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Attachment 1


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Full-Circle Learning MyLab™: Learning Full Circle for Marketing,

Management, Business Communication, Intro to Business, and MIS

BEFORE CLASS

AFTER CLASS DURING

CLASS

Decision Sims, Videos, and Learning

Catalytics

DSM's, pre-lecture homework,

eText

Writing Space, Video Cases, Quiz-

zes/Tests

MyLab

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Critical Thinking

MyBCommLab®: Improves Student Engagement Before, During, and After Class

Decision Making

Prep and Engagement

• Video exercises – engaging videos that bring business concepts to life and explore business topics related to the theory students are learning in class. Quizzes then assess students’ comprehension of the concepts covered in each video.

• Learning Catalytics – a “bring your own device” student engagement, assessment, and classroom intelligence system helps instructors analyze students’ critical-thinking skills during lecture.

• Dynamic Study Modules (DSMs) – through adaptive learning, students get personalized guidance where and when they need it most, creating greater engagement, improving knowledge retention, and supporting subject-matter mastery. Also available on mobile devices.

• Business Today – bring current events alive in your classroom with videos, discussion questions, and author blogs. Be sure to check back often, this section changes daily.

• Decision-making simulations – place your students in the role of a key decision maker. The simulation will change and branch based on the decisions students make, providing a variation of scenario paths. Upon completion of each simulation, students receive a grade, as well as a detailed report of the choices they made during the simulation and the associated consequences of those decisions.

• Writing Space – better writers make great learners—who perform better in their courses. Providing a single location to develop and assess concept mastery and critical thinking, the Writing Space offers automatic graded, assisted graded, and create your own writing assignments, allowing you to exchange personalized feedback with students quickly and easily.

Writing Space can also check students’ work for improper citation or plagiarism by comparing it against the world’s most accurate text comparison database available from Turnitin.

• Additional Features – included with the MyLab are a powerful homework and test manager, robust gradebook tracking, comprehensive online course content, and easily scalable and shareable content.

http://www.pearsonmylabandmastering.com

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Today’s students are holding the future of business communication in their hands As another disruptive technology redefines business communication, Bovée and Thill are once again the first to respond with current, comprehensive, and fully integrated coverage.

Just as Bovée and Thill pioneered coverage of the social media revolution, they now lead the market with up-to-the-minute coverage of mobile business communication.

The mobile revolution: key facts and figures Smart business leaders know they must adapt and respond to the rise of mobile usage by consumers and employees:2

• For millions of people, a mobile device is their primary way, if not their only way, to access the Internet. • Globally, 80 percent of Internet users access the web at least some of the time with a mobile device. • Mobile has become the primary communication tool for many business professionals, including a majority of

executives under age 40. • Email and web browsing rank first and second in terms of the most common nonvoice uses of smartphones. • More email messages are now opened on mobile devices than on PCs. • Roughly half of U.S. consumers use a mobile device exclusively for their online search needs. • Many online activities that eventually migrate to a PC screen start out on a mobile screen.

“Mobile is the most disruptive technology that I have seen in 48 years in Silicon Valley.”1

—Venture capitalist Joe Schoendorf

Bovée and Thill’s coverage of mobile business communication includes these important topics:

• The Mobile Revolution • The Rise of Mobile as a Communication Platform • How Mobile Technologies Are Changing Business

Communication • Collaboration via Mobile Devices • Business Etiquette Using Mobile Devices • The Unique Challenges of Communication

on Mobile Devices • Writing Messages for Mobile Devices • Designing Messages for Mobile Devices • Optimizing Content for Mobile Devices • Visual Media on Mobile Devices • Creating Promotional Messages for Mobile Devices • Integrating Mobile Devices in Presentations

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by Visiting this Website

The mobile revolution by the numbers

Explore dozens of statistical measures that show the impact of mobile communication. Go to http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Integrated coverage and student activities As with social media, the changes brought about by mobile run far deeper than the technology itself. Successful communication on mobile devices requires a new approach to planning, writing, and designing messages.

With in-depth, integrated coverage of the challenges and opportunities that mobile presents, Business Communication Essentials, 7th Edition, helps students adapt their personal use of mobile devices to the unique demands of business communication. Through a variety of annotated model messages, questions, activities, and cases, students will gain valuable skills in the art of communicating via mobile devices.

With realistic examples, pointers to dozens of business communication apps, and a full range of questions and projects, Business Communication Essentials highlights the best current practices in mobile business communication.

The text from this conventional report page is too small to read on a phone screen.

However, zooming in to read forces the reader to lose context and repeatedly hunt around to find all the pieces of the page.

Optimizing for mobile includes writing short headlines that get right to the point.

This introduction conveys only the information readers need in order to grasp the scope of the article.

All the key points of the documents appear here on the first screen.

Readers who want more detail can swipe down for background information on the five points.

MOBILE APPS

Pocket Letter Pro includes templates for a variety of letter types to simplify writing business letters on your mobile device.

CHAPTER 6 Crafting Messages for Digital Channels 155

Cases

Website links for selected companies mentioned in cases can be found in the Student Assignments section at http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7 .

SOCIAL NETWORKING SKILLS

6-26. Media Skills: Social Networking; Media Skills: Micro- blogging [LO-2] [LO-6] Foursquare is one of the leading pro- viders of location-based social networking services. Millions of people use Foursquare for social engagement and friendly com- petition, and many business owners are starting to recognize the marketing potential of having people who are on the move in local areas broadcasting their locations and sharing information about stores, restaurants, clubs, and other merchants. Your task: Review the information on Foursquare’s Merchant Platform. Now write four brief messages, no more than 140 char- acters long (including spaces). The first should summarize the benefits to stores, restaurants, and other “brick and mortar” busi- nesses of participating in Foursquare, and the next three messages should convey three compelling points that support that overall benefit statement. If your class is set up with private Twitter ac- counts, use your private account to send your messages. Other- wise, email your four messages to your instructor or post them on your class blog, as your instructor directs.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SKILLS

6-27. Media Skills: Social Networking; Online Etiquette [LO-2] , Chapter 2 Employees who take pride in their work are a practically priceless resource for any business. However, pride can sometimes manifest itself in negative ways when employees come under criticism—and public criticism is a fact of life in so- cial media. Imagine that your company has recently experienced a rash of product quality problems, and these problems have gen- erated some unpleasant and occasionally unfair criticism on a va- riety of social media sites. Someone even set up a Facebook page specifically to give customers a place to vent their frustrations.

You and your public relations team jumped into action, responding to complaints with offers to provide replacement products and help customers who have been affected by the qual- ity problems. Everything seemed to be going as well as could be expected, when you were checking a few industry blogs one eve- ning and discovered that two engineers in your company’s prod- uct design lab have been responding to complaints on their own. They identified themselves as company employees and defended their product design, blaming the company’s production depart- ment and even criticizing several customers for lacking the skills needed to use such a sophisticated product. Within a matter of minutes, you see their harsh comments being retweeted and re- posted on multiple sites, only fueling the fire of negative feedback against your firm. Needless to say, you are horrified. Your task: You manage to reach the engineers by private message and tell them to stop posting messages, but you realize you have a serious training issue on your hands. Write a post for the internal company blog that advises employees on how to

respond appropriately when they are representing the company online. Use your imagination to make up any details you need.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SKILLS

6-28. Media Skills: Social Networking [LO-2] Social media can be a great way to, well, socialize during your college years, but employers are increasingly checking up on the online activities of potential hires to avoid bringing in employees who may reflect poorly on the company. Your task: Team up with another student and review each other’s public presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogs, and any other website that an employer might check during the interview and recruiting process. Identify any photos, videos, messages, or other material that could raise a red flag when an employer is evaluating a job candidate. Write your teammate an email message that lists any risky material.

EMAIL SKILLS/ PORTFOLIO BUILDER

6-29. Media Skills: Email [LO-4] One-quarter of all motor vehicle accidents that involve children under age 12 are side- impact crashes—and these crashes result in higher rates of inju- ries and fatalities than those with front or rear impacts. Your task: You work in the consumer information department at Britax, a leading manufacturer of car seats. Your manager has asked you to prepare an email message that can be sent out whenever parents request information about side-impact crashes and the safety features of Britax seats. Start by researching side- impact crashes on the Britax website. Write a three-paragraph message that explains the seriousness of side-impact crashes, describes how injuries and fatalities can be minimized in these crashes, and describes how Britax’s car seats are designed to help protect children in side-impact crashes. 57

EMAIL SKILLS / MOBILE SKILLS

6-30. Media Skills: Email [LO-4] The size limitations of smartphone screens call for a different approach to writing (see page 97 ) and formatting (see page 118 ) documents. Your task: On the website of any company that interests you, find a news release (some companies refer to them as press releases ) that announces the launch of a new product. Using Pages or any other writing app at your disposal, revise and format the material in a way that would be effective on smartphone screens.

IM SKILLS

6-31. Media Skills: IM; Compositional Modes: Tutorials [LO-1] [LO-5] High-definition television can be a joy to watch—but, oh, what a pain to buy. The field is cluttered with competing technologies and arcane terminology that is meaningless to most consumers. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to define one techni- cal term without invoking two or three others, leaving consum- ers swimming in an alphanumeric soup of confusion. As a sales

334 PART 4 Longer Business Messages

that anyone involved with this topic should know about. Prepare a 10-minute presentation that introduces the topic, comments on its importance to the U.S. economy, and discusses the issues you’ve identified. Assume that your audience is a cross-section of business managers who don’t have any particular experience in the topic you’ve chosen.

PRESENTATION SKILLS / PORTFOLIO BUILDER

12-22. Presentations: Designing Presentation Visuals [LO-4] Depending on the sequence your instructor chose for this course, you’ve probably covered 8 to 10 chapters at this point and learned or improved many valuable skills. Think through your progress and identify five business communication skills that you’ve either learned for the first time or developed during this course. Your task: Create a Prezi or slide presentation that describes each of the five skills you’ve identified. Be sure to explain how each skill could help you in your career. Use any visual style that you feel is appropriate for the assignment.

PRESENTATION SKILLS / MOBILE SKILLS

12-23. Presentations: Designing Presentation Visuals; Mobile Media [LO-4] On SlideShare or any other source, find a business presentation on any topic that interests you. Your task: Re-create the first five slides in the presentation in a manner that will make them more mobile-friendly. Create as many additional slides as you need.

PRESENTATION SKILLS / TEAM SKILLS

12-24. Planning, Designing, and Creating Presentation Slides; Collaboration: Team Projects [LO-1] , [LO-2] , [LO-3] , [LO-4] , Chapter 2 Changing a nation’s eating habits is a Herculean task, but the physical and financial health of the United States depends on it. You work for the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, and it’s your job to educate people on the dangers of unhealthy eating and the changes they can make to eat more balanced and healthful diets. Your task: Visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7 , click on Student Assignments, and download Chapter 12 Case ( Dietary Guidelines for Americans ). With a team assigned by your instructor, develop a 10- to 15-minute presentation that conveys the key points from Chapter 3 of the Guidelines , “Food and Food Components to Reduce.” The objectives of your presentation are to alert people to the dangers of excessive consumption of the five components discussed in the chapter and to let them know what healthy levels of consumptions are. This chapter has a lot of information, but you don’t need to pack it all into your presentation; you can assume that the chapter will be available as a handout to anyone who attends your presentation. Along with your presentation, draft speaking notes that someone outside your team could use to give the presentation. You can use images from the Guidelines PDF, the websites of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or a nongovernment source such as Creative Commons. Cite all your image sources and make sure you follow the usage and attribution guidelines for any photos you find on nongovernment sites.

