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    Free Ebooks Download ! Edhole Free Ebooks Download ! Edhole Document Transcript

    • EDUCATION HOLE PRESENTS PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION Unit-III
    • Business Communication......................................................................................................... 3 Principles .........................................................................................................................................3 1. Completeness ...............................................................................................................................................3 2. Conciseness ..................................................................................................................................................4 3. Consideration ...............................................................................................................................................4 4. Concreteness ................................................................................................................................................4 5. Clarity............................................................................................................................................................4 6. Courtesy........................................................................................................................................................4 7. Correctness...................................................................................................................................................4 Sales & Credit letters ............................................................................................................... 4 Features of collection or dunning letter ...............................................................................................................6 Claim Letters....................................................................................................................................6 Adjustment Letters ..........................................................................................................................7 Guidelines for Saying "No" Diplomatically............................................................................................................7 Job application ........................................................................................................................ 7 Resumes ..........................................................................................................................................9 Reports................................................................................................................................................................10 Classification of Report .................................................................................................................. 10 Short or Long Reports.........................................................................................................................................11 A Good Business Report......................................................................................................................................11 Deciding on Format and Length..........................................................................................................................11 Types of Reports .................................................................................................................................................12 Informational Memorandum Reports ................................................................................................................12 Conference Reports ............................................................................................................................................12 Progress Reports.................................................................................................................................................13 Periodic Reports..................................................................................................................................................13 Analytical Memorandum Reports.......................................................................................................................13 Recommendation-Justification Reports..............................................................................................................13 Organizing memo reports...................................................................................................................................13 Structure of report ......................................................................................................................... 14 Front Matter...................................................................................................................................................14 Main Body.......................................................................................................................................................14 Back Matter....................................................................................................................................................14 Front Matter .......................................................................................................................................................15 Cover ..............................................................................................................................................................15 Frontispiece ........................................................................................................................................................16 Title Page ............................................................................................................................................................16 Style of report................................................................................................................................ 17 Technical Proposal ......................................................................................................................... 19 Types...................................................................................................................................................................19
    • Solicited ..........................................................................................................................................................19 Unsolicited......................................................................................................................................................20 Writing of Proposal ........................................................................................................................ 20 1. Clarity..........................................................................................................................................................20 2. Strive to communicate, not to impress ......................................................................................................21 3. Error Free....................................................................................................................................................21 4. Print and Bind.............................................................................................................................................21 5. Layout.........................................................................................................................................................21 6. Visual Elements...............................................................................................................................................22 7. Title Page ....................................................................................................................................................22 8. Be Politically Correct...................................................................................................................................22 9. Write for Global Audiences ........................................................................................................................22 10. Jargon Free ...............................................................................................................................................23 11. Technology ...............................................................................................................................................23 Significance.................................................................................................................................... 23 Idea .....................................................................................................................................................................23 Traditional Categories.........................................................................................................................................24 Ethos, Pathos, and Logos................................................................................................................ 25 Professional ........................................................................................................................................................25 Negotiation & Business Presentation skills ............................................................................ 26 Boost your career with effective communication ..............................................................................................26 Be memorable and persuasive ...........................................................................................................................26 Get your message across - and up your bottom line..........................................................................................26 Business Communication Principles 1. Completeness- Complete message should contain all facts the reader or listener needs for the reaction one desires. One can make the messages complete by answering all questions asked, giving something extra whenever desirable & checking for the five W’s and one H i.e., who, what, when, where, why & how as well as any other essential.
    • 2. Conciseness- A concise message includes all necessary ideas & facts in the fewest possible words. The message should include only facts relevant to its purpose. The concise message helps emphasize important points and saves costly time for both sender & receiver. 3. Consideration- Considerate means one is genuinely thoughtful of one’s message recipients & considers their probable reactions to his messages. 4. Concreteness- Good concrete writing & speaking includes specific facts & figures along with examples. To help make messages vivid & specific one can use comparisons and figurative language. 5. Clarity- Make the message clear by using words those are familiar to the receiver. Aim for unity and coherence in your sentences & paragraphs. Have an average sentence length of around 17-20 words & average paragraph length of 4-5 lines in letters & 8-9 lines in reports. To make figures stand out clearly one may find tabulating to be useful. Also give the reader helpful examples with appropriate easy to read heading or other visual aids whenever complicated material is to be explained. 6. Courtesy- Courteous communication is sincerely tactful, thoughtful, & appreciative. In both written & oral message, courtesy requires omitting expressions that irritate, belittle or have questionable humour. The courteous person apologizes good- naturedly and reverts as promptly as possible. 7. Correctness- Correctness in business communication requires correct language level & accurate facts, figures, word choices, grammar, spelling & punctuation. Necessary also is non- discrimination towards people because of their gender, race, ethnic origin or physical characteristics. Sales & Credit letters Meaning of collection letter: Letters written for realizing payments from the debtors are known as collection letters. The need for writing collection letters arises from credit sales. Selling on credit is a traditional business policy that enhances volume of sales. Under the credit sales policy, the sellers allow the customers a definite period for payment of dues. However, sometimes the buyers make unexpected delay in paying their dues. Even, some custom stances, the sellers write letters reminding and requesting the customers to pay the due bills. Instead of sending one letter or repeated copies of the same letter, credit departments send a series of letters.
