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Effective Business Writing Skills


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Training Module on Effective Business Writing Skills

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Effective Business Writing Skills

  1. 1. Welcome
  2. 2. Sponsored by:- DEBAT ISLAM VS KRISTIAN http://www. debatagung .com
  3. 3. Good Business Writing Skills presented by Malathy Thiagarajah Organized by NET BALI SDN BHD
  4. 4. Good Communication is the lifeblood of successful organisations
  5. 5. Methods of Communication <ul><li>Name 5 methods of Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Communication is more powerful when </li></ul><ul><li>they are combined </li></ul>
  6. 6. Five Methods of Communication Methods of Communication Examples Benefits   Written word   Letters, memos, fax messages, e-mail, reports, notices, leaflets, agendas, minutes, advertisements, factsheets, newsletters, invitations, forms, questionnaires, press releases 1 .     Permanent record 2.     Authority 3.     Evidence for future 4.     Can be read at leisure 5.     Can include visual aids to assist understanding 6.     Distance may be useful   Spoken word   Telephone calls, discussions, meetings, interviews, speeches, presentations, conferences, seminars, conversations 1.     Voice adds emphasis 2.     Immediate feedback 3.     Body Language or tone of voice   Symbolic gestures   Tone of voice, posture, gestures, facial expressions, actions, silence, movement, eye contact 1.     We can gain extra information 2.     We may be able to read “between the lines”
  7. 7. Five Methods of Communication   Visual images   Cartoons, illustrations, graphics, photographs, slides, drawings 1.     Understanding is often aided with visual images 2.     They can convey powerful conscious and unconscious messages 3.     Hold attention and interest   Multi-Media     Newspapers, magazines, radio cassettes, television, video, Intranet, Internet, World Wide Web, CD-ROMs 1 .     Can combine any of the above methods for interest and participation  
  8. 8. Getting Grips with Grammar Oh No. Grammar!
  9. 9. Mind Your Grammar ! <ul><li>Clause </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Verb </li></ul><ul><li>Noun </li></ul><ul><li>Adjective </li></ul><ul><li>Adverb </li></ul><ul><li>Conjunction </li></ul><ul><li>Pronoun </li></ul><ul><li>Preposition </li></ul><ul><li>Infinite </li></ul><ul><li>Interjection </li></ul>
  10. 10. Subject-Verb Agreement
  11. 11. Agreement Rule 1 <ul><li>If you use a singular subject use singular verb </li></ul><ul><li>If you use plural subject use a plural verb </li></ul><ul><li>This computer is the latest on the market </li></ul><ul><li>These computers are the latest on the market </li></ul><ul><li>The book on rules of good manners has become a best seller </li></ul><ul><li>Good manners are a common courtesy and create a good impression </li></ul>
  12. 12.   Agreement Rule 2 <ul><li>Use a plural verb when two separate subjects are joined with and </li></ul><ul><li>Ling Ling and Wai Kee are getting married next month. </li></ul><ul><li>Studying first and then socializing creates a really good balance. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Agreement Rule 3 <ul><li>  Disregard explanatory phrases, parenthetical phrases or other modifiers that come between subject and verb </li></ul><ul><li>The lawyer’s briefcase , along with a file of very important papers, has been stolen </li></ul><ul><li>Each report , compiled independently by different directors, indicates that change is essential </li></ul><ul><li>The leader of this popular group of musicians is planning a solo single </li></ul>
  14. 14. Agreement Rule 4 <ul><li>Use singular verbs with indefinite pronouns </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone on the committee is planning to attend the seminar </li></ul><ul><li>Neither of us wants to stay late to do extra work </li></ul><ul><li>One thing we all want to do is to pass our exams </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Dictionary is your Lifeline
  16. 16. What about Punctuation? Do we have to ?
