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  • 1. 2006 Course pack Business Communication (ACCN226 and ACCN226Q) Contents i Course timetable spreadsheet i 1 General information 3 2 School of Accountancy Code of Conduct 13 3 Listening notes 15 4 Orals and business presentations 30 5 Guidelines for Academic writing 35 6 Guidelines for Academic report writing 38 7 The lighter side of reasons for writing well – across the disciplines 48 8 The lighter side of decision making based on observations 50 9 Past exam questions 54 October 2003 54 January 2004 (Supplementary exam) 59 November 2004 63 January 2005 75 November 2005 77 January 2006 Supplementary Exam 82 10 Acknowledgements and Bibliography 85 11 Templates/examples 88 11.1 Business letter format 88 11.2 Sample auditing report 89 11.3 Sample Group Proposal 90 11.4 Proposed plan and Monitoring and Evaluation Tool 93 11.5 Sample proposal template 94 11.6 Sample Analytical Report format 94 1
  • 2. 12 Tutorial and homework activities 95 12.1 Tut 1: Orientation, ground-rules and groupwork 98 12.2 Tut 2: Demographics, audience analysis and culture 109 12.3 Tut 3: Preparing proposal writing 117 12.4 Tut 4: Writing and Proofreading 122 Assessment criteria for proposal 124 12.5 Tut 5: Writing process exercises 125 12.6 Tut 6: Proposals due + Preparing Report writing 128 Assessment criteria for proposal oral 129 6.4 Business report topics 139 12.7 Tut 7: preparation work: reports 148 Assessment criteria for academic reports 153 12.8 Tut 8: Report writing exercises 154 12.9 Tut 9: Finalising reports 156 12.10 Tut 10: Report deadline and student feedback 157 12.11 Tut 11: Employment communication (chapter 16) 183 12.12 Tut 12 Revision and academic writing exercises 189 Lecture notes/ “handouts” Lecture 1 Lecture 2 Lecture 3 Lecture 4 Lecture 5 Lecture 6 Lecture 7 Lecture 8 Lecture 9 Lecture 10 Lecture 11 Lecture 12 Lecture 13 Lecture 14 Lecture 15 Lecture 16 2
  • 3. 1 General information 1.1 Course objectives: The primary objective of this Business Communication (ACCN226) course is to facilitate the development of thinking skills, such as critical thinking, creative thinking and problem solving, as well as textual skills, such as listening, reading, comprehension, interpretation and writing skills in an academic environment that includes business examples. The secondary objective of this course is to facilitate the development of interpersonal communication skills in both the academic and business environments. Business Communication includes writing letters, e-mails, memo’s, proposals and reports. It includes organizational and multi-cultural communication as well as oral presentations. [See page 89 of the Wits Rules and Syllabuses 2006 Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management] 1.2 Course Presentation: Lectures are given to introduce concepts, theories and general practices. These are developed practically in related tutorials with a range of assignments for assessment. The course (ACCN226) is offered to two groups who alternate BIS with Business Communication throughout the academic year, thus earning a half-credit for each half-course. The course (ACCN226Q) will also be offered part-time through Wits Plus during the second semester on Thursday evenings. 1.3 Course coordinator: (Ms) Nicky Sanders Senior Lecturer: Business Communication Office 93, FNB Building, West Campus Wits University, Yale Road, Johannesburg Private Bag X3 Witwatersrand 2050 e-mail: Tel: 011- 7178041 Fax: 011- 3397884 Cellphone: 082 493 3743 1.4 Lecture venues and times Mondays 12:30-14:00 in NCB2 (Feb-Apr only), AND Tuesdays 12:30-14:00 in NCB4 (all year) - note if FNB FFA is allocated 1.5 Tutors and tutorials Tut venues to be allocated to groups: Pay attention to notice boards at FNB 93 3
  • 4. Tuts are either Wednesdays 12:30-14:15 in FNB126, 95, 83, OGS2 and OGS3 (tbc) or tuts on Fridays 10:15-12:00 in FNB 142, 143, 144, 145, 146 (tbc) Extra tutorials may be offered on Thursdays 08:00-09:45 in FNB 145 and 146 - see notices 1.6 DP regulations Duly Performed rules are set out in the School of Accountancy and Faculty of Commerce publications, and apply to this course. 1.6.1 A sub-minimum of 35% must be earned in the tests and first tutorial orals and assignments by the end of the 1st semester in order to continue with the course. 1.6.2 75% attendance at tutorials is required in order to write the final examination. 1.6.3 DP notices will be posted on the notice board at FNB 93 and on WebCT at the end of the 1st and 2nd semester respectively. The onus is on the student to pay attention, and if need be to appeal to the Head of School, Accountancy, Prof. M Negash in writing. 1.7 Examination, tests and assignments Year mark 40% towards the final mark. This is comprised of: Semester 1 Feb Test 10% towards the year mark April Test 10% towards the year mark Orals 10% towards the year mark S1 Tutorial assignments 10% towards the year mark Business Proposal (oral 50% written + 150%) 20% towards the year mark [DP rule 1.6.1 applies] Semester 2 Academic Report 30% towards the year mark S2 Tutorial assignments 10 % towards the year mark [DP rule 1.6.2 applies] [100% converted to 40% of final mark] November Exam 100% converted to 60% towards the final mark The final exam requires a sub-minimum of 40% in order for students to pass the course. The weighting is 40:60 (year-mark 40%: Final examination 60%) 4
  • 5. 1.8 Textbooks and recommended texts 1.8.1 Textbook Guffey, ME, K Rhodes, P Rogin (2005) Business Communication: Process and Product Fourth Canadian Edition, Thomson, Nelson: Canada 1.8.2 Recommended texts will be updated on WebCT, particularly relevant articles that are in current publication. 1.8.3 If you are unable to purchase the textbook (1.8.1) then the alternate from 2004 is still viable. However, there may be exercises that you will have to photocopy for tutorials: Essentials of Business Communication 6th Edition by Mary Ellen Guffey, published by Thomson South-Western (2004) ISBN: 0-324-18535-9 The book has a CD-ROM with tuts, grammar exercises, etc. Focus on: Unit 1’Laying Communication Foundations’, chapter 1 ‘Facing Today’s Communication Challenges’ pages 1-26 Unit 6 ‘Communicating for employment’, chapters 13 and 14, pages 363-426 Unit 2 ‘The writing process’, chapter 2 ‘Writing for business audiences’, pages 27-53 Unit 2, chapter 4, pages 80-97 Unit 5 ‘Developing Speaking Skills’, chapter 11 ‘Communicating in Person, by Telephone, and in Meetings’, pp 316-320, 328 (11.7) Unit 3, chapter 6 ‘Routine Letters‘ 134-173 Unit 5 ‘Developing speaking skills’, ch 12 ‘Making Oral Presentations’, pages 334-362 Unit 4 ‘Reporting Workplace Data’, chapter 9-10 ‘Informal reports and Formal Reports’, pages 233-306 Unit 4 ’Reporting Workplace Data’, Chapter 10: ‘Presenting the Final Report’ page 283, Unit 5, chapter 12, pages 334-362 Unit 4, chapter 10, pages 263-267 Unit 3 ‘Corresponding at work’, chapter 7 ‘Persuasive Messages’, pages 174-201 Unit 3 ‘Corresponding at work’, chapter 5 ‘E-mail and Memoranda’, pages 100-132 Unit 5 ‘Developing Speaking Skills’, ch 11 ‘Communicating in Meetings’, pages 320-332 Unit 2 ‘The Writing Process’, chapter 3 ‘Improving Writing Techniques’, pages 54-78 Unit 3 ‘Corresponding at work’, chapter 8 ‘Negative Messages’ pages 203-232 5
  • 6. 1.8.4 OTHER RECOMMENDED BOOKS You are advised to do your own searches in convenient libraries, but here are some suggestions: Adey AD and MG Andrew 1990 Getting it Right Juta: Cape Town Cleary S (Editor), M Harran, J Luck, S Potgieter, S Scheckle, R van der Merwe and K van Heerden 1999 The Communication Handbook Juta: Cape Town Evans DW, 1996 Core Skills Communication Longman: Essex Evans DW, 1990 People, Communication & Organisations 2nd Edition, Pitman: London Fielding, Michael 1997 Effective Communication in Organisations 2nd Edition, Juta: Cape Town Stewart, G, C de Cock, M Smit, B Sproat and G Storrie 1996 Communicating for the Professions , Juta: Cape Town 1.8.4 RECOMMENDED WEBSITES Google -- (The strongest search engine with hints and hyperlinks for the entire www) Yahoo -- (A great directory.) Excite -- (You may not have heard of this search engine, but it's well worth a visit - uses "fuzzy logic.") Altavista -- (A powerful search engine) 6
  • 7. 1.8.6 RECOMMENDED JOURNALS AND NEWSPAPERS Business Day , The Economist, Financial Times , Human Resources Management, The Intelligence Unit, Mail and Guardian, People Management, People Dynamics, Wall Street Journal, etc 1.8.7 Library online resources: e-Journal Portal: Find electronic journals quickly and easily. Centralised search – search all Wits Databases simultaneously More than 8000 electronic titles Remote access available Search by Subject or title OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY ONLINE The accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium, the OED Online provides a guide to the usage, meaning, history and pronunciation of over half a million words, and provides a record of the development of English over the last millennium. The OED covers words from across the English-speaking world. It also offers etymological analysis, lists variant spellings, and indicates pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet. SA -PUBLICATIONS A full-text collection of South African periodicals, including South African scholarly journals. SA MEDIA A database indexing articles from approximately 120 South African newspapers and periodicals from 1978 to the present; updated daily. Provides full-text copies of articles published from 1978 onwards. (Copies of earlier articles are available from microfiche archives, and may be requested via InterLibrary Loans). Access to these collections may be obtained via the Library's Electronic Resources Page at Comments and queries may be forwarded to: Jo-Anne King, Electronic Resources Co-ordinator, Wartenweiler Library, University of the Witwatersrand Tel. 717 – 1922, 7
  • 8. 1.9 OUTCOMES: After successful completion of this course (ACCN 226) the student will be able to show the following outcomes: PURPOSE/ SPECIFIC LEARNING ASSESSMENT STANDARDS/ METHODS OF EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES OUTCOMES CRITERIA ASSESSMENT 1: Listening The student is able to We know this when the student: - Peer & group listen for information and Listens attentively and takes notes assessment Listening skills are core to respond appropriately and in lectures & tutorials; - Tutor & successful communication critically in a wide range of Demonstrates appropriate lecturer situations. listening behaviour in a range of assessment situations: - Formative * within a group/as a group assessment * conducting interviews 2. Speaking and The student should be able We know this when the student: - Peer presentation to: assessment communication - explain why presentation Communicates effectively, using communication is so business etiquette, and with - Group The student is able to important in the world of confidence assessment communicate in a work * within a group/as a group professional level of - prepare a speech * conducting interviews - Tutor & English, with an ability to according to a logical Contributes to group and class lecturer communicate information structure discussions assessment coherently using basic - demonstrate a knowledge Effectively presents to an conventions of an of the non-verbal aspects audience using audio-visual aids - Formative academic/professional influencing a speech Explains why presentation assessment discourse reliably in writing - deliver a speech suitable communication is so and orally for an occasion important in the world of work - Assignments - critically evaluate a Prepares and delivers a speech speech suitable for an occasion, such as - apply guidelines to cope defending a business proposal with nervous tension 3: Reading and Viewing The learner is able to read We know this when the student: - Tutor & and view for information Assimilates some theories of lecturer Reading skills are and direction, and respond communication in meaningful assessment fundamental to academic critically to the aesthetic, ways and professional success cultural, social, emotional Uses the textbooks, recommended - Formative and professional values in readings and internet searches in assessment texts, both printed and meaningful ways virtual. Demonstrates accuracy of reading - Assignments instructions when tasks are completed in keeping with assessment criteria offered in this course pack 8
  • 9. 4: Organisational The student should be able We know this when the student: - Peer communication to demonstrate - recognises and identifies the assessment competence in: corporate culture of an A. a fundamental - recognising and organisation - Group knowledge base of the identifying the corporate - differentiates between internal assessment main areas of fields of culture of an organisation and external communication Accountancy - differentiate between strategies - Formative B. an understanding of internal and external - has a sound knowledge of assessment the organisation or communication hierarchical structure operating environment as strategies - Assignments a system within a system - have a sound knowledge within a wider context and of hierarchical structure in relation to the society - conceptualize communication and different communication strategies 5. Language use The learner is able to use We know this when the student: - Tutor & An informed the sounds, words and the Understands the use of meta- lecturer understanding of the grammar of English to language in marking feedback assessment important terms, rules, create and interpret texts. (terms such as subject, verb, concepts, principles Listening and speaking, object, question, statement, - Peer and theories English reading and viewing, command, connecting assessment writing, thinking and words/conjunctions, simile, reasoning; and the synonym, antonym, punctuation, - Group knowledge of sounds, register, tone, ambiguity, etc); assessment words and grammar are all integrated. Understands the use of tracking - Formative Uses English accurately changes in “Word” documents as assessment and appropriately for well as the value of proof-reading business contexts and re-working writing with word - Assignments - Direct / Indirect speech processing; - Tense - Active and Passive Voice Responds positively to marking - Sentence Structure feedback by redoing work for re- (simple, assessment compound, complex sentences) - Use of prepositions - Summarising - Concord - Parts of speech 9
  • 10. 6. Concise professional The student should be able We know this when the student: - Tutor & writing to demonstrate Writes notes during lectures and lecturer competence in: tutorials, especially to record assessment The learner is able to write -taking down a telephone group discussions in order to different forms of factual message clearly and prepare oral feedback; - Peer and business texts with a correctly Presents business correspondence assessment range of purposes and for -compile a fax message, (letters, memorandums, faxes and a range of readers. write a brief internal e-mail) and other texts by given - Group memo, draft a formal deadlines; assessment invitation and reply, draft Writes a business proposal; an e-mail Writes an academic report; - Formative -write a variety of business Writes individually under exam assessment letters used in the conditions; business world every day Writes (executive) summaries; - Assignments -apply for a vacant position Uses appropriate referencing and by compiling a covering supporting documentation; letter and a CV Compiles a curriculum vitae (CV) and letter of application for a position 5: Thinking and The learner is able to use We know this when the student: - Tutor & reasoning language to think and Uses language to develop lecturer reason, to access, process business concepts; assessment Efficient information and use information for Identifies and evaluates the effect gathering, analysis and learning. of communication barriers; - Peer synthesis and evaluation Uses language to think and assessment skills reason; Uses language to investigate and - Group explore, assessment Asks questions for clarification and explanation; - Formative Conducts research; assessment Uses a range of strategies for getting information; - Assignments Processes information; Records and organizes information in different ways; Understands and uses a range of graphics (flow-charts, mind-maps, tables, diagrams, charts, etc); Sequences information and putting it under appropriate headings 10
  • 11. 1.10 GLOSSARY OF TERMS (Source: Study Guide 2006, School of Information and Communication Technology, Central University of Technology, Free State, “Communication in English I”) Applied competence means the ability to put into practice in the relevant context the learning outcomes acquired in obtaining a qualification (SAQA, 1999:38) Assessment is a way of measuring progress (Department of Education, 1997a: 32); ... a structured process for gathering evidence and making judgements about an individual's performance in relation to registered national standards and qualifications (SAQA, 1999:6); A way of measuring what you understand, know and can do (Education Information Centre, 1996:84) Assessment criteria are standards and activities by which you show the achievement of specific outcomes (Education Information Centre, 1996:107) Assessment tasks are a series of activities which take place to obtain evidence about a learner's progression and competence. Different ways and techniques should be used to gather evidence (to do assessment) throughout the learning process (Olivier, 2000:109) Competence You show competence when you are able to combine the use of the skills, information and understanding necessary to a particular learning situation, and the essential outcomes at a required level of performance (Education Information Centre, 1996:84) Core outcomes are compulsory outcomes relevant to a particular qualification. Critical outcomes are generic outcomes that inform all learning. Generic, cross-curricular, broad outcomes that focus on the capacity to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes in an integrated way. Elective outcomes are outcomes from which a choice is made in accordance with the purpose of the qualification. Evaluation is the process whereby the information obtained through assessment is inter- preted to make judgements about a learner's level of competence. It includes consideration of the learner's attitudes and values (Department of Education, 1998b:9) Exit-level outcomes are specifications of the knowledge and skills that a learner should have acquired by the time s/he exits a programme and is awarded a qualification, demonstrated through assessment. Formative assessment is used to support the learner developmentally and to provide feedback into the teaching/learning process (Department of Education, 1998b: 9). Two types of formative assessment are distinguished: Ongoing formal formative assessment which provides for a variety of ways of demonstrating competence across a range of contexts; these should be structured so that they can lead to the award of marks or grades which can be recorded and included in summative assessment; they should also be based on interesting and demanding tasks which motivate and support learning and should be accompanied by helpful feedback to the 11
  • 12. learners as well as formal recording of results. This element should be internally assessed and may be externally moderated when appropriate (Lubisi et al., 1997b: 14-16) Fundamental outcomes are outcomes that form the basis for education and training, e.g. language, mathematical/numerical and computer skills. Integrated assessment means that form of assessment which permits the leamer to demonstrate applied competence, and which uses a range of formative and summative assessment methods (Du Pre, 2000: iii) Outcomes are contextually demonstrated end-products of the learning process. Outcomes Based Education is a comprehensive approach to organizing and operating an education system that is focused on and defined by the successful demonstration of learning achieved in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Specific outcomes are contextually demonstrated knowledge, skills and values that support one or more critical outcome(s). Summative assessment is used to provide information about a learner's level of compe- tence at the completion of a grade, level or programme (Department of Education, 1998b: 10) 12
  • 13. 2 CODE OF CONDUCT The school of Accountancy strives to provide world-class accounting education by maintaining the currency of its courses and continuously improving its teaching, learning and research capabilities. Excellence in the accounting education provided is demonstrated by, among other things, the excellent pass rates that our graduates are achieving in both parts of the Qualifying Examination of the accounting profession, the scholarly work that is being produced and the leadership status that our graduates are achieving in business and industry. Following this tradition, the School will continue to have as one of its objectives, the installation in its graduates of the qualities of critical-lateral thinking, integrity, ethics and diligence. In order to achieve this objective in the changing professional environment, the School expects both its staff and its students to adhere to a sound code of conduct. Students in the School of Accountancy are expected at all times: ♦ To take appropriate responsibility of their own education; ♦ To address themselves conscientiously to their studies; ♦ To have a reasonable working knowledge of the University, Faculty and School rules, particularly in relation to the degrees and courses for which they are registered; ♦ To behave in a manner which is appropriate to the profession towards which they are studying; ♦ To conduct themselves in a manner which does not breach the University’s disciplinary code; ♦ To conduct themselves in an appropriate manner in lectures and tutorials; ♦ To attend and participate in all lectures and tutorials required for a particular course; ♦ To prepare themselves properly for all lectures and tutorials; ♦ To undertake all recommended readings; ♦ To prepare themselves appropriately for tests and examinations; ♦ To make their best effort to achieve success in all their examinations, tests, and other assessments; ♦ To hand in all assignments on time and in the manner directed; ♦ To present appropriate, valid, documented explanations for missing examinations, tests, and other assessments; ♦ To seek guidance from the academic staff, or other appropriate University personnel relating to personal problems in so far as they affect your academic 13
  • 14. performance, particularly when poor performance may result in exclusion from further registration; ♦ To discuss problems relating to the content or presentation of a course with the lecturer concerned, and if necessary, thereafter with the course coordinator, the Divisional Head or the Head of School; ♦ To treat all members of the staff of the School and fellow students with respect and courtesy; ♦ Not to make unreasonable demands of the teaching and administrative staff of the School; and ♦ To partake in lecturer and course assessments on a fair basis when requested to do so. As a student in the School of Accountancy, you are entitled to expect: ♦ To receive reasonable guidance and direction in relation to the completion of course and degrees; ♦ To be treated with respect and courtesy by the staff of the School; ♦ To have reasonable access to the Heads of Divisions and to the Head of the School; ♦ To receive reasonable assistance, in conjunction with the Disabled Students Programme, in relation to identified disabilities you may have; ♦ To have reasonable access for consultation purposes to appropriate teaching staff in relation to the courses which you are studying, both at advertised consultation times and by appointment; ♦ Advertised staff consultation times to be at times at which students can reasonably be expected not to be engaged in other formal academic activities; ♦ Lecturers and tutors to be on time for lectures and tutorials; ♦ Lecturers and tutors to be well prepared for lectures and tutorials; ♦ Lecture and tutorial material to be available at an appropriate time before lectures; ♦ Reading references to be advised at an appropriate time before lectures; ♦ Lectures to be well presented; ♦ Tutorials to be appropriate to the work being covered; ♦ Examination and test questions to relate to the material that has been covered in lectures, tutorials and recommended readings; ♦ Tests and assignments to be marked within a reasonable time and to be returned with appropriate solutions; ♦ To be given access to examination scripts, and to receive reasonable explanations for the marking of examination and test answers; and ♦ To receive fair and unbiased assessment in examinations, tests and other assessments. 14
  • 15. 3 LISTENING Notes Listening skills are essential for accuracy during telephone calls: which is why a written confirmation by e-mail, fax or snail-mail is advised. They also enable rapport to be established, such as during an interview. 3.1 BLOCKS TO LISTENING This section pertains to you as the interviewer, as well as the presenter – consider what will make you a better listener in the one context and then what will help your audience listen to you in the other. 3.1.1 Long speeches are hard to remember. The percentage of the information in a speech that listeners retain, especially detail, decreases as the length of the speech increases. When buried in the middle, important points are forgotten easily. The beginning and the end of a speech are the most important parts, because listeners tend to forget the middle. In a typical 20-minute speech attention begins high, but then slides to a low at about 10 to 15 minutes and then rises again at the end. Because attention spans are short, listeners tend to let their minds wander. 3.1.2 The time of day affects the quality of listening. People listen best in the morning. 3.1.3 Audiences distort information in the following ways: - they tend to simplify information to right / wrong, correct / incorrect, etc.; they agree with what they believe, because it is easier to have prejudice confirmed than denied; - accept the statements of experts, rather than to think about the information and make a decision about the degree to which they agree; - familiarity makes us believe we understand the views of people who have spoken to us often, so we tend not to listen, but rather rely on what we already believe the speaker believes 3.1.4 When people believe that the speaker is saying things irrelevant or contradictory to their interests, they tune out 3.1.5 Poor hearing is a severe impediment: listeners who sometimes miss what is said should sit close to and in line with the speaker 3.1.6 Listening solely for facts impedes understanding. Unless listeners understand the major generalisations, the facts may be useless. 3.2 TIPS FOR GOOD LISTENING ♦ Pay attention 15
  • 16. ♦ Reinforce the speaker by laughing at funny jokes, smiling at unfunny jokes, looking solemn when the speech is serious and appearing seriously attentive when complex ideas are being presented ♦ Avoid automatically countering with objections based on your own biases ♦ Because we think faster than anyone can speak, we should use tag time to review what we have heard and then apply it to what we are hearing, ie, pause and consider while actively listening. ♦ Pay attention to more than words: intonation, pauses, speed of delivery. ♦ Remember that speeches are organised so that abstract ideas are followed by concrete examples, facts or statistics. 3.3 IMPROVING LISTENING SKILLS: METHODS, ACTIVITIES, EVALUATIONS, AND RESOURCES Tom Marshall and Jim Vincent Robert Morris College (PA) in conjunction with Dr. Mary Ellen Guffey, South-Western College Publishing The International Listening Association defines listening as “the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages.” 3.3.1. Introduction Listening is more important in the professions than many business communication texts acknowledge. Our task as business communication teachers is to move students from their natural egocentrism as writers, speakers, and listeners to understanding that audiences are multiple, complex, and varied. Only after students are aware of the nature of audiences can they develop the skills to deal ethically and effectively with them. It is important for us to emphasize that listening strategies are so intertwined with leadership and personal social styles that one’s success as a professional largely depends on how well one really can “hear” the other. Many gender and diversity problems arise in the workplace because people acting in good faith just don’t know how to listen to each other resulting from the many psychological, political, social, and cultural barriers that egocentricity keeps in place. Because we need to teach our students about barriers to good listening and effective strategies for listening, we offer you these activities. “The average person spends from 42 to 60 percent of daily communication time listening (Purdy). Yet, most people are inefficient listeners; they forget, ignore, or misunderstand up to 75 percent of what they hear (Nichols).” Cited in Patricia A. Lynott, “Teaching Business Communication in an Accelerated Program,” Business Communication Quarterly, June 1998, p. 22. 16
  • 17. 3.3.2. Creating a Positive, Proactive Listening Classroom in Business Communication While listening skills are employed constantly in the business communication classroom as well as in all business contexts, these skills are seldom consciously taught or even acknowledged. Because listening seems such a natural, obvious activity, like breathing or walking, teachers often take it for granted. In a business environment that is increasingly multicultural, fast paced, and communication intensive, listening has never been more important. Probably the most important insight that we can share with our students is that listening is not a natural activity but rather a purposeful act that can be improved through modeling, instruction, practice, and assessment. To that end, business communication teachers should work hard at modeling effective listening skills as well as establishing a positive listening environment in the classroom. Some simple strategies are effective in accomplishing these goals. Teachers should: • Listen carefully as students introduce themselves and pass on information about themselves in initial classes. Then when the teacher is able to use a student’s name or item of information in a subsequent class, they get the idea that such attention to detail is important. • Learn student names because it is of utmost importance. In addition, by acknowledging questions and suggestions, even repeating concerns back to the audience, teachers show students that their ideas are taken seriously. • Encourage students to restate a class member’s position before engaging in refutation. Doing so will also help develop a positive listening environment. In addition to modeling behaviours, teachers should make sure that physical conditions are right for listening activities. They can try to cut down on extraneous noise where possible. That means air conditioning, blowers, overhead fans and coolers, and other distractions must be kept to a minimum. If some areas of a classroom are noisier than others, sometimes baffles, portable walls, or insulation can be used to cut down on extraneous noise. When committed teachers emphasize listening, responsive students most often refrain from idle talk and buzz. Now there is a reason for them to concentrate. Nonverbal behaviours help also in establishing a positive listening environment. When a teacher or presenter gets out from behind a podium, the audience can observe all aspects of body language. When the face of the speaker is clearly visible, listeners can gauge seriousness and demeanour. Teachers should create seating that allows students to speak directly to others in the classroom and should encourage students to speak clearly and singly so that all others can hear what is transpiring. By modeling effective listening skills, by creating a physical space with sound acoustics, and by encouraging constructive classroom interaction, a business 17
  • 18. communication teacher can create the kind of classroom that leads to superior listening skills. 3.3.3. Keys to Effective Listening • Prepare yourself to listen. • Look for areas of interest with the speaker. • Judge content, not delivery, and avoid premature judgments. • Let the speaker finish; don’t interrupt. • Listen for ideas and identify the speaker’s evidence. • Summarize or restate what the speaker is saying. • Note the larger issues. • Be aware of emotions and notice body language as a clue to emotions. • Be flexible. • Resist distractions. • Keep your mind open; try to access the speaker’s world, not your own. • Work at listening. 3.3.4 Three Myths of Listening Three Truths of Listening Listening is a natural activity. Listening is learned. Hearing and listening are the same Telling is not communicating. thing. You are speaking to a mass audience You speak to one individual at a time even in large audiences. 3.3.5. Learning Objectives of the Activities Cognitive goals Students will • Develop habits of effective listening. • Accurately summarize and paraphrase information from reading and listening • Listen critically, employ and assess nonverbal cues in oral communication, and provide criticism to others in a collaborative and supportive manner. • Identify and evaluate, through an analysis of oral communication, a communicator’s purposes, assumptions, and attitudes, as well as the strengths of arguments and the relevance and appropriateness of evidence in relation to audience, purpose, and situation. • Enhance listening skills through interacting with foreign speakers with unusual pronunciations. Affective goal 18
  • 19. • Develop understanding and positive attitudes toward listening to the perspectives of others. 3.3.6. Activities The following activities help sharpen students’ listening skills. Since several activities may be adapted to different subject matters, you may integrate them throughout the term to reinforce skills and to provide variety of instruction. A. Listening Check Approximate class time: 10–15 minutes This activity is relatively easy to implement. It involves reading or speaking a short passage relating to the material that is under consideration during class time. You can build a library of good short passages as you develop the assignment from class to class. Newspapers such as The Globe and Mail and business news magazines such as Canadian Business are good sources for passages. Read the passage and then ask students orally or in writing to answer two short questions: 1) What is the thesis of the passage? 2) Recall one bit of evidence that supports the thesis. The Listening Check is also good to test how students are processing class lectures. Near the end of the class session, ask the students to write down the key point of the lecture and one piece of support. Collect the papers to check what they think you are saying. You may find yourself saying, “But that’s not what I meant. That’s not it at all.” Another variant is to have students in pairs exchange papers and negotiate what they thought they heard. Then have several pairs report to the class to note differences. Correct any misperceptions if need be (and experienced teachers know that misperceptions will occur). Objective of this activity: After listening to the selected passage, students will accurately summarize and paraphrase its key information. Evaluation: Assess the quality of a students’ oral and written responses. In the interests of time, you may wish to spot check only students’ written or oral responses. If the spot check reveals weak performance, you may want to do a more thorough review of each student’s written responses. What you can expect from this activity: Very likely, students will make some predictable mistakes. Difficult or unusual vocabulary items will surely be confusing. You will find, however, that as a result most students will begin to attend more carefully to oral language in the classroom, especially if they know that they will be asked about it. You should seek to help students examine the reasons for mishearings and give them the motivation and tools to create a theory of effective personal listening. 19
  • 20. B. Supportive Listening Approximate class time: 10–15 minutes The skills practiced in this activity are applicable to situations in which there is some degree of inherent conflict such as job interviews, performance reviews, and negotiations. The important concept practiced in the activity is to earn your listener’s goodwill by showing that you are listening and not interrupting. Students work in pairs. One student is chosen to explain a controversial position to the other. The listener has a simple task: to just listen and provide positive body language as feedback. Students take turns as speaker and listener. As simple as this sounds, we know that there are those for whom quietly listening will be a challenge. Those who are unfamiliar with support might need training on just how to say things like “Uh, huh.” Objective of this activity: After listening to the selected passage, students will accurately summarize and paraphrase its key information. Evaluation: Assess the quality of a students’ oral and written responses. In the interests of time, you may wish to spot check only students’ written or oral responses. If the spot check reveals weak performance, you may want to do a more thorough review of each student’s written responses. What you can expect from this activity: In this activity many students will be shocked at the outcome. When a truly attentive listener engages another, the result is almost always extended conversation. Students who have engaged in this activity at our school have reported that they have learned things they never before even suspected. Previously boring friends become interesting, even fascinating. Colleagues at work take on an added dimension. Given the power of conversation, you should warn students to be prepared for sudden revelations. And it is probably a good idea to be prepared to steer the conversation toward safer territory if inappropriate revelations could cause embarrassment. You also have to watch for other signs to interpret words. Much important meaning is conveyed visually. Finger tapping, a wide-eyed look, a furrowed brow—these mean as much as words do, sometimes more. A person’s posture, for example, can tell you something about his or her attitude. If somebody says, “Well, it doesn’t really matter to me,” but his or her posture is stiff, knuckles white, eyes intense and forehead damp, clearly one is holding back some true feelings. In such a situation, it’s important to make him realize that you want to hear his thoughts, that he has nothing to fear from speaking his mind. A properly worded statement that shows your interest may put him at ease. The ability to create rapport that invites open communication is one of the most valuable skills a manager can possess. (Pollock) 20
  • 21. C. Characteristic Communication Style Approximate class time: 20–30 minutes A variation of Supportive Listening, but a little more difficult, this activity has its roots in discourse analysis. This activity makes the student pay attention to not only what is being said but how, including nonverbal behaviour. It works like this. In pairs, each student explains a controversial position—ethical issues work well here—relating to the class subject matter. But rather than argue with each other’s positions, students are asked to create a theory of communication about their partner’s way of talking and listening. Our experience with narrative— i.e., as listeners to stories—teaches us to listen to the voice of the narrator, and we can use our experience to enhance our teaching in this area. For instance, one can ask, does my partner begin with a bold statement of position? Does she use an analogy, or a series of analogies? How does he connect one statement with another? Now, after each has studied the other’s pattern, can one partner explain what is the “characteristic communication style” of the other? Here are some features of a characteristic communication style: • inner consistency (if statements are inconsistent, honesty is problematic; the narrator may be unreliable) • honesty and candour • use of euphemism to avoid difficult realities • use of metaphor as a clue to thought and theme (the connotations evoked tell us about state of mind, themes, and purpose) • use of opposites and repetitions, positives and negatives as clues to speaker’s value system • anecdote (storytelling as a clue to character, humour, obsessions) • bottom line (narrator as literalist, one without imagination, sees things materialistically) • egocentricity (characters are selfish) vs. concern for others Objective of this activity: After listening to a speaker, the student will identify and evaluate some features of the speaker’s characteristic communication style: purposes, assumptions, and attitudes. Evaluation: Assess the quality of a student’s oral and written responses. Have each partner, in turn, report his or her analysis and have the other comment on the response. In the interests of time in a larger class, you may wish to have only a few teams report. What you can expect from this activity: This activity requires the ability to form abstract concepts about casual conversations. Students are being asked to both listen and then to categorize what they have listened to. Practice can help in developing that important skill. Also, students might not know the meaning of terms like “metaphor,” “euphemism,” “anecdote,” and others. These categories are crucial to completing the tasks. Simple examples will help; asking students to find examples 21
  • 22. from the popular press as well as from lyrics or commercials will aid in developing understanding. This activity is one of the more difficult but will lead to increased attentiveness. “Listeners of both genders can improve the likelihood of understanding their partners by asking questions and by checking their perceptions. The term ‘active listening’ implies that the listening process takes effort and energy. Active listeners participate in a communication encounter both verbally and nonverbally. They may nod their heads, ask for clarification of a point, or paraphrase what they heard to make sure the speaker’s message was correctly interpreted (restating what you hear in your own words is commonly referred to as ‘reflection’). Most important, listeners must try to see the world from the perspective of the person speaking.” (Brownell, 1993) D. I Know Where You’re Coming From Approximate class time: 5–10 minutes This is an especially good activity with nontraditional students. The activity helps students understand differences. In business, school, and personal relations, we meet each other in various venues, most not of our choosing. Needless to say, conversants bring to those venues many pieces of baggage that can interfere with effective communication. In this activity, students work with partners, and each explains to the other something about the physical surroundings of his or her “home.” The object is to understand something about the person to whom you are listening. If the speaker has just returned from child care, a tough football practice, a troubled dorm room, a tough job site, or a long involved meeting, then the listeners must make allowances. Listeners should encourage material descriptions. An effective listening strategy involves getting a handle on the environment that speakers are “coming from.” Objectives of this activity: Students will listen critically, assess nonverbal cues in an oral communication, and respond to another in a collaborative and supportive manner. Evaluation: This activity functions more as an “ice-breaker,” so you may not wish to evaluate it except through informal feedback about how the exercise went. To evaluate more formally, have each partner, in turn, report what was learned and have the other partner confirm or deny the accuracy of the response. In the interests of time in a larger class, you may wish to have only a few teams report. What you can expect from this activity: The purpose of this activity is to develop empathy as a listener. If done properly the listener can get out of his/her frame of reference and begin to appreciate where another is coming from. By describing the material surroundings of the home or workplace, the speaker is giving clues to how a message should be received. All of us know instinctively to ask if a speaker on a 22
  • 23. telephone is being overheard, or whether a conversant is in a hurry. This exercise takes that one step further. In at least one class at our college, each student was asked to bring a picture of his or her workplace, cubicle, desk, or corner office. These pictures said much about how a message might be developed and received. E. Prediction, Hypothesis-checking, Revising, Generalizing Approximate class time: 10–15 minutes if teacher verifies the predictions, longer if students listen to a full speech Listening is closely related to reading. The following activity focuses on predicting, which is a variation of a reading process strategy. The five processes—prediction, hypothesis, checking, revising, generalizing— involve the mental activities that occur when we read or hear. One way to introduce the concept is to ask students to practice predicting. After you model the process, read the text of the opening paragraph from a news story or magazine article about a relevant course topic and ask students to predict—based on its rhetorical cues of purpose, emphasis, foreshadowing, and transition—what the story or article will be about. In most stories many clues indicate where the story is going, and the student will be able to catch many of them. The teacher then can move from print to oral communication. Have students listen to the opening of a short speech (e.g., from a video of a business leader, motivational speaker, political leader—or you read aloud a speech reprinted in Vital Speeches of the Day, which includes many speeches of business leaders) and predict its direction. Then, let students listen to the rest of the speech to check predictions. Objective of this activity: After listening to a selected passage and analyzing its rhetorical cues, students will accurately predict a communicator’s purposes, assumptions, and attitudes. Evaluation: Assess the quality of a students’ oral responses. In the interests of time, you may wish to spot check the students’ oral responses. If the spot check reveals weak performance, you may want to check more responses or repeat the exercise. What you can expect from this activity: Many of us have had friends or colleagues who finish our sentences for us. They know what is coming and can’t refrain from completing the sentence for themselves. With this activity students will practice anticipating a speaker’s logic as well as rhetorical moves. You can count on students having a good deal of previous experience with this concept. Children know how to anticipate parental objections, employees know how a boss will react, co-workers can often role play a colleague’s response to a given directive. With this activity, students are asked to make real this kind of tacit knowledge in a way that will help them deal more effectively with future listening tasks. F. Chunking and Relating Approximate class time: 20–30 minutes 23
  • 24. Language is made up of lexical items and syntactic features, that is, “things” and “relationship of things.” This activity involves a speaker, a listener, a judge, and a commentator. Prepare a group of “paddles” with these labels: objection, analogy, statistic, contradiction, thesis, support, restatement. Each of these terms refers to a typical item in a communication situation. As students view or listen to a discussion, one student is chosen as judge to handle the paddles. As the conversation proceeds, the judge holds up the paddle to indicate the item—objection, analogy, statistic, contradiction, thesis, support, or restatement. Other students watch carefully; and after the exercise is over, they analyze the choices made by the judge. This exercise encourages active listening. Objective of this activity: After listening to a selected passage and analyzing its rhetorical cues, students will accurately predict a communicator’s purposes, assumptions, and attitudes. Evaluation: Assess the quality of students’ oral responses. In the interests of time, you may wish to spot check the students’ oral responses. If the spot check reveals weak performance, you may want to check more responses or repeat the exercise. What you can expect from this activity: To some, this activity might seem unnecessarily cumbersome. Using cards or paddles or signs does require some preparation, and conversation moves faster than a person might be able to keep up with. However, the effort is worth it; and once the signs or paddles are created, they can be used in subsequent classes. Most students find the stage business rather comical. G. You Thought You Were Listening, Didn’t You? Approximate class time: 8–10 minutes, pausing for laughter and groans Here’s a quick listening activity that is fun and effective as an activity to get students to listen carefully to what’s being said. It demands attentive listening and a measure of common sense. The concentration that this activity requires is good practice for any problem-solving situation that requires sensitivity and a clear understanding of what is being said.  1. Is there a May 24th in England? Yes or no?  2. How many birthdays does the average man have?  3. Some months have 31 days. How many have 28?  4. How many outs are there in an inning?  5. Is it legal for a man in Newfoundland to marry his widow’s sister?  6. A doctor gives you three pills and tells you to take one every half an hour. How long will the pills last?  7. A farmer has 17 sheep. All but 9 of them die. How many sheep are left?  8. How many animals of each sex did Moses bring with him on the ark?  9. A butcher in the market is 5’ 10” tall. What does he weigh? 10. How many 2-cent stamps are there in a dozen? 11. What was the prime minister’s name in 2004? 24