    • Quibble and others defined, “Collection letters are used by an organization to entice its charge customers to pay an outstanding charge-account balance.” Collection letters are written in a series. When collection letters are written in a series beginning with a simple reminder and end with a warning letter indication legal action the dues promptly by retaining the customers with the company. 1. 10-Day Notice Before Collections on Delinquent Account 2. 30-Day Notice to Quit 3. Acceptance of Counter Proposal 4. Acceptance of Order With Delivery in Lots 5. Acceptance of Purchase Security Agreement 6. Acceptance of Resignation 7. Acknowledged Receipt of Goods 8. Acknowledged Resignation 9. Acknowledgement and Acceptance of Order 10. Acknowledgement from Publisher, Comments Referred to Author 11. Acknowledgement of Application 12. Acknowledgement of Cancellation of Backorder 13. Acknowledgement of Change in Meeting Date 14. Acknowledgement of Customer Praise of Employee 15. Acknowledgement of Letter 16. Acknowledgement of Merchandise Returned for Repair 17. Acknowledgement of Modified Terms 18. Acknowledgement of Notification of Lease Transfer 19. Acknowledgement of Receipt (Documents) 20. Acknowledgement of Receipt of Estimate
    • 21. Acknowledgement of Request for Bid, Confirmation of Deadline 22. Acknowledgement of Unsolicited Idea 23. Acknowledgement of Warranty and Instruction for Product Return 24. Acknowledgment of Correspondence Indicating Postal Delay 25. Advance Notice of Out of Business Sale Features of collection or dunning letter Collection or dunning letters possess some distinct features that differentiate them from other business letters. Some of the features of collection letter are as follows: 1. Parties involved: Buyer who buys on credit and seller are involved in collection letter. Seller writes this letter to the buyer for payment of dues. 2. Series of letter: Collection letters are written in a series. The series includes remainder letter, inquiry letter, appeal and urgency letter and warning letter. 3. Objective: The prime objective of writing collection letter is to realize the dues from the customers. 4. Governing principle: The governing principle of the letter is to collect the dues by retaining the customers with the company. 5. Referring the previous letter: When dunning letters are written in a series, every subsequent letter mentions the reference of immediate earlier letter. 6. Threat for legal action: The last letter of collection letter series warns the customer that the matter has been handed over to the lawyers for taking necessary legal action. 7. Sent through registered post: The seller sends collection letter especially, the lat letter of the series though registered with acknowledgement to avoid unnecessary delay, or missing of the letter or denial from the part of the customer. 8. Language: The letter is written by using friendly, persuasive but straightforward language. Claim Letters Claim letter should generally contain the following four elements: (i) A clear explanation of what has gone wrong. Give full information for quick identification of the defective product or faulty service. In the case of a product, details such as the exact date of purchase and arrival, the amount paid, order number, colour, size, model number, make, etc. are helpful in making a re-check by the supplier easier. (ii) A statement of the inconvenience caused or the loss suffered as a result of the mistake or defect.
    • (iii) An appeal to the reader's sense of fair play, honesty, reputation or professional pride with a view to motivating him to take necessary action promptly to rectify the situation. (iv) A statement of what adjustment you would consider fair. Adjustment Letters  An adjustment letter should begin with a positive statement, expressing sympathy and understanding. Near the start, it should let the reader know what is being done, and this news, good or bad, should be followed by an explanation. The letter should end with another positive statement, reaffirming the company's good intentions and the value of its products, but never referring to the original problem. "Whether or not your company is at fault, even the most belligerent claim should be answered politely. An adjustment letter should not be negative or suspicious; it must never accuse the customer or grant any adjustment grudgingly. Remember, your company's image and goodwill are at stake when you respond even to unjustified claims." (Andrea B. Geffner, How to Write Better Business Letters, 4th ed. Barron's, 2007) Guidelines for Saying "No" Diplomatically 1. Thank customers for writing. . . . Open with a polite, respectful comment, called a buffer, to soften your reader's response before he or she sees your "No." Make sure your buffer is relevant and sincere. . . . 2. State the problem so that customers realize that you understand their complaint. . . . 3. Explain what happened with the product or service before you give the customer a decision. Provide a factual, respectful explanation to show customers they are being treated fairly. . . . 4. Give your decision without hedging. . . . Arrive at a firm and fair decision, but don't dwell on it. . . . 5. Turn your "No" into a benefit for readers. . . . Never promise to do the impossible or go against company policy, but do continue to convince readers you have their needs in mind. 6. Leave the door open for better and continued business. Job application A resume is important, but the application letter is equally important. Most prospective employers read not only a resume, but also the letter—if not initially, then on the second pass.