PRESENTATION SKILLS / SOCIAL NETWORKING SKILLS

12-18. Presentations: Planning a Presentation [LO-1] You know those times when you’re craving Thai food or the perfect fruit smoothie, but you don’t know where to go? Or when you’re out shopping or clubbing and want to let your friends know where you are? Foursquare’s location-based services connect you with friends and companies that offer products and services of interest. Your task: Create a brief presentation explaining the Foursquare concept and its features and benefits. List two Foursquare competitors and give a brief assessment of which of the three you would recommend to your classmates.

PRESENTATION SKILLS

12-19. Planning, Designing, and Creating Presentation Slides [LO-1] , [LO-2] , [LO-3] , [LO-4] Not long ago, snowboarding seemed to be on pace to pass skiing as the country’s favorite way to zoom down snowy mountains, but the sport’s growth has cooled off in recent years. 36 Your task: Research and prepare a 10-minute presentation on participation trends in snowboarding and skiing, including explanations for the relative popularity of both sports. Include at least three quotations to emphasize key points in your presentation. Use either structured or free-form slides.

PRESENTATION SKILLS

12-20. Planning, Designing, and Creating Presentation Slides [LO-1] , [LO-2] , [LO-3] , [LO-4] Many companies publish stories of their founding and early years. The computer company Hewlett- Packard (HP), for example, tells the story of how founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started the company in a garage in Palo Alto, California, in 1938, doing anything they could to “bring in a nickel.” That garage is now preserved as “the birthplace of Silicon Valley,” which helps maintain HP’s image as a technology pioneer. 37 Your task: Choose a company that has been in business for at least two decades and prepare a 10-minute presentation on its history.

PRESENTATION SKILLS / TEAM SKILLS

12-21. Presentations: Planning a Presentation [LO-1] In your job as a business development researcher for a major corpo- ration, you’re asked to gather and process information on a wide variety of subjects. Management has gained confidence in your research and analysis skills and would now like you to begin mak- ing regular presentations at management retreats and other func- tions. Topics are likely to include the following: ● Offshoring of U.S. jobs ● Foreign ownership of U.S. firms ● Employment issues involving workers from other countries ● Tax breaks offered by local and state governments to attract

new businesses ● Economic impact of environmental regulations Your task: With a team assigned by your instructor, choose one of the topics from the list and conduct enough research to familiarize yourself with the topic. Identify at least three important issues

1. “The Mobile Revolution Is Just Beginning,” press release, Word Economic Forum, 13 September 2013, www.weforum.org.

2. “More Than Nine in 10 Internet Users Will Go Online via Phone,” eMarketer, 6 January 2014, www.emarketer.com; Christina “CK” Kerley, The Mobile Revolution & B2B, white paper, 2011, www.b2bmobilerevolution.com; Jordie can Rijn, “The Ultimate Mobile Email Statistics Overview,” Emailmonday.com, accessed 9 February 2014, www.emailmonday.com; Jessica Lee, “46% of Searchers Now Use Mobile Exclusively to Research [Study],” Search Engine Watch, 1 May 2013, http://searchenginewatch.com.

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seVenth eDition business

Communication essentials

boston Columbus indianapolis new york san Francisco amsterdam

Cape town Dubai London Madrid Milan Munich Paris Montréal toronto

Delhi Mexico City são Paulo sydney hong Kong seoul singapore taipei tokyo

Courtland L. Bovée ProFessor oF business CoMMuniCation

C. aLLen PauL DistinguisheD Chair

grossMont CoLLege

John V. Thill ChairMan anD ChieF exeCutiVe oFFiCer

gLobaL CoMMuniCation strategies

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Microsoft and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published as part of the services for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided “as is” without warranty of any kind. Microsoft and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all warranties and conditions of merchantability, whether express, implied or statutory, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Microsoft and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from the services. The documents and related graphics contained herein could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Microsoft and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time. Partial screen shots may be viewed in full within the software version specified.

Microsoft® and Windows® are registered trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation in the U.S.A. and other countries. Screen shots and icons reprinted with permission from the Microsoft Corporation. This book is not sponsored or endorsed by or affiliated with the Microsoft Corporation.

Copyright © 2016, 2014, 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Manufactured in the United States of America. This publication is protected by Copyright, and permission should be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or likewise. For information regarding permissions, request forms and the appropriate contacts within the Pearson Education Global Rights & Permissions department, please visit www.pearsoned.com/permissions/.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bovée, Courtland L. Business communication essentials: a skills-based approach / Courtland L. Bovée and John V. Thill. — Seventh edition. pages cm Includes index. ISBN 978-0-13-389678-7 — ISBN 0-13-389678-1 1. Business communication. 2. Business writing. 3. Business presentations. I. Thill, John V. II. Title. HF5718.B659 2016 658.4’5—dc23 2014034002

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 10: 0-13-389678-1 ISBN 13: 978-0-13-389678-7

Vice President, Business Publishing: Donna Battista Editor-in-Chief: Stephanie Wall Acquisitions Editor: Nicole Sam Program Manager Team Lead: Ashley Santora Program Manager: Denise Vaughn Editorial Assistant: Kaylee Rotella Vice President, Product Marketing: Maggie Moylan Director of Marketing, Digital Services and Products:

Jeanette Koskinas Executive Product Marketing Manager: Anne

Fahlgren Field Marketing Manager: Lenny Ann Raper Senior Strategic Marketing Manager: Erin Gardner Project Manager Team Lead: Judy Leale Project Manager: Nicole Suddeth Operations Specialist: Carol Melville Interior and Cover Designer: S4Carlisle Publishing

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Christian Holdener, S4Carlisle Publishing Services Printer/Binder: Courier/Kendallville Cover Printer: Courier/Kendallville Text Font: 10.5/12 Minion

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vii

Contents in brief

Preface xvii Prologue xxxvii

PART 1 business Communication Foundations 1 1 Professional Communication in Today’s Digital, Social, Mobile World 3 2 Collaboration, Interpersonal Communication, and Business Etiquette 35

PART 2 the three-step Writing Process 57 3 Planning Business Messages 59 4 Writing Business Messages 81 5 Completing Business Messages 107

PART 3 brief business Messages 127 6 Crafting Messages for Digital Channels 129 7 Writing Routine and Positive Messages 161 8 Writing Negative Messages 183 9 Writing Persuasive Messages 211

PART 4 Longer business Messages 235 10 Understanding and Planning Reports and Proposals 237 11 Writing and Completing Reports and Proposals 263 12 Developing and Delivering Business Presentations 309

PART 5 employment Messages and Job interviews 337 13 Building Careers and Writing Résumés 339 14 Applying and Interviewing for Employment 367

appendix A Format and Layout of Business Documents 397 appendix B Documentation of Report Sources 413 appendix C Correction Symbols 419

handbook of grammar, Mechanics, and usage 423 answer Keys 455 index 459

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ix

Contents

Preface xvii Prologue xxxvii

PART 1 business Communication Foundations 1

1 Professional Communication in Today’s Digital, Social, Mobile World 3

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 3

understanding Why Communication Matters 4 Communication Is Important to Your Career 4 Communication Is Important to Your Company 5 What Makes Business Communication Effective? 5

Communicating as a Professional 6 Understanding What Employers Expect from You 8 Communicating in an Organizational Context 8 Adopting an Audience-Centered Approach 8

exploring the Communication Process 9 The Basic Communication Model 9 The Social Communication Model 10

the Mobile revolution 11 The Rise of Mobile as a Communication Platform 11 How Mobile Technologies Are Changing Business

Communication 12 Committing to ethical Communication 15

Distinguishing Ethical Dilemmas from Ethical Lapses 15 Making Ethical Choices 16

Communicating in a World of Diversity 16 The Advantages and Challenges of a Diverse Workforce 17 Key Aspects of Cultural Diversity 18 Advice for Improving Intercultural Communication 20

using technology to improve business Communication 21

Keeping Technology in Perspective 23 Using Tools Productively 23 Guarding Against Information Overload 23 Reconnecting with People Frequently 23

Chapter review and activities 28 test your Knowledge 29 apply your Knowledge 29 Practice your skills 29 expand your skills 31 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 31 endnotes 32

2 Collaboration, Interpersonal Communication, and Business Etiquette 35

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 35

Communicating effectively in teams 36 Advantages and Disadvantages of Teams 36 Characteristics of Effective Teams 36

Collaborating on Communication efforts 37 Guidelines for Collaborative Writing 37 Technologies for Collaborative Writing 38 Giving—and Responding to—Constructive Feedback 39

Making your Meetings More Productive 40 Preparing for Meetings 40 Conducting and Contributing to Efficient Meetings 40 Putting Meeting Results to Productive Use 41 Using Meeting Technologies 42

improving your Listening skills 43 Recognizing Various Types of Listening 44 Understanding the Listening Process 44 Overcoming Barriers to Effective Listening 45

improving your nonverbal Communication skills 45 Developing your business etiquette 47

Business Etiquette in the Workplace 47 Business Etiquette in Social Settings 48 Business Etiquette Online 49 Business Etiquette Using Mobile Devices 49

Chapter review and activities 50 test your Knowledge 51 apply your Knowledge 51 Practice your skills 51 expand your skills 53 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 53 endnotes 54

PART 2 the three-step Writing Process 57

3 Planning Business Messages 59 CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 59

understanding the three-step Writing Process 60 analyzing the situation 61

Defining Your Purpose 61 Developing an Audience Profile 61

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gathering information 62 Uncovering Audience Needs 63 Providing Required Information 64

selecting the best Combination of Media and Channels 64

The Most Common Media and Channel Options 64 Factors to Consider When Choosing Media and Channels 70

organizing your Message 70 Defining Your Main Idea 71 Limiting Your Scope 71 Choosing Between Direct and Indirect Approaches 72 Outlining Your Content 72 Building Reader Interest with Storytelling Techniques 74

Chapter review and activities 76 test your Knowledge 77 apply your Knowledge 77 Practice your skills 77 expand your skills 78 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 79 endnotes 80

4 Writing Business Messages 81 CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 81

adapting to your audience: being sensitive to your audience’s needs 82

Adopting the “You” Attitude 82 Maintaining Standards of Etiquette 82 Emphasizing the Positive 83 Using Bias-Free Language 84

adapting to your audience: building strong relationships 85

Establishing Your Credibility 85 Projecting Your Company’s Image 87

adapting to your audience: Controlling your style and tone 87

Creating a Conversational Tone 87 Using Plain Language 88 Selecting Active or Passive Voice 89