  • 25. 12. If “Polk” is pronounced “poke” and “folk” is pronounced “foke,” how do you pronounce the white of an egg? 3.3.7. Two Evaluations Below are two evaluations that can be adapted to more complex assignments. Basic Listening Comprehension Conditions: Time, Task, Selection, and Instructions: 20 minutes Read aloud to the class a previously unread, 150–200 word newspaper or magazine article from The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, or Business Week or selection from your business communication text on a topic discussed in the course. Read clearly at a normal rate. Ask each student to paraphrase in writing the main idea presented in the article; note at least two details, such as who, what, when, where, why, or how; and note three key terms from the selection. (Option: Instead of reading aloud, you may choose to play an audio tape or a videotape on an issue discussed in the course.) Option: Have the students respond in memo form as though they were summarizing a meeting discussion for an absent member, who could be their boss. Competent criteria for task completion include the following: • Summarizing the main idea of the selection • Noting two supporting details • Noting three key terms from the selection OR • Asking two questions that address the main topic of the article Listening to Non-Native Speakers Certainly one of the most severe obstacles to effective listening arises when one communicator utilizes a variety of English that is different from the other. Many speakers of English possess more than one variety of the language and know how to employ the appropriate variety in a given circumstance. Others, however, possess only their native variety of English. And many speakers of English in Canada speak English as a second language. English has emerged as the almost universal language of business and commerce. In most multi-national organizations, from Ford and GM to the smallest firm with overseas branches, English is the language of choice. Instructors should emphasize to students that the English of world business is not necessarily “Canadian” English. Learning to listen to the many varieties of English is a valuable skill both to an individual employee as well as to the larger organization. Linguists know that a nonnative speaker might learn vocabulary and grammatical features of a second language almost perfectly. In fact, nonnative speakers of 25
  • 26. English often have a more profound and insightful grasp of grammatical issues than native speakers. This is simply the result of the fact that native speakers never really “learn” their language but rather they grow into it, much as a child acquires the ability to walk. Second language learners most often learn something of the “theory” of the language they are learning. Vocabulary and grammar can be learned, but an accent influenced by a speaker’s native language is almost impossible to eradicate. Many nonnative speakers of English speak an articulate, insightful, and complex variety of English, but their speech still has remnants of their native language because their mouths and tongues have never quite mastered the oral gymnastics necessary to speak “perfect” American or British English. Objective: To enhance listening skills through exposing students to a wide variety of different “Englishes” in a thoughtful, reflective, linguistically-aware context. Preparation: The instructor will need adequate understanding of the vowels and consonants and inflection pattern of English. Phonetic background is helpful but the pronunciation key from any good dictionary is sufficient to complete the assignment. As instructors and students will see as they examine the table of English speech sounds, English and all other languages are composed of vowel and consonant sounds, with a small selection of hybrid sounds, like the “l,” “r,” “y,” and “w” sounds. There are approximately 14 vowel sounds and 26 consonant sounds. Different languages have different numbers of phonetic building blocks and often languages have sounds that do not appear in English. Most classrooms will have a few nonnative speakers and the instructor should call on these valuable resource speakers to help make the learning more real. We would suggest that the class practice English vowels and consonants to become more aware of their sound and shape Conditions: Task, Time, Selection, Instructions: 30 minutes. The instructor will present a video, audio tape, or person speaking a nonnative variety of English. The classroom must be sufficiently quiet and the quality of the performance must be sufficiently excellent so that students can “listen” to the nuances of speech. The instructor should structure the performance so that there is “real” content as well as a wide variety of nonstandard sounds. After the performance, the instructor asks students to note in written form observations about what they have heard. By keeping a phonetic chart handy, with vowels and consonants plainly visible, most students will be able to identify differences in pronunciation. With input from all listeners, the class will be able to create a short guide describing similarities and differences between the variety of English they have heard and their own variety or varieties. The instructor should also ask the listeners to record the content of the presentation. Most likely, there will be mishearings motivated by nonstandard pronunciation. Again, students with experience in cross-cultural communication will have much to add to the discussion. 26
  • 27. If time and interest allow, students can interview colleagues or friends who speak English as a nonnative language and create a guide to understanding such speakers. In addition to the phonetic issues, interviewers can include grammatical issues questioning forms, pluralization methods, gender considerations, speaking distances and other aspects of that language community. Language is a good way to enter into the world of the nonnative speaker, a world increasingly more important to North American business. What you can expect from this activity: Cross-cultural communication discussions always provoke insight and interest. Business people love to relate their favourite miscommunication episodes. And the stories we have heard are instructive as well as extremely humorous. Employees who work with telephones will be able to relate the particular problems of “voice only” communication. Issues of correctness and quality will no doubt arise during the discussion. Obviously language issues are problematic; countries have fought for linguistic independence, citizens have been harassed and discriminated against because of language difference, and the issue of “Black English” and “Second language instruction” animates the education community. We would emphasize that these are political issues more than linguistic ones. 3.3.8 Activities Grapevine Demonstration. First, write a simple one- or two-sentence message or quote on an index card. Next, whisper the message in the ear of a student at the front of your classroom. Have each student pass the message throughout the entire class by whispering it to the next student. After the last student has been told the message, have that individual repeat what he/she understood the message to be. Tell students the original message that was written on your card. Usually the message bears little resemblance to the original message written on the card. You’ll want to stress to students that in their business lives, trusting the accuracy of the grapevine can at times be dangerous. Listening Exercises. You might want to try the following listening activities. You will find that students can be very astute behavioural observers. a. Have students spend some time in another class observing the listening habits and nonverbal communication of students; they can choose to observe one particular individual or several different individuals. Then have students comment in memo form on the habits, both good and bad, that were exhibited by their peers. Be sure that the subjects of the memos are discussed anonymously. b. Have students spend some time during the week observing a particular professor and his/her listening skills and nonverbal communication skills. Then have students discuss their findings in a memo. Be sure to have them discuss their professors anonymously. 27
  • 28. Sharpening Listening Skills. The following activities, presented by Jean Mausehund and Susan Timm, are intended to help students sharpen their listening skills (“Improving Listening Skills: Instructional Resources and Strategies,” Delta Pi Epsilon Instructional Strategies Series, May, 1992). c. Listening for Directions—Word Maze The following listening activity requires students to follow oral directions. This provides practice in hearing complicated directions, interpreting them, and taking appropriate action. Students should be told to rewrite the new configuration of letters with each change. You might wish to have students work in teams to complete this activity.  1. Write the words GEORGE WASHINGTON on a sheet of paper.  2. Take out all the E’s. Rewrite the word.  3. Count the remaining letters, and add an L after each seventh letter.  4. Move the second G to the beginning, and move the last letter in its place.  5. Whenever three consonants appear together, change them in order so that the first consonant in the group becomes the last, the one in the middle becomes the first, and the last becomes the middle.  6. Take out the last two vowels.  7. Where a double letter appears, take out both letters.  8. Beginning with the third letter from the left, interchange each two letters.  9. Take out the last two letters. 10. Move the last letter so it will be the first letter. 11. Add a D after each fourth letter. 12. Add a D at the beginning. 13. Replace every S with an N. 14. Take out the middle three letters. 15. Take out the final letter, and put the first letter in its place. The outcome of these instructions should be the word HOLLAND. d. Listening for Directions—Jumbled Orders Read the following directions to students, making certain that no notes are taken while the directions are being read: “You are to take no notes while I am reading these directions. When I finish reading the directions, you will take a sheet of notebook paper. Write your name on the second line on the left side of the paper and today’s date on the same line on the right side of the paper. You will then fold the paper in half forming two columns. Skipping three lines from your name, begin numbering the left column from 1 to 10, skipping a line after each odd number. In the right column, skip two lines after the date, and print a letter of the alphabet on each even-numbered line in alphabetic order.” Have students exchange papers, and then reread the directions. Have the students 28
  • 29. correct the papers as they listen to the directions the second time. e. Listening for Directions—Location Give directions on how to get to a specific location in your town using any major route entering your town as a starting point. Have students write the directions after you have completed giving them. Or, show a map on an overhead projector or with a PowerPoint slide, and have students write directions to get from one place to another. f. Listening Skills Personal Review Students ask for candid evaluations of their listening habits from friends, relatives, or teachers. Students should take an attitude of appreciation for honest feedback. 29
  • 30. 4 Orals and business presentations 4.1 Introducing a speaker  This is a brief moment where you are in the spotlight, but it sets the scene for the speaker – plan this strategically in your groups so that you make a good first impression on your audience  This is a recognised skill in business today  The attention is to focus on the speaker and create a positive anticipation to hear their presentation  Give their name clearly and the title of their presentation with just enough preview to whet the appetite  Lead the applause until the speaker is ready 4.2 Structure of an oral business presentation  Gain your audience’s attention  Promise a benefit if they listen (eg insights into a key company)  Offer supporting proof (statements, illustrations) – substantiate your position  Summarise the benefits (and if appropriate, point to the future)  Assume nothing  Believe in yourself & be positive  Know your audience and prepare/script your presentation for THEM  Assume that things may go wrong, so have plan B, eg if using AV aids  Rehearse enough to be comfortable and banish nerves  Stand up with confidence  Audiences of business presentations are polite and want you to succeed  Take a deep breath, fill your lungs with positive energy  Relax into a stable posture  Start by thanking your introducer, then PAUSE  Enjoy your presentation and share your enthusiasm The tuts will give you the chance to practically apply concepts of structure, order, what to put where and generally how to sort out the knowledge you have gained through your visit, interview and internet/media search and present it as meaningful information in various formats. There are many ways to structure a presentation. 4.2.1 Some easy to remember mnemonics are: OSCAR: Clear Outcome (framework of expectations) Layered Structure (use a range of Preferred Thinking Styles) Selective Chunking (avoid bogging down in nitty-gritty detail, group big ideas) Positive Attitude (self-confident, willing success) Flexible Response (give different viewpoints) (Bradbury 1997: 69) AVOM S.K.T: (c/o George Forder, Spindrift) 30
  • 31. Attention Values established Objectives & outline Main points Summarise Key points Test 4.2.2 THE PRESENTATION INTRODUCTION Note that this is different to the role of the person introducing the speaker (they must introduce the speaker and thank them afterwards in a substantive way). A Speaking Tip. It is preferable to say the opening line of your speech from memory, but a very bad thing can happen to those who memorize: They forget. To give yourself added security, write the first two sentences of your speech in your notes and write down the last sentence of your conclusion. The rest of your notes should be in outline form. If you freeze, you know that you always can get on or get off the podium smoothly by reading the appropriate sentences. You probably won’t need to look at them, but knowing that your entrance and exit lines are written down will help you feel secure. The first thing the speaker needs to do is to get their audience to pay attention. There are many ways to get attention. Some include: 1. play a great piece of music (a popular artist motivational speakers have used is Mandoza where they get everyone to pump their arms in the air to a strong beat) 2. play a short dramatic piece of video – unless this has a preface it may flop 3. wear something that you could refer to as an attention getter – remember to be appropriate to the context of a BUSINESS presentation 4. ask a question – possibly less threatening to have a hand-raiser than a guessing question where the audience knows you know your answer, but they’re not sure which answer you want – you could always prime a friend to give the answer you’re looking for, but be prepared for some lateral thinking or a smart alec intent on throwing you off your stride 5. promise an irresistible benefit – but avoid gimmicks that may work with school children, such as sweets – know what would appeal to your peers 6. use shock statistics – costs, unsustainable resources running out… 31
  • 32. 7. news link – especially related to current financial trends, etc, contextualizing your company… 8. problem-solution – where you offer a solution or just an alternative to a given issue or problem 9. puzzle or suspense – unveil your surprise slowly, or say something unexpected (if you invite everyone to leave and they take you at your word, don’t be surprised if you fail, especially if it means that the speakers after you have no audience left) 10. human drama – to illustrate the need for features such as occupational safety, start by telling a gruesome story of a tragedy that could have been avoided if safety measures had been followed 11. joke – tricky, dangerous, especially if there’s even a whiff of any –ism which could offend members of your audience, also if you miss the timing or mess the punch line it could fail 12. quotation – avoid these like the plague – they’re contagious and the stuff of matric orals … likely to be considered childish or gimmicky in a boardroom setting Whatever opener you use in the introduction, ensure that you link it to the body of your presentation quickly to keep the momentum of holding your audience’s attention. 4.3 Web-sites on oral presentations Oral Presentations: Getting Help on the Web. Have students conduct Web searches for sites that provide help with preparing oral presentations. These sites might offer help with preparing effective presentations, provide ideas for gaining audience attention, or provide tools for creating more effective electronic presentations. What sorts of online help are available on the Web? How can these sites help the business professional create better oral presentations? Have students share their findings with the class or in small groups. You could generate a list of Web site addresses after students have found appropriate sites. This list could then be distributed to the class for future reference. Some of the sites students might locate include the following. If students are having trouble locating appropriate sites, you can give these URLs to them to get them started. Use a search engine if these URLs fail. This site lets visitors subscribe to a free newsletter that provides tips for public speakers. Speaker’s Coach: Virtual Presentation Assistant: The Speaker’s Coach: 32
  • 33. Presenters University: Advanced Public Speaking Institute: Presenters Online: 4.4 ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR BUSINESS PRESENTATIONS What makes one presentation better than another? What is it that makes you remember the key points of one presentation or even lecture over another? 4.4.1 A possible rubric CONTENT Introduction Does it get our attention? Does it outline the focus areas? Is it effective in getting us to listen? Body Is there evidence of careful preparation? Is there a smooth flow from the introduction? Is the content cohesive? (has links between ideas, no gaps, clear message) Conclusion Is the ending effective and decisive? Well rounded and summarised? Impact & Rapport How good is the first impression? What message does the environmental body language give: appearance, dress-code, neatness, personal hygiene (no halitosis) Are there annoying distractions like chewing, scratching, sniffing? NB: cultural attire acceptable in the workplace in the new SA Is eye contact established and maintained appropriately? Are gestures open and smooth? Are facial expressions enthusiastic and keen? Overall does the presentation have awkward pauses? Is there a sense of group identity? Fluency and register Is the lang. used with smooth control, good vocabulary, is it clearly pronounced and well structured? Is the expression clear and easy to understand? Is the register (tone) appropriate? Is it businesslike and suited to the business portrayed? NB: Accent should not be penalized if pronunciation is clear Delivery Is it audible? Is there good voice projection? Is there a variety in pitch? Is the pace of delivery comfortable? Is the voice powerful and demanding attention from the listeners? STRUCTURE Does each group member participate in the presentation? Is there a smooth handing over between presenters? Are there smooth transitions between ideas and if used, video clips? 33
  • 34. Is it well-ordered as a whole? Is there a continuous thread running throughout? Does it hold together without being fragmented? Audiovisual Aids: Are cue notes/cue cards (small <A5), Are they efficiently & smoothly used? Are OHPs/DVDs/videos/posters/articles/items/tapes/CDs (music/sound effects) used effectively? Is promotional gear used (e.g. corporate identity, ties, T-shirts, caps)? Do the Audiovisual Aids prepare you for the presentation i.e., give an idea of the company e.g. Unilever display in video example? PowerPoint Slides (optional) Are they accessible to the audience? How successful are the colours, font style and size, backgrounds, graphics, etc? Is there thematic cohesion? Are the images used relevant? Are they error free, especially ito grammar? Are the slides creative or innovative? Overall Effectiveness Was the presentation of value? Was it interesting and entertaining? Was the purpose achieved? Is there audience interest and support? Did the presentation strike you as a professional, practiced and prepared piece? Bonuses: humour, effective time management and questions (should range between 1-4 marks) Humour is allocated a bonus mark, because not everyone is gifted with the sense of humour and timing needed to make an audience laugh. It is only fair though, that those more enjoyable presentations earn more marks. A charismatic entertainer is recognised as a better speaker than a dry professor type academic. Penalties: arriving/starting late, causing disturbances during other presentations, any other distractions (should range between 1- 4) 34
  • 35. 5 Guidelines for academic writing Good writing needs to be clear and simple. If the reader cannot understand what you have written, then the communication process has failed. 5.1 The Writing Process 1. Pre-writing (pre-text, ideas, creativity, relax, take a walk or shower) 2. Proto-writing (proto-text, discussing with friends) 3. Provisional writing (draft, revising) 4. Committed text (for publication, assessment) You can go backwards in the process and rework stages. 5.2 Paragraphing Each paragraph should contain one main idea. This can be expressed in the topic sentence (which is often the first sentence in a paragraph and is sometimes called the thesis statement). The role of the topic sentence is to briefly convey the basic meaning and idea of the paragraph. The sentences that follow should contain evidence and supporting statements to back up the topic sentence. In order to express yourself clearly, it is essential that the reader can follow the flow of ideas easily. To do this you need to use linking and sequencing words between sentences and paragraphs. Examples of these are ‘firstly, secondly, thirdly, however, although.’ These words make sure that your reader will know what is coming next in the structure of the writing. The length of each paragraph will vary, but a single paragraph should not be longer than a page. This is for the simple reason that readers will be put off by paragraphs that appear long and dense. If you have a great deal of evidence for a certain idea, you should explain each piece of evidence in a separate paragraph. Remember that you may use only one tense in a paragraph. When you want to change tense you need to begin a new paragraph. When deciding on the order of your paragraphs, you should work from the general to the specific. This means that you need to start with the general theory and work towards applying it to a specific example. 5.3 Tone and Style It is essential that the tone (the way in which you express yourself) is appropriate for the context. In academic and business writing the tone needs to be formal, professional and polite. It is vital, particularly for reports, that you are always 35
  • 36. diplomatic and polite. Never say anything rude or slanderous about another company. Often the best way to express an idea is the simplest. Stay away from elaborate writing. This includes jargon. By using clear and simple writing you will increase the chances of your reader understanding what you are trying to tell them. If you struggle with grammar it is best to use short, simple sentences. This way you can ensure that you are expressing yourself clearly. Long sentences often run out of control, confusing the writer and the reader. No colloquialisms or slang should be used. Avoid using contractions (where you shorten a word or join two words using an apostrophe, for example ‘don’t’). Symbols and abbreviations should also not be used. Numbers under 20 need to be written in words but the number does not need to follow in brackets. Lists should generally not be used, especially if you are listing a few short items. Separate the items using semicolons and write them in a sentence. All work needs to be grammatically correct and properly punctuated. Spelling also needs to be correct. Consult a dictionary if you are unsure about something. 5.4 Analysis For your argument to be convincing, you need to analyse information and not just describe it. Imagine that the information is a murder suspect and that you are a detective trying to solve the crime. You need to ask the information questions until you understand how it works and why it is valid. If you just describe the information, your writing will lack insight and will not convince the reader. Remember that any answer is the correct answer as long as it is convincing and believable, so you have to be able to persuade your reader. Avoid paraphrasing the original source. You need to express ideas in your own words to show that you understand them and to make sure that you are not plagiarising the work of another writer. Use a quotation if there is no better way of rephrasing the original statement. However, your argument should not rely on quotes. The majority of your writing needs to be your own analysis of original sources. 5.5 Referencing It is essential that you reference your work correctly. Failure to do so is intellectual theft and the penalties are severe. You need to use the referencing method correctly and consistently. Consult your textbook for the preferred method. Remember that 36
  • 37. you need to provide a reference if you use an idea from another writer, even if you rephrase it. 5.6 Editing Careful editing is important. Even if you use a word processor mistakes can slip into your work. Read through your work before you submit it to make sure that you have eliminated as many errors as possible. It is also a good idea to ask a friend to read your work, as they will be able to point out confusing passages or statements. You may not be able to recognise these yourself as it is your own work. If you do not have someone to read through it for you, you should read it aloud. Things that the reader might find confusing or vague might sound odd when you say them aloud. Writing is a process that needs to be refined. In order to produce good writing you may need to write a few drafts before you are satisfied. If you get confused or stuck at any point in the writing process, remember these ideas by the great writer George Orwell: (i) Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. (ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do. (iii) If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out. (iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active. (v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. (vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. 37
  • 38. 6 GUIDELINES FOR ACADEMIC REPORT WRITING (with thanks to Prof A de Koker, SOA) 6.1 The article — a, an (the indefinite articles), the (the definite article). The article is to be used for the title of a book, chapter, article, play, film, poem work of art, etc if it is part of the title. Thus Charles Darwin The Origin of Species; James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; R W Lee An Introduction to Roman-Dutch Law; Shakespeare The Tempest. For the correct title of a book, follow the title page, not the spine, of the book. Newspapers and periodicals should be treated the same way. Thus, The Star, The Times (of London), the Observer (of London). The South African Law Journal, (usually and forgivably referred to as the South African Law Journal, which will meet the ‘The’ provided with the names of ships, etc referred to below), the Sunday Times of Johannesburg). Ships are not given the ‘the’, however. The name very frequently starts with ‘The’ and a legal decision may indeed have the full name as its title or subsidiary title; for example, The Ocean Frost [1985] 3 All ER 795 (CA). In the judgment, however, the ship will be referred to without the definite article thus ‘the ship, the Ocean Frost …’ If this rule is not observed, one would have to write ‘the ship, the The Ocean Frost …’ 6.2 Capitals. Capital letters for proper nouns (names of persons, places, or objects, as contrasted with common nouns, which refer to every member of an entire class sharing the features connoted by the noun, such as court, judge, continent): In the title of a book, chapter, article, play, film, periodical ship, poem, work of art etc use a capital for the first word. A word within the title must also start with a capital unless it is an article (a, an, the), a conjunction (such as: and, but, because, when, if, or) or a preposition (such as of, to, for, against, from, at, about) — and then with this qualification: If the conjunction or preposition is a word of five letters or more, start with a capital letter for the sake of good appearance. Thus: Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing, M M Corbett et al The Law of Succession in South Africa; John Gorgon ‘News Control by Decree’’ (1986 103 SALJ 118. (Observe how an article, as opposed to a book, is not to be in italics, but is to be in roman type surrounded by single quotation marks.) The following words illustrate how capitals are used for proper names (that is, names used to designate individual people, animals, towns, ships): The President; the Minister of Finance (if referred to in short form later, the Minister); the National Assembly; Parliament; the Cabinet, the Judge President, the Chief Justice; the Supreme Court of Appeal; the Registrar of Companies (and any other holder of an office). Is it ‘the state’ or ‘the State’? Answer: ‘the State’ only where it is a litigant. So too with ‘the Government’, ‘the government’. Lower case is generally preferable: thus ‘his lordship said’, ‘in the eyes of the court’. ‘The agreement was concluded at The Hague.’ 38
  • 39. 6.3 Full stops to indicate abbreviations. In English, they should be dropped. Thus Mr A J Jones; P S Brown SC; Mrs J J Green; Sydney Smith BA LLB (Cape Town) LLD (Stell). Foreign languages may have a different approach, which must be observed. 6.4 Interpolations and ellipses. An interpolation is the insertion or change in a quotation of a letter, a word, or words. It must be between square brackets — [] — not round brackets (parentheses). An ellipsis is the omission of a word or words, or of a passage from a quotation. At the start of or within a sentence it is shown by three full stops; at the end of a sentence there is a closing full stop followed by three further full stops. Here is an extract from the judgment of Wessels JA in Van Wezel v Van Wezel’s Trustee 1924 AD 409 at 418-19 showing the use of interpolations and ellipses: ‘… [I]t is clear that the windmill and the tank … never became the property of Leendert van Wezel [the lessee]. They became the property of De Beers Mines [the lessor] …. They could … not have been transferred to Rudolph van Wezel [the son] except by transfer coram lege loci of the land upon which they stood …. [W]hen Leendert van Wezel became insolvent the control over the property passed to the trustee in insolvency ….’ 6.5 Ending in –ize or –ise? The house style for publications by the School of Accountancy and the School of Law uses-ize: thus criticize, emphasize, realize. Most South Africans prefer –ise. Americans use –ize, even for a couple of words that in British English can end only in –ise (analyze is the common American spelling). In England some leading publications use –ize, such as The Times –ize corresponds more closely to the pronunciation of a word that –ise. You are at liberty to use either form — –ise or –ize — provided you are consistent. The advantage of –ise is that there are very few words that have to end in –ize. The most important ones are size, prize, capsize, assizes. There are at least forty words that end only in –ise. The most commonly used ones are: advertise, advise, chastise, compromise, demise, despise, disguise, enterprise, exercise, revise, supervise, surprise. 6.6 Spelling. Compound words tend to have a life in three stages: two words, a hyphenated word, one word: thus text book, text-book, textbook. Many words exist today that once were two words or were hyphenated; thus antenuptial, postnuptial, businessman. But two words remain in a number of instances: thus post office; trade mark; motor car (but see below). Sometimes the spelling depends on the intended meaning: thus men of good will; the goodwill of a business. Generally, follow the spelling of Collins English Dictionary. (It plumps now for motorcar.) Prefixes tend more and more to combine with the base word: antenuptial; bylaw; bystander; anticlimax; abbreviated; prearrange. With co- and pre-, however, there is some resistance to a combination: compare coalesce; co-billigerent; co- 39
  • 40. author; coalition; coextend; predate; prearrange; pre-human; pre-natal. There is room for a difference of opinion in this area. I prefer cobelligerent; prehuman; prenatal. Generally, for the sake of clarity, there should be a hyphen when the first letter of the base word is the same as the last letter of the prefix: thus pre- exist, co-operate; pre-eminent; co-ordinate. But uncooperative. The prefix re- must be watched. There are several words that vary in meaning according as to whether a hyphen is used or not. If re- is used as meaning ‘again’, with the stress on the re-, and there is a word spelt the same way with a later stress and another meaning, use the hyphen. The more important such words are re-cover, re-cede, re-serve, re-lay, re-solve, re-lent, re-present, re- form, re-count, re-sign. With fractions, a hyphen is used in an adjectival expression: A one-third portion of the estate. But: He inherited one third of the estate. 6.7 Apostrophes. A problem may arise with a proper name ending in s that is used in the possessive (genitive case). There could be room for difference of opinion. Some grammarians prefer a simple s’ if the last syllable is pronounced iz to avoid an unpleasant sibilant sound: thus Dickens’ novels; Evans’ translation. But as a printer or typist can easily print in error Dickens and Evan’s, it is wise to use s’s. (With Moses, Jesus and other biblical names ending in s, it is in any event common practice not to use s’s. Names from French ending in a silent s or x must take ‘s: Du Plessis’s glory: Le Roux’s folly; Marisa’s book. (Marais’s may look odd but ‘Marais’ is still pronounced with a silent s, and only the second s would be pronounced.) There is a slight general tendency to drop the possessive apostrophe: thus the United State Supreme Court; Hillbrow Boys School; the Attorneys Act 1979 (previously Attorneys’ was used). With plurals, for the sake of clarity a’s is sometimes used. In particular this happens with letters and figures: mind your p’s and q’s. But a plain s is used with abbreviations: Five MPs. Time: a year’s imprisonment; six years’ imprisonment; a week’s grace. 6.8 Plurals — some further rules. Nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant form the plural by changing y to ies; lady – ladies; body – bodies. Where the y is preceded by a vowel, simply add the standard s: boy – boys; donkey – donkeys; attorney – attorneys. There is a temptation to write monies, but although some dictionaries allow it as an alternative to moneys, only moneys should be used. Compound nouns cause problems. There are two tendencies: (a) to add the standard s for the plural: bucketfuls; (b) to make a plural of what is felt to be the main part of the compound: mothers-in law; courts martial; Lord Chancellors; law lords; Judge Presidents. (The members of the Court of Appeal in England, however, are lords justices.) 40
  • 41. Problems arise with words ending in –ics, such as mathematics, politics, ethics, classics, statistics. Use the singular for the particular science, discipline, abstract thought. So: Mathematics is a difficult subject. Politics is the art of the possible. Use the plural for looser forms (particularly when associated with his, the, such etc) and for behaviour and the like. So: His business ethics are deplorable. The acoustics are atrocious. Politics are not allowed. The statistics prove that he is wrong. Some apparent plurals are singular. So: The news is disturbing. (No matter that Queen Victoria wrote ‘The news are …’) Sometimes the singular or plural form depends on the context. So: The only means is this one; all other means are useless. A percentage is plural if the related noun is: So: Overall, 20 per cent of the books were faulty. It is singular if the related noun is: Overall, 20 per cent of the paper was faulty. Phenomena is the plural of phenomenon; criteria of criterion; dicta of dictum; media of medium; data of datum. Agenda, however, has become singular. 6.9 Quotation marks (often called ‘inverted commas’, neither expression is accurate). Use them for direct speech; quotations; names of articles in a periodical, chapters in a book etc. Do not use them after ‘so-called’ used ironically — they are implied. Thus: The so-called professor is really a humble assistant. If quotation marks are to be used around ‘professor’, the ‘so-called’ must be eliminated: The ‘professor’ is really a humble assistant. Use opening and closing single quotation marks: ‘…’. If quotation marks are used within the material enclosed by the single quotation marks, use double quotation marks, reverting on the third occasion to single ones. Thus: Holmes JA said in Bozzone v Secretary for Inland Revenue 1975 (4) SA 579 (A) at 588: ‘Consistently with this contention, in Drymiotis v Du Toit 1969 (1) SA 631 (T) Marais J said at 632: “The principal element of a mineral lease is a jus abutendi, the right to destroy the res altogether during the term of the 'lease’ this is something foreign to letting and hiring." On balance, I am of opinion that the word "lease" is used in its ordinary sense.' (Note how the quotation must be accurate, including the paragraphs, capitals, italics etc of the original. Obvious printing errors may be corrected, however.) Use punctuation marks and quotation marks in the logical way. Printers normally insist on the illogicality exemplified by this sentence: ‘It is a lie,’ said the accused. The house style of the School of Accountancy and the School of Law states that it should read: ‘It is a lie’, said the accused. If a comma inside a quotation mark is needed, use it: ‘Indeed, ‘ he replied, ‘I was there.’ 6.10 Italics. They are not to be used for words in Afrikaans, Dutch, Latin, German, French, or any other language. If necessary, quotation marks can be used to avoid the reader’s being unclear of the intended meaning. 41
  • 42. Italics are used for: (a) the names of a legal decision; the ‘v’ for versus also being in italics: thus: Smith v Jones 1987 (1) SA 262 (T); (b) the names of books, newspapers and periodicals — but not the Bible or its books (for example Samuel 11:15; Genesis 19:16) or the Institutes, Digest or Code of Justinian; (c) the titles of theses and dissertations for doctors’ and masters’ degrees; (d) the names of ships (thus: The SS Waratah; but with aeroplanes make sure the name is official — the ill-fated SAA Helderberg did not have an official name). plays and films (thus: Romeo and Juliet); pieces of music (thus: Wagner’s (Die Meistersinger); long poems that are virtually books in themselves (thus: Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book); works of art (thus: the Mona Lisa); (e) to emphasize a word or words, which should not happen often, for a sentence should as a rule contain an implicit emphasis. Use roman type enclosed by quotation marks for articles or periodicals, chapters of books, short poems. 6.11 Figures and dates. Use arabic figures always for ages [She was 15 years old] and percentages [Some 11 percent were innocent]. I prefer 11%. As a rule, use arabic figures elsewhere for a number above 20, for example: There were 72 accused. But not when opening a sentence, for example: Seventy-two persons were accused. Nor where figures would look odd, as here: it was the case some thirty-five years ago. Dates and pages numbers are unbroken: In the year 1984 … On page 1267 … Otherwise insert a space after every third figure: 1 262 728. Dates are set out in this way: On 24 January 1921 an important event occurred. From 1902 to 1904, not From 1902-4. 255 BC but AD 255. For dates BC, write full figures 255-150 BC. Time New international time agreement 1992: example: At 23:35. (Nothing else will now do.) Inclusive numbering, as in pages and dates: use the fewest possible figures consistent with enunciation: Pages 1-7, 17-18, 18-21, 21-3, 22-103, 103-7, 100-3, 199-202. The years 1922-4. 1924-36. 1899-1902. Decimals: 0.56 per cent. R1,6 billion (but try to avoid this). 6.12 Shakespeare: His plays can be cited in one of two ways: Hamlet 1 ii 146 (means Act 1 scene ii line 146); 2 Henry vi III ii 7. Clearer, and perhaps preferable, is: Hamlet Act 1 Scene 2 line 146; 2 Henry VI Act III Scene 2 line 7. Following pages. sections etc. Use f (for folio, from the Latin folium = leaf) to indicate the following page, section etc. For the following pages, sections etc, use ff. Thus: Pages 26ff. Sections 26ff. 42
  • 43. 6.13 The defendant, the plaintiff, the accused etc. Use the definite article; do not write a sentence of this type: According to defendant, the article was missing. 6.14 Signals in footnote citations. ‘See’ means that the authority cited is basic material supporting an opinion or conclusion of law or fact drawn in the text concerned. ‘But see’ means the authority cited strongly indicates a contrary proposition. 6.15 ‘Cf’ This is an abbreviation of the Latin imperative singular ‘confer’ — compare, from the verb confero. According to the famous A Uniform System of Citations followed by almost all United States law journals, it means: ‘Cited authority supports a statement, opinion, or conclusion of law different from that in the text but sufficiently analogous to lend some support to the text.’ Keep the abbreviation to this meaning. But 'cf’ means the authority cited supports a proposition different from that in the text, but sufficiently analogous to it to indicate a contrary conclusion. ‘Contra’ means the authority cited directly contradicts the statement in the text though the facts may be different. ‘Semble’ (Latin for ‘apparently’, ‘it appears’) indicates that the proposition was not directly decided, but in the view of the writer could be inferred, though he or she concedes there may be some doubt about it. 6.16 Afrikaans — especially abbreviations. As with English, the opening word is to be given in full. Otherwise: ‘art’ (meervoud: ‘arts’) — for section, ‘subart’ (meervoud ‘subarts’): ‘bl’ (meervoud: ‘bll’); ‘par’ (meervoud: ‘parr’); 3e uitg (1960); ‘Sien Naudé op cit noot 17 op 163; ‘Aldus regter Smith (of ‘Smith R’); ‘appélregter Smit' (of: Smit AR); ‘ … hoofregter Steyn’ (of: ‘Steyn HR’); ‘die Hoofregter’; ’…die Appélafdeling’ — the Appellate Division; ‘ …die Hoogste Hof van Appél’ — the Supreme Court of Appeal. 6.17 Some spellings. A Krugerrand. E A Jones Jr. E A Jones Sr. The Colonial Courts of Admiralty. The admiralty court. In admiralty law … It’s a historical occasion. (A historical is better than an historical, as the h is pronounced.) In Principle III of the Constitutional Principles. The Government of National Unity. In gaol … [not jail]. The rule of law. In Schedule 4 of the interim Constitution … For ever = eternally, everlasting [I shall love you for ever]; forever = constantly, inevitably [He was forever complaining]. The South African Law Commission Working Paper 25 Group and Human Rights (1989) § 6.4. The South African Law Commission Report on Project 22 Review of the Law of Succession (June 1991) § 3.51-3.63. judgment = of a court judgement = otherwise [in my judgement, the world is coming to an end.] servitutal (or is it servitudal?). (Neither word is in the Oxford English Dictionary. Lewis J used ‘servitutal’ in Schwedhelm v Hauman 1947 (1) SA 127 (E) at 133.) premiss [in logic], plural premisses: He reached this conclusion from a false premiss. But the verb has only one s: to premise, premising. Compare premises: 43
  • 44. The premises are in good condition. In the premises … = with reference to matters already referred to: In the premises, the Plaintiff contends that the conclusion is plain. The states and territories of Australia. The Aborigines of Australia. The aboriginal people of Australia. The Special Court for Hearing Income Tax Appeals. He was admitted to practise. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeal. (This is the effect of our Constitution. Previously, he or she was the Chief Justice of South Africa (section 3(1) of the Supreme Court Act 59 of 1959). The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. 6.18 Hyphens and compounds: some guides. Usually a compound containing an adverb should take a hyphen: A well-known rogue. But not if the adverb ends in ly: A widely known rogue. When the compound is used after the noun, it does not normally take hyphens: An up-to-date-book. But: The book is up to date. 6.19 The en rule. A rule is a line, such as a dash. A dash is known as an en rule. In between a dash and a hyphen is a line called an en rule. Most people don’t know of its existence, but writers — and typists — should do, for a printer must use an en rule where it is required. Use an en rule where there is a contrast, such as ‘the 1914 — 18 war’, ‘on pages 16 — 18’, and where the independent names are linked, such as ‘the Einstien—Bohr thesis’, ‘The Dempsey— Tunney fight’. Where, however an adjective, which cannot stand alone, is attached to a noun, the ordinary hyphen should be used. Thus: ‘the Franco-Prussian War’. 6.20 A comma problem. It has become a convention in British English (which South African English tends to follow) to drop the comma after a simple adverbial clause such as ‘In 1994 the Act was passed’. (in the United States a comma will always be used.) But a more complex adverbial clause at the start of a sentence must end with a comma. Example: ‘As long ago as 1974, the Act was passed.’ The reason for this rule is that the standard English sentence structure starts with the subject: ‘The Act was passed as long ago as 1974.’ There is no comma here. Change the structure, and a comma is called for. 6.21 Gerunds. Gerunds (verbal nouns) can be troublesome. Traditionally, the underlying subject of a gerund goes into the possessive form: The argument resulted in his being confused. [Not: him being confused.] But there are frequent deviations by excellent writers from what many grammarians would like to see. For example, the outstanding novelist Anthony Powell once wrote: ‘This clearly disclaimed any possibility of Winterwade being in the nunnery.’ I would have liked to read: ‘of Winterwade’s being in the nunnery’. At least I have the satisfaction of always seeing what I like to read at the start of a sentence: ‘His going to town was a surprise’ is never written ‘Him going …’. And so where an ‘of’ phrase follows: ‘They hated his baiting of the bear.’ One does not read: ‘They hated him baiting of the bear.’ 44
  • 45. 6.22 Colons and capital letters. A word after a colon should start with a lower case and not a capital letter, except: 1. Where there is a short preceding word. Example: ‘Note: The smaller, the better.’ 2. Where what follows begins on a new line. 3. Where what follows is a quoted sentence or starts with a proper noun (the official or formal name of a person, place or thing should start with a capital anyway) or proper adjective or is the pronoun I (obviously). 4. Where what follows consists of two or more sentences. 6.23 Abbreviations. Preferably make use of the term ‘that is,’ and not ‘i.e.’ . Also, the term ‘for example,’ must be used instead of ‘e.g.’. Example: There are a number of factors, for example, … It is also advisable to use an abbreviation for terms used throughout a document. Example: … the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Aspects of the Tax Structure of South Africa (‘the Commission’) included … Thereafter you can simply refer to the Commission (make sure that you give the full and correct name of the Commission when you first refer to it). The Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 (‘the Act’) … and you will thereafter refer to the Act. Please do not refer to the Smith Commission or the Margo Commission … there is no such reference. 6.24 Some hints on the use of indirect speech (also called reported speech — technically, oratio obliqua). Speech is direct (oratio recta) where the very words uttered by the speaker are repeated. Speech is indirect when there is a change of construction. A most important change is that normally the verb moves one tense further away. — thus, for example, present tense goes into past tense normally. So: He said ‘I have changed my mind’. Indirect speech: He said that he had changed his mind. What seems to cause difficulty in practice is where the speaker is uttering what may be termed a universal truth. So: He said: ‘Johannesburg lies over six thousand feet above sea level.’ In indirect speech one cannot write: ‘He said that Johannesburg lay over six thousand feet above sea level’. It will not make sense. One must still use ‘lies’. Further changes may also be needed. So: He said: ‘I used to know only English, but now I know Afrikaans as well.’ The sentence in indirect speech should read: He said that he used to know only English, but now he knows Afrikaans as well. Though ‘now’ would usually become ‘then’ in indirect speech, it cannot here; nor can ‘knows’ become ‘knew’. 6.25 Referencing Citing books and articles. On the first occasion on which you cite a book or article, do the author the courtesy of writing his or her name and the title of the book or article exactly as he or she gave them. If italics are used, use them — no matter 45