    • The application letter is a great opportunity to sell your unique credentials. It provides the employer with a first impression of you. Writing an application letter is similar to writing any other business letter. However, the emphasis in an application letter is on promoting your abilities, qualities, and characteristics so that the prospective employer believes that you are the right person for the job. The letter details specific experiences that show what you can do for the employer if you are hired. An application letter also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills. Customize your letter for each job application. Such items as including the correct company name and employer name, job title, and contact information are important and make a good first impression. If possible, do not send an application letter to "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam." Find out the employer's name and spell the name correctly. Also, make sure you get the employer's gender correct if the name, such as "Chris," "Ashley," or "Jamie," could be either for a male or female. Match the job requirements and desired qualifications with your skills and credentials. The letter should include an opening paragraph that explains which job you are applying for and how you found out about the job. The body of the letter provides specific examples of activities or courses you have been involved in that make you right for the job. One way to match up your qualities with the mission of the organization is to find out what the company does and some of its recent activities, and then write about how your specific experiences can support that. Much of this information can be found on a company's Website. If you are applying for a job at a local company, you may be able to get information about the company by asking people in your community. In addition, the application letter connects the content of your resume to the facts of the specific company and job description. In the letter, do not ask about salary and benefits. Those topics should be covered in the job interview, not in the application letter. The end of the application letter should include information on how the employer can contact you, and you should request a job interview. Also, you can state that you will follow up after a designated period of time (usually two to three weeks) if you have not heard from the employer. This shows that you are interested in the job, and it provides a timeframe for the employer to get back with you. Remember that you are not asking for a job in the application letter; you are asking for a job interview. During the interview is when you "push" for a job. The application letter is your foot in the door. In order to get your foot in the door, the application letter must look appealing. Otherwise, you may get your foot slammed in the door. Also, thank you letters are important components of the job search. Thank you letters can distinguish you from the crowd because so few people write and send them. After a job
    • interview, send a thank you letter. Send the letter within three days following a job interview and tell the interviewer something new about you (possibly something you learned after the interview), relate your skills more clearly to the job you are seeking, and let the employer know why you want to work for the company. In the first paragraph, thank the person for the interview. In the second paragraph, reiterate two or three of your strong points. In the last paragraph, close with another "thank you." A general outline for an application letter is available at the end of this publication, as is a list of application letter "dos" and "don'ts." Resumes Resumes can be written in various formats, but all resumes have certain elements in common. Your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address should be displayed at the top of the resume, usually in boldfaced text. Be sure your e-mail address sounds somewhat professional. Avoid such e-mail addresses as "2hot4u," "iluvcowboys," or other similar addresses. You can never go wrong with a simple e-mail address made up of your full name or just your last name. Try to keep your resume to one page. Place references on a second page. Other common components to include are education, work experience, and a brief description of honors and awards. In the "education" section, include your major academic interests. Include your grade point average only if you believe it will increase your chances of getting an interview. In the "work experience" section, list any work or major volunteer experience you have done in chronological order, putting the most recent work first. Use verbs that describe what you did. Do not use "worked" as a verb, if at all possible. For example, do not say "worked as a waiter." Instead, say "waited tables." If you are currently working, the verbs for your current job should be in the present tense. For any previous work, verbs should be past tense. All resumes should be objective and factual. False information misrepresents you. Components that are optional include a professional objective statement, which is usually near the top of the resume. A professional objective statement tells what you hope to achieve and is usually written this way: "To be employed as a customer service representative for a major agricultural business," or "To use my agricultural mechanics skills in a farm implement dealership." The objective statement is optional because everyone's real objective is to get a job interview. Sometimes an objective statement is helpful to the person reading your resume. Including a professional objective statement is up to you. Just make sure that it enhances your resume and does not detract from it.