Composing your Message: Choosing Powerful Words 89

Balancing Abstract and Concrete Words 90 Finding Words That Communicate Well 91

Composing your Message: Creating effective sentences 93

Choosing from the Four Types of Sentences 93 Using Sentence Style to Emphasize Key Thoughts 94

Composing your Message: Crafting Coherent Paragraphs 95

Creating the Elements of a Paragraph 95 Developing Paragraphs 97

Writing Messages for Mobile Devices 97

Chapter review and activities 100 test your Knowledge 100 apply your Knowledge 101 Practice your skills 101 expand your skills 103 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 103 endnotes 105

5 Completing Business Messages 107

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 107

revising your Message: evaluating the First Draft 108

Evaluating Your Content, Organization, and Tone 108 Evaluating, Editing, and Revising the Work of Other

Writers 108 revising to improve readability 111

Varying Sentence Length 111 Keeping Your Paragraphs Short 111 Using Lists and Bullets to Clarify and Emphasize 111 Adding Headings and Subheadings 112

editing for Clarity and Conciseness 112 Editing for Clarity 112 Editing for Conciseness 114

Producing your Message 114 Designing for Readability 114 Designing Messages for Mobile Devices 118

Proofreading your Message 118 Distributing your Message 119

Chapter review and activities 120 test your Knowledge 121 apply your Knowledge 121 Practice your skills 121 expand your skills 124 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 124 endnotes 125

PART 3 brief business Messages 127

6 Crafting Messages for Digital Channels 129

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 129

Digital Channels for business Communication 130 Media Choices for Brief Messages 130 Compositional Modes for Digital Media 131 Creating Content for Social Media 133 Optimizing Content for Mobile Devices 133

social networks 134 Business Communication Uses of Social Networks 135 Strategies for Business Communication on Social

Networks 136 information and Media sharing sites 137

User-Generated Content Sites 137 Content Curation Sites 137 Community Q&A Sites 140

email 140 Planning Email Messages 140 Writing Email Messages 141 Completing Email Messages 142

instant Messaging and text Messaging 142 Understanding the Benefits and Risks of IM 143 Adapting the Three-Step Process for Successful IM 144

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blogging and Microblogging 145 Understanding the Business Applications of Blogging 145 Adapting the Three-Step Process for Successful Blogging 147 Microblogging 148

Podcasting 150

Chapter review and activities 151 test your Knowledge 152 apply your Knowledge 152 Practice your skills 152 expand your skills 154 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 156 endnotes 158

7 Writing Routine and Positive Messages 161

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 161

strategy for routine requests 162 Stating Your Request Up Front 162 Explaining and Justifying Your Request 162 Requesting Specific Action in a Courteous Close 162

Common examples of routine requests 162 Asking for Information or Action 163 Asking for Recommendations 163 Making Claims and Requesting Adjustments 163

strategy for routine replies and Positive Messages 166

Starting with the Main Idea 166 Providing Necessary Details and Explanation 166 Ending with a Courteous Close 168

Common examples of routine replies and Positive Messages 168

Answering Requests for Information or Action 168 Granting Claims and Requests for Adjustment 168 Providing Recommendations and References 169 Sharing Routine Information 169 Announcing Good News 169 Fostering Goodwill 172

Chapter review and activities 174 test your Knowledge 175 apply your Knowledge 175 Practice your skills 175 expand your skills 177 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 180 endnotes 182

8 Writing Negative Messages 183 CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 183

using the three-step Writing Process for negative Messages 184

Step 1: Planning Negative Messages 184 Step 2: Writing Negative Messages 185 Step 3: Completing Negative Messages 186

using the Direct approach for negative Messages 186

Opening with a Clear Statement of the Bad News 186 Providing Reasons and Additional Information 186 Closing on a Respectful Note 187

using the indirect approach for negative Messages 187

Opening with a Buffer 188 Providing Reasons and Additional Information 189 Continuing with a Clear Statement of the Bad News 189 Closing on a Respectful Note 190

sending negative Messages on routine business Matters 190

Making Negative Announcements on Routine Business Matters 191

Rejecting Suggestions and Proposals 191 Refusing Routine Requests 191 Handling Bad News About Transactions 191 Refusing Claims and Requests for Adjustment 193

sending negative employment Messages 194 Refusing Requests for Recommendations 194 Refusing Social Networking Recommendation Requests 196 Rejecting Job Applications 196 Giving Negative Performance Reviews 197 Terminating Employment 198

sending negative organizational news 198 responding to negative information in a social Media environment 200

Chapter review and activities 201 test your Knowledge 202 apply your Knowledge 202 Practice your skills 203 expand your skills 204 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 208 endnotes 209

9 Writing Persuasive Messages 211 CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 211

using the three-step Writing Process for Persuasive Messages 212

Step 1: Planning Persuasive Messages 212 Step 2: Writing Persuasive Messages 213 Step 3: Completing Persuasive Messages 215

Developing Persuasive business Messages 215 Framing Your Arguments 215 Balancing Emotional and Logical Appeals 216 Reinforcing Your Position 218 Anticipating Objections 218 Avoiding Common Mistakes in Persuasive Communication 219

Common examples of Persuasive business Messages 219

Persuasive Requests for Action 219 Persuasive Presentation of Ideas 221 Persuasive Claims and Requests for Adjustments 222

Developing Marketing and sales Messages 222 Planning Marketing and Sales Messages 222 Writing Conventional Marketing and Sales Messages 223 Writing Promotional Messages for Social Media 224 Creating Promotional Messages for Mobile Devices 225 Maintaining High Ethical and Legal Standards 225

Chapter review and activities 226 test your Knowledge 227 apply your Knowledge 227 Practice your skills 227

Contents xi

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expand your skills 229 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 233 endnotes 234

PART 4 Longer business Messages 235

10 Understanding and Planning Reports and Proposals 237

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 237

applying the three-step Writing Process to reports and Proposals 238

Analyzing the Situation 239 Gathering Information 239 Selecting the Right Combination of Media and Channels 239 Organizing Your Information 240

supporting your Messages with reliable information 241

Planning Your Research 242 Locating Data and Information 243 Evaluating Information Sources 243 Using Your Research Results 244

Conducting secondary research 245 Finding Information at a Library 245 Finding Information Online 246 Documenting Your Sources 247

Conducting Primary research 247 Conducting Surveys 248 Conducting Interviews 248

Planning informational reports 248 Organizing Informational Reports 249 Organizing Website Content 249

Planning analytical reports 250 Focusing on Conclusions 250 Focusing on Recommendations 250 Focusing on Logical Arguments 251

Planning Proposals 252

Chapter review and activities 255 test your Knowledge 256 apply your Knowledge 256 Practice your skills 256 expand your skills 258 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 261 endnotes 262

11 Writing and Completing Reports and Proposals 263

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 263

Writing reports and Proposals 264 Adapting to Your Audience 264 Drafting Report Content 264 Drafting Proposal Content 266

Writing for Websites and Wikis 268 Drafting Website Content 268 Collaborating on Wikis 268

illustrating your reports with effective Visuals 269 Choosing the Right Visual for the Job 270 Designing Effective Visuals 277

Completing reports and Proposals 279 Producing Formal Reports and Proposals 280 Distributing Reports and Proposals 299

Chapter review and activities 299 test your Knowledge 300 apply your Knowledge 300 Practice your skills 300 expand your skills 301 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 305 endnotes 306

12 Developing and Delivering Business Presentations 309

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 309

Planning a Presentation 310 Analyzing the Situation 311 Selecting the Best Media and Channels 311 Organizing a Presentation 311

Developing a Presentation 315 Adapting to Your Audience 315 Crafting Presentation Content 316

enhancing your Presentation with effective Visuals 319

Choosing Structured or Free-Form Slides 319 Designing Effective Slides 321 Integrating Mobile Devices in Presentations 325

Completing a Presentation 325 Finalizing Your Slides 325 Creating Effective Handouts 326 Choosing Your Presentation Method 326 Practicing Your Delivery 326

Delivering a Presentation 328 Overcoming Anxiety 328 Handling Questions Responsively 329 Embracing the Backchannel 329 Giving Presentations Online 330

Chapter review and activities 331 test your Knowledge 332 apply your Knowledge 332 Practice your skills 332 expand your skills 333 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 335 endnotes 336

PART 5 employment Messages and Job interviews 337

13 Building Careers and Writing Résumés 339

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 339

Finding the ideal opportunity in today’s Job Market 340

Writing the Story of You 340 Learning to Think Like an Employer 340 Researching Industries and Companies

of Interest 340

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Translating Your General Potential into a Specific Solution for Each Employer 342

Taking the Initiative to Find Opportunities 342 Building Your Network 343 Seeking Career Counseling 343 Avoiding Mistakes 344

Planning your résumé 344 Analyzing Your Purpose and Audience 344 Gathering Pertinent Information 346 Selecting the Best Media and Channels 346 Organizing Your Résumé Around Your Strengths 346 Addressing Areas of Concern 347

Writing your résumé 347 Keeping Your Résumé Honest 348 Adapting Your Résumé to Your Audience 348 Composing Your Résumé 348

Completing your résumé 352 Revising Your Résumé 352 Producing Your Résumé 356 Proofreading Your Résumé 358 Distributing Your Résumé 360

Chapter review and activities 360 test your Knowledge 361 apply your Knowledge 361 Practice your skills 361 expand your skills 362 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 364 endnotes 365

14 Applying and Interviewing for Employment 367

CoMMuniCation Matters . . . 367

submitting your résumé 368 Writing Application Letters 368 Following Up After Submitting a Résumé 372

understanding the interviewing Process 373 The Typical Sequence of Interviews 373 Common Types of Interviews 373 Interview Media 374 What Employers Look for in an Interview 375 Preemployment Testing and Background Checks 376

Preparing for a Job interview 376 Learning About the Organization 377 Thinking Ahead About Questions 378 Boosting Your Confidence 379 Polishing Your Interview Style 379 Presenting a Professional Image 381 Being Ready When You Arrive 382

interviewing for success 382 The Warm-Up 382 The Question-and-Answer Stage 383 The Close 384 Interview Notes 385

Following up after an interview 385 Follow-Up Message 385 Message of Inquiry 385 Request for a Time Extension 386 Letter of Acceptance 386 Letter Declining a Job Offer 388 Letter of Resignation 388

Chapter review and activities 388 test your Knowledge 389 apply your Knowledge 389 Practice your skills 389 expand your skills 391 improve your grammar, Mechanics, and usage 392 endnotes 394

APPENDIX A Format and Layout of Business Documents 397 First impressions 397

Paper 397 Customization 397 Appearance 397

Letters 398 Standard Letter Parts 398 Additional Letter Parts 402 Letter Formats 404

envelopes 406 Addressing the Envelope 406 Folding to Fit 407 International Mail 407

Memos 409 reports 410

Margins 410 Headings 410 Page Numbers 410

endnotes 411

APPENDIX B Documentation of Report Sources 413 Chicago humanities style 413

In-Text Citation—Chicago Humanities Style 413 Bibliography—Chicago Humanities Style 414

aPa style 415 In-Text Citation—APA Style 416 List of References—APA Style 416

MLa style 416 In-Text Citation—MLA Style 416 List of Works Cited—MLA Style 417

APPENDIX C Correction Symbols 419 Content and style 419 grammar, Mechanics, and usage 420 Proofreading Marks 421

handbook of grammar, Mechanics, and usage 423 Diagnostic test of english skills 423 assessment of english skills 425 essentials of grammar, Mechanics, and usage 425 1.0 grammar 425