  • 46. that your house style would not. If the author uses his or her first name or names in full, follow suit. You can establish a short mode of citation at that stage. For instance: Sydney Smith The Law of Servitudes (Cape Town: Juta & Co Ltd 1988) (Smith). Then, in the body of your research proposal and research report, you need merely write, say, Smith 126 (which refers to page 126), or Smith § 126 (if he uses the section sign), or Smith para 126 (if he divides his book into paragraphs). Here are some hints on how to cite books: James Smith The Law of Evidence 3 ed (Durban: Butterworths 1976) 176–9. Peter Brown & David Green The Law of Evidence 3 ed (Durban: Butterworths 1976) by John Piper 176–9. Peter Brown & David Green The Law of Persons 5 ed V (Durban: Butterworths 1982) (the V indicating volume V). Ronald Black Servitudes (Cape Town: Juta & Co Ltd 1965; corrected reprint 1977). (Observe that the ampersand — & — is used for joint authors as a rule. But if you personify them, use the ‘and’, thus: Brown and Green op cit 620 contend, however, ) An article is cited as follows: J C Hacket & P Funk ‘Time variance in temporary staff notice periods’ South African Journal of Management (1987) 14(3):22–8. (The initials and names of all the authors – if there is more than one – appear first. The title follows in plain typeface. The name of the journal follows in italics. The year follows in brackets followed by the volume number and, if relevant, the part number in brackets. This is followed by a colon after which the page numbers are noted, with a hyphen between the first and last page of the article.) Under the heading ‘References’ in your research proposal and research report you must comply with the examples of citation given above. You may come across examples of referencing in the literature, which vary slightly from the examples provided above; normally the date of publication has been placed after the name(s) of the author(s). The most important rule is to be consistent. If you are submitting an article for publication, for example, determine what the required house style is. Law Journals. The general rules are: (a) In the text it may be necessary to spell out the title in full, for example: In an article in the South African Law Journal (‘Judges, Equity, and Truth’ (1985) 102 SALJ 295) David Dyzenhaus contended that … (b) Normally one would write: David Dyzenhaus has contended that … (‘Judges, Equity, and Truth’ (1985) 102 SALJ 295). (c) Journals should be cited with the full names except for Univ for University, J for Journal. LJ for Law Journal and LR for Law Reviews. If there are volume numbers, give the number with the year enclosed in parentheses. Thus: (1982) 95 Harvard LR 176; (1983) 85 Yale LJ 176; 1983 Judicial Reviews 76; 1984 Obiter 76; (1886) 3 Cape LJ 20; (1973) 68 Northwestern Univ LR 227; (1981) 1 Oxford J of Legal Studies 36. The following abbreviations, however, are used because the journals are so well known to South African lawyers: SALJ (for South African Law Journal); CILSA (for Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa); ICLQ (for International and Comparative Law Quarterly (London)); ILJ (for Industrial Law Journal); LQR (for Law Quarterly Review 46
  • 47. (London)); SACJ (for South African Journal of Criminal Justice); THRHR (for Tydskrif vir Hedendaagse Romeins-Hollandse Reg); TRW (for Tydskrif vir Regswetenskap); TSAR (for Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg). The names of certain periodicals require special treatment. The weekly New Law Journal (London) and weekly Justice of the Peace (London), for instance, may call for citation with the actual date, in this way: (1984) 124 New LJ 330 (6 April 1984). Unpublished theses and dissertations. Cite as follows: George Jones Personal Servitudes (unpublished LLD thesis University of Benoni 1976) 260. (If it is a master’s degree, it would be … unpublished LLM dissertation … — except for the University of Cape Town, which refers to a thesis for a master’s degree.) Afrikaans: (ongepubliseerde LLD proefskrif Universiteit van Pretoria 1985). Unreported decisions. Examples: In S v Jones (TPD 1 September 1985, unreported) … In S v Jones (TPD 1 September 1985 (case 8148/84), unreported) [or not yet reported]. Short mode of reference to legal decisions. Take the imaginary case of Bull & Sons Ltd v Shearer. The short mode of reference would be Bull & Sons’ case, or even simply Bull & Sons; so: In Bull & Sons the approach was different. In other words, refer to the first name (reduced if warranted). It is not Shearer’s case. Sometimes reference is made to the second name, however. This would happen in every criminal case: S v Marais would be Marais’s case or simply Marais. In civil cases where the first name would not be revealing, reference should be made to the second name. Minister of Finance v Watson is Watson’s case or just Watson. Short mode of reference to books and articles. In James Smith The Law of Contract in South Africa (Smith Contract) this was said … [This means that you may now cite the book simply as Smith Contract]. Another method: (hereinafter Smith). Dictionaries. Cite as follows: The term ‘permanent’ is defined in The Collins English Dictionary as …. The corresponding footnote will read: 5 ed (HarperCollins Publishers Limited: London 2000) 510. Referencing of Internet (known as ‘www’) sites. To cite files available for viewing or downloading from the web, you must provide the following information: ■ the author’s name ■ the full title of the document in inverted commas ■ the title of the complete work (if applicable) ■ date of publication ■ the date of publication or last revision if available; alternatively, insert ‘undated’ ■ the full URL (http address) in italics, enclosed with angle brackets (do not underline as this may obscure parts of certain letters of the 47
  • 48. alphabet) ■ the date of visit to the www site in paranthesis Example: B Green ‘The Principles of International Tax’ (1998) [http://www.ccs.intertax/tax/] (accessed 5 July 2002) Government notices. When reference is made to a practice note or interpretation note, for example, the corresponding footnote should read: GN 578 GG 64321 of 5 July 2002 (GN stands for Government Notice and GG for Government Gazette). Cross-references. Use supra and infra only with reference to a reported case cited or about to be cited, for example: Regal’s case supra note 21 … (if the case has been cited very close by, it would be enough to write: Regal’s case supra …) Op cit = opere citato — in the work quoted. Thus: Smith op cit note 21 at 65 says that … Loc cit = loco citato — in the place cited. Thus Smith loc cit. Ibid = ibidem — in the same work and place (cited in the immediately preceding note). Idem = the same, or as mentioned before. For example the following footnotes: 21 Jones makes the point at 256. 22 Idem. [Here Jones’s point has been alluded to again in the text, and the reader is reminded of the reference.] Some hints on other forms of cross-reference: See note 21. Op cit note 21 at 65. See previous note. See text to note 21. See text following note 21. Op cit previous note. At 361n21 [meaning at page 361 footnote 21]. See 261 above [meaning see page 261 above]. Order of reference. Start with the old authorities in date order, followed by legal decisions in date order, books in date order, articles in date order. 48
  • 49. 7 The lighter side of reasons for writing well – across the disciplines 7.1 “Teacher Arrested” At New York's Kennedy Airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. "Al-Gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'there are 3 sides to every triangle'." When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes." …………………………….. 7.2 Clever reasoning The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well. Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)? Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following: First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. 49
  • 50. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added. This gives two possibilities: 1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose. 2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over. So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you, and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God." THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY "A”. 8 The lighter side of decision making based on observations (optical illusions) Bearing in mind those decisions will need to be made in your working groups throughout the course, consider the following optical illusions and the message that runs below them. Perpetually ascending staircase. How can the man go up all the time and come back to the same place over and over? 50
  • 51. The diagonal lines are parallel. There are no grey spots at the corners of the squares. Three-pronged fork. Impossible Triangle. 51
  • 52. The rows of black and white squares are all parallel. Parallel lines at sunrise. Wavy Squares? No! The background of concentric circles makes the squares appear distorted There are only white circles at the intersections Rotating Wheels The circles appear to rotate when you move your head closer and further away 52
  • 53. from the screen while looking at the dot in the centre. The Vertical lines are both the same length. Warped Square? There are no curved lines in this figure. The centre circles are both the same size. So never make a decision based on your observations... Think of what you saw and what you heard... Analyze the facts and make the decision. 53
  • 54. 9 Past exam questions October 2003 EXAM QUESTIONS SECTION A: PROPOSAL Jabula is a not-for-profit agency so needs to secure funding to hire a consultant to guide it through a strategic planning activity. Write a covering letter for the following proposal submitted by Jabula Industries. The format is a business letter, with your address, their address, the date, a salutation (eg Dear Ms Modise) and topic line (eg Covering letter for funding proposal). Summarise the essence of the proposal into about three brief paragraphs in the letter. The contents of the letter are followed by ‘Yours sincerely’, your signature, your name and designation (eg Executive Director). Length: 1 – 1 ½ pages Your address is: Jabula Industries Vocational Trainers PO Box 456 2144 WENDYWOOD The funder’s address is: Ms S. Modisa Thuthuka Foundation PO Box 123 2000 JOHANNESBURG JABULA INDUSTRIES VOCATIONAL TRAINERS A FUNDING PROPOSAL TO THE THUTHUKA FOUNDATION FOR A FACILITATOR TO GUIDE JABULANI INDUSTRIES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STRATEGIC PLAN 1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION 2004 marks the 20th anniversary of Jabula Industries in Entebeni. All communities in the Entebeni area benefit either directly or indirectly from the company, which generates income for 14 000 adults. The agency serves approximately 3000 new people annually with the majority of clients being served in the Extended Employment Programme. Jabulani’s mission is to provide vocational evaluation, training, extended employment, job placement, job creation, and related vocational rehabilitation services to persons with barriers to employment. Increasingly large proportions of clients are people living with HIV/AIDS. The primary disease suffered by clients is Tuberculosis (TB) and health issues related to people living with HIV/AIDS. 54
  • 55. A variety of training and employment opportunities is available to clients within the facility, including industrial sewing, wood working, assembly and packaging, and the manufacture of electronic components. Community-based training and employment opportunities are found and developed in janitorial and garden maintenance work, food growing and processing. 2 PROJECT INFORMATION 2.1 NEED FOR THE PROGRAMME Jabula Industries does not have a strategic plan in place to guide the agency. The time is right for a strategic plan especially given the change in executive directors in August this year. With the increasing numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS Jabula needs to plan strategically to be effective in this area. This process would take between six and nine months. A facilitator with a broad knowledge of the community would enhance Jabula’s ability to identify the unmet employment and training needs in the Entebeni area. The process will analyze the Industry’s needs to develop a long-range programmatic vision to provide a framework for its programmes of service to people experiencing barriers to employment. The result of the strategic planning process will be an agency with a renewed commitment to serve the community and an enhanced capability to help people with special needs become self-sufficient through employment. 2.2 TARGET POPULATIONS AND INTENDED CLIENTS For the 2001-2002 programme year Jabula provided vocational services to 2840 people with special needs. Those living with HIV/AIDS comprised the largest group at 49 percent, with mental illness second at 14 percent (depression and stress were foremost). The remaining 37 percent of clients served included those with learning disabilities, mental retardation, seizures, cerebral palsy, chemical dependency, hearing impairments, visual impairments, cardiac conditions, arthritis, diabetes, physical disabilities, and traumatic brain injury. There are also a number of foreigners, primarily from Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but also from other African countries, but not many of them are legal immigrants so official tallies are difficult. A community needs assessment will most likely specify the types and numbers of people served. One of the keys to Jabula’s longevity and success has been its ability to be flexible and to develop programming to meet changing community needs. ANTICIPATED RESULTS The outcome of a strategic planning process would be an organization with an enhanced management capability and an improved communication system. The organization would have a refocused mission, most likely encompassing a broader range of community needs. In turn, the long-range stability and strength of the organization would be enhanced through the establishment of goals leading to 55
  • 56. steady growth and diversification. Overall agency morale would increase as the natural creativity of staff members is given full expression. In addition, the strategic planning process will produce an agency road map for the future and a means to measure progress toward mutually agreed upon goals and objectives. 2.3 PLAN OF ACTION A strategic planning committee has been formed composed of board members, staff, and volunteers. The strategic planning process would take between six and nine months. The facilitator would guide the organization through the eight steps in the strategic planning process as follows: 1 SITUATION AUDIT Assist the agency in interpreting its operating environment by examining agency history, territory demographics, and current financial position. Assist in the clarification of agency core values and the development of a long-range programmatic vision, using observations, trend analysis, and feedback from stakeholders. 2 COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT Assist the agency in determining the employment and training needs of people with disabilities or disadvantaged backgrounds in the community. Guide the development and implementation of surveys and other vehicles to reach stakeholders for their opinions and observations of Jabulani Industries. Conduct research on existing community needs studies of people with disabilities or disadvantaged backgrounds. 3 RISK ANALYSIS Lead the organization in an analysis of its internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. 4 MISSION STATEMENT Guide the organization through a re-examination of its mission statement. Help define the mission narrowly enough to encompass existing programming existing programming and funding sources yet broad enough to allow for growth and diversification. 5 DETERMINATION OF ORGANIZATIONAL OBJECTIVES Assist in the development of programmatic and operational goals and objectives in line with the overall mission of the organization. 6 DEVELOPMENT OF ACTION STEPS 56
  • 57. Provide guidance in the development of action steps and strategies required to achieve objectives. 7 IMPLEMENTATION Give guidance and direction to the organization on how to gain cooperation and acceptance of the strategic plan among staff, clients, and board members. Provide a framework for linking annual planning and short-term activities with the achievement of long-term strategic goals. 8 EVALUATION OF PLAN Assist in the development of a process for ongoing evaluation and revision of the strategic plan. 3 PLAN FOR EVALUATING THE PROJECT A review of the strategic plan would be part of the annual agency planning and budgeting process. Progress or difficulties in achieving stated goals and objectives would be discussed at the Board of Directors meetings on an annual basis. The plan would be updated on an as-needed basis following periodic reviews by the Board of Directors. SECTION B: APPLIED SKILLS NOTE: select any four (4) of the questions in section B. Each question is worth 10 marks and should be no longer than 10 lines of standard writing. The entire section is only 40 marks, so do not penalise yourself by writing too much and running out of time for the rest of the paper. Assume the role of a business consultant. Your business takes you abroad and to other African countries to assist a range of clients. You are able to speak, read and write in English, isiZulu, Afrikaans, French and Portuguese fluently. Your tender for the work described in Section A as the consultant to Jabula Industries is successful, given your extensive language proficiencies and experience. Even though you are not from the Entebeni area yourself, you share a similar background to some of the community. B1 The proposal for funding indicated that a community needs assessment will most likely broaden the types and numbers of people served. One of your first tasks as consultant would be to do a demographic analysis of the community as well as a community needs assessment. Briefly describe the likely demographics of such a community. (10) OR B2 Your being an outsider to the Entebeni area may be considered a barrier to communication. Some likely problems you may encounter are ethnocentricsm, 57
  • 58. cultural myopia and xenophobia. Discuss one of these attitudes within this context. (10) OR B3 As a consultant you encounter a group of stakeholders in Jabula Industries who are resistant to change. They do not want to participate in the strategic planning exercises and they are turning other participants against the process. Their negative attitude is threatening to sabotage the programme. Discuss how you would deal with this situation. You may mention methods for changing their attitudes, getting them on your side, to buy in to the strategic planning process and to become motivated to participate. Some methods may be working with preferred thinking styles (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and audience analysis. (10) OR B4 Describe some of the barriers to communication that you are likely to encounter here among the range of stakeholders. For each barrier indicate methods specific to this context for overcoming them. (10) OR B5 Describe some of the communication strategies that you would use to reach the members of the Entebeni community. You may feel that word of mouth is more effective in rural areas than fax or e-mail, for instance. (10) OR B6 There are a number of ways in which you as a business consultant can build credibility. For instance, you could establish your credentials and show a proven track record. Discuss some of the ways in which you would build credibility with the Entebeni communities. (10) OR B7 Non-verbal communication is a significant aspect of communicating as it includes body language, gestures, tone of voice, etc. Mention some non-verbal methods of communicating in the context of being more effective as a consultant (10) SECTION C: REPORT C1 INSTRUCTIONS: Rewrite the following text as a short report. You must: • Give the report a descriptive title • Give the report an introduction • Organise the text logically into paragraphs and give headings • Where necessary, correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors • Underline any corrections that you make (30) Business travel is becoming increasingly complex. Deadlines, delayed or canceled flights, crowded airports and airplanes, and hotel stays are just a few of the challenges travellers face. The suggestions presented in this report may help weary traveller to cope with the stress and meet those challenges. If your flight is canceled, call your travel agent or the 58
  • 59. airline to get a new reservation. By doing this, you will avoid the crowds at the airport ticket counters. If you have carry-on bags, ask to be seated near the rear of the aircraft; You board first and have easier time stowing your bags. If you are flying Kulula let the other passengers rush ahead – they usually only let mothers and small children go first and then jostle to pick their best seats. The very back of Kulula seating plans is more spacious, you get to see the vending trolley first and at your destination can disembark immediately throw the rear door. It is a lot les stressful. Become familiar with the local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Making telephone calls through a hotel’s in-room telephone service is very expensive. For cheaper rates, use a long distance calling card. Your cell phone service provider should be able to help you with advice, but make sure you activate international roaming before you leave South Africa. When staying in a hotel, try to stay between the second and seventh floor. This can help to avoid break-ins while remaining in reach of emergency ladders in case of fire, bombs or some other attack. Always be sure to request automatic locks when renting a car. These are a valuable safety measure when driving and parking in unfamiliar areas. If you regularly travel to the same destination investigate corporate housing for stays of more then a week. You can go home for the weekends and still keep the lower rates. To minimize the expensive refueling charges when renting a car, note the location of a petrol station as you leave the airport. When you returning the car, you will know where to refuel. Keep clothing wrinkle free by rolling articles in dry-cleaning bags when packing. Learn the carry-on bag size restrictions of the airlines you use before you get to the gate and have to forfeit your bag to the luggage hold. Make sure that you have packed any forbidden objects like nail files and leatherman pocket knives in your check-in luggage as it is time-consuming to have them confiscated for the flight and then to have to retrieve them from an allotted desk at the airport of your destination. Always carry-on a full change of clothes in case your check-in luggage gets lost. If you are travelling to a different climate prepare for it so that you can leave the airplane in suitable clothes. If you loose your passport while travelling internationally, immediately contact the Embassy or Consulate for assistance right away. Make photocopies of your prescriptions for medicines and eye-glasses, as well as credit cards. This will speed the process of obtaining new ones while on the road. Always be sure to keep a copy of your ID and/or passport in your luggage and at home or with your secretary in case of theft or loss. Place any breakable items, like perfume or cologne, in bubble warp and sealed plastic bags prior to packing them to protect them and avoid a mess in the event that they should break. Avoid isolated phones payphones or ones in dimly-lit areas. Face outward while calling to stay alert to possible intruders, and hang onto your belongings. When boarding your flight or checking into your hotel room, always note the location of emergency exits. C2 Write a summary of this passage (C1) in half a page. (10) TOTAL MARKS: 100 59
  • 60. January 2004 (Supplementary exam) 2 hours Enter the numbers of the questions answered in the front of your answer book. Be accurate, especially in Section A. Read the entire paper first, as Section B (50) will give you insight into the case study scenario of Section A (50). SECTION A: APPLIED SKILLS NOTE: select any five (5) questions Each question is worth 10 marks and should be 10 lines of standard writing. Do not penalise yourself by writing too much and running out of time. Assume the role of an insurance assessor OR Human Resource Manager OR Accounting Manager. Your client OR company, Auto Assemblage, is a production company that manufactures automotive parts and accessories in an industrial park. A terrible fire has tragically killed 20 workers and caused extensive damage to a section of the factory. A1 One of your first tasks in assessing the needs of Auto Assemblage in the aftermath of such a tragedy would be to do a demographic analysis of employees. Briefly describe the likely demographics of such a workforce. (10) OR A2 Some likely problems encountered among a diverse workforce are ethnocentrism and cultural myopia. Discuss one of these attitudes within this context. You may for instance describe a cultural practice of mourning and grieving the loss of the deceased workers and indicate where conflict with the Human Resources department in granting leave could be resolved. (10) OR A3 As a manager or insurance assessor, you encounter a group of stakeholders in Jabula Industries who are resistant to the changes involved in coping with the crisis – from employing new staff to re-building the damaged section. They are turning other participants against the process. Their negative attitude is threatening to sabotage the programme. Discuss how you would deal with this situation. You may mention methods for changing their attitudes, getting them on your side, to buy in to become motivated to participate. Some methods may be working with preferred thinking styles (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and audience analysis. (10) OR A4 Describe some of the barriers to communication that you are likely to encounter here among the range of stakeholders. For each barrier indicate methods specific to this context for overcoming them. For instance, as an insurance assessor you may encounter those who are suspicious about your motives in conducting enquiries – some may feel that you are out to prove the accident a fraudulent set-up and therefore be unapproachable. In such a case, how would you interact with them? (10) OR 60
  • 61. A5 Describe some of the communication strategies that you would use to reach the employees of Auto Assemblage. You may feel that word of mouth is more effective in an industrial company than fax or e-mail, for instance. It is recognised that at such a sensitive time, the grapevine could be damaging to morale. (10) OR A6 There are a number of ways in which you as an insurance assessor can build credibility. For instance, you could establish your credentials and show a proven track record. Discuss some of the ways in which you would build credibility with the Auto Assemblage staff, particularly those suspicious of your fair intent. (10) OR A7 Non-verbal communication is a significant aspect of communicating as it includes body language, gestures, tone of voice, etc. Mention some non-verbal methods of communicating in the context of being more effective as a manager in the aftermath of such a tragedy. (10) OR A8 Discuss the listening skills that you will need to use in interacting with those who were close to the deceased. (10) OR A9 Discuss the interview skills that you will use as insurance assessor in putting together your report. (10) SECTION B: REPORT INSTRUCTIONS: Rewrite the following text. You must: • Give the report a descriptive title, with clear headings and sub-headings (3) • Use a multiple decimal numbering system (eg 4.1.1, 4.1.2) (2) • Give the report an introduction (10) • Do not insert any procedures or findings, but show numbering as if they are present ie 1 INTRODUCTION 4 CONCLUSIONS 5 RECOMMENDATIONS • Reorganise the given text into two separate sections, the conclusions and recommendations of a short report (20) 61
  • 62. • Use more formal language, do not write in the first person (I, me, my) (10) • Use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling • Write contractions out in full (eg you’re > you are) • Underline any spelling corrections that you make (about 5) (5) (50) TEXT FOR EDITING: I came to the conclution that the fire had been caused by an electrical fault in the paint store. We need to get the wiring straightened out in there so that paint can be safely storred. Another recommendation is that we instal smoke detectors so that any potential fire is quickly detected. We’ll also have to make sure that noboddy smokes in the building. A strong massage must be given to staff. I’ve also come to the conclusion that the main pillars, although the paint has been burnt off, won’t need to be replaced. They’re basically sound. Another conclusion is that the asbestos roof will have to be replaced because many of the sheets have been cracked. They’re better than corrugated iron. I’ve concluded that three of the main roof beams will have to be replaced because they’re twisted. They should be replaced with the same type of steel. TOTAL MARKS: 100 62
  • 63. November 2004 TOTAL MARKS: 100 SECTION A: Proposal: Short questions (1 mark each) Answer in the answer book by circling the letter of choice. NOTE TO MARKERS: It should not be necessary to standardise this, however, note and e-mail Nicky (or the group>) with any alternatives that you believe should be added to the marking memo – use your discretion and make allowances where appropriate. Multiple Choice 1. A company might prepare a proposal for which of the following reasons? a. To meet government regulations. b. To make an offer to solve problems, provide services, or sell equipment. c. To deliver bad news to employees. d. To advertise for applicants for an open position. Ans: b 2. Which of the following situations would most likely result in the writing of a request for proposals (RFP)? a. Your law firm has openings for three paralegals. b. Your law firm wants to attract new clients. c. Your law firm wants to upgrade all of its old computer equipment. d. Your law firm, which specializes in securities fraud, wants to start branching out into other kinds of law. Ans: c 3. In which part of an informal proposal would you most likely highlight the credentials and expertise of those who will be working on the project? a. Introduction b. Background c. Staffing d. Proposal Ans: c True-False *4. In writing proposals, the most important thing to remember is that proposals are sales presentations. Ans: True (Guffey 6e pp. 263-264) 63
  • 64. 5. If you are responding to a request for proposals (RFP), it is important to repeat the language of the RFP in the background section to show your reader that you understand the problem completely. Ans: True (Guffey 6e pp. 264) 6. In the proposal section of your proposal, you should include every detail of your plan so that your reader will fully understand what you intend to do. Ans: True (Guffey 6e pp. 265) FEEDBACK: In the proposal section of your proposal, you want to disclose enough of your plan to secure the contract without giving away so much information that your services aren’t needed. Short Questions (Cloze procedure) 7. A list of project costs would be included in the ________ section of a proposal. Ans: budget/cost (Guffey 6e pp. 265) 8. Books, periodicals, and Internet sources are examples of ____________ data. Ans: secondary /hard data (Guffey 6e pp. 268) 9. Surveys, questionnaires, and interviews are examples of __________ data. Ans: primary (Guffey 6e pp. 272) 10. Using the words or ideas of someone else without giving credit is called ___________. Ans: plagiarism (Guffey 6e pp. 274) [12 Marks] Long Question 11 Write a covering letter to accompany the following short Proposal, using the following format (25 marks) Marking memo The letter should have correct format and grammar – carelessness loses marks in each section. (5) Paragraph 1: Intro (5) Paragraph 2: Key differentiators, staffing, timing, budget (10) Paragraph 3: Authorisation (5) 64
  • 65. (Model Answer) Seffrican Research Consultants [letterhead] 1 Block 1 Mandela Office Park 1 Nelson Mandela Avenue Sandton 2100 16 November 2004 Dr L Mkaya CEO/Chief MD/Medical Doctor/Medical Practitioner Mkaya and Associates/Mkaya Practices 1 Mbeki Road Johannesburg 2000 Dear Doctor Mkaya Proposal to address patient needs You will find our proposal to improve/enhance your patient relations/client care attached. We believe that with the insights we can offer you into your patients’ perceptions, your practice will have the edge. (5) Specifically, your purposes are to survey your patients to (a) determine the level of their satisfaction with you and you staff, (b) elicit their suggestions for improvement, and (c) find out how they discovered you. We have great experience (see annexure 1 to the proposal) in facilitating companies, and in particular medical practices, move from good to best. Patient needs and satisfaction will be measured by a short survey. This would have been scientifically designed to measure key factors as well as specific areas that are of concern to you. It would have been based mainly on closed questions so that our state of the art computer analysis could give you accurate feedback. We are confident that our company will offer you the thoroughness that you would expect for value for money. We welcome interaction with you and will be phoning to make a appointment to show you a presentation that illustrates our credentials. It would also give you the opportunity to meet our key staff, some of whom we mention in the attached proposal. (10) Our proposal gives a timing breakdown which aims to meet the deadline of 10 February 2005. This timing would give your practice that competitive edge at a time of year when, historically many patients get restless and change their preferred medical practitioners. If you were to authorise this project by the end of November then the process would be right on target. (5) Yours sincerely (Sign) (Ms) N Sanders Marketing manager/Proposal manager, Seffrican Research Consultants Proposal to address patient needs 65
  • 66. For Dr Loxley Mkaya Helping you improve your medical practice is of the highest priority at Seffrican Research Consultants. We are pleased to submit the following proposal outlining our plan to help you more effectively meet your patients’ needs by analysing their views about your practice. 1 Background and Purpose We understand that you have been incorporating a total quality management system in your practice. Although you have every reason to believe your patients are pleased with the service you provide, you would like to give them an opportunity to discuss what they like and possibly don’t like about your service. Specifically, your purposes are to survey your patients to (d) determine the level of their satisfaction with you and you staff, (e) elicit their suggestions for improvement, and (f) find out how they discovered you. 2 Proposed Plan On the basis of our experience in conducting many local and national customer satisfaction surveys, Seffrican Research Consultants proposes the following plan to you: 2.1 Survey We will develop a short but thorough questionnaire probing the data you seek. Although the survey instrument will include both open-ended and closed questions, it will concentrate on the latter. Closed questions enable respondents to answer easily; they also facilitate systematic data analysis. The questionnaire will measure patient reactions to such elements as courtesy, professionalism, accuracy of billing, friendliness, and waiting time. After you approve it, the questionnaire will be sent to a random sample of 500 patients. 2.2 Analysis Data from the survey will be analysed by demographic segments, such as patient type, age and gender. Our experienced team of experts, using state-of-the-art computer systems and advanced statistical measures, will study the (a) degree of patient satisfaction, (b) reasons for satisfaction, and (c) relationship between responses of your patients. Moreover, our team will report to you specific suggestions for making patient visits more pleasant. 2.3 Report 66
  • 67. You will receive a final report with the key findings clearly spelled out, Dr Mkaya. Our expert team will also draw conclusions based on these findings. The report will include tables summarizing all responses. 2.4 Timing Schedule With your approval, the following schedule has been arranged for your patient satisfaction survey: Questionnaire development and mailing January 7-10 Deadline for returning questionnaire January 30 Data tabulation and processing February 1-6 Completion of final reports February 10 3 Staffing Seffrican Research Consultants is a nationally recognised, experienced research consulting firm specialising in survey investigation. We have assigned your customer satisfaction survey to Dr Kgathi Setati, our director of research. Dr Setati is a Wits University graduate and has successfully supervised our research programme for the past eight years. Before joining SRC, she was a marketing analyst with Venture TM. Assisting Dr Setati will be a team headed by Dr Ron Liu, our vice president for operations. Dr Liu also qualified at Wits with a background in computer science and marketing. 4 Budget Estimated Hours Rate Total Professional and administrative time Questionnaire development 3 R 150/hr R 450 Questionnaire mailing 3 40/hr 160 Data processing & tabulation 12 40/hr 480 Analysis of findings 15 150/hr 2 250 Preparation of final report 5 150/hr 750 Mailing costs 300 copies of questionnaire 120 Postage and envelopes 270 Total costs R4 480 5 Authorisation We are convinced, Dr Mkaya, that our professionally designed and administered client satisfaction survey will enhance your practice. Seffrican Research Consultants can have specific results for you by February 10 if you sign the enclosed duplicate copy of this letter and return it to us with a retainer of R 2 300. The prices in this offer are in effect only until November 30, 2004. 67
  • 68. SECTION B: Theory questions: (Note answer any 4 questions in about 5 lines per question) Q 1 The proposal in Section A refers to demographics of patient type, age and gender. Discuss why demographics are used in such an analysis. (10) WHY: when dealing with people we tend to categorise and demographic categories are useful – in a medical practice especially there are trends – men and women have particular male/female conditions, childhood diseases are not often encountered among adults, elderly patients have their own set of ailments, etc. • Patient type – eg chronic or acute illness, emergency etc • Age, Gender, Other… GOOD STUDENT ANSWERS: Demographics in such an analysis would be essential to recognise specific patient needs. Patient type will help determine what patients may be interested in according to their health condition. For instance, the practise could display information relating to foods which may be harmful/healthy for those with heart conditions, diabetes, etc – in posters in the waiting rooms with take-home flyers. Awareness of age would help in providing entertainment for patients while they wait to see the doctor or have a script filled. For example, puzzles could be provided for children and suitable magazines for adults and teenagers. Perhaps a television channel could be selected to suit those waiting, for instance sports for men and soaps for women, depending on the predominance of those waiting at that time. Q 2 Consider the communication strategies – face to face, one on one, e- mail, telephone, fax – that you could use in the proposal process of Section A. (10) NB: this is about the proposal process – ie marketing the services of Seffrican Consultants, not about the mailing of surveys. • Face to face – take Dr Mkaya out to lunch – woo him with a gift or scintillating company – both one on one or with a few key players, eg Dr Kgathi Setati (she possibly also has sex appeal as well as being a brilliant Marketing analyst) • E-mail – to keep in touch in a casual way – to follow up with the submission of the proposal, to confirm telephonic arrangements • Telephone - to set up an appointment/ lunch engagement • Fax - to confirm telephonic arrangements – rather archaic, but the good Doctor may not have e-mail… Q 3 How would you go about building credibility and proving your track record in order to be successful in securing the contract with Dr Mkaya? (10) 68
  • 69. Staffing (given in the exam paper “Proposal”) Seffrican Research Consultants is a nationally recognised, experienced research consulting firm specialising in survey investigation. We have assigned your customer satisfaction survey to Dr Kgathi Setati, our director of research. Dr Setati is a Wits University graduate and has successfully supervised our research programme for the past eight years. Before joining SRC, she was a marketing analyst with Venture TM. Assisting Dr Setati will be a team headed by Dr Ron Liu, our vice president for operations. Dr Liu also qualified at Wits with a background in computer science and marketing. Q 4 Anticipate and discuss solutions to the likely barriers to communication that will be encountered by Seffrican Research Consultants in conducting their survey. (10) Q 5 Anticipate the problems that are likely to arise in the research team with reference to one or more of the following: • intercultural communication, • ethnocentrism, • cultural myopia, • xenophobia, • attitudes, • overcoming negative attitudes, • motivation, • preferred thinking styles (Neuro-linguistic programming) (10) GOOD STUDENT ANSWERS: When a group of people is put together on a project, chances are high that each has his/her own different culture and belief structure. One is therefore likely to encounter ethnocentricism and cultural myopia. Each research team member may have a different work ethic and set of priorities and believe his/hers to be the norm. Any other way of thinking and operating may be looked down upon and this could create tension within the team. Q 6 Discuss aspects of non-verbal communication, gestures, body language and/ or tone of voice that may become issues in the research team. (10) Note: according to the wording here, solutions are not needed, merely observations/commentary. Other than the course pack… • environmental body language – how we present ourselves should indicate that we are successful (ie not cheap and nasty clothes, but smart, noticeably expensive, not necessarily trendy, but at least not old fashioned). Also look clean and neat. Carry yourself well, etc. If someone is consistently sloppy or has a problem with body odour or halitosis the others may resent them or not 69
  • 70. want to work in proximity, so there should be some intervention – private counselling, etc. • eye contact – one could assume that the research team would have like- minded members who make eye contact with respect – but there could be a sexual animal who makes overtures that his/her targets are uncomfortable with – again timely intervention before sexual harassment occurs is needed • tone of voice – a bored or angry, even rude and bullying tone would undermine group morale – also if the tone is misinterpreted to be offensive then issues could arise • facial expressions – someone may frown a lot which could be unpleasant for team members • personal space/proxemics – this should be respected – team members ought not to feel crowded or pressured – as this varies between cultures it may be necessary to set commonly respected boundaries. GOOD STUDENT ANSWERS: Gestures and body language are important aspects of communication. They may, however, also bring about tension within the group due to cultural myopia. It may be in one’s culture or personality to talk loudly and boldly. If another person in the research team does not understand this, he/she may just believe that person to be obnoxious and rude. This problem may be resolved through acculturation within the research group so that each member understands the actions of others. SECTION C: Report: 1 Work with the following draft text of a short report as an editor on the exam paper. You must underline corrections you make to grammar etc. Insert your own headings to make paragraph structure clearly that of a report. (10) [If students have re-written this entire report in their answer book they have penalised themselves on time management and should not be penalised much more in marks.] (Report on Patient Satisfaction for Dr Mkaya) (Introduction) (3) This report was commissioned by Dr Mkaya in November 2004 and the process covered the time span of January-February 2005. The report sets out to determine the level of patient satisfaction with you and you (your) staff (formalise the pronoun), elicit their suggestions for improvement and learn more about how they discovered you. Tables to this end are attached as annexures. (tautology) (4) (Findings) Most patients discovered the practise through word of mouth and proximity – those living in the neighboured (neighbourhood) passed it, noticed it and went there when they needed it. Some looked (too casual – used) in the yellow pages, and (whereas) others in junkmail flyers from health shops. See Table 1 for details. (4) (some students might re-arrange this as a “Procedure” section inserted above Findings) 70
  • 71. The survey measured patient reactions to such elements as courtesy, professionalism, accuracy of billing, friendlyness (friendliness), and waiting time. It was found that a high level of professionalism was encountered by most patients with staff encounters being consistently courteous and friendly. The waiting time for both making an appointment and being see (seen) on the day of the appointment were adequate. No problems were reported with account billing. Those who have started settling their accounts using on-line banking enjoy the convenience.(1-4) (Conclusions) Most patients were satisfied with the service encountered at your practise. They were content with the waiting time and the availability of appointments. There was a general sense of being comfortable with the service before and after appointments. Your (the) patient loyalty is beyond doubt. (2) (Recommendations) Patients recommended that the service (practise) continue as it is, with a few sugestions (suggestions) ranging from having Rooibos tea available on the tea tray as well as a water filter installed in the waiting room, see Table 2 for detailed recommendations. While only a minority settle their accounts electronically, these patients recommend that accounts be sent via e-mail. (This may be considered to be a conclusion) There is a generall (general) sense of goodwill towards the practise. Staff are commended for their patient care expertise. (2-4) 2 Write an executive summary of this report in about 5 lines. (10) Marking memo executive summary This report has found a generally high level of patient satisfaction with the practise of Dr Mkaya. Service is consistently professional and friendly with acceptable waiting times for appointments. Suggestions to improve the practise deal with operational items such as offering a variety of tea and a water filter in the waiting room and offering the option of sending accounts via e-mail for electronic payments. (10) TOTAL MARKS: 100 71
  • 72. January 2005 Supplementary Instructions Read the entire question paper first and allocate enough time for each question. Question D 6 is your key to passing. Note where you have choices and chose carefully to ensure maximum effectiveness. Plan your answers in the answer book if you are worried about time constraints. You have 1.2 minutes per mark, so a 20 mark question should take no more than 24 minutes if you are to finish in time. SCENARIO You are to play the role of J Magula, Director, Human Resources, in a large organisation. You may imagine your own organisation, but then keep it consistent throughout your answers in this exam. Assume that your staff has a wide range of backgrounds, demographic characteristics (eg gender, age, education/qualifications) and a range of interests. You may use an imaginary or real company, such as the organisation that you did the Business Communication Project on as the basis for your answers, if appropriate. For instance, you may have done research on an insurance company with a focus on one aspect of that company, such as the claims division or the call centre. You would then have insights into that aspect of the company to focus on in your answers here. SECTION A: EDITING TEXT Document for Revision The following memo has faults in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, number form, repetition, wordiness, and other areas. • Revise the memo correcting any errors and rewriting sections that need to be improved. • Make corrections on the question paper. Use the answer book if you need more space for rewritten sections, but clearly indicate where these sections fit in (you may use numbering or asterics *). • Use a circle around punctuation that should be deleted. • Rewrite corrected spelling above the appropriate words. 72