    • Another optional section is "interests and activities." Only include interests and activities that you know will enhance your resume. Do not include information that may hinder your chances of getting an interview. In this section you may wish to include volunteer and school activities. You may want to list contact information (name, phone number, e-mail address) for references on a second page. List three references who can discuss your work experience, educational qualifications, and your character. Examples of references may include a former employer or coworker, a teacher, or a member of the clergy. Do not list family members as references. Just like the application letter, the resume should be free of misspellings, typographical errors, and grammatical errors. As for the look of the resume, do not use unusual typefaces; use a traditional-looking type style. Also use basic white or off-white paper. Avoid bright or unusual paper colors. The common formats for resumes are the chronological resume and the functional resume. The chronological resume is probably the more common format. A chronological resume is written in reverse chronological order, with headings grouped by what a person has done, such as "education," "employment experience," and "interests/activities." The functional resume classifies the experiences that demonstrate your skills and capabilities into categories, such as "professional," "technical," "communication," "leadership," "management," and "sales." A functional resume usually finishes with a reverse chronological listing of your job experiences. Until you have a lot of experiences that you can group together by skills and capabilities, you may not wish to use a functional resume. Reports A Business Report is an impartial, objective, planned presentation of facts to one or more persons for a specific business purpose. An orderly, objective message used to convey information from one organizational area to another or from one institution to another to assist in decision making or problem solving. Classification of Report Formal reports are carefully structured; they stress objectivity and organization, contain, much detail, and are written in a style that tends to eliminate such elements as personal pronouns. Informal reports are usually short messages with natural, casual use of language. The internal memorandum generally can be described as an informal report.
    • Short or Long Reports "Short-or-long" can be a confusing classification for reports. A one-page memorandum is obviously short, and a term paper of twenty pages is obviously long. What about in-between lengths? One important distinction generally holds true: as a report becomes longer, it takes on more characteristics of formal reports. Thus, the formal-informal and short-long classifications are closely related. A Good Business Report Business reports are like bridges spanning time and space. Organizations use them to provide a formal, verifiable link among people, places, and times. Some reports are needed for internal communication: others are vehicles for corresponding with outsiders. Some are required as a permanent record; others are needed to solve an immediate problem or to answer a passing question. Many move upward through the chain of command to help managers monitor the various units in the organization; some move downward to explain management decisions to lower-level employees responsible for day-to-day operations. The purpose of a business report is to convey essential information in an organized, useful format. And despite technological advances, the ability to accumulate data, organize facts, and compose a readable text remains a highly marketable skill. A well-prepared business report will provide COMPLETE, ACCURATE information about an aspect of a company's operations. The subject of a report may vary from expenses to profits, production to sales, marketing trends to customer relations. The information provided by a report is often meant to influence decisions, to determine changes, improvements, or solutions to problems. Therefore, the report must also be CLEAR, CONCISE, and READABLE. The format of a business report may vary, from a brief informal report intended for in-house use to a voluminous formal report intended for a national public distribution. Some reports consist entirely of prose while others consist of statistics; and still other reports may employ a combination of prose, tables, charts, and graphs. The style of a report depends upon the audience. An informal report to be read only by close associates may be worded personally; in such a report "I" or "we" is acceptable. A formal report, on the other hand, must be impersonal and expressed entirely in the third person. Note the difference. Deciding on Format and Length Preprinted form, Basically for "fill in the blank" reports. Most are relatively short (five or fewer pages) and deal with routine information, often mainly numerical. Use this format when it's requested by the person authorizing the report.
    • Letter, Common for reports of five or fewer pages that are directed to outsiders. These reports include all the normal parts of a letter, but they may also have headings, footnotes, tables, and figures Types of Reports A memo report is a cross between interoffice memo and a formal report Memo reports can be used to: · Answer a request for information · Report progress · Make recommendations · State facts · Communicates ideas · Send statistical data · Explain trend within an organization Two types of Memo Reports 1. Informational Memorandum Reports 2. Analytical memo Reports Informational Memorandum Reports The central purpose of informational reports is to inform and to summarize information, similar to the speech to inform. Obviously, these reports vary widely in content, depending on type of business, purpose, topics discussed, and readers' needs. The following reports are often used in organizations: Information Memo reports will · Inform · To summarize some information requested · Organize information objectively · Make recommendation Conference Reports Topics for conference reports range from summaries of personal sales called conferences to write- ups of meetings attended by hundreds of persons. For example, A credit or collection manager or account executive may make similar reports after conferences with clients. The text of such reports is usually organized by topics discussed or presented simply in a chronological order. Some firms have standardized headings for the often- written reports to ensure that the same information or main topics are recorded in all of them.