  17. 17. Punctuation is used to clarify the meaning of what is written <ul><li>Full Stop, Question Mark & Exclamation Mark </li></ul><ul><li>Commas </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-Colons </li></ul><ul><li>Colons </li></ul><ul><li>Hyphens & Dashes </li></ul><ul><li>Apostrophes </li></ul>
  18. 18. Dashes and Hyphens <ul><li>A dash is used : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To show an extension of thought in a sentence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I never thought I would pass my exam – but I was wrong. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>as an alternative to brackets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone - and that includes you – must attend the staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>meeting. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hyphens are mainly used in compound words, where two or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more words are treated as one : self-employed, user-friendly, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>large-scale, up-to-date. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Commonly confused words <ul><li>Accept versus Except </li></ul><ul><li>Affect versus Effect </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure versus Insure </li></ul><ul><li>Less versus Fewer </li></ul><ul><li>Practice versus Practise </li></ul><ul><li>Principal versus Principle </li></ul><ul><li>Some time vs Sometime vs Sometimes </li></ul><ul><li>Stationary versus Stationery </li></ul>
  21. 21. Parts of a Business Letter <ul><li>Reference </li></ul><ul><li>Date </li></ul><ul><li>Address </li></ul><ul><li>Airmail/Confidential/Urgent </li></ul><ul><li>Attention Line </li></ul><ul><li>Salutation </li></ul>
  22. 22. Format <ul><li>Full-Block Format (flush left) </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-Block Format (writer’s address, date & signature at the right hand side) </li></ul><ul><li>Simplified Format (similar to the full block format but omits salutations & closing) </li></ul><ul><li>Indented Paragraph Format ( para begin 5 spaces from left) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Parts of a Business Letter <ul><li>Heading </li></ul><ul><li>Complimentary Close </li></ul><ul><li>Signature Section </li></ul><ul><li>Signing on someone’s behalf </li></ul><ul><li>Enclosures </li></ul><ul><li>Copies </li></ul><ul><li>Continuation Sheets </li></ul>
  24. 24. When does Communication Fail?
  25. 25. When does Communication Fail? <ul><li>You sex has been changed. You were addressed Mr instead of Mrs or Miss. </li></ul><ul><li>The structure of the document has been given little thought. It is all jumbled up. </li></ul><ul><li>The purpose of the communication is not clearly stated. </li></ul><ul><li>The document is written in a very formal style, full of long-winded jargon and </li></ul><ul><li>technical terms. </li></ul><ul><li>Important information has been omitted. You have to make a phone call for clarification . </li></ul><ul><li>The tone is all wrong – maybe critical, condescending or intimidating </li></ul><ul><li>There are errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar </li></ul>
  26. 26. Remember ! <ul><li>Accurate </li></ul><ul><li>Brief </li></ul><ul><li>Clear </li></ul>
  27. 27. KISS! <ul><li>Keep </li></ul><ul><li>It </li></ul><ul><li>Short and </li></ul><ul><li>Simple </li></ul>
  28. 28. Research has been conducted into the degree of understanding of sentences of different lengths. Take a look at these figures : Number of words in the sentence Percentage of population who will understand on first reading 7-10 words 15-20 words 27 words or more 95% 75% 4%
  29. 29. Touch up your Tone Avoid Irritating Expressions Your failure to reply It is not our fault Your neglect You did not see You should know   We must insist You failed to You should not expect to You cannot expect You have ignored We take issue Your complaint Your refusal to co-operate                                      
  30. 30. <ul><li>Positive Language </li></ul><ul><li>Not Negative Language </li></ul>If you do not return your Form before 1 st August you will be too late to attend the conference Please return your form by 31 st July so that we can register your name for the conference
  31. 31. <ul><li>Use Active Language </li></ul><ul><li>Not Passive Language </li></ul>Tim played the violin The violin was played by Tim
  32. 32. Five Cs of Good Business Writing <ul><li>Clarity </li></ul><ul><li>Conciseness </li></ul><ul><li>Courtesy </li></ul><ul><li>Completeness </li></ul><ul><li>Correctness </li></ul>
  33. 33. Clarity ? Be Specific Avoid vague expressions Use familiar words
  34. 34. Conciseness ? Avoid unnecessary explanations Avoid wordiness, repetition, long words Use simple expressions instead of jargon
  35. 35. Courtesy ? Use “You” language rather than “We” or “I” Be tactful Avoid Irritating expressions
  36. 36. Completeness Include dates, times, names & numbers Double check all details carefully Proofread and spell check
  37. 37. Correctness Use correct spelling and punctuation Use correct grammar Adapt your language to your reader
  38. 38. The 5 Ws of Planning Who ? What ? Why ? Where ? When ?                          