  • 73. • Delete unnecessary words and if replacing a word or phrase insert your correction above the deleted section or use the margin where fitting. INTEROFFICE MEMO ________________________________________________ DATE: 5 January 2005 TO: Department Heads, Managers, and Supervisors FROM: J Magula, Director, Human Resources SUBJECT: Submitting Appraisals of Performance by 15 February 2005 Please be informed that performance appraisals for all you’re employees’ are due, before 15 February 2005. These appraisal are esspecially important and essential this year. Because of job changes, new technologys and because of office re- organization. To complete your performance appraisals in the most effective way, you should follow the procedures described in our employee handbook, let me briefly make a review of those procedures; 1. Be sure each and every employee has a performance plan with 3 or 4 main objective. 2. For each objective make an assessment of the employee on a scale of 5 (consistently excedes requirements) to 0 (does not meet requirements at all. 3. You should identify 3 strengths that he brings to the job. 4. Name 3 skills that he can improve. These should pertain to skills such as Time Management rather then to behaviors such as habitual lateness. 5. The employee should be met with to discuss his appraisal. 6. Finish the appraisal and send the completed appraisal to this office. We look upon appraisals like a tool for helping each worker assess his performance. And enhance his output. If you would like to discuss this farther, please do not hessitate to call me (10 marks) SECTION B: BUSINESS LETTER Still in the role of J Magula, Director, Human Resources, write a formal letter (about 1 ½ pages long) advising an employee in your department that he/she has not measured up to the criteria and objectives set by the organisation. Note therefore that “Company Name” and “Company Address” will be the same in the letter. (See format given below – negative marking for errors here). 73
  • 74. Identify the area(s) of weakness or concern, such as chronic absenteeism or lateness, or missed deadlines and low productivity, or conflict with co-workers. Suggest solutions to overcome the problems mentioned. You may also request input from the employee in workshopping this. Indicate a time-frame for redressing the issue(s). FORMAT J Magula Director: Human Resources Company Name” Company Address” 12 January 2005 Initials and surname of employee Their title, such as sales manager “Company Name” “Company Address” Dear (Name of employee) (Subject heading) (Paragraph 1) (Paragraph 2, etc) Yours sincerely (Signature) J Magula Director: Human Resources (30 marks) SECTION C: BUSINESS REPORT Still in the context of the scenario of sections A and B, a departmental report is required. Your role is as Head of Department. Write a short report (about 1-2 pages long) for J Magula, Director, Human Resources in your company. This report must focus on your department with at least one of the following key areas commented on: • The demographics of the department • Intercultural issues experienced in the department 74
  • 75. • An instance in which negative attitudes were encountered and overcome • Proving the track record of the department • Proving the worth of the department to the organisation as a whole A standard short report format should be used, including a title, an introduction, procedure, findings, conclusions and/or recommendations. Your introduction should make your choice of key areas clear, outline the situation briefly and describe the department. A likely procedure would be to conduct a series of interviews with staff, and/or to have used questionnaires for staff to have completed. Your findings will contain information pertinent to the decisions you are likely to take, for instance discussing the demographic profile and describing the intercultural issues in particular. Your conclusions would then interpret this information in a meaningful way so that the recommendations that you make are plausible (supported). (30 marks) SECTION D: BUSINESS WRITING NOTE: Allow the mark allocation to determine the length of your answer – eg 4 lines for a 4 mark answer, 6 lines for a 6 mark answer. Choose carefully – only three answers are required in this section. CHOOSE 1, 2 OR 3 1. Compare two of the following in the business context: a. reports, b. proposals, OR c. letters, d. memos. List two areas of similarity and/or difference between the two you have chosen. (6) OR 75
  • 76. 2. Give two ways of documenting data in a report using graphics, with reasons for each. (6) OR 3. List 2 sources of secondary information, and be prepared to discuss how valuable each might be in writing a formal report or proposal about updating a company’s accounting procedures. (6) CHOOSE 4 OR 5 4. Do formal reports generally rely more heavily on primary or secondary data? Give a reason for your answer. (4) OR 5. Discuss the statement, “Plagiarism is intellectual theft”. (4) {10} 6. Consider your experiences during the Business Communication project and discuss the insights that you gained in about half a page. You may • reflect on the primary research that you conducted in communicating with and visiting the company of your choice, • or the process of working in a group with your peers, • or the evaluation stage of giving the business presentation or writing the business report. You may offer some recommendations to improve the experience of future students. {20} 76
  • 77. November 2005 Business Communication Exam Task Read the entire question paper before commencing. Write a two to three page formal business report in which you reflect on the process during the Business Communication project between, either: a) the proposal and group business report, or b) the group business report and the group business presentation Remember to clearly indicate your choice of (a) or (b). Consider the following when writing the business report: • Your role in your group is significant. • The process of writing, and in particular, accurately organizing, sorting and processing information is measured. • Under each of the three sub-points in the Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations, you must give at least two sub-points, ie 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 4.1.3; 4.2.1, 4.2.1; 4.3.1, 4.3.2… • Total marks: 100 – pay attention to the breakdown of marks. Give the correct title and numbering, or expect negative marking. • Work strategically, according to the time allowed of two hours and the sections required. A) Preparation You must show your workings. You may prepare to write by using a brainstorm process, spider-diagram or mind-mapping, lists or another technique that works for you. If you write more than one draft, ensure that the drafts are correctly labelled and neatly draw a line through (delete) the draft that should not be marked, otherwise marks will not be allocated by the time the second draft is noticed.(20) Use the criteria in the following format, using the title and sub-headings: B) Report on the process between the group business report and the proposal/business presentation in the 2005 Business Communication Project 1 Executive summary Write half a page in which you summarise the report. (20) 2 Introduction: 77
  • 78. Identify the company and focus area that your group chose. Indicate whether you will discuss the group business report and the proposal or the group business report and business presentation. (5) 3 Procedure: Describe your role in the group and the extent of your contribution to the group business report and the proposal/business presentation. You should not list what each group member did. This report is about you and your part in this aspect of the project. (10) 4 Findings: Discuss some of the insights with at least two sub-points for each of the three points, that you gained through the project into: 4.1 The strategic overlaps between the two assignments (the group business report and the proposal / or business presentation) 4.2 Business communication and soft skills, / or group work and soft skills 4.3 Demographics / or Audience analysis (15) eg 4.1.1 The plan and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tool in the proposal kept the group up-to-date with deadlines and overlapped with the procedure of the report. 4.1.2 … 4.2.1 It was difficult to secure an interview with E. Lusive as their company was moving offices and they kept postponing.) 4.2.2 … 5 Conclusions: Interpret these insights in a meaningful way in the corresponding areas with at least two sub-points for each of the three points: 5.1 The strategic overlaps between the two assignments (the group business report and the proposal/ or business presentation) 5.2 Business communication and soft skills / or Group work and soft skills 5.3 Demographics / or Audience Analysis (15) eg 5.1.1 A well constructed proposal plan and M&E tool helps with the report procedure. 5.1.2 … 78
  • 79. 5.2.1 Time management is a key skill in the workplace. Early anticipation of problems is vital. 5.2.2 … 6 Recommendations: Offer at least three recommendations that directly relate to your findings and conclusions, with at least two sub-points for each of the three points, with particular reference to improving the experience of future students. 6.1 The strategic overlaps between the two assignments (the group business report and the proposal / or business presentation) 6.2 Business communication and soft skills / or group work and soft skills 6.3 Demographics / or Audience Analysis (15) eg 6.1.1 Groups should ensure that their proposal plan and M&E tool are well executed from the start to ensure that the report procedure is more easily written. 6.1.2 … 6.2.1 Students should be warned that the workplace is likely to be busy so the sooner they start with securing the interview the more time they will have to accommodate crises. 6.2.2 …. Total marks: [100] 79
  • 80. Marking memo November 2005 Business Communication Exam Student name and/or number: Criteria Below Avg Avg Above Avg 1st Class Sum Workings – engagement with None, an Transparent Thought out Excellent the process of writing unprocessed changes, changes, changes, Mindmap list deletions, deletions, deletions, and re- /20 Or lists and re- and re- ordering ordering ordering Title accurate Report on … in the 2005 Business Communication Project -2 Numbers accurate -2 1 Executive summary Gaps, Adequate Accurate, Professionally unprocessed preview brief, clear succinct /20 info. 2 Introduction Repeats 1 Company and Provides Clear context, /5 focus area scaffold expectations 3 Procedure (it may be evident Off topic, eg Group role, The extent of Steps of own role that this was a freeloader – thus rest of group, clear proof of contribution integrated with /10 penalties overall) vague participation group * 5 marks for each of the three areas. If they reiterate the eg without making it their own (eg the Nestle & Mercedes groups) then they will not score marks. If they do not number and sub-number they only score for the first 5 marks (max 5/15). 4 Findings * Muddled, Relevant Good Superb flow of 4.1 The overlaps between the unrelated to facts & info organisation integrated info group business report and the topic or given of info /15 proposal/ business presentation heading or 4.2 Business communication and numbering soft skills/ group work & soft skills 4.3 Demographics or Audience analysis 5 Conclusions * Muddled, Opinions of Interpret Substantiated, 5.1 The overlaps between the unrelated to findings given insights integrated group business report and the topic or logically meaningfully interpretations /15 proposal/ business presentation heading or 5.2 Business communication and numbering soft skills/ group work & soft skills 5.3 Demographics/ Audience analysis 6 Recommendations * Muddled, 3 directly Particular Worthwhile, 6.1 The overlaps between the unrelated to related to reference to substantiated group business report and the topic or findings and improving the suggestions /15 proposal/ business presentation heading or conclusions experience of 6.2 Business communication and numbering future soft skills/ group work & soft skills students 6.3 Demographics or Audience analysis 100 80
  • 81. • Value of marks: Below average Average Above 1st Class >75% 0-49% 50-59% Average 60-74% /20 <10 10-11 11-15 >15 /15 <7.5 7.5-9 9-11.5 >11.5 /10 <5 5-6 6-7.5 >7.5 /5 <2.5 2.5-3 3-3.5 >3.5 • 5 marks for each of the three areas. If they reiterate the eg without making it their own (eg the Nestle & Mercedes groups) then they will not score marks. If they do not number and sub-number they only score for the first 5 marks (max 5/15). • Ie the sub-points which should form a pattern in Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations 81
  • 82. January 2006 Supplementary Exam Task Write a two to three page business report in which you consider your own experiences during the Business Communication project. • Your role in your group is significant here. • The process of writing, and in particular organizing information and labeling it accurately is measured. • Total 100 – pay attention to the breakdown of marks. Give the correct title and numbering, or expect negative marking. • Work strategically, according to the time allowed of two hours and the sections required. A) Preparation You must show your workings. You may prepare to write by using a brainstorm process, spider-diagram or mind-mapping, lists or another technique that works for you. If you write more than one draft, ensure that the drafts are correctly labeled and neatly draw a line through the version not meant for marking, otherwise marks will not be allocated. (20) Use the following criteria with title and headings in the given format: B) Report on the role of (NAME) in the 2005 Business Project on (NAME OF COMPANY/FOCUS) 1 Executive summary Write half a page in which you summarise the report. (20) 2 Introduction: Identify the company and focus area that your group chose. (5) 3 Procedure: Describe your role in the group and the extent of your contribution. You do not have to list what each group member did. This report is about you and your part in the project. (10) 4 Findings: Discuss the insights that you gained through the project into three of the following sub-points: 82
  • 83. 4.4 The workplace 4.5 Business communication and soft skills 4.6 Group work and soft skills 4.7 Demographics 4.8 Audience analysis (15) (eg 4.1.1 It was difficult to secure an interview with E. Lusive as their company was moving offices and they kept postponing.) 5 Conclusions: Interpret these insights in a meaningful way in three of the following corresponding areas: 5.1 The workplace 5.2 Business communication and soft skills 5.3 Group work and soft skills 5.4 Demographics 5.5 Audience analysis (15) (eg 5.1.1 Time management is a key skill in the workplace. Early anticipation of problems is vital.) 6 Recommendations: Offer at least three recommendations that directly relate to your findings and conclusions in only three of the following sub-points, with particular reference to improving the experience of future students. 6.1 The workplace 6.2 Business communication and soft skills 6.3 Group work and soft skills 6.4 Demographics 6.5 Audience analysis (15) (eg 6.1.1 Students should be warned that the workplace is likely to be busy so the sooner they start with securing the interview the more time they will have to accommodate crises.) 83
  • 84. Marking memo: January 2006 Supplementary Exam Criteria Below Avg Avg Above Av 1st Class Sum Workings – None, an Transparent Thought out Excellent engagement with the unprocessed changes, changes, changes, process of writing list deletions, deletions, deletions, and /20 Mindmap and re- and re- re-ordering Or lists ordering ordering Title accurate Report on the role of N- in the 2005 Business Communication -2 Project Numbers accurate -2 1 Executive Gaps, Adequate Accurate, Professionally summary unprocessed preview brief, clear succinct /20 info. 2 Introduction Repeats 1 Company and Provides Clear context, /5 focus area scaffold expectations 3 Procedure (it may Off topic, eg Group role, The extent of Steps of own be evident that this rest of group, clear proof of contribution role /10 was a freeloader – vague participation integrated thus penalties overall) with group 3 marks for each of the three areas (they have a choice of 3 of the 5 sub-points). If they reiterate the eg without making it their own (eg the Nestle & Mercedes groups) then they will not score marks. If they do not number and sub-number then they only score for the first 53 marks (max 3/15). 4 Findings Muddled, Relevant Good Superb flow 4.1 The workplace unrelated to facts & info organisation of integrated 1.2 Business topic or given of info info /15 communication and heading or soft skills numbering 4.3 Group work and soft skills 4.4 Demographics 4.5 Audience analysis 5 Conclusions Muddled, Opinions of Interpret Substantiated, 5.1 The workplace unrelated to findings given insights integrated 5.2 Business topic or logically meaningfully interpretations /15 communication and heading or soft skills numbering 5.3 Group work and soft skills 5.4 Demographics 5.5 Audience analysis 6 Recommendations Muddled, 3 directly Particular Worthwhile, 6.1 The workplace unrelated to related to reference to substantiated 6.2 Business topic or findings and improving suggestions /15 communication and heading or conclusions the soft skills numbering experience of 6.3 Group work and future soft skills students 6.4 Demographics 6.5 Audience analysis /100 84
  • 85. 10 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Prof A P de Koker - Guidelines based on a document entitled ‘LLM by coursework: Guidelines for writing the search Report’ by, and with the kind permission of Prof Ellison Kahn SC. Susie Deneen, Tutor, 2003 Ryan Kaplan, Flo Sipalla, Grace Gahingula, Tutors 2004-2005 Dina Ligaga, Tutor 2005-2006 BIBLIOGRAPHY Bradbury, A 1997 NLP for business success: Improve your communication skills by mastering Neuro-Linguistic Programming Kogan Page: London Guffey, ME, K Rhodes, P Rogin (2005) Business Communication: Process and Product Fourth Canadian Edition, Thomson, Nelson: Canada Guffey, ME 2001 Essentials of Business Communication Fifth edition Thomson Learning: Ohio May B and May GS 2003 Effective writing: a handbook for accountants Sixth edition, Prentice Hall: New Jersey Needham, David and Robert Dransfield 1996 Business Studies for You” Stanley Thornes, Cheltenham, UK Robinson, N 1990 Persuasive business presentations Mercury: London Pastol, Greg 1992 Tutorials that work: a guide to running effective tutorials Arrow: Cape Town References in Guffey et al about collaborative work Davidhizar, R. & Dowd, S. (1998, June). Writing scholarly papers as a team. Health Care Supervisor, 16(4), 53–60. Forman, J. & Katsky, P. (1986, Fall). The group report: A problem in small group or writing processes. Journal of Business Communication, 23(4):23–35. Gere, A. R. & Abbott, R. D. (1985, December). Talking about writing: The language of writing groups. Research in the Teaching of English, 19(4):362–381. Goldstein, J. R. & Malone, E. L. (1985, September). Using journals to strengthen collaborative writing. The Bulletin of the Association of Business Communication, pp. 24–28. Hulbert, J. E. (1994, June). Developing collaborative insights and skills. The Bulletin of the Association of Business Communication, pp. 53–56. 85
  • 86. Kerr, D. L. (1995, March). Team building and TQM: An experiential exercise for business communication students. Business Communication Quarterly, 58(1):47– 48. Lopez, E. S. & Nagelhout, E. (1995, June). Building a model for distance collaboration in the computer-assisted business communication classroom. Business Communication Quarterly, 58(2), 15–20. Louth, R. H. & Ramsey, R. D. (1994, June). The traditional model and the collaborative model. Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication, 57(2), 56–57. Lunsford, A. & Ede, L. (1986, Fall). Why write . . . together: A research update. Rhetoric Review, 5(1):71–81. Morgan, M., Allen, N., Moore, T., Atkinson, D., & Snow, C. (1987, September). Collaborative writing in the classroom. The Bulletin of the Association of Business Communication, pp. 20–26. Schreiber, E. J. (1993, December). From academic writing to job-related writing: Achieving a smooth transition. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 36(4), 178–184. Sterkel, K. S. (1988, September). Integrating intercultural communication and report writing in the communication class. The Bulletin of the Association of Business Communication, pp. 14–16. Stratton, C. R. (1989, September). Collaborative writing in the workplace. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 32(3):178–182. Sutton, J. C. (1995, March). The team approach in the quality classroom. Business Communication Quarterly, 58(1):48–49. Walker, K. (1999, March). Using genre theory to teach students engineering lab report writing: A collaborative approach. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 42(1), 12–19. Westphal, J. D. (1999, February). Collaboration in the boardroom: Behavioural and performance consequences of CEO-board social ties. Academy of Management Journal, 42(1), 7–24. References in Guffey et al about listening Brownell, Judi. (1993). Communicating with credibility: The gender gap. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 34(2), 51–61. Brownell, Judi. (1996). Listening: attitudes, principles, and skills. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. An excellent book for theory with excellent activities and application exercises. Burley-Allen, Madelyn. (1995). Listening: The forgotten skill. New York: John Wiley. Burley-Allen developed this book from her experiences in teaching corporate seminars in listening and management. The book, which is labelled as a “self- teaching guide,” contains many practical exercises and checklists. Pollock, Ted. (1997). A personal file of stimulating ideas, little-known facts and daily problem solvers. SuperVision, 58(1), 21–23. Purdy, M. and Borishoff, D. (1996). Listening in everyday life: A personal and professional approach. New York: University Press of America. Tannen, Deborah. (1995). Talking from 9 to 5. New York: Avon Books. 86
  • 87. Another valuable resource is the International Listening Association. The International Listening Association promotes the study, development, and teaching of listening and the practice of effective listening skills and techniques. Web Site: The ILA Bibliography, 2nd edition, with more than 1250 entries, is available in a printed version. Information is available at the ILA web site. You may list extra references below: 87
  • 88. 11 Templates/examples 11.1 Sample Business Letter format Your address Date Name of recipient (Initials Surname) Company name Address Dear N- Subject heading Paragraph 1 Paragraph 2 Paragraph 3 Yours sincerely (Signature) Your name Title, etc 88
  • 89. 11.2 Sample Auditing Report REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT AUDITORS TO THE MEMBERS OF ….. We have audited the annual financial statements of .... set out on pages ... to ... for the year ended .... These financial statements are the responsibility of the company’s directors. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audit. Scope We conducted our audit in accordance with statements of South African Auditing Standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes: • examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, • assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, and • evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion. Audit opinion In our opinion, the financial statements fairly present, in all material respects, the financial position of the company at .... and the results of its operations and cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with South African Statements of Generally Accepted Accounting Practice, and in the manner required by the Companies Act in South Africa. Name Registered Accountants and Auditors Chartered Accountants (SA) Address Date 89
  • 90. 11.3 Sample Group Proposal (designed for the 2004-2005 projects) Company [Group] Name Dear tutor An ability to communicate clearly and effectively is increasingly being recognized as a fundamental need in today’s world of work. We are pleased that in recognition of this, the Wits School of Accountancy offers a course in Business Communications to prepare its students for the world of work. Of particular interest to us is the Business Report project, a crucial aspect of the course, which grants students an opportunity to go into the real world of work and apply communication skills learnt in the course; while simultaneously enabling them to have a feel of the world of work they are working towards. The proposal below outlines our plans on how we will go about managing the Business Report project, right up to the final submission of a compiled Business Report and a Business Presentation. Background and Goals Social responsibility is a core aspect of the business world today. We are pleased that Wits is involved in giving back to society, a reason that has motivated us to do our Business Communication project on the Wits Volunteer Programme (WVP). Having read the article on the WVP in the Wits student newspaper, Vuvuzela on 18th March 2004, we are interested in learning more about the operations of the programme.We are aware that Wits students work on different projects run by the WVP and are interested in finding more about the programme in terms of: • The projects currently being run • The kind of support offered by Wits students and staff • The success rate of the programmes. Proposed plan 1. Collecting Information To help us obtain this information, we propose the following plan of action: 90
  • 91. 1.1 Internet and Media Research The internet and the media archives (i.e. past editions of newspapers and magazines) will be consulted, with a view to gaining a solid grasp of the background information on the Wits Volunteer Programme. 1.2 Site Visits Through email and phone communication, the group intends to set up site visits of the four social support institutions supported by the Wits Volunteer Field programmes. These include: a) Khayayethu Children’s Home in Braamfontein b) Oakwood Old people’s Home in Randburg c) Petal-Breath Hospice in Hyde Park. d) Mama’s Hearth Soup Kitchen in Braamfontein 1.2 Interviews Subsequently, we will set up interviews will be set up with: a) WVP Administrator b) 1 volunteers from each of the above projects The interviews will clarify any unclear issues, and supplement the information gathered so far from the media, internet and the site visits. 2. Analysis The information collected using the above mentioned processes will then be analysed and compiled bearing in mind the earlier outlined objectives/focus areas of the report 3. Business Report and Business Presentation We will then prepare a report outlining our findings which will inform our class presentation of the project and a written report. 4. Schedule/Timing We have arranged the following schedule • Interviews with staff – March 30 • Interview with volunteers – April 2 • Data analysis – April 10 - 15 91
  • 92. • Compilation of report and preparation of Power Point presentation – April 15 -30 5. Staffing Our group is comprised of 4 members: • Linda Mulili is a BCom (Information Systems) student and is equipped with keyboarding, data processing and word processing skills. She is going to be in charge of documenting our findings. • Sandra Browne is a BAcc student and has bookkeeping experience as she has been assisting in that capacity in her family business. She will be in charge of our accounts. • Themba Mulongo is a member of the Wits Debating Club. He has strong interpersonal and communication skills. He will be our liaison with WVP. • Kilo Naidoo is a member of the Wits SRC and holds the portfolio of Outreach and Community Programmes. He has also been involved in one of the WVP projects. With this team we hope to not only enhance our knowledge on Wits social responsibility but also to develop and improve our communication skills base through interaction with one another and the WVP. 6. Budget Telephone calls R 20 Stationery R 30 [Concluding comments] Sincerely Kilo Naidoo Signature Themba Mulongo Signature Linda Mulili Signature Sandra Browne Signature 92
  • 93. 11.4 Proposed plan and Monitoring and Evaluation Tool Task Staff Deadline M&E tool Internet R Linda 24-Mar completed Media R Sandra 24-Mar completed Telescript Kilo 25-Mar Tel call Themba 25-Mar Write letter confirming Linda 25-Mar Check & send letter Kilo 26-Mar Proposal written Themba 30-Mar Proposal edited Linda 31-Mar Interview Qs Themba 27-Mar Plan, decide dress code Kilo 28-Mar Driving car Linda 30-Mar Asking the Qs Kilo 30-Mar Notetaking Sandra 30-Mar Driving car Linda 02-Apr Asking the Qs Kilo 02-Apr Notetaking Sandra 02-Apr Collect handouts Sandra 02-Apr Budget set Sandra 30-Mar Budget kept Sandra Ongoing Letter of thanks Linda 02-Apr Edit & send letter Kilo 03-Apr Portfolio Linda 12-May 10-15 Analysis Linda Apr Report findings Themba 15-Apr Linda 15-Apr Report written Themba 17-Apr Sandra 17-Apr Report edited Linda 20-Apr Report proofread Kilo 21-Apr Make WWC apt Linda 18-Apr Group to WWC all 22-Apr Call meetings Kilo Ongoing Compile PPP Themba 20-May Edit PPP Kilo 22-May Practice parts all 01-Aug Do PPP all 05-Aug Keep portfolio updated Linda Ongoing Self-reflection inf rep all 02-Sep Portfolio checked Kilo 20-Sep Portfolio submitted Linda 30-Sep 93
  • 94. Return address 11.5 Sample proposal template CompanyName Here June 4, 2010 • Introduction • Background • Proposed Plan and Timing of the project preparation process (Refer to the calendar for the deadlines for the respective group and give a time frame for each activity • Staffing: (ref. to The Apprentice Case study) i.e. show awareness of available skills, and resources in the group and how these will be tapped to ensure success in project preparation. • Budget: Include ALL costs envisioned in the process, with credible estimates. • Monitoring and Evaluation tool: to measure success of implementation of proposed plan. • Conclusion. Names of Group Members and Signatures 11.6 Sample Analytical Report format Formal analytical reports used for the collaborative assignment usually consist of the following elements: Title page Transmittal letter or memo Table of contents Table of illustrations Executive summary Introduction (purpose, scope, background or problem, methodology, and report organizational plan) Discussion Conclusions and recommendations Appendix (can include copies of all articles used) Reference list 94
  • 95. 12 Tutorial and homework activities Note: Pre-reading of these sections is vital to ensure that you are prepared for each tutorial. Where indicated, you should complete written assignments before the tutorial so that you can ask for input from your tutor during class. Students are encouraged to bring in their own real-world examples to share with the class, including newspaper articles, messages they’ve received at work, and so on. Students are a great resource! Through tutorial classes and homework (out-of-class work), you should expect to do the following: 1. Understand the process of communication from the positions of “receiver” and “sender” in a variety of academic, business and professional contexts. 2. Apply specific reasoned, practical, and ethical business communication principles to composing and delivering typical business and professional messages, particularly in writing exercises, a business proposal and academic report. 3. Enhance awareness of communication contexts and practices in other cultures. 4. Practice business communication skills in both independent and collaborative/ team situations. Note: Each student in this course has been allocated a WebCT login name with the student number (last letter in lower case) as initial password. You are encouraged to use WebCT features such as chat rooms and message/bulletin boards to communicate within your groups and facilitate preparations for the following tutorial. From Tut 1 onwards you should be able to submit assignments on WebCT. Homework submission requirements FONT: ARIAL or Tahoma, 12 PT, SINGLE LINE SPACING WITH SPACE BETWEEN ANSWERS – UPPER and lower case, Left justified HEADING AT THE TOP OF EVERY DOCUMENT HANDED IN: Tut number & descriptive heading (eg Memo to Tran) Student name, number and tut group/tutor Date of submission WebCT submissions especially need identifying information in the heading and file- name. 95
  • 96. Note: the first 10 minutes of most tutorials will allow for time for students to regularly edit each other’s work in pairs or small groups. This allows students to develop their proofreading skills, and they often learn a great deal from critically reading the work of others. Through being prepared ahead of time students who submit rough drafts of writing assignments for peer-editing will benefit from: • feedback from classmates and possibly from the tutor • the time management required in beating deadlines • preparing a much stronger final draft. This is very motivating for students and allows them to see measurable improvements in their writing. 96
  • 97. 12.1 Tut 1: Orientation, ground-rules and groupwork Prior reading: Group Formation Groups of three to five members work best for collaborative writing, depending on the length requirement and complexity of the project. Three is the best number. Time conflicts for group meetings increase as groups become larger, as does the potential for a reduced level of participation by some group members. An odd- numbered group eliminates a tie situation when the group must vote to resolve differences. Students can choose their groups or work independently. If they choose, you should give them some guidance in their selection, such as: • Get acquainted with classmates early in the semester so that they make an informed decision. They should learn about others’ personalities, work styles, time availability, and interests. However, caution them to avoid people with personalities very similar to their own, as one of the benefits of group work is the variety in personalities and work styles that others bring to the group. Some consideration should be given to the demographic group composition in terms of gender and ethnic diversity. Given this, you would probably prefer to work with like-minded students who are prepared to put similar effort into earning high marks. • Discourage selecting good friends as group members, as they may avoid healthy conflict in order to maintain the friendship. After groups are formed, they should choose a leader or a chairperson. You should give the leaders a list of tasks they are expected to perform. INSTRUCTION IN SMALL GROUP PROCESSES Problems related to small group processes include poor conflict management, personality differences, leadership issues, poor meeting management, poor division of labour, and satisficing problems (Forman and Katsky, 1986). Therefore, students will benefit from instruction in the following areas: • Small group development: stages (forming, storming, norming, and performing); building cohesiveness. Suggest they do something fun together to speed up this process. • Small group roles: maintenance and tasks roles; functional and nonfunctional roles. • Small group decision making: brainstorming; consensus building. Use some group exercises in class to reinforce these concepts. • Conflict management: benefits of healthy conflict; supportive versus defensive communication; problem ownership; constructive criticism; avoiding Groupthink. 97
  • 98. • Personality styles: strengths and weaknesses of different styles; appreciating other styles; assigning tasks compatible with styles. Give students a personality test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. • Active listening skills: show the video “The Power of Listening” (CRM Films). • Meeting management: use of unstructured meetings initially to brainstorm and more structured meetings as tasks become more defined. INSTRUCTION IN THE WRITING PROCESS • Problems in collaborative writing that are related to the writing process include lack of knowledge about the range and sequence of activities involved, poor division of labour, and poor definition of task (Forman and Katsky, 1986). • Discuss methods for dividing the tasks. Students most often use the horizontal model for division of labour where each student researches, writes, and edits a chapter or section of the report. However, according to Stratton (1989), business people often use the stratified model, whereby the tasks are divided according to members’ abilities. Thus, one member does the research, one writes the rough draft, one edits, and another prepares the visual aids and keyboards the report. • Students may choose the model they want to use based on their knowledge, skills, personality strengths and weaknesses. If they choose the horizontal model, have one member act as the final editor of all sections so that they are consistent in voice and style throughout the report. Group Performance Evaluation Business communication teachers want to give students a grade that reflects their writing ability, their contributions to the group’s writing process, and their contribution to the group processes during the collaborative project. While no method guarantees this, there are methods of gathering information about individual performances and methods for assigning grades that will minimize injustices and increase the students’ satisfaction with the grade assignment process. ASSESSING INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE Several methods of gathering information about individual work are used by communication teachers. At least two or three methods should be used from the following list: 1. Confidential peer evaluations. These evaluations are an incentive to individuals to perform according to the expectations of their fellow groups members. Peer evaluations should focus on behaviours of group members rather than their traits. See page 89 for a sample of a group project peer evaluation form. 2. Leader’s or chairperson’s report. This report should detail the tasks or responsibilities completed by each member and provide a record of meeting dates, times, and attendees. You may also request minutes of meetings with group members sharing the responsibility for submitting these to you periodically so that you can identify the nonperformers. 3. Student logs or journals. Ask students to keep a log or journal about the group’s activities, the group’s small-group processes, and their feelings about other 98
  • 99. members’ behaviour and contributions, as well as their own. These should be submitted periodically to determine if your intervention is necessary with the entire group or with just one member. Logs and journals also can be used to support peer evaluations. See Goldstein and Malone (1985) and Morgan, Allen, Moore, Atkinson, and Snow (1987) for an in-depth explanation of using logs and journals. ASSIGNING GROUP GRADES Using a combination of group and individual grades increases the likelihood that the grade a student receives is an accurate reflection of his/her writing ability and contribution to the group and the assignment. Thus, a student’s grade should be based on the score assigned to the written report and one or more of the evaluation processes described previously. Using a combination of evaluations helps provide you with a defensible and objective basis for assigning grades. Some suggestions for using the combined evaluations follow: 1. Score the written report and give each group member the same grade. In addition, give a separate grade for each student’s contribution to the report and to the group process based on the four evaluations discussed previously. For example, the written report may be worth 100 points, and the other grade may be worth 50 points. You need to establish the criteria for assigning this grade so that you have consistency from one student to another and to inform the students of the criteria. 2. Score the written report and add or deduct 10 points for individual members according to the evaluation they receive on the four evaluation items discussed previously. Criteria need to be established for the 10 points. 3. Score the written report and deduct points (no limit) for individual members according to the evaluations they receive on the four evaluations discussed previously. You should have some guidelines for deducting the points so that there is consistency in the deductions. For example, each low rating on the peer evaluation is –5 points; each missed meeting is –3; each missed class period is – 3, and so on. To minimize having to adjust grades for nonperformers, encourage groups to confront these students early in the project and set some guidelines for what the group expects from them, along with deadlines for completing tasks. If they do not meet the expectations or deadlines, the groups should consult with you. Giving groups the option of firing nonperformers from the group, with your approval, is an incentive to nonperformers to do what is required of them to stay in the groups. If members are fired, they should receive an “F” for the project or be given the option to do the report on their own for a significant deduction, such as 50 percent. Numerous ideas and options are available for incorporating collaborative writing into the business communication class. The articles in the reference list provide additional valuable information on successfully implementing collaborative writing into your class. 99
  • 100. Suggestions Long-Term Group Roles. To help your students gain a sense of the roles group members can play in a long-term committee or task force, you may give them the following guides: TEAM PROJECT: JOB DESCRIPTIONS 1. Manager, small group dynamics expert Conducts meetings effectively Delegates work appropriately and fairly E-mails the CEO (instructor) as required with team progress report or agenda and minutes Sets and distributes agenda Attends and contributes at all group meetings Participates effectively at group presentations Completes group assessment documents competently Follows up on group decisions 2. Assistant Manager, small group dynamics expert Fills in for the manager Secures meeting rooms in a timely fashion Informs members of changes in a timely fashion Assists manager as needed, especially in following up group decisions Collects and distributes minutes Attends and contributes at all group meetings Participates effectively at group presentations Completes group assessment documents competently 3. Document Expert, word processing expert Prepares final copies of documents effectively and on time Collects copies of all group documents and files Instructs group in word processing as needed Attends and contributes at all group meetings Participates effectively at group presentations Completes group assessment documents competently 4. Multimedia Specialist, presentation software expert Prepares audio-visual projects effectively and on time Collects copies of all presentation software documents and files Instructs group in presentation software as needed Attends and contributes at all group meetings Participates effectively at group presentations Completes group assessment documents competently 5. Senior Researcher, print, Internet, electronic research expert 100
  • 101. Organizes research projects effectively and on time Ensures that research documents and files have appropriate formatting Instructs group in research methods as needed Attends and contributes at all group meetings Participates effectively at group presentations Completes group assessment documents competently Short-Term Group Roles. When placing students in small, temporary groups in the classroom, assign them the following roles. Encourage students to adopt different roles in different groups or to rotate roles. 1. Facilitator Gets the task at hand or project started Keeps group focused on the purpose Keeps meeting running smoothly Keeps members on task 2. Recordkeeper Keeps a recording of the meeting Reports the results of the group to the rest of the class 3. Timekeeper Keeps track of time during the meeting Helps facilitator keep meeting on track Ends meeting on time 4. Encourager Makes sure that all member are participating Helps members deal with conflicts Parliamentary Procedure. To help your students learn how to effectively manage and take place in productive meetings, you should introduce them to the basics of parliamentary procedure. Share the following the guidelines with them: MINIMUM GUIDELINES FOR USING PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE Running Meetings 1. Call meeting to order. 2. Read minutes of last meeting. 3. Hear reports of treasurer and other officers. 4. Process committee reports. 5. Consider old business. 6. Entertain new business. 101
  • 102. 7. Introduce program for meeting. 8. Adjourn meeting. Making Decisions 1. Chair entertains new business in the form of main motion. 2. Member seconds main motion. 3. Main motion is debated with chair controlling discussion. 4. Chair calls for a vote. 5. Motion passes or is defeated. Protecting Individual Rights 1. Appoint a knowledgeable, objective parliamentarian to enforce the rules. 2. Rise to a point of information if you do not understand discussion at hand. 3. Rise to a point of parliamentary inquiry to ask the parliamentarian about correct procedures. 4. Call for a division of the house if a voice vote is unclear. 5. Appeal the decision of the chair and ask members to vote on whether the chair is right. GUIDES FOR AGENDAS AND MINUTES Agenda 1. Specify date, place, starting time, and ending time. 2. Provide a statement of overall mission and purpose of the meeting. 3. Identify who will attend. 4. List the topics to be covered. 5. Identify the approximate amount of time for each topic. 6. Identify the pre-meeting action or reading expected of each member. 7. Distribute the agenda at least a week ahead of time. Minutes 1. Provide date, time, and location of the meeting. 2. Maintain an objective tone (no editorializing). 3. Summarize when possible. 4. Express motions and amendments precisely. 5. Record time of adjournment, and if appropriate, the time of the next meeting. 2. Virtual Meetings. Have students participate in an online virtual meeting using an online meeting/chat room. Small groups of students should come up with the agenda and purpose of the meeting (or you can assign), schedule the meeting electronically, participate in the meeting, and send a follow-up report to you or to the class mailing list via e-mail. A free online source for electronic meetings is WebEx ( 102
  • 103. Tut 1 Learning objectives  To establish ground-rules in line with the SOA Code of Conduct  To start to get to know one other  To use the small-group learning strategy  To explore group dynamics and how demographics affect/contribute towards group formation  Build team-work spirit  Explore leadership roles  GOAL: to end the tut with sufficient knowledge of one’s class colleagues to accomplish the group-work activities for marks for the rest of the course Business Communication Tutorial Ground-rules 2006 [Note: These ground-rules have been developed by three years of Bus’ Com’ students at Wits. You have the opportunity in your first tut’ to make any modifications that suit your class-group. Bear in mind that the School of Accountancy Code of Conduct (page 13 of this Course Pack) prevails.] 1 Work: • Pre-reading is essential. • No handwritten work accepted, except in tests and exams. • Plagiarism zero. • Deadlines must be met – missed deadlines zero (Doctors’ notes excepting). • May “Re-submit” and get average mark. 2 Show mutual respect – this tutorial room is a safe haven for all. 3 Punctuality – if later than 10 minutes or leaving early, it’s considered a ½ tut – the time will be noted on the register with student signature (DP 75% attendance). The onus is on the student to sign the register at each tut’ attended. If a DP warning is given and there is no signature to substantiate attendance then there is no recourse. 4 NO • Cell phone use including sms’ing, • reading unrelated material, • eating, • headphones • or other inappropriate behaviour ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 103
  • 104. You may consider what other universities, such as these international examples have set: PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT IS SHOWN BY: Courtesy: consideration and giving prompt attention, politeness, friendliness, being interested, being patient and tactful, being positive Charm: positive attitude, warmth and concern, courtesy, helpfulness and consideration, gracefulness, neat and tidy appearance, good communication skills, modesty Tact: handle interpersonal problems privately, think before you speak, choose the right words, time and place when addressing a problem, be tolerant, do not start an argument, do not become personal, avoid gossiping, keep confidences, be co-operative Good Judgement: recognizing people's motives, keeping an open mind, reserving comments and judgements until all sides have been examined Trust: openness, honesty, sincerity, reliability, consistency, respect Classroom Rules • You are expected to arrive for class on time each day. • All assignments are due on the date indicated. • Plagiarism will not be tolerated. • Please take advantage of the textbook Web page for extra help with your assignments. • Show respect for all class members, and relax and have fun!! Etiquette rules and expectations. 1. Please arrive at class on time or before the starting time. Please attend all classes unless there is good reason to miss. If you must miss class, please inform your instructor ahead of time, by phone, by e-mail, or in person. 2. Please come to class prepared for the work to be done and in a positive frame of mind so that you are ready to learn. Please complete readings and other assignments on time. Please bring all necessary course materials such as paper, pencil, required books, handouts, and notes. 3. Please try to be pleasant and positive in your classroom behaviour. Show respect for all class members. Address legitimate grievances appropriately, preferably outside of normal class time. If you have a problem with the instructor, please try to solve the problem with him or her before appealing to a higher authority. 104