    • Progress Reports Progress reports show, "progress," accomplishments, or activity over time or at a given stage of a major assignment. The organizational plan is usually inductive, including topics similar to these. 1. Introduction (purpose, nature of project) 2. Description of accomplishments during the reporting period Periodic Reports They are routine reports prepared at regular time interval-daily, weekly, monthly quarterly or annually. Examples of such reports are: 1. Sales Reports 2. Financial Reports They reports are prepared on pre-printed form. Analytical Memorandum Reports This analytical memorandum report, seeks to analyze a situation or problem; it may end with or without a specific recommendation. Such reports: · On the causes of decline in Sales Volume · On the evaluation of a person before recruitment · On individual being considered for promotion · On the analysis of a particular book Recommendation-Justification Reports Many analytical reports will have a special purpose: to recommend a change or remain with the status quo (policy), support the idea that something is desirable or undesirable (value), or defend the accuracy of information (fact). Your report may be in response to a specific request, or it may be voluntary. Organizing memo reports · Itemize the information · Present the fact with absolute fairness and accuracy · Be careful not to mix you opinion with the facts you report · Reserve your comments for your conclusions and recommendations (letter report
    • Structure of report The order in which various elements are organized is given below. The first ten elements are collectively termed as front matter, because they appear before the main body. The last five are known as the back matter because they follow the main body. Front Matter 1. Cover 2. Frontispiece 3. Title Page 4. Copyright Notice 5. Forwarding Letter 6. Preface 7. Acknowledgements 8. Table of Contents 9. List of Illustrations 10. Abstract and Summery Main Body 1. Introduction 2. Discussion or Description 3. Conclusions 4. Recommendations Back Matter 1. Appendices 2. List of References 3. Bibliography 4. Glossary 5. Index Of the above elements, only the title page, the introduction, and the discussion or description are obligatory. In very short reports even a separate title page is not necessary; all you need to do is to write the title on the top of the first page and start with the introduction. In practice, only long formal reports are likely to contain all the elements. The primary consideration for including an element should be its usefulness. Including elements which are not needed would make your report unnecessarily bulky and impede the flow of communication.
    • What we have given above is the order of appearance and not the sequence of writing. An important point to remember is that all the terms used to describe elements should not appear as headings or sub-headings in a report. It would be absurd to give in a report a sub-heading such as 'cover' or 'title page' or to designate a certain part of the report as 'main body' or 'main text.' It is generally applicable to other formal writings such as articles, research papers, monograph, books, etc. Front Matter Cover A cover is usually made of white or some soft, neutral colored card. It protects the manuscript from damage and gives the report a neat appearance. Some organizations prepare covers which have their name and address printed on them. All one has to do is to write or get typed (i) the title of the report, (ii) its number, if any, (iii) the date, and (iv) the classification (secret, top secret, etc.) if any. These items of information help identify the report when it is in circulation or filed. Sometimes the name of the author and the authority for whom the report is written are also mentioned. The cover gives the first impression and you should, therefore, not crowd it with information. Too many items are likely to distract the reader's attention and mar the attractiveness of its layout. The inside of the front cover and both the inside and the outside of the back cover are usually left blank. Sometimes the inside of the front is used for indicating the circulation list. Notice carefully a sample cover given below. Top Secret Report Number: 1052 United Airways Limited 18 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka 1216 The Causes of Failure to Attract the Passengers to Our Flights 10 October, 2013
    • Frontispiece A frontispiece generally appears in bound reports which are meant for wide circulation. It is a sort of window display that ignites the curiosity of the reader. The forms most often used for the purpose are photographs, maps and artistic drawings. Title Page Usually the title page is the first right-hand page of the report. In addition to all the information given on the cover, it may contain the following information: 1. Sub-title 2. Name of the author 3. Name of the authority for whom the report was written 4. Contract, project or job number 5. Approvals 6. Distribution list Sometimes you will be required to get your report approved by some other officer before submission. When you do this, mention the name and designation of the approving officer on the title page. Similarly, if your report is meant for circulation to officers other than the primary recipient, indicate their names and officials titles. Use a separate page for the purpose if the lists of approvals and circulation are long. Take great care in setting the items on the page symmetrically. Proper grouping of items and spacing are essential to make the title page look attractive. Some organizations provide a prescribed form for the title page to help their employees. Look at the following example page which has been divided into four sections.