1.1 Nouns 425 1.2 Pronouns 427 1.3 Verbs 429 1.4 Adjectives 432 1.5 Adverbs 433 1.6 Other Parts of Speech 434 1.7 Sentences 436

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2.0 Punctuation 440 2.1 Periods 440 2.2 Question Marks 440 2.3 Exclamation Points 440 2.4 Semicolons 440 2.5 Colons 440 2.6 Commas 441 2.7 Dashes 443 2.8 Hyphens 443 2.9 Apostrophes 443 2.10 Quotation Marks 443 2.11 Parentheses and Brackets 444 2.12 Ellipses 444

3.0 Mechanics 445 3.1 Capitalization 445 3.2 Underscores and Italics 447 3.3 Abbreviations 447

3.4 Numbers 447 3.5 Word Division 448

4.0 Vocabulary 449 4.1 Frequently Confused Words 449 4.2 Frequently Misused Words 451 4.3 Frequently Misspelled Words 452 4.4 Transitional Words and Phrases 453

Practice session answers 454

answer Keys 455

index 459

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real-time updates—Learn More

Real-Time Updates—Learn More is a unique feature you will see strategically located throughout the text, connecting you with dozens of carefully selected online media items. These elements—categorized by the icons shown below representing interactive websites, online videos, infographics, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, PDF files, and articles—complement the text’s coverage by providing contemporary examples and valuable insights from successful professionals.

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by reaDing this artiCLe

Twelve reasons why talking can be better than texting 23 The benefits of mobile collaboration 39 Turn listening into a competitive advantage 44 Improve your professional “curb appeal” 46 Simple steps to improve social media etiquette 49 Building credibility online 86 Take your communication skills from good to great 88 Practical tips for more-effective sentences 94 Improve your document designs by learning the fundamentals

of typography 117 Should you email, text, or pick up the phone? 131 Telling compelling stories on social media 132 Etiquette guidelines for instant messaging 144 Ten years later, are business blogs still a good investment? 145 Twitter tips for beginners 148 Simple rules for writing effective thank-you notes 173 Dissecting the apology letter from Target’s CEO 187 Using stories to persuade 216 Fifty tips for being more persuasive 219 Inspire your presentations with advice from these bloggers 325 Two secrets to presenting like a pro 328 Smart strategies to explain gaps in your work history 347 Don’t let these mistakes cost you an interview 360 The ultimate interview preparation checklist 377 Prepare your answers to these tough interview questions 378

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by Listening to this PoDCast

How to keep small battles from escalating into big ones 37 Tips for proofing your papers 119 Expert tips for successful phone interviews 382

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by WatChing this ViDeo

Positive ways to engage when you pick up negative social commentary 200

Persuasion skills for every business professional 215 Understand the basics of perception 270 Dealing with the difficult four 311 Nancy Duarte’s five rules for presentations 311 How to establish an emotional connection with any audience 316 Learn to use LinkedIn’s résumé builder 351 Video interviewing on Skype 375 Stay calm by pressing your “panic reset button” 384

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by reaDing this PDF

Dig deep into audience needs with this planning tool 63 Get detailed advice on using bias-free language 84

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by VieWing this Presentation

A business-focused model for identifying cultural differences 21 Smart advice for brainstorming sessions 72 Get helpful tips on creating an outline for any project 74

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by Visiting this interaCtiVe Website

Grammar questions? Click here for help 90 How much are you worth? 372 Prepare for your next interview with these Pinterest pins 382

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by Visiting this Website

Check out the cutting edge of business communication 5 The mobile revolution by the numbers 12 Social media disclosure guidelines that ensure transparency 16 Expert advice on making technologies usable 98 See the newest designs from some of the brightest minds

in typography 118 Asking for recommendations on LinkedIn 163

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Get expert tips on writing (or requesting) a letter of recommendation 169 Communication pros discuss the latest events

in crisis communication 200 Best practices in mobile marketing 225 Get clear answers to murky copyright questions 243 Learn to use Google more effectively 246 Try these 100 serious search tools 247 Step-by-step advice for developing a successful business plan 249 Data visualization and infographics gateway 275 Ten tools for creating infographics 277 Ideas for using Instagram for business communication 277 Great advice for getting started in digital video 277 The latest tools and trends in presentations 319 Advice and free templates for more-effective slideuments 322

Converting your résumé to a CV 345 Find the keywords that will light up your résumé 349

REAL-TIME UPDATES

Learn More by reaDing this inFograPhiC

Whatever happened to live conversation? 50 Are you living up to your creative potential? 71 See how expensive poor customer service really is 187 Decide how to respond to online reputation attacks 201 The color of persuasion 222 See how an applicant tracking system handles your résumé 348 Get a quick reminder of the key steps in preparing for an interview 381

xvi real-time updates —Learn More

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Preface

Major Changes and Improvements in This Edition Here are the major changes in the Seventh Edition of Business Communication Essentials:

● Groundbreaking coverage of mobile business communication; please see the next page for more information

● New text sections: Using All the Job-Search Tools at Your Disposal (Prologue) The Mobile Revolution (Chapter 1)

The Rise of Mobile as a Communication Platform How Mobile Technologies Are Changing Business Communication

Collaboration via Mobile Devices (Chapter 2) Putting Meeting Results to Productive Use (Chapter 2) Business Etiquette Using Mobile Devices (Chapter 2) Selecting the Best Combination of Media and Channels (Chapter 3) The Unique Challenges of Communication on Mobile Devices (Chapter 3) Writing Messages for Mobile Devices (Chapter 4) Designing Messages for Mobile Devices (Chapter 5) Optimizing Content for Mobile Devices (Chapter 6) Creating Promotional Messages for Mobile Devices (Chapter 9) Organizing a Presentation (Chapter 12) Integrating Mobile Devices in Presentations (Chapter 12) Choosing a Design Strategy for Your Résumé (Chapter 13)

● Coverage of emerging issues that are reshaping business communication, including digital information fluency and the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon

● Coverage of linear and nonlinear presentations, discussing the relative strengths of slide-based presentations (linear) and Prezi-style presentations (nonlinear)

● Revised treatment of media and channels; to reflect the continuing evolution of digital formats, we now categorize media choices as oral, written, and visual, each of which can be delivered through digital and nondigital channels to create six basic combinations

● More than 40 new business communication examples and figures—and the illustration portfolio for the Seventh Edition includes more than two dozen mobile communica- tion examples and more than two dozen social media examples

● New exercises and activities that focus on mobile communication ● A selection of communication cases that challenge students to craft messages for

mobile devices; overall, more than 30 percent of the cases are new in this edition

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As Another Disruptive Technology Transforms Business Communication, Bovée and Thill Again Lead the Field with Innovative Coverage The history of business communication over the past couple of decades has been one of almost constant change. The first major wave was the digital revolution, replacing much of the print communication of the past with email, instant messaging, web content, and other new forms. Then came social media, which fundamentally redefined the relationship between businesses and their stakeholders. And now comes the third wave, and it’s proving to be every bit as disruptive—and full of exciting possibilities—as the first two.

Mobile communication, and mobile connectivity in the larger sense, is changing the way business communicators plan, create, and distribute messages. Mobile devices are overtaking PCs as the primary digital communication tool for millions of consumers, em- ployees, and executives, and businesses that don’t get mobile-friendly in a hurry will fall behind.

For business communicators, the shift to mobile involves much more than the con- straints of small screens and new input technologies. The ability to reach people anywhere at any time can be a huge advantage, but the mobile communication experience can also be a major challenge for senders and receivers alike. It requires new ways of thinking about information, message structures, and writing styles. With the notion of radical connectivity (see page 13), for example, many communication experiences are no longer about “batch processing” large, self-contained documents. Instead, communication is taking on the feel of an endless conversation, with recipients picking up smaller bits of information as needed, in real time, from multiple sources.

The fundamental skills of writing, listening, presenting, and so on will always be es- sential, of course, but those skills must be executed in a contemporary business context. That’s why Bovée and Thill texts carefully blend technology awareness and skills with basic communication skills and practices. The new coverage of mobile communication is deeply integrated throughout the Seventh Edition, with major new sections in many chapters and important updates in other places, along with a variety of new questions, activities, and cases.

Welcome to the wild new world of mobile business communication!

Why Business Communication Instructors Continue to Choose Bovée and Thill ● Market-leading innovation. The unique new coverage of mobile communication in

this edition is just one example of how for more than three decades, Bovée and Thill texts have pioneered coverage of emerging trends and their implications for business communication. They were the first authors in the field to give in-depth coverage to digital media, then social media, and now mobile communication.

● Up-to-date coverage that reflects today’s business communication practices and employer expectations. Technology, globalization, and other forces have dramatically changed the practice of business communication in recent years, even to the point of altering how people read and how messages should be constructed. To prepare students for today’s workplace, the business communication course needs to address contempo- rary skills, issues, and concepts.

● Practical advice informed by deep experience. Beyond the research and presentation of new ideas and tools, Bovée and Thill are among the most active and widely followed users of social media in the entire field of business communication. They don’t just write about new concepts; they have years of hands-on experience with social media, blogging, content curation, search technologies, and other important tools. They are active participants in more than 45 social media sites.

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● Engaging coverage of real companies and contemporary issues in business com- munication. Bovée and Thill texts emphasize companies and issues students already know about or are likely to find intriguing. For example, cases in recent editions have addressed location-based social networking (the business communication implications of the FourSquare game app), employer restrictions on social media, and the use of Twitter in the job-search process.

● Integrated learning. In sharp contrast to texts that tack on coverage of social media and other new topics, Bovée and Thill continually revise their coverage to fully inte- grate the skills and issues that are important in today’s workplace. This integration is carried through chapter-opening vignettes, chapter content, model documents, end- of-chapter questions, communication cases, and test banks to make sure students prac- tice the skills they’ll need, not just read about them in some anecdotal fashion.

● Added value with unique, free resources for instructors and students. From the groundbreaking Real-Time Updates to Business Communication Headline News to vid- eos specially prepared for instructors, Bovée and Thill adopters can take advantage of an unmatched array of free resources to enhance the classroom experience and keep course content fresh. Please see pages xxvii–xxix for a complete list.

Preface xix

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In-Depth Coverage of Digital, Social, and Mobile Media Topics in the Seventh Edition Business Communication Essentials offers in-depth coverage of new and emerging media skills and concepts. These tables show where you can find major areas of coverage, figures, and communication cases that expose students to professional use of social media, mobile media, and other new technologies.