  • 105. 4. When responding to classroom questions, please do not interrupt a fellow student or the instructor. Take your turn. When you respond to another student’s comment, please try to acknowledge the other’s position. When responding, please try your best to call other class members by name. 5. Please treat the furniture and equipment in the classrooms and computer labs as if they were your own. Leave classrooms and labs as you find them, turning off equipment as necessary and pushing in chairs. Throw any trash away on your way out. 6. Most classes begin on time and end on time. If you need to know about schedule or assignment changes, please ask about them at the beginning of class. If you have a real need to leave early, please inform the teacher and leave quietly. 7. If before a night class, you need to eat, please do so before class, not during it. Please do not bring food and drink into the class if college rules forbid them. Throw away your trash. Under no condition is smoking or other tobacco use acceptable in the classroom. 8. You will do better if you are interested in the class, and the best way to be interested is to get involved. Talk to your friends about the material, and look for current applications or examples about the course issues in newspapers or popular magazines and on the Web. If you can make connections between yourself and the course materials, you will be a happier and a better student. 9. Please come to class appropriately dressed. Unless the room is exceedingly cold, please take off your coat and hat. 10. Most of all, keep in touch with the class syllabus, the instructor, and your classmates. You will do better when you feel you are a real part of the class. Tut 1 Activities ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1.1 SPEED-MEET SESSION (3 minutes a meet) Discuss backgrounds, connections, networks, interests, work ethics, areas of excellence… 1.2 INTRODUCTORY PAIR WORK Introductions - students to talk to each other in pairs, and then introduce each other to the class. Following the previous exercise students have a chance to select who they will team up with. 1.3 GROUPWORK: This exercise requires that students imagine a scenario such as that of “The Apprentice” (reality TV with Donald Trump or the South African version with Tokyo Sexwale). 105
  • 106.  The tut group is required to identify and nominate about 4-5 management trainees (in other words, recognisable leaders in the tut class). The remaining students will comprise a pool of workers from the same organization but from different departments. The management trainees are then required to select 1-2 people to form a team. These people must be representative of the broader demographics of South Africa (or the class) in terms of race, religion, gender or culture, etc. As a group you are then required to imagine what task your company/organisation/party is supposed to organise. For example, your group could be: o organising an awareness campaign for an important event (political activitism, HIV testing and disclosure, “Love Life” theme, stand against sexual violence and rape, etc …) o organising an O-week bash o hosting a visiting band or sports team on campus o running a local conference on an aspect of research that is of interest to that group Remember: You must be able to justify why/how the demographics of your group and the abilities of individuals will contribute to the ultimate success of your company. Note: this activity is significant preparation for your proposals 1.4 GROUP WORK TEXT BOOK ACTIVITY Guffey et al, page 39, 1.13 “Workplace ethics: Where do you stand?” Consider the ten questions quietly individually, and then work in groups of two to four to discuss any contentious statements. Summarise your insights in a plenary report-back to the rest of the class, chaired by the tutor. 1.5 TEXT BOOK ACTIVITY Guffey et al, page 38, 1.12 “Communication Process: Avoiding misunderstanding”. Consider the quotes in a-e and work out what went wrong. If there is ambiguity, re- write the statement in a way that makes sense with one interpretation. Tut 1 Homework WRITING ACTIVITY: working in groups 1.1 List 4 benefits that you experienced from the small group discussions. (4) 1.2 Give 2 advantages of assuming roles in role-play situations. (2) 106
  • 107. 1.3 Comment on what it is like to see things from different points of view. (4) 1.4 If you had the chance to run your own tutorial, what would you have done differently during the tutorial? Give reasons for your answer. (4) 1.5 Identify areas of need you are becoming aware of in yourself: these may be intrapersonal or interpersonal skills or a range of people and communication skills. List them descriptively, ie describe what it is that you need to develop, make it practical, ie. not too abstract. (6) Total marks: [20] A likely evaluation sheet for Business Communication paragraphs BUSINESS COMMUNICATION EVALUATION Assignment or page number _____________________ Staple this sheet to the upper left corner of the document. Write your name on the back of your document. Possible Your Category Points Score Opening, closing 10 Strategy, organization 10 Completeness, accuracy 10 Tone, goodwill effect 10 Clarity, coherence 10 Fluency, written expression (parallelism, sentence unity conciseness, etc.) 10 Overall effect, originality 10 Mechanics 30 Spelling, typo (–4) Word choice (–4) Major error (comma splice, run-on, fragment, subject- verb agreement, etc.) (–6) Minor error (–2) Idiom, syntax, other errors (–2 to –6) Bonus points Total Points (100 possible) 107
  • 108. 12.2 Tut 2: Demographics, audience analysis and culture Note: Spend about 10 minutes in pairs or small groups discussing and editing Tut 1 homework which must be submitted to your tutor on WebCT within 2 days. You may consult with your tutor, particularly during the daily consultations in FNB 94. Note the tutor roster. Sign the register. 2.1 INDIVIDUAL INTRODUCTIONS This activity is designed to complement the introductory activities of Tut 1. It is also possible for students to catch up with getting to know their tut’ class through this participation. A series of introductions – each one introducing themselves by the demographic characteristics suggested (Course Pack above p 21), while the rest jot down notes, possibly using a general template for organizing the information. Any alternative way of introducing themselves may be added, eg. ‘if I were an item of clothing, I would be a ----.’ 2.2 Oral evaluation form ORAL PRESENTATION EVALUATION Speaker’s Name Excellent 10 points Above average 8–9 points Average 5–7 points Needs Improvement 4 or below 2.3 THE DEMOGRAPHIC 1.Were the opening and closing clear and well planned? PROFILE OF 2. Did the speaker help you remember two to four main points? YOUR AUDIENCE 3. Were the speaker’s movements and eye contact effective? 4. Were the visual aids effective and handled appropriately? One of the key 5. Was the presentation well organized, coherent, and obviously practiced factors of a before delivery? successful Total Points (50 possible) presentation is to On the back add a statement of praise and one pointer for improvement. know your audience. Franklin Roosevelt once said, “To persuade an audience, find out what they believe in. Then tell them they’re right.” While we have covered the theories of demographics in earlier lectures you will have the opportunity now of developing your own demographic profile of the tut group who will be your audience. The following activities provide some useful information on how to analyze your audience. 108
  • 109. 2.3.1 SOME DEMOGRAPHIC FEATURES WHICH MAY BE PERTINENT: a The general age range, eg 18-23 years … a young adult group with current interests b The gender ratio, eg 14 women: 6 men … majority women, so don’t rely on rugby/soccer jokes to build rapport (yes, I know it’s a sporting gender stereotype, but it’s simpler to generalize). This is linked to aspects of what is appropriate, for instance you may be investigating a strip club, but photos of naked bodies may be offensive to some of your audience in which case this would undermine their value as an audio-visual aid. c Religion or moral stance of members of your audience may give some idea of what sort of jokes would be in bad taste. d Academic focus: not all of you are studying B. Acc. so find out how many other areas of focus there are, eg HR, IT… even so, prepare to speak in plain English for universal comprehension (avoid accounting jargon, legalese, etc unless you can explain the terms used without making your presentation too laborious). See your lecture notes and textbook for more demographics theory. 2.3.2 DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE In your tutorial compile an in depth demographic profile of your tut group – they will be your audience for your oral presentations. You may work in teams in searching out information about each other or in pairs – it is likely to be chaotic, but try to conclude the session with a plenary get together in which you consolidate a shared concept of the group as an audience. Note: it is inevitable that there will still be varying perceptions of your group, but try to reach consensus about the basic class-group profile. It may resemble a mind map or tree diagram with optional viewpoints, depending on your scribes. Once you have developed a general demographic profile of your group you will be able to make your presentations meaningful to individuals by making reference to specific interests which you know your peers share. This could be a tool used to engage their interest and build rapport with them. Sub-groups in your audience could also be interesting to identify. See notes in Course Pack. A table of your class profile could fit some or more of the following: (You may choose to add more interesting aspects such as culture or religion. Possibly sub-groups such as preferred entertainment – some may be weekly visitors 109
  • 110. at clubs such as The Doors, while others could be on the Sound Stage or Classic-FM list-serves.) Demographic Female Male Total Race insert rows for each race represented Age Level of education Entertainment preferences Favourite sports Home language Insert rows – add rows/columns for additional languages spoken 2.4 GROUPWORK Groups are self-selected, but must have about 2-3 members with a fair representation of demographic characteristics, including at least two genders and/or races. Identify one area of possible difference and one of possible similarity. Choose a spokesperson and prime them to give a 1-2 minute speech about these comparisons to the rest of the class. Plenary feedback from group spokespersons. 2.5 Audience analysis Tut Pre-Reading: Other ways of analyzing your audience are mentioned below: 2.5.1 PREFERRED THINKING STYLE IN NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING: A good way of building rapport with someone is to match their Preferred Thinking Style according to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP, a modern psychological tool). In the process of filtering our experiences, according to one or more Preferred Thinking Styles (PTSs), we create a highly personalized view of the world (Bradbury 1997: 61). One’s dominant PTS may be Visual or Auditory or Kinaesthetic. Clearly we share a combination, but at any given point one is more recognizable. Using language which reflects the other person’s PTS is a key element in effective communication. It will help them to relate better. VISUAL PTS Apparently 50-55% of the business population consists of people whose Preferred Thinking Style is Visual. They can be recognized by vision-oriented language: 110
  • 111. “I see what you mean.” “Looks good to me.” “Show me more.” “I don’t see what all the fuss is about – it looks pretty straightforward to me.” They tend to talk fast and don’t like being interrupted as this interferes with the movie running in their mind. Their gestures are expressive. They’re good at seeing the detail as well as the big picture and they think well on their feet. AUDITORY PTS Auditories interact with their world through sounds and especially words – they tend to talk to themselves. They often need to verbalise their thoughts to clarify their own ideas. Their typical expressions include: “I hear what you say.” “Sounds good to me.” “Tell me more.” “It sounds like a lot of fuss about nothing if you ask me. I’d say it was pretty straightforward.” They prefer to hear a presentation than to read a report and remember best what they have heard, not read. To get through to them use a vocal style that is varied and interesting, remembering that Auditories often think in a dialogue mode. (Bradbury 1997: 65-66) In conversation, encourage them to ask (relevant) questions and give (constructive) feedback. KINAESTHETIC PTS Like Auditories, those with Kinaesthetics as their PTS make up about one-quarter of the working population. The term has Greek origins (Kinein = to move; aisthesthai = to perceive). In the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming it refers to both physical and emotional feelings. Those people with Kinaesthetics as their Preferred Thinking Style would say: “I get what you’re saying.” “I feel good about that.” “Fill me in on the details.” “I don’t know what people are getting so upset about. I found it pretty straightforward.” Their feelings are important to them and they are likely to make decisions according to a “gut feel”. In order to reach a Kinaesthetic listener, you will need to reach them at an emotional level (ideally through using metaphors), but there is no guarantee that they will receive the message that you intended. (Bradbury 1997:67-68). 2.5.2 FOUR AUDIENCE TYPES THAT HAVE BEEN CATEGORISED: 111
  • 112. TYPE HOW THEY APPEAR HOW TO PRESENT Amiable People-oriented, feelings shown Conversational, personal, relaxed Analytical Cautious, slow paced, pedantic Precise, painstaking, logical, conservative Driver Fast-paced, impatient, assertive Strong, terse, straightforward, clear options Expressive Creative, speculative, visionary Imaginative, motivational, exciting (Robinson 1990: 56) Bear in mind that in a group as large as your tut group there are likely to be a random number of all four types, so try to cater in some way for each one, while keeping the integrity of your own voice. 2.5.3 FOUR WAYS TO IMPORT CREDIBILITY: a Use statistics b Give the testimony of an expert witness c Use anecdotes (stories) d Give definitions of your terms “Be specific, graphic, concrete – not vague, theoretical or abstract.” (Robinson 1990: 57) 112
  • 113. 2.5.4 PTS (Preferred Thinking Style) ACTIVITY: REWRITE THE FOLLOWING DIALOGUES REWORDING THEM STRATEGICALLY SO THAT THE PTSs DO NOT COLLIDE. You could start by identifying each speaker’s PTS. You may work in pairs if it helps to discuss this. Afterwards the tut group should share alternatives in a plenary discussion led by the tutor. A: Have you looked at those papers I showed you? B: I’m afraid I was tied up with other business all day. A: You mean you didn’t even glance at them?! B: You didn’t stress that they had to be dealt with in a hurry. A: Well they do! Now, when am I going to see some action? C: I hear there’s a new Manager in the finance division. D: I feel it’s too soon to replace Mpho – it’s only been a week since the funeral. C: Sounds like the new guy is really switched on. D: I really liked Mpho’s style – it’s going to take some getting used to anything else. C: If you ask me, you’re sounding like a stick in the mud. D: Seems to me that you don’t respect a dead man’s memory. Don’t you feel the loss? 2.6 GROUPWORK – in different groups or in pairs work on the following questions in draft form – to be completed in your own time: QUESTIONS ON INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION: 2.6.1 Explain the difference between culture and sub-culture. (4) 2.6.2 Give the definitions of ethnocentricism, acculturation, cultural relativity, stereotype, multi-culturalism. Give examples to illustrate that you know what is meant by each term. (15) 2.6.3 Explain some of the problems of cultural stereotyping. You may structure your answer with a brief definition of cultural stereotyping, give an example and then explain the pitfalls and problems. (5) 2.6.4 How do you feel about legislation such as the Employment Equity Bill and why? (Eg positive, supporting, antagonistic, …) (6) TOTAL MARKS: [30] 113
  • 114. 2.7 Group/plenary activity: Brainstorming proposals Either: 2.7.1 Choose a series of speakers to stand up and be challenged in public speaking: Off-the-cuff speech: The topic of choice for this kind of speech can be up to the tutor or your class-mates, who will put you in different kinds of situations, and expect you to give a short speech of about 2-3 minutes. The aim of this is to see or enable the students to realize the importance of thinking-on-their feet, and also introduce them to the real world of business, in which they can be called upon at any time to give a short speech, which can be a vote of thanks, a speech to open an event, or any other occasion. The aim here is to explore various avenues that could be developed in Business Proposals. Or 2.7.2 In small groups come up with some ideas for Business Proposal topics. These groups may be self-allocated. If groups are likely to proceed to work together, then there must be a demographic range represented between two to four group-members. 2.7.3 Plenary: Appoint two scribes – one to jot ideas on the board and one to record them on paper. Note all ideas generated by the class for the proposal topic. 2.7.4 Homework: all students are to do some preliminary reading into possible topics, bearing in mind that the proposal could directly lead into the report assignment in S2. 2.8.1. Cultural Differences. If students have lived in other countries, have them relate cultural differences they noticed regarding social customs or business customs. For instance, in Thailand wearing white could indicate the recent loss of a loved one. Touching children on the top of the head is frowned upon because it interferes with their spirits. And killing insects goes against Buddhist beliefs. 2.8.2. Empathy Development. Sometimes students understand intellectually the concepts of culture and the differences among cultures but emotionally approach multiculturalism egocentrically, i.e., in terms of us and them. To help students take broader perspectives, the instructor can stress empathy through listening and sensitivity to nonverbal language through interviewing and role-playing (See Activities 4.6 and 4.12), activities that will reinforce the skills developed in Chapters 2 and 3. 2.8.3 Travel and Culture. Ask students if they have travelled to a country outside Canada. Have them share their experiences. What cultural differences did they notice? How did they feel being an “outsider”? Ask students who are new to Canada 114
  • 115. to share their experiences. Getting students to open up about differences and feelings can help students better understand and respect intercultural differences. 2.8.4 Internet Usage Statistics. Although the Internet was created in the U.S., it is now used globally. Many sites on the Web keep track of the statistics of Internet usage, including use by country, languages of Web sites, and so on. Have students search for Internet usage statistics to get a better picture of who worldwide is using the Web. The figures may surprise them, and you! Have students share their findings with the class. Students may either use various search tools, or you can give them the following URLs to get them started. Use a search engine if these URLs fail. Nielsen/NetRatings: CyberAtlas: Tut 2 Homework WRITING ACTIVITY: Write a paragraph individually about another culture. Offer insights that you have gained through your discussions and possibly internet searches. Reflect on any difference or similarity to your own culture that you can substantiate. Submit this on WebCT within two Wits working days of your tut. TOTAL MARKS: [100] PS do not forget 2.7.4 proposal preparation Assessment rubric for paragraph Category Possible Your Points Score Opening, closing 10 _______ Strategy, organization 10 _______ Completeness, accuracy 10 _______ Tone, goodwill effect 10 _______ Clarity, coherence 10 _______ Overall effect, originality 20 _______ Mechanics 30 _______ Spelling (–5 pts.) Word choice (–5) Major error (–6) Minor error (–2 or more) Idiom, syntax, or other error(–2 to –12) Bonus Points TOTAL POINTS 100 ______ 115
  • 116. 12.3 Tut 3: Preparing proposal writing For individual reading prior to the tut’: 3.1 Proposal writing suggestions If students do not get it clear what exactly they are supposed to be doing right from the beginning, then the chances are that these students go ahead and give presentations after which they cannot answer questions that are asked after doing their presentation. As such, their presentations end up sounding like marketing/advertising presentations for the companies they may have dealt with. In many instances, very little analysis is done. Such information processing skills are required by third year. Bear in mind that the proposal may prepare your work on the report, which is a crux assignment in S2. Your research could be directed at a particular aspect of the companies that you are interested in approaching. For instance, you could address either: 1. Course Packs: think about it creatively – you read Course Packs (study guides) all the time – you have experience and know what’s required. You understand the course. Time, differentiators – would you radically change the course pack from how it’s been done this year? 2 Student/campus development: You know what 2nd years like to eat, entertainment… canteen, live bands every Friday, sell beers… the wow factor – students are sought after by advertisers because you have disposable income – What if Company X lets you put up posters and do recruiting for R2000pm. Find out how much rental at Wits costs – the BEE policy – do you have to have an empowered co.? Consider the economic reality of SA. 3 Communications training – HIV/AIDS in the workplace, studying tips, how to drive a car… whatever skills you have… SETA (Sectoral Entertainment training Authority) – get involved, because there’ll be kick-backs – reimbursed by government, empowerment status, skills and credentials, why I’m the best candidate, how long will the training take, providing support (hand-book) – 3 day intensive course… come out with the pertinent points – Consider TIPP and TOPP training on the job in many SA’n companies … 4. Go online or through newspapers – show some ingenuity … marketing; 5 a company’s advertising strategy, 6 transformation programs in one or more companies, 7 the production processes of a company’s product, 8 corporate social responsibility, 116
  • 117. 9 ethics in applied situations, 10 recent legislation and the impact on the workplace, eg BEE, etc. Prepare presentations, on which you could be questioned on the particular aspects of the company or workplace that you have chosen. It is not enough to just conduct research on some issues or companies, you need to be able to give an analysis on those aspects, and during the question and answer sessions, your processing of the information will be measured. 3.2 Parts of a standard proposal Consider the following specific sections that form the very core of the proposal. (i) First Impression: Know the absolute importance of a first impression, especially of a proposal, which basically puts to fore the importance of having a proposal that attracts a potential buyer. This section also includes language, spelling, and other errors that can be avoided if the write up is carefully done. If your grammar is careless you will create the impression that you are careless in your work, which means that your proposal will be unsuccessful. (ii) Introduction and Background: At this part of the proposal, the student gets to introduce on what he/she intends to conduct research on. For instance if you wish to write a report on a particular company, then initially read on the company as a whole, and then identify what particularly their report will address. For instance, if you would like to do a project about Vodacom, due to the size of the company, then we would suggest that you focus on one area of the company, look at its performance in light of the company’s overall vision, mission and strategic plan (if the company has one). Being students in finance or accounting, the kind of proposals you may be writing may be aimed at convincing possible employers or management to make particular decisions, or to adopt certain policies that are aimed at improving the company’s operation. Therefore with this in mind, we will be looking for specific questions that you have set out to answer. (iii) Key differentiators: In this section, we have to be convinced why you have chosen a particular issue or company, and why you have chosen to look into the particular questions/issues that you intend to investigate. In this section, you have to totally convince the reader that you really know what you will be looking out for in the course of your research, and the basis upon which you will build your analysis. (iv) Monitoring and Evaluation tool: This forms a very crucial aspect of the proposal. It is here that you will be able to show us how you intend to carry out the report from start to finish, and how you will measure your success; how you will know that you are on track, identify obstacles, intended outcomes of the report, and problem-solving mechanisms. In doing so, we will be convinced that you truly do know the kind of undertaking you are committing yourselves to, how you intend to 117
  • 118. start and complete the report successfully, and how you will be able to cope with any problems that may arise. Of course, with increased exposure such as guest lectures you may change your mind and shift focus in the report. Such changes are welcome. You may prefer to have totally different topics for the two assignments. However, the M & E tool is designed to keep a piece of scholarly work on track and is therefore useful as a planning and management technique. (vi) Conclusion: Here, you will indicate to the reader very briefly, the very essence of the proposal, and what the initial thoughts and outcomes are. The content here will also convince the reader that the student/s is not just doing the project, but actually has an idea of the course and completion of the process building up to the academic report. 3.3 Extra pre-reading: CHAPTER 10 Persuasive and Sales Messages Focus/Overview Businesspeople who sell goods and services rely on their abilities to change the beliefs and actions of others. Successful businesspeople have mastered the techniques of argument and discussion to overcome audience resistance to their messages. This chapter shows students how to use the 3-x-3 writing process to create effective persuasive requests and sales messages. In order to do so, business communicators must be very familiar with the products or services they sell and the audiences to whom they sell them. Therefore, this chapter emphasizes how to analyze the purpose of the message, how to adapt it to the audience, and how to appropriately research and organize data. Finally, the chapter emphasizes that employees who can influence people’s views through ethical means are highly valuable to their organizations. Topic Emphasis Successful sales and persuasive letters demand exceptional audience consideration. The concepts discussed in this chapter provide you with excellent opportunities to reinforce the lessons and techniques of audience analysis introduced previously. Only through careful audience analysis will students learn how to develop reasons that will overcome resistance and achieve their goals. Continue to stress the steps in the 3-x-3 writing process. By now, students are realizing that this systematic writing process is a problem-solving tool that generates good ideas to meet the needs of each writing situation. In addition, emphasize blending the components of a persuasive message: gaining attention, building interest, reducing resistance, and motivating action. Discussing the ethics of persuasion always generates class interest. Also, remind students that one message is often insufficient to move people 118
  • 119. to the desired action. As they plan messages, students need to analyze how each persuasive message might fit in a campaign of multiple messages. Suggestions 1. Sample Sales Letters. Have students bring in sales letters that they have received. Discuss examples of good and bad letter-writing practices. How can they be improved? Later, after you have covered the chapter material, offer each student an opportunity to rewrite one of the bad letters for extra credit. 2. Unethical Sales Letters. Have students collect newspaper and/or magazine articles regarding unethical sales-letter scams to use during class discussion. What makes them unethical or illegal? Let students discuss the articles in groups and then have one person from each group give a synopsis of the discussion. 3.Selling on Web Sites. The Web is filled with sites that want to sell you something. Some sites are strictly dot-com companies; others are sites set up by traditional brick-and-mortar companies. Have students find an effective example of each and bring the URLs to the class. Discuss what makes these sites effective? Why would someone be willing to purchase a product from these sites? What would make a consumer return to the site? What’s important: Web site design, ease of placing an order, security, special offers? 4 Have students take part in an online discussion on the class mailing list about spam. Anyone who has an e-mail account has undoubtedly experienced spam. Is it ever ethical for a company to send spam? Why or why not? What would cause you to take spam seriously? Has anyone in the class ever sent or forwarded spam? Has anyone in the class ever replied to spam? This topic should result in some lively conversation. 3.4 Tutorial Task: Persuasive Speech: This is one of the most important speeches that anyone who would want to succeed in the business world, should be able to do well. In this task, the student will be required to write up a speech that can be able to persuade his/her boss to carry out a particular project. This speech could be at least 3 minutes long. It can be written (if prepared ahead of class time), or the student can use cue cards. The main point of this speech is to captivate the audience, and to give them enough reason to want to carry out a task. In doing this speech, it will be a good introduction/rehearsal to the proposal presentations. 3.5 Audience Analysis. Have students complete Textbook Activity 5.3 in class. Divide the class into small groups of two or three and assign each group a different question from Activity 5.3 119
  • 120. to analyze. After 10 minutes or so as time permits, have each group report its analysis and justify it. The multiple analyses will help students remember the key questions in Figure 5.3. These questions force writers to consider their audience each time they plan a message. 3.5 The “You” View. Have students complete Textbook Activity 5.4 (p 152) in class one sentence at a time. Let the students revise each sentence to reflect the reader’s perspective (1-3 minutes). Ask students to share their revisions with the group. Let them negotiate a revision if they disagree. Be sure that each student offers a revision of one of the sentences as the activity progresses. The class exercise helps to reinforce the concept that writing in business is often collaborative and the product of negotiation within teams. 3.6 Planning With a Deadline. Give students approximately 10 minutes to write a simple letter to a lecturer, requesting an extension on an assignment. They must have it completed in the allotted time. Naturally, some will suffer writer’s block. This will be a springboard to discussion regarding writing under pressure. After the exercise, ask students to describe briefly how they composed; i.e., what they did first, second, and so forth. Did some begin by outlining, asking questions about audience, considering the reader’s point of view, or writing immediately without planning? Ask students if they are satisfied with the results (the draft of the letter). This follow-up exercise raises consciousness of how we write assignments. Close by reviewing how planning methods discussed really work, if internalized. Since students will have to write under pressure in the business world, they should start forming and practicing good composing habits. Not all good writers plan in the same way, but they all have methods of planning that work for them. For example, they don’t always have to start at the beginning of the letter. They could write the last paragraph first. The important thing is to get something down. Then revise. 3.7 Samples of Messages. Have students bring in samples of letters, memos, and other messages that are sender-and/or receiver-oriented. Was the focus of the writer effective? How would they improve these letters? Direct mail solicitations are very useful for this exercise. 3.8 Group Writing. Ask students to describe a group writing project with which they were involved. Did they like the collaborative process? What were some of the good and bad experiences they had while working on this assignment? How could the whole 120
  • 121. process have been improved? If given the choice, would they be willing to collaborate again? 3.9 Writing Checklist. To help students internalize the important points, have them develop a checklist for the documents they will be writing for this class as well as when they become employed in the future. Then they should refine this with each succeeding chapter. You could even give them a quiz grade for a refined/perfected checklist at the end of the course. 3.10 The Technology Link: Computers and Writing. Ask students to discuss how computer technology can help them become better writers. Be sure to mention how helpful spell checkers and grammar checkers can be. But can they take the place of a human proofreader/editor? Why or why not? 3.11 Short collaborative assignments include writing: 1. A letter to a university committee or official about a problem the university has, such as parking, registration procedures, traffic congestion, and inadequate bike paths. Students should describe the problem and offer some solutions. 2. A letter to a company inquiring about the company’s policies on topics such as social responsibility and ethics. 3. A letter to a businessperson asking him/her to be a guest speaker for the class. 4. An abstract of articles pertaining to communication topics, such as crisis communication, group communication, intercultural communication, nonverbal communication, and listening skills. Tut 3 Homework Prepare the first draft of your proposal to bring to the next tut. 121
  • 122. 12.4 Tut 4: Writing and Proofreading. 4.1 To give students a realistic experience regarding revising and proofreading, if homework is done and printed ahead of the tut, then pairs/small groups can proofread work and give peer evaluation and feedback (see initial notes in 12 above). If not we can provide several letters to proofread. Devote the first 10–15 minutes of class to this activity. They should be encouraged to mark anything they believe to be a mistake. This would also be an effective way to introduce proofreading marks (inside the front cover of the textbook). 4.2 Proofreading Technique. Ask students to make one proofreading pass by reading backwards. Reading backwards forces students to see each word and mark of punctuation and question it. When we read normally, we read in phrases, not words, and thus we miss some errors because we are diverted by the sense of the passage and not isolating its elements. Try this example for fun: A. Read the following sentence counting the F’s as you go: Federal fuses are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of years. B. Write the number of F’s here: ____ C. Now read the sentence backwards counting the F’s . Federal fuses are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of years. D. Write the number of F’s here: ____ E. Did you get them all? [Usually students don’t.] 4.3 Proofreading Practice. Since students need to have the maximum practice in proofreading both routine and complex documents, have samples of each so that you can provide this necessary practice. 4.4 Checking Grammar. Help students learn how to use at least one grammar/style checker. Be sure that they use this on several of their documents. Then discuss the idea that these are only tools, not the answer to receiving an “A” on everything that they write. 4.5 Have students discuss the following questions on the class mailing list. (1) Is it necessary to carefully proofread e-mail messages before sending them? Why? (2) Is it necessary to revise e-mail messages before sending them? Why? (3) What does the quality of your e-mail messages say about you? About your company? 4.6 Web Site Revision. Business documents aren’t the only things that need revision; Web sites need revision too. Remind students that Web sites are created by people keying in information, and the information being input should be carefully proofread and revised. Have students find examples of Web sites that need further 122
  • 123. proofreading and revision. Students should share the URL with the class and the reasons for revision. Have students discuss the effects of a Web site that contains typographical errors and poorly worded information. 4.7 Draft proposal This is the crux of Tut 4. Have your drafts, whether group or individual, ready for sharing with another group or individual. Work quietly on one another’s drafts, making editorial comment and using proof-reading marks to indicate where improvements can be made. Discuss these suggestions with each other. This is not the place to become defensive over your own work, but rather to accept others’ points of view, consider them and then make your own decisions about improving your work. 4.8 Speaking roster for Tut 6 In plenary consultation with your tutor, prepare a speaking order for your proposal orals during Tut 6. Note that that oral component counts 50% and the written component 150% of the proposal mark, which counts 20% of your year mark. If you have done the proposal in a group, then each group member needs to speak, even if you strategically choose to have the strongest speaker have the longest slot. Tut 4 Homework: Prepare for the second test of the course. Take note – plenary preparation and revision occurs in lectures (which are actually important, in spite of what veteran students may think). Prepare an oral defense of your proposal for Tut 6 as part of the revision process preparing you to submit the proposal by Tut 6. Pre-read tut 6 for further explanations. Continue to revise the proposal – you may ask tutors during FNB 94 consultation time for direct help, or you may approach the Wits Writing Centre, Ground floor, Wartenweiler Library, East Campus, for assistance from a Writing Consultant. Pre-read for Tut 6 and do 6.5 123
  • 124. ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR PROPOSALS Date: Topic: Name(s): Student number(s): Signature of tutor: Criteria for Not competent Below average Average Above average Expert Orals First - Unprofessional - Title page, but - Smart title page, - Professionally - Brilliant overall /5 impresssion sloppy orderly, competent sound appearance impression given layout instantly Introduction - Intro unfocused, - Unclear, lacking - Clear focus areas in - Concise, relevant - Outstanding /10 & unrelated or focus. intro, linked to content introduction. motivation Background missing. of presentation. - Introduction -Provides a scaffold - Relates proposal poorly linked to - Audience knows what for structure. directly to RFP. content. to expect. Staffing - Incorrectly - Names given - Names, areas of - Graphics used for - Vivid, catchy /5 interpreted expertise and duties ease of reference to evidence of teamwork given in readable list details - Meaningless list of names Key diff’s - Nothing extra - Mediocre - Some uniqueness shown - A memorably - Worth taking this /5 unique project project seriously Planning - Chaotic - Sample merely - interpreted & - Graphic clarity - Brilliantly structured /40 schedule copied personalized with graphic plan deadlines Budget - Faulty - Unrealistic - Adequate - Anticipatory - Sound & foolproof M&E tool - Flawed - Unthought out - Just another list - Linked to plan - Integrated with plan Conclusion - Unrelated or - Conclusion displays - Convincing conclusion. - Awareness of - Compelling /5 missing limited insight. general benefits conclusion; member - Relevant. buy-in with benefits Smooth & - Incoherent, - Difficult to follow, - Ideas presented - Key points - Key points well /10 logical incohesive, key points addressed clearly and logically, key presented logically presented, innovative, cohesion of illogical, unclear, poorly or points included. (signposts & flow), well thought-out & unrelated to key incompletely eloquently and persuasive. structure - Smooth cohesion of points, fails to cohesively. parts of proposal. meet presentation - Credible/Viable - Inclusion of all key goals. suggestions/procedures. points i.e. cost, timing, and - Covers relevant differentiators. requirements of RFP. Language - Words used - Poor language use, - Fluent and proper use - Persuasive and - Language used /10 inappropriately, inappropriate use of of language. eloquent language masterfully and clear lack of colloquial language. use, appropriate to eloquently to persuade - Easy to read and understanding. content and context. target audience. understand. Total mark /90 124
  • 125. 12.5 Tut 5: Writing process exercises Note: Groups 1 and 2 combine for this exercise, so it is essential that you have done these activities beforehand, or you will run out of time for tutor feedback during the tutorial. 5.1 Textbook Activity: 5.1 (Guffey et al pp. 151-152) Consider the following memo, which is based on an actual document sent to employees: TO: All Employees Using HP 5000 Computers It has recently come to my attention that a computer security problem exists within our organization. I understand that the problem is twofold in nature: a. You have been sharing computer passwords. b. You are using automatic log-on procedures. Henceforth, you are prohibited from sharing passwords for security reasons that should be axiomatic. We also must forbid you to use automatic log-on files because they empower anyone to have access to our entire computer system and all company data. Enclosed please find a form that you must sign and return to the aforementioned individual, indicating your acknowledgement of and acquiescence to the procedures described here. Any computer user whose signed form is not returned will have his personal password invalidated. To do: (i) How can you apply what you have learned about writing business messages, to improving this memo? (ii) Revise the memo to make it more courteous, positive and precise. (iii) Focus on developing the “you” view, and using familiar language. Remove any gender-based references. 5.2 Activity 6.1 (Guffey et all pp. 178-179, Chapter 6: Organizing and Writing Business messages) The following interoffice memo is hard to read, and it has numerous writing faults. TO: All Western Division Employees Personal computers and all the software to support these computers are appearing on many desks of Western Division employees. After giving the matter considerable attention, it has been determined by the Systems Development Department (SDD) that more control should be exerted in coordinating the purchase of hardware and software to improve compatibility throughout the division so that a library of resources may be developed. Therefore, a plan has been developed by SDD that should be followed in making all future equipment selections and purchases. To 125
  • 126. make the best possible choice, SDD should be contacted as you begin your search because questions about personal computers, word processing programs, hardware, and software can be answered by our knowledgeable staff, who can also provide you with invaluable assistance in making the best choice for our needs at the best possible cost. After your computer and its software arrive, all your future software purchases should be channeled through SDD. To actually make your initial purchase, a written proposal and a purchase request form must be presented to SDD for approval. A need for the purchase must be established; benefits that you expect to derive resulting from its purchase must be analyzed and presented, and an itemized statement of all costs must be submitted. By following these new procedures, coordinated purchasing benefits will be realized by all employees. I may be reached at X466 if you have any questions. To do: (i) Read the memo to see whether you can understand what the write request from all Western Division employees. (ii) Discuss why this memo is so hard to read i.e. (a) How long are the sentences? (b) How many passive-voice constructions can you locate? (c) How effective is the paragraphing? (d) Can you spot four dangling or misplaced modifiers? 5.3 Activity 6.2: Organizing Data (Guffey et al. pp.179) Re-organize the memo above (activity 6.1), using either a cluster diagram or an outline ie before purchase, purchase authorization, and after purchase. As you do so, consider the following: (i) Beyond the opening and closing of the message, what are the three main points the writer is trying to make? (ii) Should this message use the direct pattern of the indirect pattern? 5.4 Activity 7.1 (Chapter 7: Revising Business Messages) Consider the following memo, which is based on an actual document sent to employees: 126
  • 127. To: All Management This memo is addressed to all members to advise you that once a year we like to remind management of our policy in relation to the matter of business attire. In this policy there is a recommendation that all employees should wear clothing that promotes a businesslike atmosphere and meets requirements of safety. Employees who work in offices and who, as part of their jobs, meet the public and other outsiders should dress in a professional manner, including coat, tie, suit, slacks, dress, and so forth. In areas of industrial applications, supervisors may prohibit loose clothing (shirt tails, ties, cuffs) that could become entangled in machinery that moves. Where it is necessary, footwear should protect against heavy objects or sharp edges at the level of the floor. In the manufacturing and warehousing areas, prohibited footwear includes the following: shoes that are open toe, sandals, shoes made of canvas or nylon, tennis shoes, spiked heels higher than 1 1/2 inches. Each and every manager has the responsibility for the determination of suitable business attire, and employees should be informed of what is required. To do: (i) Read the memo and discuss its faults. (ii) How many wordy constructions can you spot? (iii) Revise the memo to improve its clarity, conciseness, vigor and readability. 5.5 Discussion about previous lecture Consider the guest speaker(s) that you have heard and the issues raised. Discuss the implications of these issues for yourselves personally. Consider how this may develop into a possible report topic. Start preparing yourselves for the major assignment of this course, the academic report. Tut 5 Homework: Prepare an oral defense of your proposal for Tut 6 as part of the revision process preparing you to submit the proposal by Tut 6. Pre-read tut 6 for further explanations. Continue to revise the proposal – you may ask tutors during FNB 94 consultation time for direct help, or you may approach the Wits Writing Centre, Ground floor, Wartenweiler Library, East Campus, for assistance from a Writing Consultant. Pre-read for Tut 6 and do 6.5 127
  • 128. 12.6 Tut 6: Proposals due + Preparing Report writing 6.1 Proposal orals Students are to have a speaking roster prepared at the previous tut. Stick to this, keep an orderly environment that is as stress-free as possible. Class participation in this process is crucial. Students are to demonstrate that they have acquired or developed active listening skills, taking notes and asking pertinent questions after each presentation. This is a forum in which peer contributions such as ideas on how to improve the proposal should be encouraged. The entire class is expected to engage with each presentation. Should presenters wish to use technological visual aids, such as a power point presentation, it is up to them to liaise with each other and ensure that at least one laptop and data projector is available in the class. It is possible, if done timeously to make arrangements with Wits Central Audio Visual (CAV) in Senate House, through the School of Accountancy secretary (Ms Nicky Pelekae, usually available in the Ground Floor General Accountancy Office). While this may raise the tone of the presentation, it does not guarantee higher or even bonus marks as a high level of competence in managing the technology is required – this should be developed in the Business Information Systems (BIS) classes. Marks are to be allocated with at least two impartial peer-evaluators participating in the process. 128