    • Project Number: E21 Report Number: 2015 A REPORT ON COMBATING AIR POLLUTION IN DHAKA CITY Prepared for The Chairman Department of Forest and Environment BRAC University, Dhaka By The Students Department of Forest and Environment BRAC University, Dhaka 25 October, 2013 The first contains the project and the report numbers written on the left hand side and the right hand side respectively. The second section gives the title of the report typed in triple space in capital letters. The third section which is centered on the page indicates the authority for whom the report has been written. And the last section groups two items, namely, the author (name and designation) and the date of submission. While setting the various items on the page, allow an one inch margin on all the four sides, and about half an inch extra on the left side for binding. Style of report The term, "style," in this guide to business writing refers to the shape, voice, and force of sentences. Business writing style differs significantly from academic writing style. Consider the following sentence, recommended to student writers in a textbook about academic writing: "As a third-year college student majoring in history who has already acquired a bit over ten thousand dollars in student loan debt, I find McPherson and Schapiro’s rejection of Clinton’s national service plan to be short sighted and insensitive to the experiences of many college
    • students who are struggling to put themselves through school only to face enormous financial burdens upon graduation." Consider these stylistic variables: Sentence Length: Long (50 words) Sentence Structure: Complex (1 main clause + at least one subordinate clause) Voice: Active ("I find.") Point of View: Self-reference, first person singular ("I") Social Reference: Yes. (The writer refers to other voices, McPherson’s and Schapiro’s, on the same subject and formulates a thesis/position in relation to these voices.) Agent of Action Identified: Yes. ("I") Reference to Mental States--An Individual in the Act of Thinking: Yes. ("I find.") The above sentence does satisfy the requirements for a "good" academic sentence. Still, you will never read a sentence like the one above in a business document. Business readers do not want to know what is going on inside a writer's mind. Instead, they want writers to propose plans or recommend actions that will benefit the company, and to do so as concisely as possible. To develop an effective business writing style: • Use shorter sentences. • Use simpler sentence structures. • Use active voice. • Write from the point of view of the company. • Write more univocally. (The voice of the company is always already a social voice). • Identify the agents of actions unless there is a good reason for hiding agency. • Avoid nominalizing verbs. (changing verbs into nouns, i.e. "decide" into "decision.") • Recommend action rather than refer to individual mental states. • Avoid qualifiers that weaken recommendations or express doubt. • Avoid self reference and references to individual states of mind.
    • Technical Proposal Business proposals have two objectives: To persuade and to protect. 1. Persuasion comes from the wording of the proposal. By definition, a proposal is an offer that needs to be accepted by the reader in order to succeed. If the proposal is not persuasive, you will not get what you want. * Refer to Chapter 2, Section 6 on Persuading the Reader to learn more 2. Proposals serve metaphorically and often legally as a contract, so they need to protect you. If they are worded vaguely or they exaggerate promises, clients can take legal action if you do not perform the expectations stated. You also need to make sure you comply with any state laws when writing a proposal. Expertise in writing proposals requires two things: you must be able to present your offer in the most appealing way possible, while carefully defining the limits of your offer so that no one thinks you are promising more than you can offer. Making a proposal appealing without promising more than you can offer can be difficult, since you need to set limits on your persuasiveness. Types Solicited If you have been asked to submit a proposal it is considered solicited. The solicitation may come in the form of a direct verbal or written request, but normally solicitations are indirect, open-bid to the public, and formally published for everyone to see. A request for proposal (RFP), request for quotation (RFQ), and invitation for bid (IFB) are common ways to solicit business proposals for business, industry, and the government. RFPs typically specify the product or service, guidelines for submission, and evaluation criteria. RFQs emphasize cost, though service and maintenance may be part of the solicitation. IRBs are often job-specific in that they encompass a project that requires a timeline, labor, and materials. For example, if a local school district announces the construction of a new elementary school, they normally have the architect and engineering plans on file, but need a licensed contractor to build it.
    • Unsolicited Unsolicited proposals are the “cold calls” of business writing. They require a thorough understanding of the market, product and/or service, and their presentation is typically general rather than customer-specific. They can, however, be tailored to specific businesses with time and effort, and the demonstrated knowledge of specific needs or requirement can transform an otherwise generic, brochure-like proposal into an effective sales message. Getting your tailored message to your target audience, however, is often a significant challenge if it has not been directly or indirectly solicited. Unsolicited proposals are often regarded as marketing materials, intended more to stimulate interest for a follow-up contact than make direct sales. Sue Baugh and Robert Hamper encourage you to resist the temptation to “shoot at every target and hope you hit at least one. A targeted proposal is your most effective approach, but recognize the importance of gaining company, service, or brand awareness as well as its limitations. Writing of Proposal The purpose of a business proposal is to convince the reader to see the world in the same way that you do. Your main goal when writing a business proposal is to persuade the reader to make a change that will make your proposed idea a reality. To learn how to do this effectively, take a look at numerous resources available on this website. In the words of Bill Rainey, author of "Proposal Writing - A Neglected Area of Instruction"... "Thus a proposal...is truly a sales document, persuasive to a degree, but depending heavily on its factual information for its competitive success" (31). The following eleven tips are guidelines that I keep in mind when I develop a business proposal for a client of my writing service: 1. Clarity. Before you begin to write the proposal, summarize the concept in 2-3 sentences, then show it to a lay person and check for understanding. If they don't grasp the basic idea, rewrite until they do. Until you can do this, you are not ready to start writing the proposal. How many times have you received a document that you had to read over and over before you comprehended the meaning? When this happens, it may be because your comprehension skills are under- developed, but it's more likely that the writer substituted clarity of thought and good document structure with sloppy thinking, wordy, rambling explanations, vague descriptions and heavy reliance on buzzwords and jargon. It's worth saying once again: If you can't summarize it in 2-3 sentences, you are not ready to start writing.