Major Coverage of Digital, Social, and Mobile Media

Topic Page

Backchannel in presentations 329 Blogging and microblogging 145–149 Collaboration technologies 38–39 Community Q&A websites 140 Compositional modes for digital media 131–132 Content curation 137 Creating content for social media 133 Data visualization 273, 275 Digital, social, and mobile media options 64–67 Email 140–142 Infographics 277–278 Instant messaging and text messaging 142–145 Interview media 374–375 Meeting technologies 42–43 Mobile devices in presentations 325 Mobile etiquette 49–50 Mobile media 11–15, 67 Online and social media résumés 358–359 Online etiquette 49 Podcasting 150 Social communication model 10–11 Social networking 134–137 User-generated content 137 Web writing 249–250, 268 Wikis 268–269 Writing and designing messages for mobile devices 97–99, 118–119 Writing persuasive messages for mobile media 225 Writing persuasive messages for social media 224–225

Figures and Model Documents Highlighting Digital, Social, and Mobile Media (not including email or IM)

Title Figure Page

Business Communication: 1.0 Versus 2.0 1.4  11 The Influence of Mobile Technology on Business Communication 1.5  12 The Mobile Audience: Distracted and Multitasking 1.6  13 Mobile Communication: Opportunities and Challenges 1.7  14

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Title Figure Page

Writing for Multilingual Audiences 1.9  22 Powerful Tools for Communicating Effectively Feature  24 Shared Workspaces 2.2  41 Typical Meeting Minutes 2.5  47 Telepresence 2.4  43 Media and Channel Choices: Written + Digital 3.4  66 Storytelling as a Way to Organize Messages 3.8  76 Business Communicators Innovating with Mobile Feature  68 Fostering a Positive Relationship with an Audience 4.1  83 Building Credibility 4.2  86 Plain Language at Creative Commons 4.3  89 Topic Sentences 4.5  96 Writing for Mobile Devices 4.6  98 Designing for Readability 5.3  116 Designing for Mobile Devices 5.4  119 Writing Teasers for Social Media 6.2  134 Wearable Technology 6.3  141 Business Applications of Blogging 6.7  144 Business Applications of Microblogging 6.8  147 Business Communicators Innovating with Social Media Feature  138 Sharing Routine Information 7.6  172 Executive Summary 11.2  269 Data Visualization 11.10  276 Infographics 11.13  295 Social Media Résumé 13.6  359 Job-Task Simulations 14.3  375 Interview Simulators 14.4  380

Communication Cases Involving Digital, Social, or Mobile Media (not including email or IM)

Case Media Page

6.26 Social networking  155 6.27 Social networking  155 6.28 Social networking  155 6.30 Mobile media  155 6.32 Blogging  156 6.33 Blogging  156 6.34 Microblogging  156 6.35 Microblogging  156 6.36 Podcasting  156 6.37 Podcasting  156 7.29 Blogging  177 7.35 Podcasting  178 7.36 Blogging  179

Preface xxi

(Continued)

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Case Media Page

7.37 Microblogging  179 7.38 Blogging  179 7.40 Social networking  179 7.41 Blogging  180 7.42 Blogging  180 8.27 Microblogging  205 8.31 Podcasting  206 8.32 Microblogging  206 8.35 Social networking  207 8.37 Social networking  207 8.38 Microblogging  207 8.39 Social networking, Mobile media  208 9.30 Microblogging  229 9.33 Blogging  229 9.37 Mobile media  231 9.40 Web writing  232 9.41 Web writing  232 9.42 Social networking  232 9.43 Social networking  232 9.44 Microblogging  232 10.34 Wikis  259 10.35 Blogging  259 10.36 Web writing  259 12.18 Social networking  334 12.23 Mobile media  334 13.20 Video  364 14.22 Microblogging  391 14.24 Blogging  391

xxii Preface

Communication Cases Involving Digital, Social, or Mobile Media (not including email or IM) (Continued)

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1 Read messages from the authors and access over 175 media items available only to instructors. (Students have access to their own messages, assignments, and media items.)

5 Subscribe via RSS to individual chapters to get updates automatically for the chapter you’re currently teaching.

4 Media items are categorized by type so you can quickly find podcasts, videos, infographics, PowerPoints, and more.

3 Scan headlines and click on any item of interest to read the article or download the media item. Every item is personally selected by the authors to complement the text and support in-class activities.

2 Click on any chapter to see the updates and media items for that chapter.

Extending the Value of Your Textbook with Free Multimedia Content Business Communication Essentials’s unique Real-Time Updates system automatically provides weekly content updates, including interactive websites, infographics, podcasts, Power Point presentations, online videos, PDF files, and articles. You can subscribe to up- dates chapter by chapter, so you get only the material that applies to your current chapter. Visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7 to subscribe.

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For Instructors: Features and Resources to Enhance the Course Experience TARgET AUDIEnCE

With its balanced coverage of basic business English, communication strategies, and cutting-edge technologies, Business Communication Essentials is ideal for introductory business communication courses in any curriculum, in any format—in-class, online, or hybrid. Its compact, 14-chapter organization is particularly well suited to quarter calen- dars as well as to longer courses in which an instructor wants to have time available to supplement the text with service projects, business plan development, or other special activities.

For a more in-depth look at business communication with an emphasis on written communication, the authors’ Excellence in Business Communication is ideal for business communication courses that feature more report writing and similar activities. For compre- hensive treatment of business communication in the broadest sense (including digital video and managerial issues such as crisis communication), you may find the authors’ Business Communication Today to be the most effective text.

Colleges and universities vary in the prerequisites established for the business commu- nication course, but we advise at least one course in English composition. Some coursework in business studies will also give students a better perspective on communication challenges in the workplace. However, we have taken special care not to assume that students have any in-depth business experience, so Business Communication Essentials works quite well for those with limited work experience or business coursework.

A ToTAL TEAChIng AnD LEARnIng SoLUTIon

Business Communication Essentials is a fully integrated presentation of communication fundamentals. The concise, 14-chapter text provides clear advice, numerous examples for students to follow, and hundreds of student questions, activities, and projects. The inte- grated workbook “Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage” appears at the end of every chapter, with three levels of assessment and skill building in workplace applications and document critiques. The “Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage” serves as a convenient reference.

These components work together at four levels to provide seamless coverage of the essentials, from previewing to developing to enhancing to reinforcing:

● Previewing. Each chapter prepares students with clear learning objectives and an in- sightful “Communication Matters” quotation that highlights the principles covered in the chapter. Each learning objective aligns with a major heading in the chapter, and this structure is carried on through to the end-of-chapter and online activities, making it easier for instructors and students to gauge learning progress.

● Developing. Chapter content develops, explains, and elaborates on concepts with a carefully organized presentation of textual and visual material. The three-step process of planning, writing, and completing is clearly explained and reinforced throughout the course. Some texts introduce a writing process model and then rarely, if ever, dis- cuss it again, giving students few opportunities to practice and leaving them to wonder just how important the process really is. Business Communication Essentials applies the three-step process to every category of message in every medium, from traditional let- ters and reports to email, blogs, IM, podcasts, wikis, mobile media, and social network- ing messages. Students get to leverage the skills they learn early in the course—and realize they are acquiring the skills to tackle any communication challenge that may come their way.

● Enhancing. Contemporary examples, including more than 40 new figures in this edi- tion, show students the specific elements that contribute to or detract from successful messages. In addition, the Real-Time Updates—Learn More feature connects students with dozens of carefully selected online media elements that provide examples and insights from successful professionals.

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● Reinforcing. Student success in any communication course depends on practice, feed- back, analysis, and reinforcement. With hundreds of realistic exercises and activities, Business Communication Essentials offers an unparalleled array of opportunities for students to practice vital skills and put newfound knowledge to immediate use. These resources are logically sorted by category, including “Test Your Knowledge,” “Apply Your Knowledge,” “Practice Your Skills,” and “Expand Your Skills.” Communication cases, most featuring real companies, encourage students to think about contemporary business issues as they put their skills to use in a variety of media, including blogging and podcasting. The integrated workbook “Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage” further reinforces student skills by helping them assess their current knowledge levels, improve individual sentences, and critique documents.

At every stage of the learning experience, Business Communication Essentials provides the tools instructors and students need in order to succeed.

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Features That Help Students Build Essential Knowledge and Skills Previewing Developing Enhancing Reinforcing

Learning objectives (beginning of chapter) ●       Communication Matters (beginning of chapter) ●       Concise presentations of fundamentals (within chapter)   ●     Managerial and strategic perspectives on key topics (within chapter)   ●     Three-step writing process discussion and diagrams (within chapter)   ●     Real-life examples (within chapter)     ●   Annotated model documents (within chapter)     ●   Highlight boxes (within chapter)     ●   Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage (end of book)     ●   Learn More media resources (online)     ●   MyBcommLab (online)     ● ●

Real-Time Updates (online)     ● ●

Marginal notes for quick review (within chapter)       ●

Check Your Progress (end of chapter)       ●

Test Your Knowledge questions (end of chapter)       ●

Apply Your Knowledge questions (end of chapter)       ●

Practice Your Skills activities and exercises (end of chapter)       ●

Expand Your Skills activities (end of chapter/online)       ●

Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage exercises (end of chapter)       ●

Bovée and Thill wiki simulator (online)       ●

Cases (following Chapters 6–14)       ●

Document Makeovers (online)       ●

FULL SUPPoRT FoR AACSB LEARnIng STAnDARDS

The American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is a not-for-profit corporation of educational institutions, corporations, and other organizations devoted to the promotion and improvement of higher education in business administration and ac- counting. A collegiate institution offering degrees in business administration or accounting may volunteer for AACSB accreditation review. The AACSB makes initial accreditation de- cisions and conducts periodic reviews to promote continuous quality improvement in man- agement education. Pearson Education is a proud member of the AACSB and is pleased to provide advice to help you apply AACSB Learning Standards.

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● Applicant tracking systems ● Assistive technologies ● Automated reputation analysis ● Avatars ● Backchannel ● Blogs ● Cloud computing ● Clustering engines ● Community Q&A websites ● Computer animation ● Content curation ● Crowdsourcing ● Data visualization ● Digital documents ● Digital whiteboards ● Email ● Emoticons ● Enterprise instant messaging ● E-portfolios ● Extranets ● Gamification ● Geographic information systems ● Graphics software ● Groupware and shared online

workspaces ● Infographics ● Information architecture

● Instant messaging ● Intellectual property rights ● Interactivity ● Internet telephony (Skype) ● Interview simulators ● Intranets ● Knowledge management systems ● Lifestreaming ● Linked and embedded documents ● Location-based social networking ● Microblogs ● Mobile business apps ● Multimedia documents ● Multimedia presentations ● Multimedia résumés ● Newsfeeds ● Online brainstorming systems ● Online research techniques ● Online survey tools ● Online video ● Podcasts ● PowerPoint animation ● Really Simple Syndication (RSS) ● Screencasts ● Search and metasearch engines ● Search engine optimization (SEO)

● Security and privacy concerns in electronic media

● Sentiment analysis ● Social bookmarking ● Social commerce ● Social media ● Social media résumés ● Social networking ● Tagging ● Templates and style sheets ● Teleconferencing and telepresence ● Text messaging ● Translation software ● User-generated content ● Video interviews ● Video résumés ● Videoconferencing ● Virtual communities ● Virtual meetings ● Virtual whiteboards ● Web content management systems ● Web directories ● Webcasts ● Website accessibility ● Wikis ● Workforce analytics

Curriculum quality is one of the most important criteria for AACSB accreditation. Although no specific courses are required, the AACSB expects a curriculum to include learning experiences in the following areas:

● Written and oral communication ● Ethical understanding and reasoning ● Analytical thinking ● Information technology ● Interpersonal relations and teamwork ● Diverse and multicultural work environments ● Reflective thinking ● Application of knowledge

Throughout Business Communication Essentials, you’ll find student exercises and activities that support the achievement of these important goals, and the questions in the accompanying test bank are tagged with the appropriate AACSB category.

