Mouse-click to activate text Explanation: Email has become very prevalent in most people’s lives and many use it to cheaply and quickly communicate with friends, family, and co-workers. Although this technology is available to everyone, and most people are accustomed to using email, people still are not very savvy when it comes to understanding how email functions in a relationship both personally and professionally. How we interpret email: While most people are aware that the computer is not a person and that emails do not have a character of their own, many people still react to them as though they do. Readers assign meaning to everything that people write and tend to perceive it as concrete because it is in black and white (or whatever color you may choose). This response, coupled with a lack of nonverbal cues, poses a serious challenge for email writers. It is easy for emails to be misinterpreted because people write as though they are having a conversation; however, the receiver does not read that way. Ask the audience: How many times have you received an email and felt a little put off by the message even though it was from a good friend? Have you ever sent an email that upset or confused someone? What was it like to be in that situation and what did you do to clear up the misunderstanding? It is because of these uncomfortable situations that some ground rules on email etiquette were established and why email writers should be mindful of them.
Mouse-click to activate text Explanation: There is a myth that continues to circulate that the more a person stalls in getting bad news out the better the recipient will feel about it because he or she will be prepared. THIS IS NOT TRUE. In fact, stalling or beating around the bush only leads to reader frustration and may not serve the messenger well if he or she is writing the email to their boss. It is better to deliver bad news up front in the elevator summary.
Mouse-click to activate text Explanation: This slide provides examples of poor choices for prioritizing information and shows ways to construct messages that are not blaming or ambiguous. The term “weasel words” was coined by Angell and Heslop to describe words that appear cowardly, ambiguous, or indirect in an effort to ward off or stall potentially negative repercussions.
Mouse-click to activate text Explanation: When writing a complaint via email the writer should provide a very clear picture for the recipient mainly because there is a tremendous amount of room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. It is important that the writer provide a context and state clearly what the problem is and how he or she would like to see the problem resolved. Reminder: Remind the participants that if the problem is urgent, they should indicate that in their elevator summary and let the recipient know they need a response as soon as possible.
Mouse-click to activate text Explanation: These are the first two steps one can take in writing a complaint. It is important for the writer to provide a context for his or her audience and to show the audience that he or she has taken all the necessary and required steps to resolve it. When a person takes the time to show that she or he is contributing to the solution the message takes on a positive tone that is generally received with greater ease and optimism by the audience.
Explanation: Everyone does not agrees on what is considered to be a “problem.” When writers clearly state what they perceive to be troublesome it reduces the possibility of disagreement between them and their audience. Labeling something as a “problem” is not sufficient enough to motivate others to act. The problem must be clearly defined in a way that can foster solutions.
Explanation: Most often when people receive complaints the natural reaction is to ask “so how does this involve me?” It is vital that writers prescribe courses of action to motivate their audience. First, writers should concede that they may have overlooked an option; perhaps there are other ways to resolve the problem without calling meetings and sending out intimidating memos. Second, writers should show how they are willing to participate in the solution by suggesting their willingness to meet with a third party, the party in question, or others. This shows that writers have good will toward the organization.
Prof. Navodita Mishra
Why is business writing important?
We all interact with the written word as though
it has a personality and that personality makes
positive and negative impressions upon us.
Without immediate feedback your document
can easily be misinterpreted by your reader, so
it is crucial that you follow the basic rules of
etiquette to construct an appropriate tone.
Pre-requisite of Business Letter
Why am I writing this letter?
What do I expect to get out of it?
What arguments I need to provide?
How can I achieve this?
Types of Business Letters
Enquiries / Requests and Replies
Orders and replies
Complaints and replies
Credit and status enquiries
The elements of business letter
Letterhead or Heading
Private & Confidential
Style of Address
Body of the letter
Stages of business writing
Brainstorm what the communication must
Cluster your ideas into topics.
Outline your topics, including subtopics.
Write a rough draft.
Revise by editing your work.
Produce the final draft.
Never ignore reader’s senstivity
Emphasize what readers can do instead of
what they cannot do.
State facts instead of assigning blame.
Avoid leading with negative information.
The decision was made by the manager at the last
The manager decided at the last moment.
Please let us know when we can be of assistance to
Please let us know when we can assist you
You did not complete all the items on the form.
All the items on the form were not completed.
The construction company finished the building on
The building was finished on Wednesday.
General Format: Tone
• Write in a positive tone
“When you complete the
report.” instead of “If you
complete the report.”
• Avoid negative words
that begin with “un, non,
ex” or that end with
“less” (useless, non-
• Use smiles , winks ;),
and other graphical
symbols only when
• Use contractions to add
a friendly tone.
(don’t, won’t, can’t).
Delivering Bad News
Deliver the news up
Avoid hedging words or
words that sound
Maintain a positive
Delivering Bad News
Deliver the news up front:
“We are unable to order
new computers this
quarter due to budget
“I think it will be hard to
recover from this, but
what can I do to help?”
Avoid using “weasel words”
“Our pricing structure is
More examples of hedging
Intents and purposes
Possibly, most likely
Writing a complaint
• You should briefly state
the history of the
problem to provide
context for your reader.
• Explain the attempts you
made previously to
resolve the problem.
• Show why it is critical for
the problem to be
resolved by your reader.
• Offer suggestions on
ways you think it can be
resolved or how you are
willing to help in the
Writing a complaint
Briefly state the history:
“The current way we
choose officers for our
organization is not
democratic. As a result,
we have a popularity
contest that does not
always get us the best
Show attempts made by
you thus far to resolve
“I have offered two
alternatives for officer
selection that still
involves the votes of the
members but both have
been rejected by the
Writing a complaint
Show why it is important for your reader to get involved:
“This is a problem for two reasons. First, I am concerned
that the executive board no longer protects the
interests of the organization and that their actions are
not in keeping with the constitution of the organization.
Second, there have been a number of complaints from
the members who feel that their concerns and
preferences are not being addressed by the executive
board, which decreases morale and productivity.”
Writing a complaint
Ask for help and offer a resolution:
“Please let me know what other options I may have
overlooked. I am willing to meet with the department
head and the executive board to seek out a solution
that is fair to the members and is good for the business
of the organization. ”