    • 2. Strive to communicate, not to impress If you have a good idea and you communicate that idea clearly and effectively, the recipients will be impressed. If you try to baffle them with your brilliance, you'll lose ground. 3. Error Free Your proposal will be competing with proposals prepared by professional writers, graphic designers and desktop publishers. You may not have those resources at your disposal, but you can be fastidious about checking for typing, spelling and grammatical errors. Spell checkers can only go so far; the rest is up to you. Ask someone else to check your document for errors before you submit it, or wait a few days before rereading it. If you have worked on a document intensely, you will "learn" to interpret errors as being correct. It takes a fresh eye to spot the typos. 4. Print and Bind Print your document on good quality, heavy- bond paper, using either a laser printer or a good- quality bubble jet. Take it to an office service for backing and binding. For less than $10, you can produce a nicely done, professionally presented package. 5. Layout When laying out your document, format it so the body of the text appears in the right two-thirds of the page. The one-third of the page to the left contains titles and white space. The white space to the left allows the reader to make notes. This sounds like a trivial matter, but it elicits positive reactions from recipients.
    • 6. Visual Elements Include visual elements sporadically throughout your document. Logos, clip art, graphs, charts, tables and other elements greatly enhance the visual appeal of your document and make it easier for many people to read and comprehend. Pages of pure text are tiring to the eye and a challenge to the attention span. Additionally, many people are visually oriented, meaning the preferred method of learning is through imagery and not text. 7. Title Page Begin with a Title Page that includes images (graphics, pictures, etc.), the name of the proposal recipient, the name of the project, your company name and address, the date, and your copyright symbol. 8. Be Politically Correct Whether you support political correctness or whether you don't, the issue here is to avoid offending the people who will receive your proposal document. Avoid any language that can be construed as offensive to any group of people - including women, men, persons with disabilities, persons belonging to visible minorities, senior citizens, and so on. If you're not certain of correct terminology, consult with someone knowledgeable before submitting your proposal. 9. Write for Global Audiences Emerging technologies, immigration policies and agreements like NAFTA have produced a global marketplace. Documents nowadays should be written with the understanding that they may be evaluated by persons living in other countries or by persons for whom English is a second language. Even if you are submitting your proposal to a local business, they may well have joint ventures with international companies, and these companies may be asked to peruse your document. Unless your proposal is local to a specific geographic area, avoid references that would not be understood by persons living in other areas (or explain these references if you must
    • use them). Also, avoid the use of slang or expressions from pop culture. When persons from other cultures study the English language, they are taught to speak formal, correct English. They are often unfamiliar with the use of slang terms. 10. Jargon Free Every industry has its own particular "language" - words, terms and expressions that are common to that industry but foreign to people from other industries. Avoid the use of jargon, or if you must use it, explain it. For example, expressions like "branding," "turnkey solution," "E- commerce" are not necessarily understood by everyone who is doing business. Also remember that your proposal may go to a committee that is comprised of people from various walks of life. Make sure they understand what you are talking about. 11. Technology What was just said about jargon goes double for technology. If your proposed project involves the use of technologies, be very careful with your explanation. The persons reading the document may have little or no technological background. Therefore, in the body of the proposal, it's usually recommended that you explain your technology in terms of what it will do - i.e. "A data base that members can use to search for information about your products." There is a place for detailed information about the technology that you are proposing - and that spot is the appendix. In many cases, a non-technically oriented business will engage a technology consultant to review your proposed technology. This person can use the detailed explanations that you include in the appendix while other readers will be able understand the proposal itself. Significance Idea Effective business proposals are built around a great idea or solution. While you may be able to present your normal product, service, or solution in an interesting way, you want your document and its solution to stand out against the background of competing proposals. What makes your idea different or unique? How can you better meet the needs of the company that other vendors? What makes you so special? If the purchase decision is made solely on price, it may leave you little room to underscore the value of service, but the sale follow-through has value. For