UnMATChED CovERAgE oF ESSEnTIAL CoMMUnICATIon TEChnoLogIES

The Bovée and Thill series continues to lead the field with unmatched coverage of commu- nication technologies, reflecting the expectations and opportunities in today’s workplace:

CoURSE PLAnnIng gUIDE

Although Business Communication Essentials follows a conventional sequence of topics, it is structured so that you can address topics in whatever order best suits your needs. For instance, if you want to begin by reviewing grammar, sentence structure, and other writing fundamentals, you can ask students to read Chapter 4, the chapter on “Writing Business Messages” and then the “Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage.” Conversely, if you

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want to begin with employment-related communication, you can start with the Prologue, “Building a Career with Your Communication Skills,” followed by Chapters 13 and 14.

The following table suggests a sequence and a schedule for covering the chapters in the textbook, with time allocations based on the total number of class hours available.

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Chapter Number and Title  

Hours Devoted to Each Chapter

30-Hour Course 45-Hour Course 60-Hour Course

  Prologue: Building a Career with Your Communication Skills 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 Professional Communication in Today’s Digital, Social, Mobile World 1 1 1 2 Collaboration, Interpersonal Communication, and Business Etiquette 2 2 2 3 Planning Business Messages 2 3 4 4 Writing Business Messages 2 3 4 C Correction Symbols 0.5 0.5 0.5 5 Completing Business Messages 2 3 4   Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage 1 2 2 6 Crafting Messages for Digital Channels 2 3 6 A Format and Layout of Business Documents 1 1 1 7 Writing Routine and Positive Messages 2 2 3 8 Writing Negative Messages 2 2 3 9 Writing Persuasive Messages 2 2 3 B Documentation of Report Sources 1 1 2 10 Understanding and Planning Reports and Proposals 2 5 6 11 Writing and Completing Reports and Proposals 2 4 6 12 Developing and Delivering Business Presentations 1 4 4 13 Building Careers and Writing Résumés 2 3 4 14 Applying and Interviewing for Employment 2 3 4

InSTRUCToR RESoURCES AnD SUPPoRT oPTIonS

Business Communication Essentials is backed by an unmatched selection of resources for instructors and students, many of which were pioneered by the authors and remain unique in the field.

Online Communities and Media Resources

Instructors are welcome to take advantage of the many free online resources provided by Bovée and Thill:

● Sponsorship of Teaching Business Communication instructors’ communities (open to all) and Bovée and Thill’s Inner Circle for Business Communication (for adopters only) on LinkedIn and Facebook

● Instructor tips and techniques in Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Blog and Twitter feed

● The Bovée and Thill channel on YouTube, with videos that offer advice on teaching the new elements of business communication

● The unique Real-Time Updates content-updating service (see page xxiii) ● The popular Business Communication Headline News service ● A variety of videos and PowerPoint presentations on SlideShare ● More than 500 infographics, videos, articles, podcasts, and PowerPoints on Business

Communication Pictorial Gallery on Pinterest ● A visual display of trending Bovée and Thill tweets on Twylah

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We also invite you to peruse Bovée and Thill’s Online Magazines for Business Communication on Scoop.it:

● Business Communication 2.0: Social Media and Electronic Communication ● Teaching a Modern Business Communication Course ● How the Mobile Revolution Is Changing Business Communication ● Teaching Business Communication and Workplace Issues ● Teaching Business Communication and Interpersonal Communication ● Teaching Oral Communication in a Business Communication Course ● Teaching Business Communication and Employment ● Teaching Visual Communication ● Exclusive Teaching Resources for Business Communication Instructors

Links to all these services and resources can be found at http://blog.business communicationnetwork.com.

Business Communication Headline News

Stay on top of hot topics, important trends, and new technologies with Business Commu- nication Headline News (http://bchn.businesscommunicationnetwork.com), the most comprehensive business communication site on the Internet. Every weekday during the school year, we offer fresh lecture content and provide a wide range of research and teach- ing tools on the website, including a custom web search function that we created expressly for business communication research.

Take advantage of the newsfeeds to get late-breaking news in headlines with concise summaries. You can scan incoming items in a matter of seconds and simply click through to read the full articles that interest you. All articles and accompanying multimedia resources are categorized by topic and chapter for easy retrieval at any time.

This free service for adopters offers numerous ways to enhance lectures and student activities:

● Keep current with the latest information and trends in the field. ● Easily update your lecture notes with fresh material. ● Create visuals for your classroom presentations. ● Supplement your lectures with cutting-edge handouts. ● Gather podcasts, online video, and other new media examples to use in the classroom. ● Enhance your research projects with the newest data. ● Compare best practices from other instructors. ● Improve the quality and effectiveness of your teaching by reading about new teaching

tips and techniques.

At the website, you also get free access to these powerful instructional resources:

● Business Communication Web Search, featuring a revolutionary approach to search- ing developed by the authors that lets you quickly access more than 325 search engines. The tool uses a simple and intuitive interface engineered to help business communica- tion instructors find precisely what they want, whether it’s PowerPoint files, PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, Excel files, videos, or podcasts.

● Real-Time Updates are newsfeeds and content updates tied directly to specific points throughout the text. Each content update is classified by the type of media featured: interactive website, infographic, article, video, podcast, PowerPoint, or PDF. Additional sections on the site include Instructor Messages and Instructor Media (both password protected), Student Messages, and Student Assignments.

You can subscribe to Business Communication Headline News and get delivery by email, MyYahoo or iGoogle homepage, RSS newsreader, mobile phone, instant messenger, MP3, Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other options.

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Bovée and Thill Business Communication Blog

The Bovée and Thill Business Communication Blog (http://blog.businesscommunication network.com/) offers original articles that help instructors focus their teaching to help stu- dents learn more efficiently and effectively. Articles discuss a wide variety of topics, includ- ing new topics instructors should be teaching their students, resources instructors can use in their classes, solutions to common teaching challenges, and great examples and activities instructors can use in class.

Authors’ Email Hotline for Faculty

Integrity, excellence, and responsiveness are our hallmarks. That means providing you with textbooks that are academically sound, creative, timely, and sensitive to instructor and stu- dent needs. As an adopter of Business Communication Essentials, you are invited to use our Email Hotline ([email protected]) if you ever have a question or concern related to the text or its supplements.

Instructor Resources

At the Instructor Resource Center, www.pearsonhighered.com/irc, instructors can easily register to gain access to a variety of instructor resources available with this text in down- loadable format. If assistance is needed, our dedicated technical support team is ready to help with the media supplements that accompany this text. Visit http://247pearsoned.custhelp .com/ for answers to frequently asked questions and toll-free user-support phone numbers.

The following supplements are available with this text

● Instructor’s Resource Manual ● Test Bank ● TestGen® Computerized Test Bank (and various conversions) ● PowerPoint Presentation

For Students: How This Course Will Help You No matter what profession you want to pursue, the ability to communicate will be an es- sential skill—and a skill that employers expect you to have when you enter the workforce. This course introduces you to the fundamental principles of business communication and gives you the opportunity to develop your communication skills. You’ll discover how busi- ness communication differs from personal and social communication, and you’ll see how today’s companies are using blogs, social networks, podcasts, virtual worlds, wikis, and other technologies. You’ll learn a simple three-step writing process that works for all types of writing and speaking projects, both in college and on the job. Along the way, you’ll gain valuable insights into ethics, etiquette, listening, teamwork, and nonverbal communication. Plus, you’ll learn effective strategies for the many types of communication challenges you’ll face on the job, from writing routine messages about transactions to producing complex reports and websites.

Few courses can offer the three-for-the-price-of-one value you get from a business communication class. Check out these benefits:

● In your other classes. The communication skills you learn in this class can help you in every other course you take in college. From simple homework assignments to complicated team projects to class presentations, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively with less time and effort.

● During your job search. You can reduce the stress of searching for a job and stand out from the competition. Every activity in the job-search process relies on communica- tion. The better you can communicate, the more successful you’ll be at landing interest- ing and rewarding work.

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● On the job. After you get that great job, the time and energy you have invested in this course will continue to yield benefits year after year. As you tackle each project and every new challenge, influential company leaders—the people who decide how quickly you’ll get promoted and how much you’ll earn—will be paying close attention to how well you communicate. They will observe your interactions with colleagues, custom- ers, and business partners. They’ll take note of how well you can collect data, find the essential ideas buried under mountains of information, and convey those points to other people. They’ll observe your ability to adapt to different audiences and circum- stances. They’ll be watching when you encounter tough situations that require careful attention to ethics and etiquette. The good news: Every insight you gain and every skill you develop in this course will help you shine in your career.

how To SUCCEED In ThIS CoURSE

Although this course explores a wide range of message types and appears to cover quite a lot of territory, the underlying structure of the course is actually rather simple. You’ll learn a few basic concepts, identify some key skills to use and procedures to follow—and then practice, practice, practice. Whether you’re writing a blog posting in response to one of the real-company cases or drafting your own résumé, you’ll be practicing the same skills again and again. With feedback and reinforcement from your instructor and your classmates, your confidence will grow and the work will become easier and more enjoyable.

The following sections offer advice on approaching each assignment, using your text- book, and taking advantage of some other helpful resources.

Approaching Each Assignment

In the spirit of practice and improvement, you will have a number of writing (and possibly speaking) assignments throughout this course. These suggestions will help you produce better results with less effort:

● First, don’t panic! If the thought of writing a report or giving a speech sends a chill up your spine, you’re not alone. Everybody feels that way when first learning business communication skills, and even experienced professionals can feel nervous about major projects. Keeping three points in mind will help. First, every project can be broken down into a series of small, manageable tasks. Don’t let a big project over- whelm you; it’s nothing more than a bunch of smaller tasks. Second, remind yourself that you have the skills you need to accomplish each task. As you move through the course, the assignments are carefully designed to match the skills you’ve developed up to that point. Third, if you feel panic creeping up on you, take a break and regain your perspective.

● Focus on one task at a time. A common mistake writers make is trying to organize and express their ideas while simultaneously worrying about audience reactions, grammar, spelling, formatting, page design, and a dozen other factors. Fight the temptation to do everything at once; otherwise, your frustration will soar and your productivity will plummet. In particular, don’t worry about grammar, spelling, and word choices during your first draft. Concentrate on the organization of your ideas first, then the way you express those ideas, and then the presentation and production of your messages. Fol- lowing the three-step writing process is an ideal way to focus on one task at a time in a logical sequence.

