Designing a Business Communication Plan


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Designing a Business Communication Plan

  1. 1. Business Communication Planning, writing, and revising Creating goodwill Ricardo Leiva
  2. 2. <ul><li>PLANNING </li></ul><ul><li>Planning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyzing the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defining your purposes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyzing the audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thinking of information, benefits, and objections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choosing a pattern of organization or making an outline </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>PLANNING AND WRITING </li></ul><ul><li>Planning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gathering the information you need—from the message you’re answering, a person, a book, or the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Writing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Putting words on paper or on a screen </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>REVISING </li></ul><ul><li>Revising : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluating your work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measuring your work against your goals and the requirements of the situation and audience </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>REVISING </li></ul><ul><li>Revising : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Re-see your draft as if someone else had written it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will your audience understand it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it complete? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Convincing? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Friendly? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get feedback from someone else </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>REVISING </li></ul><ul><li>Editing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deleting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Replacing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rearranging </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>PLANNING AND WRITING </li></ul><ul><li>Spend a third of your time writing </li></ul><ul><li>Spend one third: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyzing the situation and your audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gathering information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizing what you have to say </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>PLANNING AND WRITING </li></ul><ul><li>Spend another third: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluating what you’ve said </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revising the draft to meet your purposes and the needs of your audience and the organization </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>PLANNING AND WRITING </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>PLANNING AND WRITING </li></ul><ul><li>One third of your time planning and organizing </li></ul><ul><li>Better ideas at the start, fewer drafts </li></ul><ul><li>If ideas don’t come: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brainstorm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freewrite </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>PLANNING AND WRITING </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>PLANNING AND WRITING </li></ul><ul><li>Triple-check: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Headings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The first and last paragraphs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The reader’s name </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>PLANNING AND WRITING </li></ul><ul><li>Cycling: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drafting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting more feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To get good feedback, tell people which aspects are more important to you </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>CREATING GOODWILL </li></ul><ul><li>You-attitude: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at things from the reader’s point of view </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect the reader’s intelligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect the reader’s ego </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasize what the reader wants to know </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk about the reader—except in negative situations </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>CREATING GOODWILL </li></ul><ul><li>You-attitude: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Readers want to know how they benefit or are affected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When you give this information, you make your message more complete and more interesting </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>CREATING GOODWILL </li></ul><ul><li>You-attitude: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t talk about feelings, except to congratulate or offer sympathy (condolences) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All the reader cares about is the situation from his or her point of view </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>CREATING GOODWILL </li></ul><ul><li>You-attitude: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When you have good news, simply give the good news. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In positive situations, use you more than I: “You will receive health insurance as a full-time employee” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use we to include the reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid it if it excludes the reader: “What we in management want you to do.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I says that you’re concerned about personal issues, not about the organization’s problems, needs, and opportunities </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>CREATING GOODWILL </li></ul><ul><li>You-attitude: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid You in negative situations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To avoid blaming the reader, use an impersonal expression or a passive verb </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk about the group to which the reader belongs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect the reader’s ego by using an impersonal construction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Things, not people, do the acting </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>CREATING GOODWILL </li></ul><ul><li>Positive emphasis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid negative words and words with negative connotations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on what the reader can do rather than on limitations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Justify negative information by giving a reason or linking it to a reader benefit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If the negative is unimportant, omit it </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>POSITIVE EMPHASIS </li></ul><ul><li>Positive emphasis is a matter of the way you present something </li></ul><ul><li>Bury the negative information and present it compactly </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>POSITIVE EMPHASIS </li></ul><ul><li>The beginning and end are always positions of emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>To deemphasize a negative, put it in the middle of a paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>Give it as little space as possible only once in your message </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t list it vertically </li></ul><ul><li>Important: Be honest!!! </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>POSITIVE EMPHASIS </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>POSITIVE EMPHASIS </li></ul><ul><li>1) Give bad news a positive “spin”: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The study found an alarming 10% contamination rate in the area.