  39. 39. The 4-point plan for successful structuring <ul><li>Opening or Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Details </li></ul><ul><li>Response or Action </li></ul><ul><li>Close </li></ul>
  40. 40. Opening or Introduction (background & basics) <ul><li>Why are you writing? </li></ul><ul><li>Refer to a previous letter, contract or document </li></ul>
  41. 41. Details (facts & figures) <ul><li>Give instructions. Ask for information. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide all relevant details. </li></ul><ul><li>Separate into paragraphs for separate theme </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the paragraphs flow logically </li></ul>
  42. 42. Response or Action <ul><li>What action do you want the reader to take? </li></ul><ul><li>What action will you take? </li></ul><ul><li>Give a deadline if necessary </li></ul>
  43. 43. Tips for Better Letters <ul><li>Choose simple words </li></ul><ul><li>Use short sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid wordiness </li></ul><ul><li>Use appropriate tone </li></ul><ul><li>Be precise </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure accuracy </li></ul>
  44. 44. Tips for Better Letters <ul><li>Check consistency </li></ul><ul><li>Use your initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Structure the message logically </li></ul><ul><li>Proofread carefully </li></ul>
  45. 45. Close <ul><li>Perhaps a summary or conclusion is necessary? </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes all is that is needed is a simple, relevant closing sentence. </li></ul>
  46. 46. List down the Categories of Business Letters
  47. 47. Tips for Writing Better Letters
  48. 48. Why are Memos Written?
  49. 49. Why Memos? <ul><li>To instruct or to inform staff </li></ul><ul><li>To request action </li></ul><ul><li>To remind someone or something </li></ul><ul><li>To make suggestions </li></ul><ul><li>To report on progress </li></ul><ul><li>To provide information of any kind </li></ul>
  50. 50. Purpose <ul><li>Gives busy readers information fast </li></ul><ul><li>Announce Company Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Makes a request </li></ul><ul><li>Explain a Procedure </li></ul><ul><li>Clarify Information </li></ul><ul><li>Alerts reader to a problem </li></ul><ul><li>Reminds readers about a meeting, policy & procedure </li></ul>
  51. 51. Clear, direct and focused way on day-to-day activities, like sales & profits, product information, policies and schedule changes, progress reports, orders and personnel direction.
  52. 52. Format <ul><li>8 ½ inches x 11 inches sheet of paper </li></ul><ul><li>To </li></ul><ul><li>From </li></ul><ul><li>Date </li></ul><ul><li>SUBJECT </li></ul>
  53. 53. Structure <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Body </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  54. 54. Introduction <ul><li>Intent </li></ul><ul><li>Action Desired </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. I would like to draw your attention </li></ul><ul><li>to the upcoming holiday season…. </li></ul>
  55. 55. Style & Tone of a Memo <ul><li>Depends on the audience within the organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Colleagues – friendly, cooperative </li></ul><ul><li>Managers/Boss- more formal (respect) </li></ul>
  56. 56. Strategy <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>- Know your reader(s) </li></ul><ul><li>- Tell readers what prompted you to </li></ul><ul><li>write (procedure, question, policy) </li></ul><ul><li>Link the first sentence of your memo to your subject line </li></ul><ul><li>Explain briefly any background information the reader needs to know </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of action desired/expectations </li></ul>
  57. 57. Body/Discussion <ul><li>Inform why a problem/procedure is important </li></ul><ul><li>Indicate why changes are necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Give precise dates, times, location and costs </li></ul>
  58. 58. Conclusion <ul><li>Ask readers to call you if they have any questions </li></ul><ul><li>Request a reply - in writing over the telephone, via e-mail, or in person – by a specific date </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a list of recommendations that the readers are to accept, revise or reject </li></ul>
  59. 59. Useful Strategies <ul><li>Use 3Cs </li></ul><ul><li>- Capture : attention of the reader </li></ul><ul><li>- Convince : that you are saying something that is useful for </li></ul><ul><li>the reader & organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Stress “YOU” </li></ul><ul><li>- working together, friendly approach, informal </li></ul>
  60. 60. Useful Strategies <ul><li>Anticipate questions </li></ul><ul><li>(wear the reader’s shoes) </li></ul><ul><li>Use attachment for details </li></ul>
  61. 61. Be diplomatic Edit carefully Respond quickly
  62. 62. Question : Memo Question ??? Are expressions “Thank You” and “Kind Regards” necessary at the end of a memo?