● Give yourself plenty of time. As with every other school project, putting things off to the last minute creates unnecessary stress. Writing and speaking projects in particular are much easier if you tackle them in small stages with breaks in between, rather than trying to get everything done in one frantic blast. Moreover, there will be instances when you simply get stuck on a project, and the best thing to do is walk away and give your mind a break. If you allow room for breaks in your schedule, you’ll minimize the frustration and spend less time overall on your homework, too.

● Step back and assess each project before you start. The writing and speaking proj- ects you’ll have in this course cover a wide range of communication scenarios, and it’s

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essential that you adapt your approach to each new challenge. Resist the urge to dive in and start writing without a plan. Ponder the assignment for a while, consider the vari- ous approaches you might take, and think carefully about your objectives before you start writing. Nothing is more frustrating than getting stuck halfway through because you’re not sure what you’re trying to say or you’ve wandered off track. Spend a little time planning, and you’ll spend a lot less time writing.

● Use the three-step writing process. Those essential planning tasks are the first step in the three-step writing process, which you’ll learn about in Chapter 3 and use through- out the course. This process has been developed and refined by professional writers with decades of experience and thousands of projects ranging from short blog posts to 500-page textbooks. It works, so take advantage of it.

● Learn from the examples and model documents. This textbook offers dozens of real- istic examples of business messages, many with notes along the sides that explain strong and weak points. Study these and any other examples that your instructor provides. Learn what works and what doesn’t, then apply these lessons to your own writing.

● Learn from experience. Finally, learn from the feedback you get from your instructor and from other students. Don’t take the criticism personally; your instructor and your classmates are commenting about the work, not about you. View every bit of feedback as an opportunity to improve.

Using This Textbook Package

This book and its accompanying online resources introduce you to the key concepts in business communication while helping you develop essential skills. As you read each chap- ter, start by studying the learning objectives. They will help you identify the most impor- tant concepts in the chapter and give you a feel for what you’ll be learning. Each learning objective corresponds to one major heading within the chapter, so you can easily find the information it relates to. Following the learning objectives, the “Communication Matters” feature offers helpful advice from a successful professional who uses the same skills you will be learning in the chapter.

At the end of each chapter, “Learning Objectives: Check Your Progress” gives you the chance to quickly verify your grasp of important concepts. Following that, you’ll see two sets of questions that will help you test and apply your knowledge, and two sets of projects that will help you practice and expand your skills. Chapters 6 through 14 also feature com- munication cases, which are more-involved projects that require you to plan and complete a variety of messages and documents. All these activities are tagged by learning objective, so if you have any questions about the concepts you need to apply, just revisit that part of the chapter.

Several chapters have activities with downloadable media such as presentations and podcasts; if your instructor assigns these elements, follow the instructions in the text to lo- cate the correct files. You can also download the two-page Quick Learning Guide to review the essential points from the chapter.

In addition to the 14 chapters of the text itself, here are some special features that will help you succeed in the course and on the job:

● Prologue: Building a career with your communication skills. This section (immedi- ately following this Preface) helps you understand today’s dynamic workplace, the steps you can take to adapt to the job market, and the importance of creating an employment portfolio and building your personal brand.

● Handbook. The Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage (see page 423) is a convenient reference for essential business English.

● Real-Time Updates. You can use this unique newsfeed service to make sure you’re al- ways kept up to date on important topics. Plus, at strategic points in every chapter, you will be directed to the Real-Time Updates website to get the latest information about specific subjects. To sign up, visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7.

● Business communication web search. With our unique web search approach, you can quickly access more than 325 search engines. This tool uses a simple and intuitive inter- face engineered to help you find precisely what you want, whether it’s PowerPoint files,

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PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, Excel files, videos, podcasts, videos, or social bookmarks. Check it out at http://websearch.businesscommunicationnetwork.com.

● CourseSmart eTextbooks online. CourseSmart is an exciting new choice for students looking to save money. As an alternative to buying the print textbook, you can purchase an electronic version of the same content and receive a significant discount off the sug- gested list price of the print text. With a CourseSmart eTextbook, you can search the text, make notes online, print out reading assignments that incorporate lecture notes, and bookmark important passages for later review. For more information or to pur- chase access to the CourseSmart eTextbook, visit www.coursesmart.com.

About the Authors Courtland L. Bovée and John V. Thill have been leading textbook authors for more than two decades, introducing millions of students to the fields of business and business communica- tion. Their award-winning texts are distinguished by proven pedagogical features, extensive selections of contemporary case studies, hundreds of real-life examples, engaging writing, thorough research, and the unique integration of print and electronic resources. Each new edition reflects the authors’ commitment to continuous refinement and improvement, par- ticularly in terms of modeling the latest practices in business and the use of technology.

Professor Bovée has 22 years of teaching experience at Grossmont College in San Diego, where he has received teaching honors and was accorded that institution’s C. Allen Paul Distinguished Chair. Mr. Thill is a prominent communications consultant who has worked with organizations ranging from Fortune 500 multinationals to entrepreneurial start-ups. He formerly held positions with Pacific Bell and Texaco.

Courtland Bovée and John Thill were recently awarded proclamations from the Gov- ernor of Massachusetts for their lifelong contributions to education and for their commit- ment to the summer youth baseball program that is sponsored by the Boston Red Sox.

Acknowledgments The seventh edition of Business Communication Essentials reflects the professional expe- rience of a large team of contributors and advisors. We express our thanks to the many individuals whose valuable suggestions and constructive comments influenced the success of this book.

REvIEwERS oF PREvIoUS EDITIonS

Thank you to the following professors: Lydia E. Anderson, Fresno City College; Victoria Austin, Las Positas College; Faridah Awang, Eastern Kentucky University; Jeanette Baldridge, University of Maine at Augusta; Diana Baran, Henry Ford Community College; JoAnne Barbieri, Atlantic Cape Community College; Kristina Beckman, John Jay College; Judy Bello, Lander University; George Bernard, Seminole State College; Carol Bibly, Triton College; Nancy Bizal, University of Southern Indiana; Yvonne Block, College of Lake County; Edna Boroski, Trident Technical College; Nelvia M. Brady, Trinity Christian College; Arlene Broeker, Lincoln University; David Brooks, Indiana University Southeast; Carol Brown, South Puget Sound Community College; Domenic Bruni, University of Wisconsin; Jeff Bruns, Bacone College; Gertrude L. Burge, University of Nebraska; Sharon Burton, Brookhaven College; Robert Cabral, Oxnard College; Dorothy Campbell, Brevard Community College; Linda Carr, University of West Alabama; Alvaro Carreras, Jr., Florida International University; Sharon Carson, St. Philip’s College; Rick Carter, Seattle University; Dacia Charlesworth, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne; Jean Chenu, Genesee Community College; Connie Clark, Lane Community College; Alvin Clarke, Iowa State University; Jerrie Cleaver, Central Texas College; Clare Coleman, Temple University; Michael P. Collins, Northern Arizona Uni- versity; M. Cotton, North Central Missouri College; Pat Cowherd, Campbellsville University; Pat Cuchens, University of Houston–Clear Lake; Walt Dabek, Post University; Cathy Daly,

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California State University– Sacramento; Linda Davis, Copiah–Lincoln Community College; Christine R. Day, Eastern Michigan University; Harjit Dosanjh, North Seattle Community College; Amy Drees, Defiance College; Cynthia Drexel, Western State College of Colorado; Lou Dunham, Spokane Falls Community College; Donna Everett, Morehead State University; Donna Falconer, Anoka–Ramsey Community College; Kate Ferguson Marsters, Gannon University; Darlynn Fink, Clarion University of Pennsylvania; Bobbi Fisher, University of Nebraska–Omaha; Laura Fitzwater, Community College of Philadelphia; Lynda K. 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REvIEwERS oF DoCUMEnT MAkEovERS

We sincerely thank the following reviewers for their assistance with the Document Makeover feature: Lisa Barley, Eastern Michigan University; Marcia Bordman, Gallaudet University; Jean Bush-Bacelis, Eastern Michigan University; Bobbye Davis, Southern Louisiana Uni- versity; Cynthia Drexel, Western State College of Colorado; Kenneth Gibbs, Worcester State College; Ellen Leathers, Bradley University; Diana McKowen, Indiana University; Bobbie Nicholson, Mars Hill College; Andrew Smith, Holyoke Community College; Jay Stubblefield, North Carolina Wesleyan College; Dawn Wallace, Southeastern Louisiana University.

PERSonAL ACknowLEDgMEnTS

We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to our many friends, acquaintances, and business as- sociates who provided materials or agreed to be interviewed so that we could bring the real world into the classroom.

A very special acknowledgment goes to George Dovel, whose superb writing skills, distinguished background, and wealth of business experience assured this project of clarity and completeness. Also, recognition and thanks to Jackie Estrada for her outstanding skills and excellent attention to details. Her creation of the “Peak Performance Grammar and Mechanics” material is especially noteworthy.

We also feel it is important to acknowledge and thank the Association for Business Communication, an organization whose meetings and publications provide a valuable forum for the exchange of ideas and for professional growth.

In addition, we would like to thank Myles Hassell of the University of New Orleans, Susan Schanne of Eastern Michigan University and Maureen Steddin for their assistance in preparing supplements for this new edition.

We want to extend our warmest appreciation to the devoted professionals at Pearson Higher Education for their commitment to producing high-value, student-focused texts, in- cluding Tim Bozik, president; Stephanie Wall, editor-in-chief; Maggie Moylan, vice president of product marketing: Nicole Sam, acquisitions editor, Claudia Fernandes and Denise Vaughn, program managers; Nicole Suddeth, project manager; Judy Leale, senior managing editor of production. We are also grateful to Christian Holdener of S4Carlisle Publishing Services.

Courtland L. Bovée John V. Thill

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xxxv

T his book is dedicated to the many thousands of instructors and

students who use Bovée and Thill texts to develop career-enhancing

skills in business communication. We appreciate the opportunity to

play a role in your education, and we wish you the very best with your careers.

Courtland L. Bovée

John V. Thill

Dedication

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xxxvii

Prologue

buiLDing a Career With your CoMMuniCation sKiLLs

Using This Course to Help Launch Your Career This course will help you develop vital communication skills that you’ll use throughout your career—and those skills can help you launch an interesting and rewarding career, too. This brief prologue sets the stage by helping you understand today’s dynamic workplace, the steps you can take to adapt to the job market, and the importance of creating an employ- ment portfolio and building your personal brand. Take a few minutes to read it while you think about the career you hope to create for yourself.