  • 129. ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR INDIVIDUAL/GROUP ORAL PROPOSAL PRESENTATIONS Name: Student number: Date: Topic: Criteria for Not competent Below average Average Above average Expert /10 Orals 0-2 3-4 5 6-7 8-10 Structure - Intro unfocused, - Unclear, lacking - Clear focus areas in - Concise, relevant - Outstanding unrelated or focus. intro, linked to content of introduction captures introduction; audience (Introduction missing. presentation. attention of audience. eagerly attentive. & Conclusion) - Introduction poorly - Awkward stop at linked to content. - Audience knows what to - Intro clear - Relates proposal end. expect. - Outlines main focus directly to RFP. - Conclusion displays areas. - Compelling conclusion; -You don’t realize limited insight. - Convincing conclusion. - Persuasive, audience buy-in they’ve started or finished. - Relevant and resounding resounding emotionally. conclusion. conclusion. - Relevant and -Provides a scaffold resounding conclusion for structure. Body: - Incoherent, - Difficult to follow, - Ideas presented clearly - Key points - Key points well Structure, incohesive, illogical, key points addressed and logically, key points presented logically presented, innovative, content unclear, unrelated poorly or incompletely included. (signposts & flow), well thought-out to key points, fails eloquently and suggestions offered, to meet - Credible suggestions. cohesively. persuasive. presentation goals. - Smooth & logical - Generally good cohesion of various parts suggestions. of proposal. - Clear, logical - Inclusion of all key presentations. points i.e. cost, - Credible/Viable timing, and suggestions/procedures. differentiators. Language and - Unintelligible - Poor language use, - Fluent and proper use of - Persuasive and - Language used diction (mumbled, too inappropriate use of language. eloquent language masterfully and fast). colloquial language. use, appropriate to eloquently to persuade - Easy to follow and content and context. target audience. - Words used - Excessive voiced understand. inappropriately, pauses (ums) & fillers - Varied rhythms, pitch clear lack of (like, OK, alright, - Fluent and proper & power. understanding. kinda, I mean). language use - Mispronounced Presence: - No rapport with - Limited eye contact - Satisfactory eye contact. - Good rapport with - Charismatic and delivery and audience, nervous, and engagement with audience. dynamic speaker. technique uncomfortable to audience. - Gestures and stance watch. could be improved. - Confident eye - Excellent rapport, - Stance and gestures contact, stance and holds audience lacking in confidence. - Mediocre delivery gestures. spellbound. (monotonous), audibility, - Problems with tone, tone and pace. - Maintains audience pace and audibility. interest throughout. - Overall impact of presentation - Clear delivery- audible, persuasive Final - Unsure what - Passively relaying - Understand material - A good synopsis - Deep dynamic Impression: trying to tell us. the proposal itself presented. understanding Information without adjusting to - Questions processing - Reciting without the oral format. - An average synopsis anticipated & well - Questions anticipated understanding. given handled & efficiently handled “street smart” - Questions dealt with well Total mark 50 129
  • 130. 6.2 Pre-reading for tutorials on report writing 6.2.1 PROCEDURES FOR TEACHING FORMAL REPORTS by Salvatore N. Safina Lecturer, Department of English University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee In conjunction with Dr. Mary Ellen Guffey, South-Western College Publishing In a recent meeting of business and technical communication instructors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the following question was raised: “Do we need to teach the long report?” The question was tabled for further review. But my answer to the question is an unequivocal “yes.” The formal report is, in my view, one of the most valuable learning experiences students of business communication come away from the course with. It helps students to hone their skills in managing a large project, researching, designing documents, and writing. That said, teaching the formal report from process to product is difficult; for instance, the process involves a considerable investment of time by instructors—both in and out of the classroom. Moreover, because most students have not had to undertake such a project, it can be frustrating—for both students and instructors. Yet despite those drawbacks, I think the advantages for students far outweigh the disadvantages. In what follows, I will discuss, step by step, how I guide students through the formal report project. Unlike many business communication instructors, I require each student to complete the formal report project individually. Additionally, students are allowed to choose from a list of topics broken down into majors and/or areas of specialization; or, they may choose an analytical topic (yardstick, feasibility, justification/recommendation) from Chapters 12, 13, or 14 of BC:PP. If students do not wish to choose one of these topics, and decide they would like to develop one on their own, then they must first meet with me in person to discuss their proposed topic. My reason for choosing this route is based more on the realities of an urban commuter university than any theoretical position; however, I do believe that it gives all students a chance to learn from the process directly, even if the final product doesn’t turn out as expected. Preliminaries [note that this is included here for your enrichment – but it is reading, not instruction] I begin my discussion of the formal report project the very first day of class. I first point out to students that, because the project constitutes 25 percent of their final grade, they should begin thinking about it immediately. Then, I direct them to the 130
  • 131. three pages of the syllabus (on colour-coded paper so they stand out) devoted to the following: (1) a set of detailed instructions for the project proposal assignment, which is students’ first formal presentation of their chosen topic and preliminary research; (2) a set of detailed instructions for the formal report project itself, including the due date; and (3) a short list of possible topics from which to choose— in order for students to get a sense of the types of topics that are acceptable. ( I also provide an electronic copy of the list and the syllabus on a course Web site) At this time I also inform students to check out one—or both—of the sample student reports on reserve at the university’s library. Both reports were written by students who took my course in previous semesters, and both received an “A.” These models give students a tangible example of what is expected of them and what students like them are capable of producing. After this, I encourage students to talk to me about their projects. I tell them how important communicating with me will be if their project is to be successful. And it’s true. I can’t stress enough how important it is to talk to students about this project. Face-to-face communication often alleviates potential problems in the future. Before the first formal project related assignment (the proposal) is due, once or twice a week I will remind or ask students about their projects. At first, I’ll make light of my reminders; as the semester draws on, though, I tend to make these reminders more serious. As I tell students: “Even if you spend 15 minutes to a half an hour a week doing preliminary research for this project, you will be in good shape when we begin the textbook coverage of formal reports.” I find that it’s very necessary to keep reminding students about the project, as they have other classes, papers, and projects to worry about. Students generally begin making appointments to see me after the first four weeks of the semester. Others, however, need to be politely reminded. When students meet with me to present their topic ideas, I often ask a number of questions: “Why did you choose this topic?” or “Why is this topic meaningful or important to you?” or “How does this topic relate to your future career?” These are important questions because, believe it or not, even business-oriented students often have a tendency to choose topics that seem more geared toward research papers than formal reports. Or, they may look back on an English composition class and assume that, because it’s an English course, the same kind of approach is expected. For whatever reason, these one-on-one sessions allow me to steer students in the right direction. I tell them, for instance, how important it is that they think of the report as being based upon a specific problem a business or organization is trying to solve. I explain that this is what business reports do: they solve problems or answer questions with a specific goal in mind. Another common problem is objectivity. Often, students will have preconceived notions about how the report will pan out in the end. Or, in a case where a student has chosen to do a report on an on-the-job problem, often the student is clearly on one side of the issue and is emotionally invested. In these cases, I remind students that in most reports (at least, in my opinion, the most effective reports) writers should strive to be as objective and balanced as possible. They need to understand 131
  • 132. that their audience(s) will probably not look favourably on a report that, say, stresses only the benefits of a specific course of action. In-Class Assignments and Discussion Class discussion of the formal report project begins with students reading Chapter 11 of BC:PP. Two weeks are spent on this chapter alone because it helps to build a solid foundation for the rest of the report-writing process. Project Proposal The first formal report assignment students must complete is the project proposal, which allows students to demonstrate many of the skills learned in Chapter 11. This is a very detailed assignment, but it’s an important one because it requires students to put their ideas on paper and begin thinking conscientiously about the project. In class, the first thing I do is “walk through” the assignment with the students. The proposal consists of two parts: an overview and preliminary research. In the “Overview” section of the proposal, students are asked to explain the following: 1. Essential background information about the topic. 2. Purpose of the report, including an implicit—or explicit—problem question. 3. Audience(s) for the report (both primary and secondary). In class, I tell students (and show them) that I will be asking the following questions about their report topics when I read the “Overview.” • Will the topic you’ve chosen be interesting or useful to you outside of the context of this course? • Is the topic centered in a business or organizational context? Even if the topic is based on a “fictional” premise, could the report be generated in a “real life” business or organization? • Will the topic ensure that there is going to be enough primary or secondary information or data to meet the report’s page requirement? • Will the topic require analysis? In the “Preliminary Research” section of the proposal, students are asked to consider possible primary and secondary sources. For primary sources, students must locate two “experts” in their research areas. Then, they must record these experts’ contact information and explain why each expert would be an appropriate source of information for their reports. Additionally, students are asked to consider two more ways of collecting primary data (other than interviews) and explain why these methods might contribute to their reports. 132
  • 133. For secondary sources, students are asked to locate and present the following information using the MLA style: (1) a newspaper article, (2) two journal or magazine articles or abstracts, and (3) three Web sites, or Web-generated documents. Students are advised to use the databases available at the university’s library, and they are also required to explain briefly how the sources they’ve found might contribute to their reports. In discussing this part of the assignment, I show the students how to access the library’s databases, and I do a practice search so they can see how to do it themselves. While the benefits of this assignment are immense, students really struggle with it. Consequently, I allow enough time in class for students to ask questions about researching, presentation, etc. If all goes as planned, most students are able to use the overview information for the report’s introduction (with some revision), and most use a good portion of their preliminary research materials. On the day the assignment is due, I ask for volunteers to discuss their proposals. This discussion is probably one of the most fruitful of the semester for students. We take a “workshopping” approach to the discussion: I encourage students to ask questions about the report’s purpose and audience; then, I ask students if they have any advice about research sources or how the report might be organized. As is often the case, many students will be doing similar reports, so this open forum is really a great chance for all of us to share ideas. In addition, I encourage students to use the course reflector I set up to solicit advice and share information. It’s important, too, to thank student volunteers for sharing their ideas. Work Plan After I’ve returned their proposals to them, with advice about refining their topics, I then help students to prepare a work plan for the project. First, we look at sample work plans and discuss how they are organized and presented, and determine what their purposes are. Students almost always focus on the schedule; I in turn try to get them to focus on the purpose statement and the tentative outline. I tell them that these elements of the work plan, along with the sources and methods section, eventually will be a part of their reports. In other words, the more time spent on these things now will mean less time spent on these things when writing the report. Then, I have teams complete a case study or activity from Chapter 11 of BC: PP that requires them to complete a work plan. This is done so students get practice before doing the “real thing.” For comparison, I also provide them with a possible solution to the work plan on which they’ve been working. Having students complete the work plan also allows them, if necessary, to re-present their topics to me. It also gives me the opportunity to give them advice about organization, which, for many students, is a difficult aspect of composing the report. 133
  • 134. Organization and Visual Aids I try to combine these two difficult and time-consuming parts of the report project through a series of assignments taken from BC: PP, Chapters 12, 13, and 14. Consequently, each assignment not only requires students to evaluate, organize, and present data or information, but also to draw conclusions—and perhaps offer recommendations—based upon an analysis of the audience and purpose. All of these assignments are completed in the computer lab. This is important—and necessary— so that I have the opportunity to help students create visual aids. After every assignment is completed, we discuss possible ways of presenting data or information, and discuss possible conclusions and/or recommendations. I also spend two weeks on this part of the process. Because choosing visual aids is a stumbling block for many students, I also assign a variation of Activity 12.12 from BC: PP. Instead of having students choose five visual aids, for example, I ask them to choose three. In class, after I’ve discussed the various forms and functions of different visual aids, we then discuss this assignment itself. I first encourage students to take a “yardstick” approach to evaluating the visuals they will choose. Then, we discuss possible criteria for evaluating visual aids based on my previous discussion. By the time we’ve finished, students have usually come up with several criteria, so I ask them to use three or four in their assignment. This assignment is valuable because it helps students to become more aware about how visuals are used, and it also helps them to think about how their own reports will be put together. Documentation Experience has taught me that this is also an aspect of the report project that needs to be emphasized. Too often in the past I’ve seen examples of what could be considered plagiarism because I assumed students had learned proper documentation, citation, etc., in previous courses. To rectify this problem, I spend most of an entire 50-minute class period explaining the finer points of documentation. Surprisingly, business students are generally interested in these details. In the computer lab, students are given random portions of articles from recent publications. Then, they are required to do the following: • Present the publication information (MLA style). • Provide long, full-sentence, and partial phrase quotations from the source. • Paraphrase a paragraph from the source. After the assignment is completed, as a class, we look at possible correct and incorrect examples. It’s imperative to show students an example of a paraphrased source that “crosses the line,” and make it clear to them that this is plagiarism. I’ve found that spending this time in class is well worth the effort. I’ve had fewer and fewer problems with documentation since I began doing this. 134
  • 135. Putting it All Together: Completing the Project Although the syllabus contains detailed instructions for putting the report project together, I revisit it in class. I point out especially the submission requirements, and what must be included in the project packet. Of these, two are essential: (1) photocopies or originals of sources, and (2) a “dirty” rough draft of the report. I emphasize how important these items are for me to evaluate their projects fairly. The final week of the course is spent “workshopping” drafts of the project. Aside from getting advice from their peers, I tell students that they must have specific questions in mind before coming to talk to me about their projects. Moreover, I extend my office hours the final week, encouraging students to come to me with questions about their reports. Because this is such a stressful time for them anyway, I go out of my way to be positive, patient, and understanding. I try to emphasize all of the hard work they’ve done already, and remind them about how much they have learned not only about researching, writing, and document design, but also about themselves. One week later, I get ready to read. [A list of possible report topics is available at the Student Web Site at] 6.1.2 Pre-read CHAPTER 12 Preparing to Write Business Reports Focus/Overview Management decisions in many organizations are based on information submitted in the form of reports. This chapter examines categories, functions, organizational patterns, formats, and writing styles of reports. It also introduces the report-writing process and shows how to apply the 3-x-3 writing process to develop reports methodically. Then, the chapter discusses methods of collecting and documenting data, including electronic databases and the Internet. The chapter pays significant attention to strategies of searching the Internet and evaluating Web sources. Next, the chapter covers techniques for creating graphics that create meaning and interest in a report. Finally, the chapter discusses plagiarism and the importance of documentation. The significant skills of planning, researching, writing, and presenting reports that students in college learn become even more important when they enter the workforce as professionals. They may, on occasion, have to write long formal reports, often as members of teams. More frequently, they will be asked to write informal reports. Therefore, learning and practicing these skills now will help students create the kinds of reports that make favourable impressions on their colleagues and supervisors. 135
  • 136. 6.1.3 Report Emphasis Since actual business reports are seldom written in isolation, having students write collaborative reports would give them a realistic, businesslike experience. However, this is optional and should be self-managed. Know how to conduct good Web searches and how to evaluate Web materials, because students are relying more and more on the Internet as a solution to their research problems. 6.1.4 Report Preparation Suggestions 1. Have students interview practitioners in business and professional fields about the types of reports they must write. Try to help students discover what these individuals believe are the easiest and/or most difficult aspects regarding report writing. Help students develop a list of questions to ask the practitioners. After the interviews are completed, have students present their findings either orally or in memo format. You should also ask students to write thank-you notes to the interviewees. 2. If students seem to be complaining about writing their reports, actually discussing their gripes may give you insight about how to help make this assignment a more pleasant experience. Students may have a difficult time selecting their topics or shaping good problem questions and purpose statements. Or they might not know how to use library or electronic resources. By discussing their concerns about writing reports and by having them focus on who the audiences of the reports are, you will be able to highlight what they need to know to have a successful report-writing experience. Students have three channels for complaints, actually four: i) Consult with the lecturer or tutor during available consultation times, posted at FNB 93 and 94. ii) Address an e-mail to the lecturer or tutor explaining the situation. iii) Use the Centre For Learning and Teaching Development (CLTD) hotline, via the Wits homepage. iv) Carry on complaining to each other so that the gripevine flourishes, but nothing changes… (not actually an effective channel, although it helps to get it off your chest). 3. Students often find that budgeting their time to write a lengthy report is difficult because they don’t know how to develop realistic time schedules. Students could develop their time schedules together. You will be helping students by having several interim deadlines for specific phases of the report rather than just a due date for them to submit their final copy. You could also 136
  • 137. have students submit short progress reports along the way to help them stay on track. 4. Although it takes a great deal of time, scheduling private appointments with students to discuss their oral and written reports can be time well spent. During these 5-10 minute appointments, students should be prepared to discuss their topic in depth—especially in terms of purpose and audience. They should also present plans for the sources they intend to use, the charts or graphs they feel would be appropriate for their written report, and the visual aids they might use for their oral reports. This appointment could be the first interim deadline in their report-writing process. (See number 3 above.) 6.1.5 Ten Truths About Business Reports You may be wondering whether business reports are like term papers you have prepared for courses. Actually, the purposes are quite different. Most term papers strive to demonstrate a student’s knowledge of a topic and show skill in presenting that topic. Business reports, on the other hand, seek to supply data that answers questions and aids decision making. Business reports function as tools. Here are ten truths about reports that every business communicator should know. 1. Everyone writes reports. At every level of employment, people collect data to be formalized into reports. As a college-educated professional headed for management, you may be certain that you will be expected to collect, analyze, organize, and interpret data in report form. 2. Most reports flow upward. Reports generally move upward from employees to management. Although policies and procedures originate at higher levels and flow down through the organization, most other data move upward. Executives and managers need information (in the form of operating, planning, and investigative reports) to oversee operations and make decisions. 3. Most business reports are informal. Like other business messages, reports can range from informal to formal, depending on their purpose, audience, and setting. A proposal from a market research organization addressed to General Motors for the purpose of sampling consumer preferences regarding a new line of cars might be rather formal. But a report to your boss describing a trip to a conference would probably be informal. Chances are that most of your reports will be written in an informal style. 4. Three formats are most common. Business reports typically appear in memo, letter, or manuscript form. Use memo format for short informal reports (say, ten or fewer pages) that stay within the organization. Use letter format for short informal reports sent outside an organization. Use manuscript form for longer, more formal reports. Manuscript reports are usually printed on plain paper instead of letterhead or memo forms. They begin with a title followed by systematically displayed headings and subheadings. 137
  • 138. 5. Reports differ from memos and letters. Although some memos and letters that carry information are quite similar to reports, at least three characteristics distinguish reports. Letter and memo reports usually (a) are longer, (b) include headings, and (c) show more careful organization than routine memos or letters. 6. Today’s reports are written on computers. Personal computers and word processing have simplified and enhanced the task of report writing. Composing, revising, and editing are easier and more pleasurable on computers than with paper and pen. You no longer have to fear proofreading, because discovering a mistake doesn’t mean retyping an entire page. You can be more flexible, creative, and productive, knowing that your computer can move items around or make them disappear totally if you choose. Final copies always look clean. Wonderful as computers are, however, they cannot transform a poor writer into a good one. 7. Some reports are collaborative efforts. Many organizations expect teams to study problems, collect and analyze data, and then write a report. Collaborative writing is not easy, even if the effort is between only two individuals. Team writing is more likely to be successful when individuals work out ground rules (Chapter 2) before the first word is written. 8. Ethical report writers interpret facts fairly. Even though reports are factual (that is, based on objective information), facts can be slanted and interpretations given a spin. To be fair, ethical report writers present all the facts, tell both sides of a story, label opinions clearly, and strive to be unbiased. This does not suggest, however, that they refrain from offering interpretations. Most readers want report writers to explain what the facts mean. To help them solve their problems and achieve their goals, they want facts translated into meanings. But your goal should be to do so without sacrificing objectivity. 9. Organization is imposed on data. Information assembled for a report does not have an inherent form or organizational pattern. Writers determine a report’s order after analyzing its purpose, audience, and content. Many beginning writers tend to disclose data in the same order in which they discovered it. Readers, however, expect writers to select the most relevant data and organize it in a logical pattern. Develop the habit of looking at pieces of data as if they were Lego building blocks that can be assembled into a variety of forms (such as robots, cars, and boats). Build the report to achieve your goals. 10. The writer is the reader’s servant. Use whatever devices are necessary to answer the reader’s questions and to make your point. In addition to using careful organization and precise language, summarize and interpret complex data through charts and graphs. Include graphic highlighting techniques (such as bullets, enumerated lists, and bolding) to spotlight important ideas and to emphasize organization. Your primary goal should be creating meaning for the receiver. {Source: Marya W. Holcombe, “Wisdom or Information? Managerial Writing in the Office of the Future,” The Handbook of Executive Communication, edited by John Louis Digaetani (Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin, 1986), p. 264.} 138
  • 139. 6.2 Discussion Have students take part in an online discussion about the necessity of being very critical when evaluating Web resources. Since most students will begin their research on the Web, it’s important that they understand that not everything they find on the Web is valid. How do they decide what information is reliable and valid? Have they ever come across a site that they questioned? What made the site questionable? Have students share Web site addresses of questionable sites and techniques they use for judging credibility. 6.3 Annual Reports on the Web Have students find company Web sites that post annual reports or other reports that contain graphics. What kinds of graphics are used most frequently in these reports? Do these graphics make the statistics easier to understand? Why or why not? Do these graphics make the report more interesting to read? Why or why not? Were any graphics misleading? Explain. Have students bring the URLs to class to share with other students. If possible, visit some of these sites in class to critique the graphics used in the reports. 6.4 BUSINESS REPORT TOPICS Students have a choice of working either individually or in groups of two to three members. Students have a further choice of one out of 50 topics offered below. The topic number (1-50) must be given as well as a succinct title. Some of these topics are also available on the student Web site at Groups should select their topics with tutor/lecturer approval. Topics can include an analysis of a company and its environment, an investment analysis, a marketing plan for a new product, or an analysis of a computer information system for a company. If students choose to work in small groups of 2-3 check the proposed scope of the report to ensure that there is enough research and writing for a team project. Short collaborative assignments can be incorporated into the formal analytical report project. For example, from Tut 3 students can prepare a proposal requesting permission to research the topic they have selected for the formal report. The proposal should explain why the topic is important to businesses, how they plan to gather the research, a preliminary outline, and a work plan showing tasks to be completed, along with a time table for completion of the tasks, and who will complete the tasks. Another short assignment with the formal report project could be a progress report detailing tasks completed, work in progress, problems encountered, and projected 139
  • 140. task completion dates. Incorporating a “problem encountered” section alerts you to problems that may delay the report. It also provides an opportunity for you to offer suggestions that may help the group solve the problems. Asking the students to include a section on their group’s progress toward becoming a cohesive group could also alert you to some group problems so that you can intervene if necessary. The report can be prepared by the group or by individuals. 1. An informative report on a current communications or management issue. 2. An informative report about a student university organization, a student university committee, or a university office, such as financial aid, housing, student employment, or career services. This is a good way to acquaint lower-level students with the university’s services and with opportunities for their involvement with organizations and committees. 3. An analytical report that includes tables and graphs. Consumer Reports provides product comparisons that could be used for this assignment. 4. An informative report about campus or workplace wellness programs, work- force diversity, ergonomics, smoking in the workplace, or intercultural communication. Eg: Investigate the advantages and disadvantages of wellness plans. It might help to get a sense of how rank-and-file employees feel about these plans as well as reviewing the published materials. Do the advantages really outweigh the disadvantages? Accounting topics 5. You have started a bookkeeping/accounting service, and you would like to offer your services to Company X (a local business of your choice). You are trained to do some or all of the following: income tax preparation and planning; auditing and financial reporting; retirement, estate, and financial planning; computer consulting, system design, installation, and staff training; business consulting; recordkeeping and banking. You will even prepare business plans for start-up companies. Write a proposal that will get you the business of Company X. 6. Assume you are working for a company that is considering opening a business in another country. Analyze possible accounting problems the company might encounter and offer possible solutions for overcoming these problems. 7. Your company’s managers have been thinking about purchasing software that will help it track revenue transactions involving payouts to several parties. Find out what kind of software is available, develop criteria for evaluating the options you find, and offer your managers recommendations. In other words, is it worth it to purchase this type of software at all? If so, which is the best choice? 8. Analyze the effects recent federal or provincial tax laws will have on either businesses or the general population. What will be the advantages and/or 140
  • 141. disadvantages of these laws? What recommendations can you offer to your chosen audience to take advantage of these changes? Or, what must your audience do to avoid being negatively affected by these changes? 9. Your company has decided to revise this year’s annual corporate report to shareholders. Choose two or three recent annual shareholders’ reports and analyze them in terms of their audience, purpose, content, and design. Then, offer specific recommendations for revision. 10. As the leader of your accounting department’s internship (or articled clerk) program, you have been asked to assess the top three or four internships in your area. Since this report is for students, you’ll need to consider what criteria they will think are important for an internship. 11. You have been asked by a new Web start-up company to help them to decide the best form of business organization. This new enterprise involves two married women. Should they incorporate, consider a limited liability arrangement, or a partnership? What affect will each have on their income taxes? Advise them on the best choice, given their circumstances. Finance 12. In a recent meeting, managers and supervisors for the bank where you work expressed concerns about employees’ customer-service skills. Moreover, they wonder whether a specific set of procedures should be established—especially for new employees. They have asked you to investigate the customer service practices at other local banks to determine what skills should be emphasized and what procedures, if any, should be adopted. 13. Your business is considering offering child-care and/or elder-care benefits to its employees. Assess the financial pros and cons of either type of benefit, and offer recommendations. 14. You work for a corporation whose industry is in the midst of a massive consolidation. Your corporation has recently been named as a probable target for a takeover. How should management prepare for this possibility? Should it bide its time and wait for a potential buyer? Or, should it become more aggressive by making additional acquisitions? 15. Recently, determining the financial worth of a company has become more problematic. In other words, should the value of a company be determined by its potential sale price in the short term? Or, should a company’s value be determined by more traditional means, such as its business model, the value it’s creating, and its management’s maturity and ability to grow as the business evolves? Evaluate the pros and cons of these choices and offer recommendations. 141
  • 142. 16. Many banks are facing increasing competition from online services and mobile telephone companies. These new companies are offering consumers and merchants an alternative to processing customer-purchase payments, for which banks traditionally have charged a fee. Investigate how this trend will affect traditional banking practices in the future. How will banks cope with these changes and retain customers? 17. At your last school/university-sponsored investment club meeting, many were enthusiastic about online trading. You aren’t so sure. As a result, you decide to evaluate the benefits and possible costs of online trading in order to present to your investment club an objective assessment of the idea. 18. Your investment club has decided it will go ahead with its decision to trade online. You are part of a team that must recommend which online trading site is the best one for your club. To do so, your team must first establish criteria for evaluating possible sites, and then use these criteria for recommending the best site. Compare Web sites of existing online brokers. 19. A fellow student and you think you have a great idea for a Web-based company. Prepare a business plan that will attract the financing you need to get your business started. You will need to assess carefully your financing options. Should you try to attract a so-called “Angel,” an investment network, or try the local bank? What other financing possibilities are there, and which is the best for your situation? General topics 20. After studying résumés and cover letters in your business communication class and after writing many of your own, you feel that you could help other people with their job-search documents. You would like to start a small company offering résumé-writing services. You will revise existing résumés or write entirely new ones. In addition, you will prepare dynamite cover letters and provide job-search and interviewing tips. But you will need funding to buy the appropriate equipment and get a Web site started. Write a proposal to a local bank asking for funding to begin this business. Be sure to look at Web sites already offering such services. 21. Because of the tight job market and the difficulty of hiring qualified people, you realize that it’s important to sell your company to your own employees. Research has shown that respect and cooperation from co-workers and managers, compensation, and other rewards, help to retain good employees. What it boils down to is promoting your company from within. What are other companies doing to self-promote? Based upon an analysis of what other companies are doing, offer recommendations to managers of your company. 22. Because you feel you could be more productive working at home than in the office, you prepare a proposal that would allow you to telecommute. Because no one in your company has yet been allowed to telecommute, you decide to suggest a 142
  • 143. telecommuting pilot program. Naturally, guidelines, rules, and expectations will have to be established. Volunteer to help to develop them. Be sure to cite all the benefits to the employer. Numerous online articles are available to provide ammunition. Prepare a schedule explaining exactly what days you would work at home. Instead of discussing staffing, discuss your work space, explaining what you have done to make telecommuting succeed. Instead of discussing budget, you might include a section on costs. If you need the company to provide you with equipment, spell it out. Be aware, though, that your proposal is likely to be more successful if you can do your at-home work without costing the company much. 23. Like you, many students aren’t sure what recruiters look for in cover letters and résumés. Additionally, how are Web-based versions of these documents different from the hard-copy versions? Is a résumé that can be scanned the same as a Web-based version? Your job is to sort through the confusion and present a report that examines these issues and gives your fellow students some advice about what to do. 24. The business for which you work has an outdated code of ethics in its policy manual. Because of the ever-changing nature of businesses today, and growing diversity in the workforce, you have been asked to help to update the company’s code of ethics. To do this, you consider analyzing other companies’ codes of ethics to determine what your policy should include—and what it shouldn’t. Based on your analysis, you will offer recommendations to your management team. 25. Many Web-based employment sites have sprung up on the Internet. At first, your boss was not convinced that using these sites would benefit the company. She’s asked you to write a report that not only convinces her that these sites would be beneficial, but also recommends the best site(s) for your company to find potential new employees. 26. Knowing you’ve just graduated from college with a degree in marketing, a family located in your hometown asks you to investigate the pros and cons of franchising their business. They want to know what the financial and legal implications would be. 27. Trends in customer service are changing. Many corporations are making personalized customer service an important part of their image. As a marketing intern for a well-known national chain, you have been asked to evaluate these trends. What do customers today expect? How are other national chains capitalizing on these trends? In addition to evaluating these trends, offer recommendations to the company. 28. You have been asked to conduct a market study of your city (or another, if you choose) to determine the best location for a given business (your choice). The company requesting this study wants basic demographic information (e.g., population, income, age, traffic flow, etc.) to be used as the basis for your recommendation. 143
  • 144. Information Systems 29. A large successful company (your choice) has asked you to submit a proposal to help it develop e-mail and voice mail policies for its employees. As an MIS (management information systems) or human resources consultant, you know how dangerous it is for an organization to operate without such policies. Use your imagination in establishing the problem for Company X. Describe why precise e-mail and voice mail policies are extremely important. Explain how you will solve the problem by gathering key employees, as well as technical experts, lawyers, and management, in the process of formulating specific policies for Company X. Develop a proposal, identify your staff, and submit a budget for your consulting company to establish e-mail and voice mail policies for Company X. 30. Although many of the salespeople who work in your company use laptops, they’ve asked you to investigate the benefits of Web-accessible cell phones. Salespeople contend that the portability of these phones, in addition to their ability to connect to the Web, makes them an ideal sales tool. After you investigate the benefits of these phones, you decide to compare the top three or four phones offered using the following criteria: price, network, band/mode, weight/size, screen size, battery life, ringer options, and extras included. Which phone would be best for your salespeople? 31. Your company has undertaken the arduous task of converting its administrative operations from a manual to a computerized system. You have been chosen to develop a plan for making this transition. What issues need to be considered? Are there conversion programs that will help the transition process go smoothly? What have other businesses done? Offer specific recommendations. 32. Should companies lease or buy computer equipment today? What kinds of questions should companies ask themselves when making a decision between leasing and buying? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option? Make recommendations. 33. Your department (choice is yours) has decided it needs a software package to streamline its operations (choice is yours). Using a set of select criteria, evaluate three or four choices of software for your department, and offer recommendations. 34. Many students like you are contemplating systems certification beyond the undergraduate degree. What are the most popular and useful certification programs available? Is certification worth the effort? What programs would you recommend? Why? 35. The computer lab manager in your business/accountancy school has chosen you to write a report that assesses the pros and cons of a Unix-based versus an NT networking system. Besides the costs involved, she wants you to look at 144
  • 145. compatibility issues, long-term trends, training provided, and usability. She also wants you to recommend the best system for the lab’s needs. 36. A hot new trend in today’s workplace is “telecommuting.” Your boss has had several employees ask her about the possibility of performing work—at least part- time—at home. Your boss isn’t convinced that telecommuting is in her best interest, so she asks you to write a report that analyzes the pros and cons of this form of employment. Consider what jobs are ideal for telecommuting, what the employment statistics reveal, and how it affects both businesses and employees. 37. The company for which you work has a Web presence and is considering whether going “paperless” is the next logical step. In other words, how would a company-wide intranet solve this problem? What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of such a system? How would employees respond to communicating only electronically? Is security a problem? Offer recommendations. 38. Many management information systems (MIS) students wonder whether basic writing skills will be an important aspect of their jobs. You’re curious, too, so you decide to write a report that investigates what MIS jobs involve. In addition, you wonder whether the course requirements in your business school serve to prepare MIS majors for the kinds of on-the-job writing they will do. After you’ve researched and analyzed these issues, offer recommendations to fellow students. 39. Your university has decided to offer each student the opportunity to establish a Web presence on its server through a personal home page. As the head of media and information technologies, it’s your job to develop clear and understandable directions for students who want to create their own Web sites—whether they use HTML or any of the popular Web-page-creation software. After carefully analyzing your audience’s needs and investigating your college’s regulations about content and security, present students with a set of directions. 40. Given the tight job market for high-tech employees, examine the advantages and disadvantages of hiring disabled employees. Offer recommendations. 41. As a manager for mid-sized company, you’re convinced that a Web presence is a must in today’s economy. You’ve talked to your CEO about it, but you haven’t made much headway. He says: “Show me some proof!” He also says, “If you can show me on paper that the benefits will outweigh the costs, I’ll consider it.” Write an objective report that considers carefully the costs and benefits of having a full-time Web presence. Consider things like how a Web presence will affect productivity and costs, human resource management, training, purchasing, sales, and the way the company does business. Offer recommendations. 42. From a technical standpoint, what will it take for the new Linux operating system to compete with other systems like Apple and Windows? Will it be enough for Linux developers to create a desktop software operating system? 145
  • 146. 43. Discuss and analyze the future of the PC. What significant changes, if any, are up ahead, and what will businesses need to do to prepare for them? General Business/Education/Campus Issues 44. Student-run businesses provide part-time help on and off campus. They also help students gain marketable experience. College Pro Painters started as a summer job, but is now doing $40 million a year in sales. In teams explore the possibility of starting a campus business that employs students in part-time work. Write your report as a feasibility study or a proposal to secure start-up funding. Check the Internet for some funding sources; does your school help fund student-run businesses? 45. Students have complained recently about the prices of books at the campus bookstore. Many students have mentioned Web-based booksellers as possible alternatives. As a representative of your student government, you’ve decided to find out what the best alternatives are, and which is the best alternative for students at your school. You decide to compare these alternatives by considering the following: price, availability, book buyback program, and students’ thoughts about purchasing books. 46. It is estimated internationally that as many as 70 percent of members of corporate executive offices come up through the ranks of a given company. Yet once these employees become executives, they are often vulnerable to the pitfalls of the upper ranks, and they often aren’t prepared. Since even basic management skills include motivating people, delegating authority, dealing with employee conflicts, and crunching numbers, not every prospective executive can be expected to do everything right. To deal with this problem, many business schools have begun offering more courses devoted specifically to sharpening personal management skills. Write a report that evaluates how this problem is being addressed in your school of business. You may want to investigate how other business schools have dealt with this problem, what courses they offer, and so on. Present your report to the dean of your school of business. 47. The librarian of your company library needs to add business periodicals to the library subscription list. She is unfamiliar with all specialized magazines and has asked help from the various company divisions. You’ve been assigned to recommend four or more print or online periodicals in your particular specialty. In your report describe the readership, the contents, and the scope of each periodical. Convince the librarian about who will use your choices and how your selections benefit your department. 48. According to a recent survey of more than 2300 workers by KPMG LLP, illegal or unethical behaviour in the workplace has soared. More than three fourths of those surveyed said they had observed unethical behaviour, including deceptive sales practices, unsafe working conditions, mishandling proprietary or confidential information, discrimination, and sexual harassment (Allesandra Losciale, Newsday). 146