    • example, don’t consider just the cost of the unit but also its maintenance. How can maintenance be a part of your solution, distinct from the rest? In addition, your proposal may focus on a common product where you can anticipate several vendors at similar prices. How can you differentiate yourself from the rest by underscoring long-term relationships, demonstrated ability to deliver, or the ability to anticipate the company’s needs? Business proposals need to have an attractive idea or solution in order to be effective. Traditional Categories You can be creative in many aspects of the business proposal, but follow the traditional categories. Businesses expect to see information in a specific order, much like a résumé or even a letter. Each aspect of your proposal has its place and it is to your advantage to respect that tradition and use the categories effectively to highlight your product or service. Every category is an opportunity to sell, and should reinforce your credibility, your passion, and the reason why your solution is simply the best. Table 9.2 Business Proposal Format Cover Page Title page with name, title, date, and specific reference to request for proposal if applicable. Executive Summary Like an abstract in a report, this is a one- or two-paragraph summary of the product or service and how it meets the requirements and exceeds expectations. Background Discuss the history of your product, service, and/or company and consider focusing on the relationship between you and the potential buyer and/or similar companies. Proposal The idea. Who, what, where, when, why, and how. Make it clear and concise. Don’t waste words, and don’t exaggerate. Use clear, well-supported reasoning to demonstrate your product or service. Market Analysis What currently exists in the marketplace, including competing products or services, and how does your solution compare? Benefits How will the potential buyer benefit from the product or service? Be clear, concise, specific, and provide a comprehensive list of immediate, short, and long- term benefits to the company. Timeline A clear presentation, often with visual aids, of the process, from start to finish, with specific, dated benchmarks noted. Marketing Plan Delivery is often the greatest challenge for Web-based services—how will people learn about you? If you are bidding on a gross lot of food service supplies, this may not apply to you, but if an audience is required for success, you will need a marketing plan. Finance What are the initial costs, when can revenue be anticipated, when will there be a return on investment (if applicable)? Again, the proposal may involve a one-time
    • fixed cost, but if the product or service is to be delivered more than once, and extended financial plan noting costs across time is required. Conclusion Like a speech or essay, restate your main points clearly. Tie them together with a common them and make your proposal memorable. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos Ethos refers to credibility, pathos to passion and enthusiasm, and logos to logic or reason. All three elements are integral parts of your business proposal that require your attention. Who are you and why should we do business with you? Your credibility may be unknown to the potential client and it is your job to reference previous clients, demonstrate order fulfillment, and clearly show that your product or service is offered by a credible organization. By association, if your organization is credible the product or service is often thought to be more credible. In the same way, if you are not enthusiastic about the product or service, why should the potential client get excited? How does your solution stand out in the marketplace? Why should they consider you? Why should they continue reading? Passion and enthusiasm are not only communicated through “!” exclamation points. Your thorough understanding, and your demonstration of that understanding, communicates dedication and interest. Each assertion requires substantiation, each point clear support. It is not enough to make baseless claims about your product or service—you have to show why the claims you make are true, relevant, and support your central assertion that your product or service is right for this client. Make sure you cite sources and indicate “according to” when you support your points. Be detailed and specific. Professional A professional document is a base requirement. If it is less than professional, you can count on its prompt dismissal. There should be no errors in spelling or grammar, and all information should be concise, accurate, and clearly referenced when appropriate. Information that pertains to credibility should be easy to find and clearly relevant, including contact information. If the document exists in a hard copy form, it should be printed on a letterhead. If the document is submitted in an electronic form, it should be in a file format that presents your document as you intended. Word processing files may have their formatting changed or adjusted based on factors you cannot control—like screen size—and information can shift out of place, making it difficult to understand. In this case, a portable document format (PDF)—a format for electronic documents—may be used to preserve content location and avoid any inadvertent format changes when it is displayed. Effective, persuasive proposals are often brief, even limited to one page. “The one-page proposal has been one of the keys to my business success, and it can be invaluable to you too. Few decision-makers can ever afford to read more than one page when
    • deciding if they are interested in a deal or not. This is even more true for people of a different culture or language,” said Adnan Khashoggi, a successful multibillionaire.Clear and concise proposals serve the audience well and limit the range of information to prevent confusion. Negotiation & Business Presentation skills Boost your career with effective communication Being able to communicate, negotiate and present effectively is a critical management skill. When communication is not effective it can create conflict, misunderstandings and barriers that can negatively influence our most important inter-personal relationships at work and at home. Knowing how to communicate, negotiate and listen effectively can make the difference between success and failure. This course is designed to provide delegates at supervisory and middle management level with the skills, knowledge, techniques and strategies to communicate, negotiate and present effectively so that they can get their point across in a confident, clear manner, improving efficiency and productivity. Be memorable and persuasive Good communication skills can really make or break any business undertaking - great communication leaves a memorable and long-lasting impression, that never fails to leave customers coming back for more, more, more! Get your message across - and up your bottom line Unpack and understand the language and communication skills you need to develop your verbal and written communication skills, as well as understand the processes of persuasion. Join us for this exciting 2-day workshop and empower yourself and you staff to present your messages and ideas effectively - and with real impact.