  63. 63. Tips for Better Memos <ul><li>Make a plan first before writing your memo </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure your message is as clear as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Separate the message into points </li></ul><ul><li>Take time to improve your presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Use numbered points and sub-headings </li></ul>
  64. 64. Tips for Better Memos <ul><li>Use language which is simple </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your message brief and simple and businesslike </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure your tone of your message is appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt the personal ‘you’ and ‘I’ </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your tone positive </li></ul>
  65. 65. Creative and Persuasive Writing
  66. 66. Sales Letters
  67. 67. AIDA Principles <ul><li>Attention </li></ul><ul><li>Interest </li></ul><ul><li>Desire </li></ul><ul><li>Action </li></ul>
  68. 68. Attention ? <ul><li>Attract reader’s attention </li></ul><ul><li>Aim to sell or persuade readers </li></ul><ul><li>Striking heading, a question or a challenging statement </li></ul>
  69. 69. Interest ? <ul><li>Mention something to interest reader </li></ul><ul><li>Health, image, economy, fear, future prospects </li></ul><ul><li>Appeal </li></ul>
  70. 70. Desire ? <ul><li>Arouse reader’s desire </li></ul><ul><li>Describe benefits rather than features </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis what is unique, topical or new </li></ul><ul><li>Give guarantees or evidence of testing </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps, give incentive to reply early </li></ul>
  71. 71. Action ? <ul><li>Make audience want to buy, find out more or make a call </li></ul><ul><li>Make it clear what the reader should do next </li></ul>
  72. 72. Four P’s <ul><li>Promise </li></ul><ul><li>Picture </li></ul><ul><li>Proof </li></ul><ul><li>Push </li></ul>
  73. 73. Four Ps <ul><li>Promise the reader certain benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Create a picture showing how the reader will gain those benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Offer proof that you can deliver the benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a push to action </li></ul>
  74. 74. What are Circulars? What are Notices ?
  75. 75. Tips for Circulars <ul><li>Singular Salutation is used </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid words such as “all of you” or “all customers” or “all employees” </li></ul><ul><li>Only month and year may be shown </li></ul><ul><li>GOLDEN RULE : Write as if you are speaking to ONE Person </li></ul>
  76. 76. Tips for Better Notices <ul><li>Keep notice short </li></ul><ul><li>Break up longer text using headings & bullet points </li></ul><ul><li>Use two or three colours, different print style, font size but don’t overdo it </li></ul><ul><li>Clear heading giving gist of content </li></ul><ul><li>Include name and title of person with date </li></ul>
  77. 77. Business Reports List down the Type of Reports TASK
  78. 78. Routine Reports <ul><li>Representatives’ report on sales visits </li></ul><ul><li>Managers’ reports on the work of their departments </li></ul><ul><li>Equipment and maintenance reports </li></ul><ul><li>Progress reports to superiors </li></ul><ul><li>Safety reports </li></ul><ul><li>Accident reports </li></ul>
  79. 79. Special Reports <ul><li>Informational Reports generally give data, facts & information. Purpose : to inform </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical Reports provide information and then analyse the material, most probably providing recommendation for action </li></ul>
  80. 80. The report-writing process Before you write Compile data Produce a draft Finalize the report
  81. 81. What are the stages in Report Writing?
  82. 82. Stage 1 : Before you write <ul><li>What is the purpose of this report? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the problem to be solved </li></ul><ul><li>What do I hope to accomplish </li></ul><ul><li>Does the report aim to inform or analyse? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is going to read the reports? </li></ul><ul><li>What does the read need to know? </li></ul>
  83. 83. Stage 2 : Compile Data <ul><li>There are various methods of collecting information </li></ul>                  Public information (internet) interviews inspections questionnaire Opinion survey Books/journal/magazines visits Reference to past reports meetings quotations
  84. 84. Stage 3 : Produce the draft <ul><li>Terms of Reference </li></ul><ul><li>Procedure </li></ul><ul><li>Findings </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations </li></ul>
  85. 85. Stage 4 : Finalise your report <ul><li>Is all the information in the right section? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the wording and language used consistent? </li></ul><ul><li>Is everything reported accurately and clearly? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the writing as brief and clear as possible? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the report say exactly what you want it to say? </li></ul>
  86. 86. Report Writing in Practise
  87. 87. DEBAT ISLAM VS KRISTIAN http://www. debatagung .com
  88. 88. Thank You and Close