  • 147. What are corporations doing to address these issues? Aside from the strict penalties for corporate crime, what effect does ignoring these problems have on employee retention, for example? What can corporations do to ensure an ethical workplace? 49. Students may create their own topic, so long as there is tutor/lecturer approval and the scope is clearly defined. This topic must then be included in the report submission along with an appropriate title. 50. Students may develop the work that they started for the business proposal so long as there is tutor/lecturer approval and the scope is clearly defined. This topic must then be included in the report submission along with an appropriate title. 6.5 Topic discussion Even though you have several weeks to work on your report it is important that you do not indulge in the luxury of so much choice that you find that you cannot get started. Conclude this tut with some discussion of how you intend preparing your report. 147
  • 148. 12.7 Tut 7: preparation work: reports 7.1 Activity on report-writing You may write your answers on these pages (the document can be downloaded from WEB-CT if you prefer word processing to writing, BUT this must be done before the tut’). Bring this well-prepared and completed to your tut where your tutor will facilitate a discussion. The onus is on EACH student to come prepared to participate and to note ideas or solutions in their own course pack. Identify which part of the report each statement below is likely to fit in (introduction, procedure, findings, conclusions, recommendations, and appendix), (a), then complete each task as asked (b): 1 The purpose of this report is to investigate the changing face of human resource management in the Johannesburg branch of Ernst and Young over the past decade. (a) …………………………………… (1) (b) Write a fitting conclusion. (2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 In April, I approached my friend, Tika, who runs the spaza shop in my suburb and asked if I could do my project on his business. He wanted to know more about the project and agreed to help me. (a) ……………………………………. (1) (b) Write a creative conclusion for this statement. (2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3 15% of our old customers have moved to new addresses. (a) …………………………………... (1) (b) Provide a suitable recommendation. (2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 Pretorius Inc. has a workforce comprised of 60 Black workers, 20 Indian, 5 Coloured and 5 White. These 5 White men fill all of the management positions. (a) What part of the report does this statement fit it? ………………………………. (1) (b) Write a likely conclusion for this statement. (2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… (c) Write a likely recommendation for this statement. (2) …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5 There is difficulty in keeping the mailing list up to date. (a) ……………………………….. (1) (b) Provide (a) suitable finding(s). (2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 148
  • 149. 6 Staff at the Alexandra branch should be allowed some free time during the week to attend language classes. (a) …………………………………………… (1) (b) Provide a suitable finding. (2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7 There is inadequate communication between the invoicing and packing departments. (a) ……………………………… (1) (b) Provide a suitable finding. (2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8 The marketing department reflects the corporate image as set down by the executive management team. (a) …………………………………… (1) (b) Provide a suitable introductory comment.(2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9 A survey was conducted in which a total of 10 employees of the company representing various departments were asked questions (a list is attached in the annexures). (a) …………………………………… (1) 10 The provision of recreational facilities for staff should be considered. (a) …………………………………….(1) (b) Write an imaginative finding for this (2) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. TOTAL MARKS: 30 7.2 Report exercise – Pair-work Task: in pairs, have a third of the class work on each of the following three activities for 10 minutes. Then compare answers and results in plenary discussion chaired by the tutor. 6.6.1 Write conclusions and recommendations for the following introduction working out what would fit according to what is given: (10 marks) REPORT ON CONVERTIBLE BONDS: FINANCIAL AND ACCOUNTING CONSIDERATIONS 1 INTRODUCTION The purpose of this report is to provide information for the management of Jabulani Manufacturing about an increasingly popular form of financing: convertible debt. Convertible debt is an issue of debt securities (bonds) that carry the option of exchange for equity securities (usually common stock). 149
  • 150. Three major topics make up the report: (1) the nature of convertible bonds, (2) financial advantages and disadvantages Jabulani could expect if it issues the bonds, and (3) accounting treatment for the bonds. 6.6.2 Write only the introduction for this report. (10) The company you work for, Newtown Industries, intends to upgrade its database management system (DBMS). Your boss, Susan Mafikeng, has asked you to research and write a report on how businesses use DBMS. As part of your report you should be sure to cover DBMS for use on microcomputers versus those designed for use on mainframes. 6.6.3 Consider the following conclusion and write a suitable introduction for it. You could ask at least three problem questions: (10 marks) REPORT ON THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF ROXBURY INDUSTRIAL PARK CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Analysis of tax revenues, employment data, personal interviews, and professional literature leads to the following conclusions and recommendations about the economic impact of Roxbury Industrial Park on the city of Boston: 1. Sales tax and other revenues produced nearly $1 million in income to the city of Boston in 2000. By 2005 sales tax and other revenues are expected to produce $1.7million in city income. 2. RIP currently employs 7 035 employees, the majority of whom are working in manufacturing and assembly. The average employee in 2000 earned $24 920. 3. By 2005 RIP is expected to employ more than 15 000 workers producing a total payroll of over $450 million. 4. Employment trends indicate that by 2005 more RIP employees will be engaged in higher-paying white-collar positions. On the basis of these findings, we recommend that the City Council of Boston authorize the development of additional industrial parks to stimulate local economic growth. 7.3 Analytical Report Group Activities While collaborative analytical reports vary considerably in content, length, and complexity, the following list of activities serves as a guideline (ie, this is NOT mandatory, but may help your workflow) for planning the sequence of activities involved in the report-writing process. 150
  • 151. 1. Preliminary approval of report topic. This step can be done informally since the goal is to ensure that in general the topic is all right. Having students write tutors a brief e-mail note about their topic should be sufficient. Consider requiring students to attach three current articles on the topic so that you can evaluate the feasibility of the topic. 2. Proposal due, addressing report topic, research methods, work plan, and preliminary outline. 3. Group conference with tutor. This conference will enable you to ask questions about the proposal and comment on the work plan and preliminary plan. 4. Surveys, interview questions, and accompanying letters due. Remind students that if they intend conducting primary research, you must approve these items before they start gathering their research. 5. Progress report due with final outline. This report can be prepared by the group or individually. If it is a group report, ask them to include names of members who are doing each of the tasks. Refer to the previous discussion on progress reports under “Collaborative assignments.” Requiring a progress report encourages students to complete their tasks and offers you an opportunity to monitor members’ performance. 6. Introduction section of report and visual aids for discussion section of report. Requiring these items before students write the discussion section helps to ensure that the group has a well-defined purpose and problem definition. In addition, requiring the tables and graphs at this time forces them to consider carefully which information should be written in text format and which should be in visual-aid format. Return these items with suggestions for revisions, if necessary. 7. Revised draft of introduction and draft of discussion, conclusions, and recommendations. Ask group members to write their names by the sections they researched and wrote. This enables you to evaluate the performance of group members and encourages timely completion of the research and writing tasks. You can make some general comments about the draft and return it, but avoid extensive feedback on content, writing style, writing mechanics, format, and so on. If you give them this kind of feedback, the quality of the report they submit is actually just a reflection of how well you edit their rough draft of the report. Also, if you do this type of editing, students may believe that they only have to revise according to your comments, and they may get upset if you miss something for which you deduct points on the final copy of the report. In other words, you take away accountability for the quality of the report from the students. Ask the student to make a copy of the rough draft, and tell them that you will keep the copy they give to you. 151
  • 152. 8. Final copy of the report, along with leader’s or chairperson’s report and peer evaluations. 9. Oral presentation of the report; each group member should use at least one visual aid. You can grade the presentation on a group or individual basis. Peer evaluations are also very helpful but do not need to be used to calculate the group or individual grade. Videotaping the presentations provides meaningful feedback to the students and can be helpful in justifying a grade if a student challenges it. 7.4 Textbook pre-reading Chapter 12: Pre-read pages 363-387, Closely read pages 387 onwards about Illustrating Data (Graphics and objectives) 7.5 Textbook exercises 7.5.1 Class discussion: “Ethics and graphics” p 395 7.5.2 Activities: Chapter 12 Review 1-15 p 401 7.5.3 Critical thinking 1-5 7.5.4 Activities 12.1, 12.3 p 402, 12.4, 12.6, 12.7 (NB), 12.8, 12.10 p403, 12.12 and either 12.14 or 12.15 7.5.5 Revise tut 2 on intercultural communication with 14.5 p 484 – topics and questions Tut 7 Homework Devise a plan for your report writing. Include internal deadlines that suit you (and your group if applicable) in order to meet the final deadline at the end of August. Complete any exercises that were not finished during the tut’ time for review in Tut 8. 152
  • 153. ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR ACADEMIC REPORTS Title: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. G1/2, Name(s): …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… CRITERIA WEAK 0-3 Below Avg 4 AVERAGE 5 Above Avg 6-7 GOOD 7.5-10 TOTAL 1ST Impression O Sloppy 1 Smart in a uniform way 2 Brilliantly /2 Immature professional Unprofessional Colour used well Visually appealing Title page 0 Unimpressive 1 Has co. + focus 2 All relevant info /2 Incomplete Meaningful title “Report on ….” – short, memorable, meaningful Visual aids Identifying details (Names, numbers, tutor’s name, group) Contents page 0 Inadequate 1 Accurate list 2 Accessible List /2 Clumsy Attention to detail Confusing Format: Logically linked Sub-numbers used /2 Headings and sub- Organised ideas and writing meaningfully headings Executive Incomplete Just another Summarises the gist Gives quick Superbly written /10 summary sentences intro overview without overview with visual Incoherent gaps aid, eg table Bullets well used Introduction No background Too vague Subject / topic Background: Memorable start /10 and broad Prepared for N- historic & current Promises an States the purpose framework exceptional read… Easily accessible Readable plan of persuasive hook development Clear expectations Procedure Unconvincing Poorly put Adequate list Well constructed Sound, efficient /10 Competent description Findings Thin, Unstructured Fair info about co./issue Interesting info. Brilliantly expressed /10 Insufficient Unfocussed Worthwhile read Social meaning Conclusions Thin, Too long Fair sum up of report Wrapped up Interpretation /10 Insufficient Reminder of main ideas Key ‘take-home’ exceptional Info interpreted points cemented Recommendations Little effort Little value Predictable suggestions Good suggestions Worthwhile /10 evident added & recommendations linked to suggestions No surprises preceding content Content developed Register & style Inappropriate Businesslike, simple Tone formal, clear Convincingly /10 methodical readability: professional Glossary or limited personal explanations in brackets pronouns & jargon Language use, Many errors Minor errors Accurate full sentences Fluent Excelleptionally /10 Grammar Not proofread fluent & persuasive Use of graphics Clumsy Unrelated Sound, referred to well Adds value to Outstanding /5 Unreferenced Uncontextual in appendices understanding Unacknowledged Inadequate Well integrated Acknowledgement Meaningless list Meaningful list Integrated & /2 s Good overall impression meaningful commentary Appendices Sloppy add-ins Interesting Integrated added /5 to bulk it up Cross-referenced value Writing Centre Nil 1 Photocopied proof 2 Goals clearly met, / page (s) developed over time Bonus/penalty Total /100 153
  • 154. 12.8 Tut 8: Report writing exercises 8.1 Organising your work You should have been planning your work schedule independently. This tut gives you the opportunity to share your progress and possible problems with your peers. Through plenary discussion, possibly going from seat to seat first and allowing the class to question and make suggestions as you go along, the input and feedback should make the plan for the following four weeks effective. 8.2 Textbook exercises Review exercises started in Tut 7 in pairs or small groups as well as in plenary for tutor input. 8.3 Textbook exercises 8.3.1 Read Chapter 13 on Organising and Writing, in particular pages 405 onwards. Focus on 5 “Writing Analytical reports” on p 428 onwards. 8.3.2 Consider the case study “Hbc Revisited” on p 428 8.3.3 Chapter 13 review 1-11 p 440 8.3.4 Critical thinking 1-5 p 441 8.3.5 Activities 13.1, 13.3, p 442 13.4, 13.5, 12.7 (NB) e-mail your tutor, 12.8, etc may help in deciding which direction to take your academic report. It is essential that you keep your focus with these activities – do not go rushing off at a tangent doing any research activity that has no relation to your academic report. 8.3.6 Self-contained report activities: Small groups could tackle a choice of these: 13.19, p 444 13.20, p 445 13.21, p 446 13.22, p 447 13.23, p 448 Note: tutors may give immediate class-time feedback or allow students extra-time to complete these exercises. Tutor feedback can then be offered at the following tut. 154
  • 155. Tut 8 Homework: Case study on tele-marketing Learning outcomes: By the end of this exercise the learner will have considered tele-marketing from the points of view of the teleconsultant as well as the public. Insights into telephone and customer care techniques may be gained. Joy was phoned by a teleconsultant, Jan, from her bank. Jan took great pains to explain that the call was being recorded and to check periodically that Joy wanted to hear more about a new product that was being marketed: an accident policy where a princely sum would be paid out to a beneficiary should anything befall Joy. All this for only R35 per month premiums. Joy was interested to hear more until Jan started verifying her personal contact details and quoted a previous address. Joy quickly pointed out that she had updated her details almost two years previously with her bank. To this Jan rejoined that this took time to filter down to the Marketing department, that they had millions of clients to attend to, etc. Joy then pointed out that Jan could have at least picked up a discrepancy between a Kwa-Zulu Natal address and having just phoned Joy on a Johannesburg work number. Joy tried to make light of the matter by joking about the long distance to commute to work, but Jan got increasingly defensive. Joy in turn lost interest in pursuing the policy, claiming to be over-insured anyway, and inviting an assessor or consultant to come and review her portfolio. Jan did not take up this invitation. It was only when Joy enquired about whether or not the personal details were going to be updated that Jan grudgingly explained that while she could make the changes, it was not likely that they would filter through anywhere else. She did however take the details of the change of address, but she lost the sale. Joy terminated the call with a friendly wish for a better day for Jan, but no interest at all in investing money with a bank that could not attend to the finer details. Questions: 1 Have you ever been approached by a teleconsultant trying to get you to invest in something like insurance? Reflect on this. (2) 2 How could Jan have handled the call differently (eg not being defensive)? (3) 3 How would you have handled the call to ensure that you actually closed the deal? (5) 4 What is the key lesson that you could learn from this situation? (attention to fine details, taking responsibility, eg for updating the records, not just making excuses; or for ensuring that a consultant does contact Joy and review her investment portfolio)… (5) (15 marks) 155
  • 156. 12.9 Tut 9: Finalising reports 9.1 Textbook Pre-reading Chapter 14: Proposals and Formal Reports pages 450, 459 onwards 9.2 Textbook exercises Review exercises started in Tut 8 in pairs or small groups as well as in plenary for tutor input. 9.3 Textbook exercises 9.3.1 Chapter 14 review 6-15 p 482 9.3.2 Critical thinking 1-5 p 482 9.3.3 Activity 14.5, p 483. 9.4 Peer review Review one another’s work in progress on your academic reports. Offer input, suggestions and editorial comment. You may debate issues, defend your work and your standpoint and choose not to action advice given. This is YOUR academic report. Tut 9 Homework: Academic reports The academic report is the most important assignment in this course. You are to submit a report to your tutor at Tut 10. The body of the report should be about 10 pages long with a manageable and cross-referenced set of annexures (unlimited length, but clearly if it is too long or bulky there will be binding issues to consider). 156
  • 157. 12.10 Tut 10: Report deadline and student feedback 10.1 Deadline Submit your report at the beginning of the tut. Sign the register. 10.2 Activity: Since this is a combined tut, you have the chance to mix with a greater range of students. In pairs or small groups discuss the sort of feedback that you would like to offer. Please take this opportunity to give us feedback on your experience so far in the course and your report. If you would like Nicky to respond to you individually, please e-mail her at, otherwise an anonymous response is welcome. 1 What was the highlight of the course so far for you? If there was more than one high point, feel free to list more. 2 What have you gained from engaging with the course? How has it benefited you? 3 Did you make valuable networking contacts and are you developing them? 4 Do you feel more confident about going into interviews and interacting with professionals? How and why? 5 How can I improve the course pack and handouts to better support students next year? Thank you  10.3-5 Pre-read these case studies so that you can make an informed decision about which case study to focus on in your class. All three need to be pre-read, but only one needs to be focused on in class-time. 10.3 Case study: Service Theatre and Travis Perkins Ask students if they have ever seen any piece of theatre/production? Ask them how they could tell if the piece was any good? (The point here being that talent is intangible, so one takes one’s cues from tangible aspects of the performance) Brainstorm using the chalk board ideas around: • Performance of the Actors – variability of performance, depending on their mood, health, distractions, etc 157
  • 158. • Setting – both onstage and in the audience. Is the theatre clean, are the seats comfortable, have the production team made effort to create an effective set, are the stage curtains tatty, does the theatre smell musty? • Backstage – although you cannot see what is happening behind the stage, most audience members will realise when something has gone awry e.g. a missed spotlight cue, pieces on set that are not meant to be there, something falling, curtains not closing at the end of scenes etc • Audience – even if you had slept through the production, and took no notice of the setting, you would be able to tell a fair deal regarding the performance and its success from the audience. I.e. through emotions displayed at intervals, appearance of audience, demographic factors (large families, certain cultural groupings, couples). Role of audience in enhancing or destroying the experience for you (e.g. big-haired lady in front of you, somebody speaking on their cell-phone, excited and enthusiastic audience) Introduce the metaphor of the Service Theatre (see hand-out) Employees as actors on performance for you, the audience, who also have a ‘role’ to play in the ultimate success or failure of the transaction. In line with the theatre, all that will entertain and mesmerise the ‘audience’ is brought out front stage e.g. Sushi Restaurant – chef out front as his preparation is an artwork in itself. All the grind of the transaction is taken backstage, so that the service is as efficient and hassle-free as possible e.g. Formula One Hotels So how does this apply to the course and to you? 10.3.1 Pre-reading: Building Human Resources to Provide a Foundation for Growth (Travis Perkins) A case study by David Needham, Nottingham Trent University, UK Learning outcomes As a result of carefully reading this case study, students should be able to: • appreciate the importance customer service as part of the overall product offered by organisations • understand how customer service helps to provide an organisation with a competitive advantage • illustrate how customer service enables an organisation to build a strong business with the capability to grow faster than its competitors • appreciate why organisations aim to increase market share and go for growth • understand how corporate culture links with an organisation’s objectives such as customer service and growth 158
  • 159. Introduction In the business world of the twenty-first century organisations are faced with many rapid changes, such as new technologies, the onset of e-business, new and different types of competition and all of this has to be seen against a background of sophisticated customer requirements at the heart of which is the need for good customer service. To flourish in the changing world the intelligent organisation has to understand the changing business environment in which it operates and must be prepared to invest in its staff so that it can adapt to the many changes it faces. Customers are the most important people for any organisation. They are essentially the natural resource upon which an organisation depends. Customer service is not something that just simply happens. It is a complex process that involves developing and managing customer relationships pre-transaction, through transactions and post-transaction in a way that satisfies customer needs on the one hand, while on the other provides the organisation with a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace. Focusing upon Travis Perkins, this case study illustrates how an organisation uses customer service at the centre of its staff development programme to develop a culture that provides a foundation for growth. It shows how Travis Perkins has managed to balance the strategic objectives of the organisation with the service needs of its customers. Objectives Needs of of organisation customers Fig 1 Balancing the objectives of an organisation with the needs of customers Travis Perkins Although ‘Travis Perkins’ is a relatively new name, it has evolved through the building trade over a long period of time. It was in 1988 that Travis & Arnold and Sandell Perkins, two building merchant public companies, merged to create Travis Perkins. Sandell Perkins had origins stretching back to 1797. The business originally traded as joiners and carpenters but then moved to selling and trading in hardwoods before becoming a public company in 1986. Travis & Arnold was founded in 1899 by Ernest Travis in London, before moving to Northampton where it sold timber and other wood products before diversifying into other building materials. Today the Travis Perkins Group is one of the largest building materials distribution businesses. Throughout the Group its business objective has not simply been to provide a high level of service and constantly strive to exceed customer 159
  • 160. expectations, but to use customer service to build a strong business that is able to provide a base for growing the number of branches from its present level of 740 to 1,200 during the next six years. Growth One of the most important decisions an organisation has to make is to identify the most appropriate scale of production to provide goods and services for its customers. All organisations will aim for the size of business that suits them best, and this is achieved when unit costs are lowest for the output produced, thus providing the organisation with the opportunity to maximise its profitability. As organisations become larger they benefit from economies of scale that reduce unit costs and increase profitability. Economies of scale include internal economies and external economies. Internal economies are gains made within the organisation such as being able to benefit from large discounts through buying in bulk or being able to afford to use techniques and equipment that it would be difficult for small scale producers to use. External economies are outside the organisation and may include the development of a skilled labour force, the reputation of an area for an industry, specialist trade associations or specialist companies that set up to supply certain organisations. Growth has been at the heart of Travis Perkins business strategy. Having horizontally merged in 1988 they now have a market share of building materials distribution of 16% and intend to increase this to 20% through further acquisitions. Their strong record of growth has created economies of scale. These economies have provided Travis Perkins with a large operating margin of 12%, which is very unusual in their industry. As a result the economies have helped to contribute to their increased profitability creating a very strong cash flow situation which is well regarded by financial markets that are able to provide companies with such a strong financial base with additional borrowing. As part of its growth strategy Travis Perkins aims to increase its number of branches up from 740 to more than 1,200 during the next six years. Travis Perkins aims to do this by buying up small independent merchants in towns of at least 8,000 people that are not less than 5 miles from another Travis Perkins branch. It then intends to rebrand these businesses and integrate them into their company network. Business culture Just as every person is unique character, every business organisation has a particular way of working and achieving their business objectives. Culture refers to the personality of an organisation, the shared beliefs and the written and unwritten policies and procedures that determine the ways in which the organisation and its people behave in order to solve business problems and meet business objectives. At the heart of Travis Perkins culture is the simple lesson that the quality of service is more important than price. It is possible to get a feel for the culture of an organisation simply by looking around and talking to people working for it. In an 160
  • 161. industry dependent upon project planning and timings, when people buy materials from Travis Perkins they want to pick up the right materials quickly so that they can get on with their projects. The Travis Perkins vision is to “deliver a professional, high quality service that keeps us ahead of our competitors in our customer’s eyes”. To achieve this vision and to turn this commitment towards customer service into practical actions Travis Perkins have invested heavily in a process of training, development and performance monitoring. Training and Development There is a belief that at the beginning of a new millennium it is people and what they do who are able to reclaim their rightful place as the dominant force within organisations. Although in the recent past much of the emphasis was upon buildings and machinery, today in post-industrial Britain where services account for the majority of employment opportunities, intelligent organisations recognise that their strength lies in intellectual capital and the actions of people to satisfy the needs of customers. The heart of the development of Travis Perkins has been the need to continuously improve people through training and development to develop a business culture that remains competitive so that service and growth will develop alongside each other. Focusing employees upon customer service not only includes existing staff but also starts from the moment new employees are recruited. Having first been inducted, employees are then taken through customer service training, after which they learn about their role within the organisation. As they do this they go through a performance review, with ongoing coaching from their line manager. At the same time new employees are supported by skills training across a range of areas such as team and personal effectiveness, information and communication skills, further customer service skills such as those required for customer care or selling and an understanding of accounting documentation. Induction I Customer Service Training T Learning the Role R Performance Review R Ongoing Coaching 161
  • 162. by Line Manager In 2003 Travis Perkins launched Excel, a customer service programme, aimed at continuously improving services to customers across the whole group which has a fundamental emphasis upon links processes of training to the quality of customer care provided to customers. Emphasis in this training is placed upon employees thinking “what do your customers want from you?” so that through their training employees are able to understand the problems and issues raised by their customers and find a solution to any problems that arise as, if an organisation wants to compete on the basis of customer service and care, the interests of customers and the organisation are usually very similar. Training and development at Travis Perkins is designed to maximise the potential of its employees, whether individuals work in the yard, are drivers, work on the sales counters, are management trainees or are even branch managers or more senior executives. The company has developed a wealth of learning materials which it contains in a resources centre called the Development Zone, where employees can book a session during working hours and work through a variety of courses at their own pace. Employees are encouraged to go on a number of programmes, some of which are internal to the company, and others of which are external. As they work through these programmes employees are encouraged to engage in 3600 feedback. This is a process in which managers, trainers, supervisors, other employees and the individual themselves assess themselves against their own objectives for the training. Management Training and Development Management training and development takes place at a number of different levels, from 2-year programmes designed for management trainees and programmes for middle managers, both of which have been internally developed within Travis Perkins, through to programmes for senior and executive managers which are run by training and development agencies outside the organisation. Performance Executive Coaching (continuous development of Board of Directors) Executive Development Programme (senior managers with director potential) Senior Management Development (high performance managers) Management Development Programme (managers in waiting) Management Trainees Potential 162
  • 163. (a series of steps going upwards and then arrows from an axis to the left, one going northwards towards performance and the other eastwards towards potential) Management training programmes are focused upon providing delegates with the opportunity, space and freedom to explore issues of concern and programmes do vary. For example, the training programme for branch managers takes place over four or five months during which delegates go through a range of modules that include personal development, self organisation and recruitment and selection as well as a case study that each manager has to present. High performance managers also go through a modular programme of training where they development a tool kind for performance known as the 4 I’s. For this they have to: • IMPLEMENT (getting the key aspects right, consistently) • INSIGHT (building self awareness and personal effectiveness) • INSPIRE (engaging people, taking the team with you) • IMPACT (achieving results, having the commercial edge). For high performing managers this programme will have helped them to have analysed their own approach to management, defined and managed their priorities and recognised the key characteristics of contributing to a high-performing team, focused upon the objectives of Travis Perkins. Summary It was not so long ago that the UK Government published what become known as the Competitiveness White Paper, “Our Competitive Future: Building the Knowledge Driven Economy.” The paper emphasised, in a modern and changing world, that employees are the assets of the future that help organisations to develop “a culture in the workplace that allows knowledge, creativity and commitment of the workforce to be fully exploited.” For Travis Perkins, the products and the locations do not in themselves meet customer needs, it is their employees and their understanding of how to help customers solve problems and deal with issues that makes the organisation distinct and provides a base of care so important for their continued competitiveness. GLOSSARY Customer service – a process not only of satisfying customers, but also providing a base for an organisation to improve its competitiveness in customers’ eyes Competitive advantage – a strategic element that enables an organisation to compete more effectively than its rivals Public companies – companies that have issued shares on the London Stock Exchange to raise capital Diversifying - a process of spreading risk by undertaking different forms of activity 163
  • 164. Scale of production – size of an organisation Economies of scale – internal and external economies that reduce costs and increase profitability as organisations grow and become larger Cash flow – liquidity of an organisation determining how quickly and easily it can meet its financial commitments Horizontally merged – where organisations at the same stage of production come together in order to increase their market share Operating margin – profitability after all costs have been paid expressed as a percentage Vision – long term strategic aim affecting everybody within an organisation Inducted – first process that takes place within a new organisation, where employees are introduced to people, procedures and practices such as health and safety 10.3.2 Case study Discussion Questions: In groups of about three members discuss one or more of the following eight questions. Your tutor may group you into 8 groups – by asking you to each count from 1-8 until each student has spoken a number between 1 and 8. Those with one would group together to discuss question 1, those with two discuss question 2, etc. Each small group is to choose a spokesperson to report back in a plenary session in which the entire class is expected to participate in lively discussion. 1 What is the significance of customer service to an organization? (5) 2 How does customer service undermine or enhance the performance of a company? (5) 3 List the components of the ‘4 I’s’ training tool which managers who aim at high performances use to assess their effectiveness. (5) 4 Consider first the link between customer service and corporate culture. (5) 5 Discuss the role of corporate culture in ensuring marketplace success. (5) 6 Discuss first impressions, professional etiquette, corporate attire – ie. professional appearance. (5) 7 Consider conflict management & resolution. (5) 164
  • 165. 8 Discuss the detail of recognising when incorrect assumptions have been made and its diplomatic resolution. (5) 10.3.4 Brainstorm activity Extra activity if you finish the above with time to spare: Brainstorm session on how to improve customer service in these two situations with regards to maximisation of customer satisfaction • The Rand Club in town, or some similar ‘snazzy’ site that may be revamped • A mechanic/car repair site 10.4 Case Study: Patak's launch of a new "curry base range" {another case study by Dave Needham} 10.4.1: Pre-reading Successful organisations build product ranges which meet the needs of their customers. Through developing successful product ranges organisations develop the marketing experience that enables them to identify new opportunities, while at the same time they are able to accumulate the investment capital that enables them to take advantage of these opportunities. This case study examines how one of this countries most dynamic private companies Patak (Spices) Ltd, the leading supplier of authentic Indian foodstuffs worldwide, has built on its early success to launch a new "curry base range". The "curry base" is essentially the authentic paste which consists of naturally blended ingredients and provides the essential base of an Indian meal. Authentic Indian meals are based on natural pastes rather than artificially manufactured cooking sauces. The curry paste market in the UK is growing at 8.5% per year and was worth £7.1m according to market research by A.C.Nielsen in November 1997. The Patak story At the end of 1999 Patak's held the dominant share of the UK's Indian pastes market with 67% of the market (their share was growing at 35%) of the market. To understand the roots of this success we need to briefly outline the history of Patak's to show how the organisations ability to dominate the market is based on an ability to provide authentic Indian pastes in a market in which there are many others whose pastes lack authenticity. Patak's was set up by the father of the current Chairman and Chief Executive, Kirit Pathak, in the late 1950's. On his arrival in the UK from Kenya, LG Pathak began by selling samosas from home to raise sufficient capital to buy his first small shop in North London in the late 1950's. the business then expanded with the introduction of 165
  • 166. other products, including pickles and chutneys, as orders from small shops, housewives and students flooded in and Patak's fame spread. Kirit Pathak joined his father's expanding company in 1970 and has spearheaded the company's rise to the number two position within the UK's Indian food sector. Patak's supplies products to well over 90% of the Indian restaurants in the UK, underlining its authenticity and Indian heritage. Patak's products are also available nationwide through independent grocers and major supermarket chains. Patak's ingredients are selected and imported from around the world, including India, under Kirit Pathak's personal supervision and blended under the direction of Meena Pathak, Kirit's wife. Meena, a qualified chef and expert on Indian cuisine, also takes personal responsibility for overseeing all recipe development. The product Patak's have expanded quickly from employing six people in 1978 to 400 in 1999 and by increasing their turnover from £5million in 1988 to £40million by 1999. The company is based at Wigan in Lancashire where it has a factory producing Indian foods in jars as well as snack products . In 1994 the company acquired a food factory in Brechin, Scotland, (responsible for producing canned and ready meal Indian products)and in 1997 a frozen food company in Dundee. In addition to developing recipes passed down through the generations by both Meena's and Kirit's families, new recipe ideas are constantly being created, all made from authentic Indian ingredients. Patak's range of pastes, for example, were created to preserve the original taste of spices by encapsulating them in vegetable oil. Fresh aromatic spices and fragrant herbs are carefully ground to bring out the subtle and varied flavours which are then blended with oil before being sealed in a jar, creating a convenient paste whilst retaining the freshness of the herbs and spices. The company's product range extends from pickles, pastes and chutneys to sauces in jars and cans, ready-made meals, pappadums, ready-to-eat naan breads and chapattis and now includes frozen meals and snacks. Patak's packaging has been developed specifically to communicate its authentic Indian heritage and to generate greater brand recognition and range differentiation. Rapid growth In the modern business world we tend to associate rapid growth with the major established public companies like the soap powder giants Procter & Gamble and Unilever, or Coca-Cola from the soft drinks and beverages sector. It therefore came as a surprise to many in the marketing industry when the private company Patak's won the award for the fastest growing brand in 1993 with a 92% increase in year- on-year sales. 166
  • 167. This achievement shows that there is still scope for the family run business which combines knowledge of product with an understanding of market conditions. The logic behind introducing the "curry base" range Marketing involves identifying opportunities and then seizing those opportunities. Throughout the last quarter of the twentieth century more and more people in this country tried and then became regular consumers of Indian cuisine to the extent to which today there are more Indian restaurants in London alone than in Bombay and New Delhi combined.The chart below illustrates the growth of the Indian food market in recent years in the UK as well as future projections based on market research by the agency A.C.Nielsen: Fig Growth of Indian Food Market (£m) 1991 37.4 1992 43.9 1993 52.2 1994 58.6 1995 66.1 1996 91.5 1997 105.8 1998 118.5 1999 123.1 2003 (forecast) 142.1 As Patak's became established as a brand name it was able to capitalise on this growing popularity by selling to people who knew about Indian cuisine - restaurants and regular consumers of Indian food. In recent years consumers of curry pastes have been predominantly in what marketers identify as being the ABC1 categories (i.e.professional people and those in higher income groupings - doctors, teachers, accountants, business managers, office administrators, etc). The market is also largely made up of younger adults in the 25-44 year age range (ABC1 categories) who are more cosmopolitan in their eating habits (rather than older people who tend to be more conservative). As consumers have become more educated about Indian food more and more of them have started to cook their own meals using materials and ingredients from Patak's and other suppliers. For example, by 1998 54% of all Indian food consumers were buying their own pastes. Market research indicates that 65% of UK adults do not currently cook Indian food at home. The main barriers to this are that: *Many people lack confidence thinking that preparing Indian food is for "good cooks" only. 167
  • 168. *Many people think that there is a lot of time and effort required to produce good quality Indian food. *Many people lack the knowledge of Indian cooking and of blending and using the ingredients. They are not sure about - how much to cook, what to add during the cooking process, how long to cook the food for, what cooking methods to employ, and so on. Today there are growing numbers of people using curry pastes, and therefore Patak's marketing strategy for its "curry base" range is to meet the increasing needs and requirements of Indian food consumers for the most authentic and best quality ingredients. Moreover, Patak's is seeking to help consumers and potential consumers of Indian foods to become more adventurous in their eating and cooking habits. Providing a solution - the new product concept Patak's have consistently sought to help educate consumers about Indian cooking particularly in the form of labelling with clear recipe suggestions often designed personally by Meena Pathak. The product concept which Patak's have designed for its "curry base" range is designed to make Indian cooking readily available to even more consumers. Patak's have created a range of convenient, easy-to-use, one meal serving curry base pastes in a modern pack format, designed to appeal to new paste consumers. The initial launch of the new paste range was based heavily on the three most popular Indian flavours that people in this country are familiar with: *Korma *Tikka Masala, and *Balti. The pastes are packed in 80g sachets which are designed to serve two people. The pastes are very attractively priced - an initial selling price of 89pence per unit. The new product is packaged in innovative flexible foil "doy" pack sachets to maximise appeal and on shelf impact. The packaging clearly demonstrates the convenience and ease of use of the ingredients. The catchy proposition that is clearly visible on the packaging is "create a Korma". The targeted consumer It is always important for marketing specialists to have a clear view of their targeted customer. Knowing who your customer is enables you to choose the right sort of marketing mix - getting the product right, promoting and advertising your product in the most appropriate way, selecting the most suitable price, and putting the product 168
  • 169. in the most convenient place for the consumer (e.g. on the expected shelf in their local supermarket). Patak's target market for their new product range was to be ABC1 single people and couples in the 20-35 year old age range. Primarily these would be people who are working full time and who have busy social lives. These consumers are ones who need convenience while at the same time appreciate product quality and authenticity. The product is also designed to appeal to the adventurous spirit - to people who like to try new products. However, they would also be modern young people who have grown up with Indian food as part of their diet. Such an audience would consist of consumers who already eat Indian food regularly in a variety of forms (take-away, restaurant meals, chilled ready meals, etc). How the new product launch will help to build the company We have already seen that Patak's is an exceptionally dynamic company which has gained market leadership in its business sector in a relatively short period of time. We have seen that this market leadership is based on a clear understanding of what consumers are looking for in terms of quality authentic Indian foods. The new range will help to add value to the existing pastes and sauces market by introducing new users to the category. Many purchasers of the new range are likely to make repeat purchases and to extend their horizons into making other purchases from across the range of other Patak products. For many of the targeted customers making an 89p purchase of a Korma paste will be a low risk meal solution. If the solution proves to be successful they will want to buy again and they will want to try out other new alternatives confident that Patak's is able to meet their needs. Moving on Nielsen’s research has shown that Patak's is "the most authentic brand of Indian food in the United Kingdom" and the success of the company goes well beyond our own shores. Patak is the market leader in 40 countries worldwide as shown by the following statistics for brand share in selected markets: New Zealand 75% Holland 70% Canada 61% Australia 60% United States 48% By effectively building new brands and ideas designed around recognised consumer needs and requirements Patak's is able to experience continues growth based on confidence in its products and a sound marketing philosophy. 169
  • 170. 10.4.2 Introduction to the Case study on Marketing: Explain to the students the importance of launching and marketing new products to the Market. What aspects must one pay attention to? Suppose they were asked to write a proposal for the launching of a new product, what would they think of? Students to discuss the importance of:- • Knowing/understanding one’s market • Knowing one’s customers • Ability to identify new opportunities • Investing on capital (for such opportunities) • Packaging P.S They can discuss this in groups or this can be taken as a plenary brainstorming session. 10.4.3 Discussion of Patak case study in groups. This exercise will help to understand the importance of the tutorial. In the groups, discuss 10.4.4 activities All Groups: Q1 and 2 Group 1: Q3 “ 2: Q4 “ 3: Q5 “ 4: Q6 “ 5: Q7 “ 6: Q8 Presentation by spokesperson of each group. Summarize most important and relevant issues. Plenary session: students will discuss what they have learned. Any issues raised are discussed here. 10.4.4 Tasks and activities Level 1 1. What evidence is there shown in the case study that the curry paste market is growing in the UK? 2. Why are Patak's particularly well placed to dominate the curry paste market? Level 2 3. How have Patak's been able to grow from a small one person business to a highly successful private company? 170
