writing and Communication January 31, 2014
  2. 2. Why is Business Writing and Communication Important? • Communication is the heart of the business • “Employees who are happy with how their company communicates are twice as likely to be motivated to work for the company and four times as likely to recommend the company” (College Boards, 2004) • Highly effective communicating companies have 47% higher returns for shareholders than companies considered least effective communicators (Towers and Watson, 2009)
  3. 3. Do’s and Don’t of Ethical Communication • • • • • Follow the Law Tell the Truth Be Inclusive of Others Avoid the 5 “Traps” Use tools to overcome objections • Don’t fall into the 5 traps • False Necessity Trap • Doctrine of Relative Filth Trap • Self Deceptive Trap • Rationalization Trap • End-Justifies- theMeans Trap
  4. 4. Tools for Making Ethical Communication • Is the Action legal? • How would you view the issue from the opposite side? • What are Alternative Solutions? • Can you discuss the problem with someone whose advice you trust? • How would you fell if your family, friends, employer or coworkers learned of your action?
  5. 5. 10 “Tips” for Effective Communication • • • • • • • • • • Listen first Breathe and remain calm Avoid blame, judgment or denial Separate fact from opinion Be aware of emotions Be aware of needs and values Ask for what you want Body Language Take into account individual and cultural differences Be sincere (Guffey and Loewy, 2011)
  6. 6. Importance of Intercultural Communication • Business today is more and more global • The US population is expected to grow 50% over the next 50 years. Half of the new employees will be immigrants from different cultures (Newman & Ober, 2012) • Working together with many different cultures will become the norm • To succeed in a culture rich society, you will need to improve your communication skill and technique.
  7. 7. Approaches to Intercultural Communication • Practice Empathy • Patience is required • Understand the significance of non verbal behavior • Listen without interruption • Check for comprehension such as always following up an oral encounter in writing for clarity (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) • Always use Professionalism
  8. 8. Professionalism in the Workplace • Professionalism leads to success • Soft skills such as professionalism and business etiquette are important to employers • Projecting professionalism when you communicate is vital to being a successful professional in business.
  9. 9. Examples of Professionalism in Communication Speech Habits • Understand that your credibility can be seriously damaged by sounding uneducated, crude or adolescent (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) E-Mail • Employers put more value on email that have the correct punctuation and not abbreviations • Conciseness and correct spelling are expected
  10. 10. More Examples of Professionalism in Communication Internet and texting • An email address should be a full relevant name and not a cute nickname • Sending appropriate business text only when necessary (Guffey & Loewy, 2011) Telephone and Voicemail • Keep the background quiet when you are answering the phone • An outgoing message on your voicemail states your name or phone number and provides instructions for leaving a message
  11. 11. Writing Tips for the Business Professional • Understanding that business writing involves a process is key to great writing • Purpose- you need a defined purpose for writing • Persuasive- You want your audience to accept and believe your message • Economical- Clear and concise, length is not important • Audience- know your audience and look from their perspective over yours
  12. 12. Step 1: Understand the 3X3 Writing Process • Business writers need to fully understand the process • Prewriting is the first step in a great presentation • Writing is the next step • Revising is the final step in the process (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  13. 13. Prewriting • Identify your purpose • Choose engaging colors that are appealing • Create effective animation • Choose images when possible over plain text
  14. 14. Writing • Always try to illustrate your content creatively • Blue print slides are a preferred method • Follow the six steps on the next slide for a great presentation (Moore, 2010)
  15. 15. Revising • Add and delete slides until you are satisfied • Edit , proof, and edit again for errors • Always remember to evaluate the content
  16. 16. Use of Electronic Message and Digital Media for Presentations • Always analyze the content • Subject line • Opening • Body • Closing
  17. 17. Creating a Multimedia Presentation Start with text Include interactive elements Select background Add special effects Choose images Create graphics (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  18. 18. Construct Content with Templates (Guffey & Loewy, 2011)
  19. 19. Slides must have a Purpose • • • • • • Appeal visually to audience Create memory points Review key points Provide transitions Illustrate ideas Try to simply a complex concept for audience
  20. 20. Positive Messages • Choose best method of delivery such as phone call, email, letter or face to face • Best to use a direct organization plan for writing neutral or good news • Examples of positive news are: letters of recommendation, promotions, and thank you letters.
  21. 21. Negative Messages • Usually more difficult to construct and deliver • Use an indirect organizational plan as to try to put some neutral news in front to buffer the impending bad news. • Crafting a bad news message takes careful planning • Content, relationship of reader and expected reaction are critical
  22. 22. Business Presentations • Preparation is the key to any successful business presentation • The planning and preparing is similar to a business report with the addition of public speaking • Improving business speaking and presentations can vastly improve your standing in business as most are afraid of public speaking
  23. 23. How to Create an Effective Business Presentation • Know your purpose • Know your audience • Capture attention in the introduction • Provide strong organization in the body of the presentation • Summarize in the conclusion
  24. 24. Using Multimedia for Business Presentations • Use the 6 step process • Chose a balance and do not go too heavy on a couple of steps • Do not allow the graphics to over shadow the content • Each step should compliment not compete Start with text Include interactive elements Select background Add special effects Choose images Create graphics
  25. 25. Business Reports, Plans and Proposals Informal Business Reports • Usually less formal • Shorter in length than formal reporting • Provide informational and or analytics • Common examples of informal business reports are activity reports, progress reports, and yardstick reports Formal Business Reports • Formal as the name suggest • Usually has a table of contents • Provides more in depth analysis and commentary • Common examples are economic impact studies, consultants business case study, and government hearings and findings reports.
  26. 26. Conclusion • Business Writing is a process • The 3 X 3 process is a proven successful method • Practice makes Perfect- No one is born with the natural ability to write and present flawlessly • Professional etiquette always enhances great business writing and presentations
  27. 27. References College Boards (2004). Writing: A ticket to work… or a ticket out Retrieved from download/ Guffey, M. & Loewy, D. (2011). Business communication: Process and product (7th ed.). Independence, KY: Cengage. Moore, R. (2010). Writing matters: A handbook for writing and research. New York, NY: Mc-Graw-Hill. Newman, A,, & Ober, S. (2012). Business communication: In print in person, online (8th ed.). Cincinnatti, OH: South-Western. Towers Watson (2009). 2009/2010 Communications ROI Study Report. Capitalizing on effective communication. Retrieved from