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The study found that 90% of the area is free from contamination.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2) Compare bad news to something even worse. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Although the area has some contamination, the situation is not as bad as it could have been, and is much better than similar areas in other catchments.” </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>POSITIVE EMPHASIS </li></ul><ul><li>3) “Sandwich&quot; the bad news between two items of good news. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The recent environmental impact review has resulted in an exciting new policy of resource management which is due to be implemented next month. At this stage the area has a 10% contamination rate. The goal is to reduce that figure to 5% within two years and less than 1% within eight years.” </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>POSITIVE EMPHASIS </li></ul><ul><li>You are being completely honest about the situation without making it depressing </li></ul><ul><li>The initial impression is good news, followed by the bad news, then ending on a positive outlook for the future </li></ul><ul><li>Never begin with bad news! </li></ul><ul><li>This makes a very nasty first impression that is difficult to recover from </li></ul><ul><li>The first sentence sets the tone for whatever follows </li></ul><ul><li>Start on a positive note </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>POSITIVE EMPHASIS </li></ul><ul><li>If you think about tone, politeness, and power you don’t offend people by mistake </li></ul><ul><li>The desirable tone for business writing is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>businesslike but not rigid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>confident but not arrogant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>polite but not groveling </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>APOLOGIZING </li></ul><ul><li>When you must give bad news, consider hedging your statement </li></ul><ul><li>Auditors rarely say directly that firms are using unacceptable accounting practices </li></ul><ul><li>They use three strategies to be more diplomatic: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>specifying the time (“currently, the records are quite informal”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>limiting statements (“it appears,” “it seems”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>using impersonal statements that do not specify who caused a problem or who will perform an action. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Important: Be honest and don’t miss the crucial information </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>APOLOGIZING </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the best way to apologize? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When you are at fault, admit it forthrightly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Apologies may have legal implications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some organizations prefer not to apology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about your audience and the organizational culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If the error is small, and you are correcting it, no explicit apology is necessary </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>APOLOGIZING </li></ul><ul><li>Negative: “I’m sorry the clerk did not credit your account properly.” </li></ul><ul><li>Better: “Your statement has been corrected to include your payment of $263.75.” </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>APOLOGIZING </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re not at fault, don’t apologize </li></ul><ul><li>Done everything you can and or it’s not your problem, you are not at fault. </li></ul><ul><li>Include an explanation so the reader knows you weren't negligent. </li></ul><ul><li>If the news is bad, put the explanation first. </li></ul><ul><li>If you have good news for the reader, put it before your explanation. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>EXAMPLES </li></ul><ul><li>Negative: “I’m sorry that I could not answer your question sooner. I had to wait until the sales figures for the second quarter were in.” </li></ul><ul><li>Better (neutral or bad news): “We needed the sales figures for the second quarter to answer your question. Now that they're in, I can tell you that...” </li></ul><ul><li>Better (good news): “The new advertising campaign is a success. The sales figures for the second quarter are finally in, and they show that...” </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>EXAMPLES </li></ul><ul><li>You-attitude: </li></ul><ul><li>Negative: “I’m sorry that the chairs will not be ready by August 25 as promised.” </li></ul><ul><li>Better: “Due to a strike against the manufacturer, the desk chairs you ordered will not be ready until November. Do you want to keep that order, or would you like to look at the models available from other suppliers?” </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>EXAMPLES </li></ul><ul><li>When you apologize, do it early, briefly, and sincerely. </li></ul><ul><li>Apologize only once, early in the message. </li></ul><ul><li>Let the reader move on to other, more positive information. </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>EXAMPLES </li></ul><ul><li>If you produced a big problem, you don’t need to remember all the bad things that happened </li></ul><ul><li>The reader know that </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on what you have done to correct the situation </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>EXAMPLES </li></ul><ul><li>If you haven’t produced a problem or you don’t know it, don’t raise the issue at all </li></ul><ul><li>Negative: “I’m sorry I didn’t answer your letter sooner. I hope that my delay hasn’t inconvenienced you.” </li></ul><ul><li>Better : “I’m sorry I didn’t answer your letter sooner.” </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>EXAMPLES </li></ul><ul><li>Break!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Practical work </li></ul><ul><li>Next class </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman & James O'Toole </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>