  • 171. 4. Why do you think that the number of Patak's consumers has increased over the years? Level 3 5. Who makes up Patak's target market for its new range of curry bases? 6. What features of the new products do you think are most likely to appeal to this target market? Level 4 7. "Successful marketing involves identifying and then meeting customer’s needs and requirements". How can this statement be applied to the Patak's case study? 8. What do you see as being the key ingredients of the marketing mix for Patak's curry base range? What changes could be made to this mix to make the product even more successful? 171
  • 172. 10.5 Case study: Considering insurance 10.5.1 Pre-reading about Insurance Learning outcomes: By working through this and related material, learners will be able to consider the merits of buying insurance in the first place and the consequences of claiming procedures. Learners will gain insights into how insurance companies play a role in an overly material society – whether to protect the interests of their clients even if it means operating in bad faith – or whether to support clients through the stress of coping with disasters or violations that would result in claims. Most of us are more likely to be consumers of insurance products than peddlers. It is well known that ignorance is no excuse under the law, so this case study offers you the opportunity to become more informed and hopefully wiser in matters of insurance. Consider the following articles and write a short report in which you comment on the issue of insurance fraud or bad faith. You may recount personal experiences or those of acquaintances. Fraud is allegedly perpetrated by a consumer whereas bad faith is when an insurer refuses to settle a claim for various reasons. It is important that you do local research, even if it means asking questions of people you know who have had difficulties with insurance companies. The following website offers an on-line Insurance IQ test with on-line feedback on how you did. Although it is American, you may be interested in finding out just what it is that you’ve still got to learn. Q. What are the most common mistakes made in purchasing insurance and in making claims? Purchasing mistakes: • Meeting with an agent before having carefully thought through what you are trying to insure, against what specific occurrences and for how much money. • Buying into the idea that insurance policies are so complicated, that there's no point in trying to read or understand them. • Failure to use due diligence (or even common sense) in choosing an agent or selecting an insurance company. • Believing the sales statement that all policies are about the same or ignoring the differences between them. • Failing to ask key questions before buying a policy. 172
  • 173. • Failing to take and retain notes of conversations with the agent. • Failing to save all promotional materials provided by the company. • Being sloppy or inattentive with answers to application questions to be submitted to the insurer. • Failing to recognize and use your purchasing power as an insurance consumer. Claims Mistakes: • Going to the least objective source(s) to obtain help or information on a claim. • Believing inaccurate information about whether a particular claim must be paid or to the total amount owed. • Failing to carefully re-read the policy and review your rights and duties before negotiating with the carrier. • Failing to think through a claims situation carefully before talking to an insurance adjuster or investigators. • Failing to document and save records of discussions with claims adjusters or investigators. • Failing to carefully think through and develop an effective negotiation strategy or plan. • Agreeing to a policy surrender/ buy out that pays only a portion of what you are entitled to under the policy benefits. • Signing a "release" or allowing a contractual or statutory time limit to expire before the claim is completely paid, thereby losing all of your rights. Claims Filing Q. What types of records should I keep? A. Your insurance file should contain: • Careful notes regarding any telephone or face-to-face conversations with insurance agents, brokers, claims adjusters, investigators, experts or others. • Copies of any and all correspondence with insurance company representatives. 173
  • 174. • Copies of all present and past insurance policies and of (the above) brochures, advertisements or other documents, which you were given by the insurance company. Keep all of these records in a binder. Maintain the binder in a safe location. Q. Are there any rules you should follow in corresponding with an insurance company concerning a claim? A. Always be precise. Never exaggerate anything. If you communicate something that is in error, immediately notify the insurance company of your mistake in writing. Avoid the use of harsh, demanding or angry language. No matter how frustrated you may become, do not make threats. This is counter productive, and it can be used against you. It is all right to send copies of thoughtful and articulate correspondence to the claim supervisor or claim manager of the company. However never send cc's to VIPs such as members of congress, the White House, Ed Bradley or other luminaries. This does not work. Q. Is an insurance company required to advise claimants of their contractual rights under the policy? A. In most states, yes. Whenever a policyholder's lack of knowledge may potentially result in a loss of benefits or rights, the insurer is required to bring the insured's attention to any relevant information necessary. Bad Faith Q. What does the term insurance "bad faith" mean? A. In most states, "bad faith" is defined as unreasonable or unfair conduct by an insurance company. Examples of bad faith conduct include: • Unreasonable denial or termination of an insurance claim that should have been paid; • Unreasonable failure to defend a policyholder who has been sued under a policy containing a liability provision; • Unreasonably failing to protect the assets of a policyholder who has been sued; • Placing an insurer's financial interests above the interests of the policyholder; 174
  • 175. • Making an insured sue in order to receive benefits provided in the policy; • Denying a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation of the claim or; • Unreasonably attempting to under-settle or lowball the payment of a claim. If your insurance company commits any of these acts, it may be liable for Bad Faith damages to you. Insurance & Consumer Related Links: • (By far the best insurance consumer’s website on the internet.) Includes purchasing and claims assistance; 'Insurance e-Kits' which can be downloaded for all major lines of insurance; FAQs; rating information; DOI referrals; a comprehensive glossary to help translate insurance policies into English; and other information. • The Consumer Project Homepage -- (Excellent resources for consumers. Also, Prop. 103 info.) • California Department of Insurance -- (A nice looking site with a lot of good information for California consumers.) • United Policy Holders • Insurance News Network -- (A huge mega-site containing everything you wanted to know about insurance, but were afraid to ask.) Insurance is not the simplest thing in the world to understand. Policies can be confusing; the claims process daunting and the subject intimidating. In addition to this, insurance company representatives, with their superior knowledge and experience, can run rings around the average policyholder. This situation is no accident. The more confused you are, and the less you know, the more difficult and confusing the purchasing or claims process is. We help to change all of that by giving you the ability to protect yourself from the people you are paying to protect you. 175
  • 176. Insurance Problems Can Mean Financial Disaster for You and Your Family. Consider these real-life situations: • One policyholder was bankrupted when her insurers refused to pay disability benefits contending that she was not disabled as a court reporter because she could still read. • Another lost his life savings because his insurance company refused to defend him in a liability suit wrongly claiming that the suit "wasn't covered" under their policy. • A third died after he had been denied treatment with a cardiologist when he showed up at his HMOs emergency room with chest pains. • A fourth lost her home to foreclosure after her insurance company rejected her contractors repair estimates and delayed paying for covered repairs for over twenty months. • A fifth exhausted her retirement savings when her late husband's life insurer refused to pay her the policy benefits after he died in a tragic accident. The company fraudulently contended that the husband had lied about his medical history on his life insurance application. Insurance Consumers offers immediate assistance to help you solve your insurance problems. The first thing you need to do is to give yourself a fast education in insurance law. At this point you may be thinking: "If I wanted to be an insurance nerd, I would have gone to law school." That's OK. You don't have to go that far. But you would be shocked at how the entire tone of a conversation with an insurance rep changes when you say something like: "But I thought ambiguous provisions in a policy had to be interpreted in favor of the policyholder." This website provides extremely valuable inside information and insights that will help you avoid making costly insurance purchasing and claims mistakes. In addition, we offer Insurance Survival Kits for Homeowners, Disability, Auto, Medical/HMO, and Umbrella insurance. These Kits provide specific information tailored for each line of insurance. The information provided is divided into Purchasing and Claims Sections. A detailed table of contents allows you to click right to specific sections of interest. We hope the information provided works to empower you in your dealings with insurance companies. With all of the money people pay in premiums, it's really a shame that so many consumers wind up being taken advantage of, either at the time of sale or with a claim. Insurance Consumers is strictly a consumer assistance organization, & not associated or affiliated with any insurance company, agent or gency. 176
  • 177. True life cases of fraud in short-term insurance Issued 24 March 2004 Insurance Fraud in South Africa is an ongoing problem and is therefore a mounting concern to all. The short-term insurance industry in particular, has been hard hit by the impact of fraud, which it is estimated, costs short-term insurers between R 1 billion and R3 billion each year, in South Africa alone. The end result of insurance fraud is unfortunately a significant increase in the cost of premiums. Insurance companies are ultimately forced to pass the claims cost on to their honest paying clients who unfortunately, end up subsidizing the clients who submit fraudulent claims on which the fraud is not detected. Fortunately, insurance companies and industry bodies alike are taking this matter seriously and are vehemently clamping down on the problem, and a number of fraudlines have been set up in the continuous fight against fraud, the clear message being simply that fraud in any form will not be tolerated. In the last year one of South Africa’s leading short-term insurance companies, Auto & General (A&G), have experienced numerous fraudulent claims. The claimed amount of these claims, over the last 12 months, adds up to some R40 million. This figure represents the value of those claims on which fraud is actually detected but obviously does not include the value of those claims on which fraud, although present, was not detected and which claims are paid out. Therefore the true figure could be as high as R60 - R70 million, over the same period. A&G’s stance is simply that if a claim is fraudulent, those clients who submit fraudulent claims are brought to book, in the interest of protecting honest clients and the public at large. A Mr. and Mrs. M of Riebeeckstad, Welkom, claimed for items which they never owned, provided A&G with false invoices along with further invoices on which the claimed items had been noted with inflated values. They went so far as to claim for a ring allegedly valued at R30 000. When asked for a valuation however, the quote for a replacement ring amounted to a mere R4 500. A certain Mr. S of Montanapark is currently being prosecuted for attempting to defraud A&G of the amount of R450 000. This was the amount claimed for items which had allegedly been stolen from his home. The goods claimed for included a collection of exclusive South African artwork to a value of over R198 000! Mr. S later admitted that the items he had claimed for were subsequently “recovered” by him, with the exception of a Sansui amplifier; surround system and hi-fi which he had already sold off and pocketed the money. In another incident, a long standing Johannesburg client staged an entire incident, claiming the amount of R170 000 for an alleged household burglary. 177
  • 178. Clients often don’t realise that lying about information at claims stage, or deliberately failing to disclose any pertinent facts which could potentially influence a claim, is actually tantamount to fraud. A&G client, Mrs. V of Witbank is to be prosecuted for lying about the person driving her Toyota Conquest which sustained accident damage of over R 28 000. The true driver turned out to be her unlicensed daughter. Her claim was subsequently rejected because there was no insurance cover while the vehicle was being driven by someone without a driver’s license. Many clients fabricate burglary and other claims by claiming for items that were never really stolen as well as for items that may well have been stolen in previous burglaries before they (the items) were insured. “When clients claim for items they never had in the first place, that’s blatant fraud, and we are entitled to refuse to pay out the entire claim if we find out about it – we owe it to the honest insuring public not to pay out”, says Director of Auto & General, Angelo Haggiyannes. Mr. A of Riviera, Kimberley, was one such client. Mr. A’s home was ransacked and nothing more than a briefcase was stolen. The client attempted to claim an amount of over R60 000. In a similar event, policyholder Mr. W, residing in Flamingo Park, Welkom, claimed a loss of over R70 000 due to an alleged burglary. Mr. W had submitted a claim for another burglary, 6 months prior to the latest “incident”. At the time, his original claim was rejected due to the non-payment of his premium. It later became apparent that Mr. W had attempted to submit a fraudulent claim in order to recover these items. This became evident when it turned out that the claim for the R6000 home theatre system that was allegedly stolen, related to the first incident. Says Haggiyannes, “Claims will be rejected when a client or member of the same household or any person acting on behalf of the client causes a deliberate loss, or commits any act of fraud. In the case of fraud, it does not matter that only a few items are claimed for fraudulently, the whole claim can and will be rejected.” As for the try-hardy, those who commit fraud, will be charged criminally and a prosecution pursued. If convicted, they will have a criminal record which will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Mrs. B of Algoapark, Eastern Cape, submitted a fraudulent burglary claim. She falsely inflated the amount of the claim by R20 500. The fraud was detected and she was formerly charged. She was convicted and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment suspended for 5 years. “Reputable insurance companies work efficiently to allow for the fast settlement of legitimate claims as well as to make sure clients receive top quality service. The need for fraudulent claims to be curbed, if not eradicated, is vital to the health and reputation of the insurance industry” says Haggiyannes. In the event of a claim, an insurance company can ask for proof of the value of the claimed items as well as for proof of ownership of the items. Incidents where items have been lost or stolen have to be reported to the Police within 48 hours. Should an incident, which leads to a claim, occur, the insurance company has to be 178
  • 179. informed with the full details of the event including the goods being claimed for, within a prescribed number of days. If one has any knowledge of a fraudulent claim being made, please report it, anonymously, to the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) fraudline on 0800 25 26 27 or, if A & G is the victim of such fraud, again, anonymously on the A&G fraud line on 0800 12 12 72. Distributed on behalf of : Auto & General Insurance Company Limited Contact Person : Angelo Haggiyannes Tel: (011) 489-4476 E-mail: Distributed by : Upstream Advertising Contact Person : Jacoline Veldsman Tel: (011) 489-4021 E-mail: 10.5.2 CASE STUDY “Customer care at Aveless: Gloria” Gloria had been in a motor vehicle accident and her insurance company, Sum Time, had arranged a courtesy vehicle for her from Aveless Car Hire. It had taken the Sum Time insurance assessor two weeks to contact Gloria and eventually another fortnight to authorize the panel beating to repair the damage on her own car. She had been given assurances by her broker that the courtesy vehicle would be available until her car was repaired and returned. A month passed swiftly and on Sunday morning Gloria was surprised to receive a phone call from Linda at Aveless, saying that this was a courtesy call to let her know that the rental car was due back that same day. Gloria was astonished and had to change her plans for the day to include delivering the vehicle as Aveless was not prepared to send out a driver to collect it on a Sunday. Moreover, Sum Time offices were closed for the weekend, with nobody to intervene in extending the contract with Aveless. Linda insisted that the car be returned as a 30 day contract had expired and when Gloria eventually managed to return it at 14:00 that day, Linda pointed out that a full day’s rental would still be charged at Gloria’s personal expense, since Sum Time had only authorized 30 days (which meant that the rental was supposed to be back by 7:30 that morning). Gloria was very upset about this as these declarations came without warning and the contract that she had allegedly signed on taking possession of the rental car was not available for her to read. It was apparently in the Aveless head office. Gloria waited for a promised faxed copy of the contract, but after two weeks had received nothing. 179
  • 180. QUESTIONS: 1 Aveless phoned Gloria on Sunday morning, would you consider this an appropriate time to make a “courtesy call”? Consider that Sum Time was responsible for the rental contract and not Gloria. Give reasons for your opinion. (3) 2 What would have been a more suitable time to phone as a “courtesy call”? Explain your answer. (2) 3 What could Gloria do to make things more bearable, from the ruined Sunday to the unexpected expense of a day’s rental? (2) 4 Is it appropriate for Linda to pass on taking responsibility for the so-called contract and claim it is at Head Office? Say why you think so. (2) 5 What recommendations would you make to Aveless to improve their customer liaison? (4) 6 What recommendations would you make to Sum Time to ensure that their clients do not experience such an inconvenience? (4) 7 Briefly describe a time when you suffered inconvenience, embarrassment or discomfit at the hands of a business. Indicate how this has undermined any feeling of goodwill you might have had towards that business. (3) SUB-TOTAL: (20) More general questions on insurance: 8 Excess policy: Khanyi has a dent in her new Alfa Romeo so she brings it in to the panel beater for repairs. Her insurance company told her to have it repaired at the Ndabezitha Panelbeaters in Wynberg, Sandton. To everyone’s surprise, they give her rather a steep quote of R7900 for a minor job. Her policy includes a straight R1000 excess, plus extra R1000 excess if someone else was driving at the time (ie, someone not listed on the policy). Khanyi pauses and thinks that if she were to take it to AA Panelbeaters in Fordsburg, she could get a quote for R2000. Would it make sense for Khanyi to choose this and thereby avoid losing the “no-claim bonus” status? 9 Insurance fraud: Inquire with your family, friends and neighbours about cases of claimants who over-claimed and the reasons why. Anticipate general knowledge here that insurance assessors have tricky formulae by which they prove that you are “under-insured” and so they justify only paying out a portion/percentage of the amount claimed. As an independent researcher, doing consulting work for the National Insurer’s Association, how would you recommend dealing with the problem of fraud and over-claiming? (Remember that you still want to have consumer friendly policies yet you need to protect insurance companies from the huge losses caused by fraud.) 180
  • 181. 10 Long and short-term insurance: Trevor is in the last year of his studies, graduating soon. He does not intend to go for a second degree and he plans to seek work, but he also wants to travel, see the world and generally figure out what he wants to do in life. His mother told him that upon graduation, he might have to pay for his own health care coverage as she would not be able to afford to continue paying for him. She believes that if he is not studying, he should work and pay for it himself. What is best for Trevor: long tern, short term, medical, hospital only or no coverage at all? Why? 11 Lack of adequate insurance: The Jeenah family moved into their new home on the East Rand. Their initial excitement about the long awaited brand new home was dampened as cracks began to appear on the wall and the grounds of their garden began to sink in. As an old mining city, Johannesburg’s underground is in many places unstable. Since they had a home insurance, the Jeenah family thought that the insurance company would pay, yet their claim was refused. On what grounds did the company refuse to do so and how could the Jeenah family have avoided it? 10.5.3 Activities Introduce the topic of insurance. This could be done in several ways, depending on the individual style of the tutor. Eg DISCUSSION Introduce shortly issues around insurance: alert group that this is about life skills (street smarts), bad faith company behaviour vs. fraudulent claimants. Hence, need to be honest and well informed when dealing with insurance, encourage to think about own/family/friends experience with insurances (refer to ‘stories’ on p.27) For group work, students need to have the hand-out for tut 3 with (additional ICS questions, A-E). Or A BRAINSTORMING SESSION Ideas are simply written on the black-board as they are thrown out – without comment or censure, to get the students to begin to think more laterally about the subject. As the ideas are presented, write them on the black-board Group ideas: you will find that certain patterns begin to emerge – perhaps ideas around exploitation; necessity, expense etc –use them to fuel a discussion about the various aspects we have come to associate with insurance. In particular, this might be a good time to introduce matters of fraud and bad faith etc. The entire point of this exercise is to sell the topic of insurance to the students as something which is both interesting and relevant to their lives. They are going to discuss the case study regardless of what we do, because they need to get marks for it, but if we can manage to engage them with the material at this stage, more 181
  • 182. productive discussions will emerge and we have a better chance of each student getting something out of the tut, instead of just the few who are presenting. This is about life skills (street smarts), bad faith company behaviour vs. fraudulent claimants. Hence, we need to be honest and well informed when dealing with insurance, encourage to think about own/family/friends experience with insurances Ask for volunteers to tell a pithy story about someone having a legitimate claim repudiated or a nasty insurance fraud story. Stories: 1) Bad faith: In an extended family household where there are two insurance policies and two of most items is burgled. When the two claims are submitted, the insurance agents compare notes with each other and based on the similarity of the two claims, repudiate the second claim and cancel the policy. The second claimant is angry, because premiums had been paid in good faith, with a clear upfront explanation of the living arrangements. The insurer had indicated understanding and support for the living arrangement, but had a loophole in the policy that they ducked out of. 2) Bad faith: A burglary of bicycles occurred and the insurer refused to cover the claim, because the bicycles had not been locked in a building, even though this stipulation was not made clear to the claimant until the claim was denied. All groups discuss, ‘Customer Care at Aveless and Sum Time’, Qs 1-4 and the balance + general questions discussed by a group each. There are NO ‘correct’ answers, we are looking for displays of understanding and creative problem solving. Presentation by spokesperson of each group of insights and answers to respective questions, concise summary of most relevant issues and reasons for choices (7 groups x 3 mins = 21 mins + marking time 10 min), mark each on sheet (Individual Orals) and note marks in excel marksheets Plenary debriefing: Students discuss what they have learned here – if Qs C and D were not addressed (because of a class only having 5 0r 6 groups then come comments could be directed about these issues here.) 182
  • 183. 12.11 Tut 11: Employment communication (chapter 16) 11.1 Pre-reading When discussing this chapter, you will want to emphasize the importance of careful preparation of employment messages. Often students believe they will be able to complete their résumés or application letters in only a few hours. Under these circumstances, the products they produce are usually mundane, unimpressive, and unsuccessful. Students need to be encouraged to (1) evaluate their qualifications and emphasize them when writing these messages; (2) become familiar with the different ways to search the job market: classified ads in print and on the Web, professional organizations, other contacts, and referrals; (3) decide which résumé style is best for them and develop theirs accordingly in both print and electronic versions; (4) make sure that every word is needed; (5) use action verbs to strengthen their résumés; (6) avoid unethical, inflated claims in their résumés; and (7) use persuasion in letters of application. Because the job search is so personal, your students will be highly motivated to do these tasks well. If you and your students do a really good job on this chapter, it could make a great deal of difference to them and to you. Nothing is quite so satisfying as having successful students let you know how much your course helped them and what a difference you and your course made to them. Aren’t these the types of comments that teachers live for? Answers to Employment Quiz: (1) Five to seven times, according to the text, (2) True, (3) Chronological, (4) Networking, (5) 20 to 29 percent—Most jobs are not advertised! (6) All of the above, (7) About 80 percent, (8) Blue or grey Writing a Persuasive Résumé. When students have little or no work experience, you can help them convert some of their acquired skills into marketable ones. Here are possibilities based on Yana Parker’s The Damn Good Résumé Guide (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1996): • Working on a school paper or yearbook (researching, editing, writing, selling ads) • Working as a student intern for a business • Serving on student government committees • Coaching sports or tutoring academic subjects • Winning recognition for an exceptionally good essay, report, or project • Helping a professor research background information for a textbook • Creating photography projects, science projects, marketing projects • Helping promote a concert • Helping put a band together • Helping with church activities • Performing leadership roles in a club • Developing a Web site 183
  • 184. 11.2 EMPLOYMENT QUIZ  1. You are just entering the work force. How many times will you likely change jobs over the course of your working life? • Two times • Four times • Three times • Five or more times  2. Having your job terminated ranks in the top 10 of the most severe crises in life. • True • False  3. You are putting together a résumé. What kind of résumé format do recruiters generally prefer? • Chronological (arranged around dates of employment, education) • Functional (arranged around skills)  4. Many experts in the field of recruiting think that the surest way for a college graduate to find a job today is by: • Searching the Internet • Networking • Sending out hundreds of résumés • Reading the classified ads  5. You begin your job search the way most people do, by looking through the newspaper ads. What percentage of available opportunities is in those ads? • 10 to 19 percent • 30 to 49 percent • 20 to 29 percent • 50 percent or more  6. You’ve heard that “networking” is a good way to find a job. Who should be on your list of people to contact about job leads? • Potential employers, professional organizations, and friends • Family members, neighbours, and business associates • School alumni and former instructors • Your dentist, your doctor, your insurance agent, and other service providers • All of the above  7. You’re now a serious candidate for a job. What percentage of companies will require pre-employment drug testing? • About 20 percent • About 60 percent • About 40 percent • About 80 percent  8. You’ve landed a job interview with Company Y. Now you’re getting dressed for that important appointment. What two colours of clothing are recommended for presenting a professional image? • Black or white • Chartreuse or melon • Brown or beige • Blue or grey 184
  • 185. 11.3 Optional activity (in your own time) Examining Field in the Job Market. To introduce this chapter, assign students to groups by major or field to examine the job market in accounting, information systems, marketing, management, banking, financial planning, or sales. Have groups search career databases on the Internet for job postings for entry-level positions in their chosen fields, review career materials, read classified ads, and interview personnel at the campus career services or placement office. Direct the groups to cover educational requirements, desired experience, special requirements, and salary range and benefits. Each group can prepare a report collaboratively and present its findings orally to the class. The assignment can enhance students’ team skills and their understanding of the job market. They will learn the importance of relocating, quoting realistic salaries, and using targeted versus prospecting résumés. Learning to Network: Interviewing a Professional Practitioner. Students can make appointments through their own contacts or through calling a company and seeking an appointment. Students should explain that they want information and advice from professionals in their fields. Pre-Interview: Once the appointment is made, have the students prepare interview questions such as: What kinds of duties and responsibilities do you have? What is a typical day like for you? How did you get started in this field? If you could start over, what would you do differently? What are some of the drawbacks of a career in this field? What is a typical career path for advancement? What do you like best about your job? What do you like the least? What is the average salary for an entry-level position? What advice can you give that might help me to prepare more adequately for a career in this field? Can you suggest names of other people who may be willing to give me more information? Women may want to ask whether or not employment and promotional opportunities are limited for women in this field. One question required of every student: In what ways and to what extent do you use your communication skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) on the job? The Interview: Students must dress professionally for the interview, be prepared, and keep to the time limit agreed on. They need to take good 185
  • 186. notes (no tape recorders—they need to practice note-taking and listening skills). Post-Interview: Require students to write an appropriate thank-you note to the person interviewed, citing what things they appreciated about the experience. Students should write memos or make short presentations to the class about their interview results. They should cover what information they learned, how they felt during their interviews, what they gained from their experiences, and how and to what extent the professionals they interviewed use communication skills on the job. Benefits of the Assignment: Students make valuable contacts, gain confidence in interviewing, and develop insight into the workings of their chosen professions. If students make oral summaries of their interview, the whole class shares advice about career preparation and employment searches from multiple professional sources. Also, since all of the professionals interviewed will stress the importance of effective communication skills, the class will get the message. Finally, some by- products of the experience may be job or internship offers, further contacts with other professionals, and future appointments to learn more about the profession. Source: Adapted from Sharon Sheppard, “The Informational Interview as a Tool for Sharpening Oral, Written, and Interviewing Skills,” The Bulletin, June 1989, pp. 19–20. Evaluating Résumés. Ask students to have their résumés and cover letters evaluated by executives or managers in their fields. Professors at Southwest Texas State University asked their students to have their résumés and cover letters evaluated by executives. Of the 42 students who submitted their application materials to executives, 6 were offered jobs or internships. The exercise helps students learn that employers from different companies may have different expectations about what they want in résumés and cover letters. Source: Joan C. Roderick and Herbert M. Jelly, “An Innovative Method for Teaching Résumé Design, “ The Bulletin, June 1992, p. 2. Web Searching for Career Information. Many professional organizations post jobs as do corporations on their home pages. Some useful Web sites are Canada Work Info Net (, which is sponsored by Human Resources Development Canada and provides over 2000 Web sites. CACEE Work Web ( is created by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers. Another large site is Monster ( with over 500 000 jobs worldwide and which allows you to search by region, occupation, and industry. A smaller Canadian site ( is also available. Encourage students to use these online sources and find others to find 186
  • 187. available jobs. Better yet, set aside a class period in the computer lab to show students how to use these sites effectively. If students are planning to relocate, these online sources can be beneficial for lining up a job before they ever arrive! And many of these sites list jobs by geographic regions. 11.4 CHAPTER 8 Routine E-Mail Messages and Memos Focus/Overview In most organizations today, employees spend more time writing e-mail messages and memos than they spend writing anything else. Memos were always a favourite means of communication, but e-mail is rapidly becoming the communication medium of choice. This chapter provides students with a solid foundation in the how’s and why’s of planning, composing, and revising routine e-mail messages and memos. Emphasize to students that two important benefits of well-written documents are that (1) such messages are more likely to achieve their goals, and (2) they enhance the employee’s image within the organization. Help students realize that business communicators must be skilful both as speakers and writers to communicate their ideas in many different ways to diverse audiences for different purposes and needs. To get noticed and appreciated for writing skills, e- mail message and memo writers need to keep their messages short and to the point —less is best. But because many e-mail messages and memos are short does not mean that they should be dashed off quickly without editing. Many e-mail message and memo writers have been embarrassed because their hastily written messages were distributed or forwarded to entire divisions, not just the original addressees. At the end of an unusually long letter, Mark Twain asked his reader to forgive him for writing such a long letter because he hadn’t the time to write a short one. Revision does take time, but it matters. Topic Emphasis Stressing the 3-x-3 writing plan in writing routine e-mail messages and memos helps students to remember the process and the importance of following it step by step. Students who rely on shortcuts are rarely as successful as those who follow the process meticulously. 11.4.1 Activity Suggestions 1. Sample E-Mail Message or Memo. An effective way to begin your introduction of the chapter is to distribute to students an e-mail message or a memo explaining the class activities. Show them how your e-mail message or memo practices the good habits emphasized in the chapter. 187
  • 188. 2. Appearance of E-Mail Messages and Memos. Have two copies of the same e- mail message or memo—one should be in excellent format and error free while the other should be as error filled as possible. Have students imagine the appearance of these two writers. Then have students describe them to the class. Who would they rather “look like”? Why? 3. Layout Exercise. Show students examples of e-mail messages or memos with the same text, but with and without graphic highlighting. Which would they rather receive and why? 4. Discussion of Style. Edward Gibbon, the English historian, wrote in his autobiography, “Style is the image of character.” Is this true? Are we known by our oral and written styles? If so, what ramifications do writing and speaking have for students in their future careers? 5. How Formats Liberate. Business formats and practices seem to some students to be very constraining. “Why do I have to always follow these rules? Why can’t I write it my way?” Discussing the question—How can I express my individuality while following these rules?—often makes for a lively class. You can point out that learning and using the rules is less frequent than we might think. A game metaphor works well here. Because tennis, golf, basketball, football, soccer—pick your sport—have extensive rules does not mean that players can’t be great and expressive. In writing and speaking, clarity, precision, courtesy, sensitivity, and so on are ideals to be sought through frequent practice and self-review of one’s performance. 6. Class debate:. Have students take part in an online debate about the use of e-mail at work. How do management and employees view the use of e-mail at work? Should personal messages be allowed? Should personal use of the Internet be permitted? Should management be allowed to monitor all messages? Should employees be allowed to read and send personal e-mail during breaks or lunch time? Have students discuss these questions and others on the class mailing list. 7. E-Mail Discussion. You may wish to discuss with students the potential problems of e-mail. Not only are messages not private, but they can easily be forwarded to others. Below is a signature block that one company appends to the end of all outgoing messages. Magazine writer Mark Gibbs (Network World, April 1997) called it “the leading contender for the Worst Sig of the Year.” What are the ramifications of this statement? Why did Gibbs react so negatively? Please note: This e-mail message contains legally privileged and confidential information intended only for the use of the individual(s) named above. If you, the reader of this message, are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you should not further disseminate, distribute, or forward this e-mail message. In addition, if you received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify us by telephone at (888) 555-1212. Thank you. 188
  • 189. 12.12 Tut 12 Revision and academic writing exercises 12.1 Pre-reading: Barriers to Communication Use self-control to overcome obstacles in the way of achieving your goals which will otherwise create frustration and tension. Some possible causes for problems: unrealistic demands, impatience, differences of opinion, prejudices, different status, backgrounds, attitudes and cultures. Anger and tension are unprofessional and destructive and will undermine co-operation and the respect of others towards you. Some ways to avoid or handle problems: be calm, be reasonable, professional, confront things privately, and do not become defensive, aggressive, nervous or confused. Topic Emphasis Since chapter 1 is a building block for the rest of the course, stress students’ comprehension of the learning objectives listed on page 2 of the text. Students should be able to (1) discuss the communication process, the barriers to interpersonal communication, and the means for overcoming them; (2) compare and contrast such concepts as internal and external functions of organizations, formal and informal communication channels, and oral and written communication; and (3) discuss the goals of ethical business communication and the tools for doing the right thing. Whenever possible, have students use examples from their personal experiences. 12.2 Activity Suggestions At times very simple exercises and discussion topics can drive home significant points. The following activities can be completed quickly, and they may even add a bit of humour! 1. Importance of Communication Skills. Bring to class a stack of classified ads from your local newspaper and/or printouts of job listings from employment Web sites. Divide the class into small teams, and give each team several pages of ads. Have each team find as many references to communication-related skills as possible in the ads. When they are finished searching, have each team share its findings with the rest of the class. This is an excellent way for students to learn firsthand the importance of having good communication skills in the workplace. 2. Understanding Barriers to Communication. Allow students some time to reflect and then have them do the following: 189
  • 190. Describe an instance of a major miscommunication between you and another person in a workplace or in college that resulted in anger, embarrassment, frustration, or pain for one or both of you. After the student describes what happened, have the class analyze the event in terms of obstacles that create misunderstanding—bypassing, frame of reference, lack of language skills, and distractions. What could the student have done to overcome the obstacles to clear communication in this instance? Help the class to see the event as an example of what happens to communication when one or more obstacles prevent mutual understanding and to see the relevance of these obstacles to their personal lives. 3. “Faked” Listening. Have students relate examples of times when they “faked” listening and how their lack of attention affected the situation. These instances may involve situations when students did not give their parents, teachers, or employers their full attention. Remind students that in their business lives, selective listening may result in serious consequences. When receiving directions for work assignments, they should take great care to listen actively and paraphrase the instructions given to them by their supervisor back to the supervisor. If the supervisor accepts the paraphrase as accurate, the students may assume that they completely understand their work assignments. 4. Emotional Interference. Discuss with students how emotional interference can cloud their judgment. What would be the consequences of sending a coworker a negative e-mail message in the heat of anger, but then after cooling down, wanting to stop the individual from receiving the message? Or discuss the lasting consequences of an angry memo sent to a coworker or an angry voice-mail message left for a coworker. 5. Noise as a Barrier to Communication. Physical distractions (for example, oral communication noise—speaker’s mannerisms, poor lighting, uncomfortable chairs, uncomfortable room temperature, or construction noise; written communication noise—poor letter format, inappropriate stationery, punctuation errors, misspelled words, and grammar errors) can take place during both written and oral communication. Have students discuss examples of these types of noise from their experiences or bring to class and discuss samples of written correspondence containing “noise.” 6. Miscommunication. The following paper-tearing activity is an interesting way for you to illustrate the miscommunication process: Often the best lesson is a concrete one. Lectures describing the communication process necessarily include abstractions that may not always be meaningful to student listeners. It’s often important to remind students that the process always has “noise” interfering with clear communication. One way to help them remember 190
  • 191. is to say that Murphy’s Law usually applies to human affairs—“If anything can go wrong, it will.” When human beings are communicating, O’Toole’s Corollary to Murphy’s Law more often applies: “Murphy was an optimist.” Here’s a brief exercise that demonstrates immediately and concretely some of the weaknesses inherent in communicating. Directions: Ask students to take a sheet of notebook paper (or distribute sheets of 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper). Tell students to follow four simple instructions—without looking at what anyone else is doing. Give the following instructions, and carry them out yourself. Pause just long enough after each command so that students can perform the action. 1. Fold your sheet of paper in half. 2. Tear off the upper right-hand corner. 3. Fold it in half again, and tear off the upper left-hand corner. 4. Fold it in half again, and tear off the lower right-hand corner. When finished, ask students to hold up their sheets. Show yours as well. (By the way, your sheet will be most dramatic if you tear through several thicknesses with each corner tear command.) After observing the varying results of such simple instructions, lead a discussion focused on the causes of miscommunication. You might begin by saying, “If I’m a good communicator and you’re good listeners, our sheets should all be the same. Right?” What caused the miscommunication? Who is to blame? How could this communication transaction have been improved? To relate this exercise to the workplace, ask how managers giving instructions could improve the likelihood of success. How might listeners improve their comprehension? How should communicators react when miscommunication occurs? Who should be blamed? Source: “Paper-Tearing Trick Teaches Lesson,” The Prior Report, July 1992, p. 1. 7. Importance of Communication Skills. Divide the class into small teams of three or four students. Each team will search the job ads at employment Web sites for any references to communication-related skills. You can provide the students with the URLs or have each team use a search tool to find relevant sites. Suggestions for possible sites to use are listed below. Students can also find relevant Web site links at When they are finished searching, have each team share its findings with the rest of the class. This is an excellent way for students to learn firsthand the importance of having good communication skills in the workplace. Possible Employment Sites: 191
  • 192. Possible Search Tools: 12.3 CASE STUDY: BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION “Africa Sells: John” John was anxious about his mother who was in hospital and due to be operated on later that day. He was sitting at his desk at work thinking about her when the telephone rang. He picked it up and answered routinely. It was a client of his company, Africa Sells, who had a problem with an appliance that had been sold under warranty by Africa Sells. This call was interrupted by John’s cell-phone ringing. John immediately thought it could be about his mother, so asked the client to please hold while he took the call. Actually, it was just a friend, wanting to chat, but John not only forgot to mute his land-line, he engaged in a casual conversation with his friend while the client had to listen, getting all the more angry as time wore on. Eventually, John remembered the client’s call, said goodbye on his cell-phone and picked up the business line. By this time the client was furious for having been kept waiting over a personal gossip. He refused to be placated (calmed down), demanding that the faulty appliance be fetched from his house that morning and replaced with a new one at the same time. When John tried to explain that house- calls were not made by Africa Sells and that it was not policy to replace until the original had been into the workshop for assessment and repairs, the client demanded to speak with John’s superior. John tried to transfer the call to his manager’s line, but the manager was out. The client thought he was making more excuses. This made the client even angrier and he threatened to send a faxed complaint about John, as well as write a letter to the local newspaper about Africa Sells’s shoddy after-sales service. Claiming he’d wasted enough time already, the client slammed the phone down. John was left feeling frustrated and worried about the consequences of the disastrous phone call. QUESTIONS: 6.1 Identify at least 3 of the barriers to communication in this case study using your insights into communication theory. Describe these barriers briefly. (6) (6) 6.2 Take the 3 barriers identified in question 1 and give possible solutions to overcome these barriers to communication. Keep your answer specific to the case. (9) 6.3 Describe the client’s likely perception of John. How do you think the client sees John? (5) 192
  • 193. 6.4 If you were John, what would you do now? What strategy would you use to ensure that the matter is resolved quickly and simply? (5) TOTAL MARKS: [25] 193