UnDERSTAnDIng ThE ChAngIng woRLD oF woRk

There is no disguising the fact that you are entering a tough job market, but there are several reasons for at least some hope over the longer term. First, the U.S. economy will recover from the Great Recession, although it’s going to take a while before the majority of employ- ers feel confident enough to ramp up hiring significantly. Second, the large demographic bulge of baby boomers is moving into retirement, which should set off a chain reaction of openings from the tops of companies on downward. Third, political and business leaders here and abroad are keenly aware of the problem of unemployment among young adults, both as it affects people looking for work and in the loss of vitality to the economy. For example, programs aimed at helping graduates start companies right out of college, rather than entering the conventional job market, are springing up under government and phil- anthropic efforts.1

The ups and downs of the economic cycle are not the only dynamic elements that will affect your career, however. The nature of employment itself is changing, with a growing number of independent workers and loosely structured virtual organizations that engage these workers for individual projects or short-term contracts, rather than hiring employees. In fact, one recent study predicted that independent workers will outnumber conventional employees in the United States by 2020.2

This new model of work offers some compelling advantages for workers and compa- nies alike. Companies can lower their fixed costs, adapt more easily to economic fluctua- tions and competitive moves, and get access to specialized talent for specific project needs.3 Workers can benefit from the freedom to choose the clients and projects that interest them the most, the flexibility to work as much or as little as they want, and (thanks to advances in communication technology) access to compelling work even if they live far from major employment centers such as New York City or California’s Silicon Valley.4

On the other hand, this new approach also presents some significant challenges for all parties. These flexibilities and freedoms can create more complexity for workers and managers, diminished loyalties on both sides, uncertainty about the future, issues with skill development and training, and problems with accountability and liability.5 Many of these challenges involve communication, making solid communication skills more important than ever.

These changes could affect you even if you pursue traditional employment throughout your career. Within organizations, you’re likely to work with a combination of “inside” em- ployees and “outside” contractors, which can affect the dynamics of the workplace. And the

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Are you comfortable working on your own? Independent workers have become an important part of the global workforce.

availability of more independent workers in the talent marketplace gives employers more options and more leverage, so full-time employees may find themselves competing against freelancers, at least indirectly.

As you navigate this uncertain future, keep two vital points in mind. First, don’t wait for your career to just happen: Take charge of your career and stay in charge of it. Explore all your options and have a plan—but be prepared to change course as opportunities and threats appear on the horizon. Second, don’t count on employers to take care of you. The era of lifetime employment, in which an employee committed to one company for life with the understanding it would return the loyalty, is long gone. From finding opportunities to developing the skills you need in order to succeed, it’s up to you to manage your career and look out for your own best interests.

How Employers View Today’s Job Market

From an employer’s perspective, the employment process is always a question of balance. Maintaining a stable workforce can improve practically every aspect of business perfor- mance, yet many employers want the flexibility to shrink and expand payrolls as business conditions change. Employers obviously want to attract the best talent, but the best talent is more expensive and more vulnerable to offers from competitors, so there are always finan- cial trade-offs to consider.

Employers also struggle with the ups and downs of the economy. When unemploy- ment is low, the balance of power shifts to employees, and employers have to compete in order to attract and keep top talent. When unemployment is high, the power shifts back to employers, who can afford to be more selective and less accommodating. In other words, pay attention to the economy; at times you can be more aggressive in your demands, but at other times you need to be more accommodating.

Companies view employment as a complex business decision with lots of variables to consider. To make the most of your potential, regardless of the career path you pursue, you need to view employment in the same way.

What Employers Look for in Job Applicants

Given the complex forces in the contemporary workplace and the unrelenting pressure of global competition, what are employers looking for in the candidates they hire? The short answer: a lot. Like all “buyers,” companies want to get as much as they can for the

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money they spend. The more you can present yourself as the ideal candidate, the better your chances of getting a crack at the most exciting opportunities.

Specific expectations vary by profession and position, of course, but virtually all em- ployers look for the following general skills and attributes:6

● Communication skills. The reason this item is listed first isn’t that you’re reading a business communication textbook. Communication is listed first because it is far and away the most commonly mentioned skill set when employers are asked about what they look for in employees. Improving your communication skills will help in every aspect of your professional life.

● Interpersonal and team skills. You will have many individual responsibilities on the job, but chances are you won’t work alone very often. Learn to work with others—and help them succeed as you succeed.

● Intercultural and international awareness and sensitivity. Successful employers tend to be responsive to diverse workforces, markets, and communities, and they look for employees with the same outlook.

● Data collection, analysis, and decision-making skills. Employers want people who know how to identify information needs, find the necessary data, convert the data into useful knowledge, and make sound decisions.

● Digital, social, and mobile media skills. Today’s workers need to know how to use common office software and to communicate using a wide range of digital media and systems.

● Time and resource management. If you’ve had to juggle multiple priorities during college, consider that great training for the business world. Your ability to plan projects and manage the time and resources available to you will make a big difference on the job.

● Flexibility and adaptability. Stuff happens, as they say. Employees who can roll with the punches and adapt to changing business priorities and circumstances will go fur- ther (and be happier) than employees who resist change.

● Professionalism. Professionalism is the quality of performing at the highest possible level and conducting oneself with confidence, purpose, and pride. True professionals strive to excel, continue to hone their skills and build their knowledge, are dependable and accountable, demonstrate a sense of business etiquette, make ethical decisions, show loyalty and commitment, don’t give up when things get tough, and maintain a positive outlook.

Communication skills will benefit your career, no matter what path or profession you pursue.

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Adapting to Today’s Job Market Adapting to the workplace is a lifelong process of seeking the best fit between what you want to do and what employers (or clients, if you work independently) are willing to pay you to do. It’s important to think about what you want to do during the many thousands of hours you will spend working, what you have to offer, and how to make yourself more attractive to employers.

whAT Do YoU wAnT To Do?

Economic necessities and the vagaries of the marketplace will influence much of what hap- pens in your career, of course, and you may not always have the opportunity to do the kind of work you would really like to. Even if you can’t get the job you want right now, though, start your job search by examining your values and interests. Doing so will give you a better idea of where you want to be eventually, and you can use those insights to learn and grow your way toward that ideal situation. Consider these questions:

● What would you like to do every day? Research occupations that interest you. Find out what people really do every day. Ask friends, relatives, alumni from your school, and contacts in your social networks. Read interviews with people in various pro fessions to get a sense of what their careers are like.

● How would you like to work? Consider how much independence you want on the job, how much variety you like, and whether you prefer to work with products, machines, people, ideas, figures, or some combination thereof.

● How do your financial goals fit with your other priorities? For instance, many high-paying jobs involve a lot of stress, sacrifices of time with family and friends, and frequent travel or relocation. If location, lifestyle, intriguing work, or other factors are more important to you, you may well have to sacrifice some level of pay to achieve them.

● Have you established some general career goals? For example, do you want to pursue a career specialty such as finance or manufacturing, or do you want to gain experience in multiple areas with an eye toward upper management?

● What sort of corporate culture are you most comfortable with? Would you be happy in a formal hierarchy with clear reporting relationships? Or do you prefer less struc- ture? Teamwork or individualism? Do you like a competitive environment?

You might need some time in the workforce to figure out what you really want to do or to work your way into the job you really want, but it’s never too early to start thinking about where you want to be. Filling out the assessment in Table 1 might help you get a clearer picture of the nature of work you would like to pursue in your career.

whAT Do YoU hAvE To oFFER?

Knowing what you want to do is one thing. Knowing what a company is willing to pay you to do is another thing entirely. You may already have a good idea of what you can offer employers. If not, some brainstorming can help you identify your skills, interests, and char- acteristics. Start by jotting down achievements you’re proud of and experiences that were satisfying, and think carefully about what specific skills these achievements demanded of you. For example, leadership skills, speaking ability, and artistic talent may have helped you coordinate a successful class project. As you analyze your achievements, you may well begin to recognize a pattern of skills. Which of them might be valuable to potential employers?

Next, look at your educational preparation, work experience, and extracurricular ac- tivities. What do your knowledge and experience qualify you to do? What have you learned from volunteer work or class projects that could benefit you on the job? Have you held any offices, won any awards or scholarships, mastered a second language? What skills have you developed in nonbusiness situations that could transfer to a business position?

Take stock of your personal characteristics. Are you aggressive, a born leader? Or would you rather follow? Are you outgoing, articulate, great with people? Or do you prefer

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tabLe 1 Career Self-Assessment

Activity or Situation Strongly Agree Agree Disagree No Preference

1. I want to work independently. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

2. I want variety in my work. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

3. I want to work with people. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

4. I want to work with technology. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

5. I want physical work. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

6. I want mental work. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

7. I want to work for a large organization. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

8. I want to work for a nonprofit organization. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

9. I want to work for a small business. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

10. I want to work for a service business. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

11. I want to start or buy a business someday. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

12. I want regular, predictable work hours. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

13. I want to work in a city location. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

14. I want to work in a small town or suburb. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

15. I want to work in another country. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

16. I want to work outdoors. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

17. I want to work in a structured environment. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

18. I want to avoid risk as much as possible. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

19. I want to enjoy my work, even if that means making less money. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

20. I want to become a high-level corporate manager. ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

working alone? Make a list of what you believe are your four or five most important quali- ties. Ask a relative or friend to rate your traits as well.

If you’re having difficulty figuring out your interests, characteristics, or capabili- ties, consult your college career center. Many campuses administer a variety of tests that can help you identify interests, aptitudes, and personality traits. These tests won’t reveal your “perfect” job, but they’ll help you focus on the types of work best suited to your personality.

how CAn YoU MAkE YoURSELF MoRE vALUABLE?

While you’re figuring out what you want from a job and what you can offer an employer, you can take positive steps toward building your career. First, look for volunteer projects, temporary jobs, freelance work, or internships that will help expand your experience base and skill set.7 You can look for freelance projects on Craigslist and numerous other websites; some of these jobs have only nominal pay, but they do provide an opportunity for you to display your skills. Also consider applying your talents to crowdsourcing projects, in which companies and nonprofit organizations invite the public to contribute solutions to various challenges.

These opportunities help you gain valuable experience and relevant contacts, provide you with important references and work samples for your employment portfolio, and help you establish your personal brand (see the following sections).

Second, learn more about the industry or industries in which you want to work and stay on top of new developments. Join networks of professional colleagues and friends who can help you keep up with trends and events. Many professional societies have student chapters or offer students discounted memberships. Take courses and pursue other educa- tional or life experiences that would be difficult while working full-time.

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BUILDIng An EMPLoYMEnT PoRTFoLIo

Employers want proof that you have the skills to succeed on the job, but even if you don’t have much relevant work experience, you can use your college classes to assemble that proof. Simply create and maintain an employment portfolio, which is a collection of projects that demonstrate your skills and knowledge. You can create a print portfolio and an e-portfolio; both can help with your career effort. A print portfolio gives you something tangible to bring to interviews, and it lets you collect project results that might not be easy to show online, such as a handsomely bound report. An e-portfolio is a multimedia presen- tation of your skills and experiences.8 Think of it as a website that contains your résumé, work samples, letters of recommendation, relevant videos or podcasts you have recorded, any blog posts or articles you have written, and other information about you and your skills. If you have set up a lifestream (a real-time aggregation of your content creation, online in- terests, and social media interactions) that is professionally focused, consider adding that to your e-portfolio. The portfolio can be burned onto a CD or DVD for physical distribution or, more commonly, it can be posted online—whether it’s a personal website, your college’s site (if student pages are available), a specialized portfolio hosting site such as Behance, or a résumé hosting site such as VisualCV that offers multimedia résumés. To see a selection of student e-portfolios from colleges around the United States, go to http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7, click on Student Assignments, and locate the link to student e-portfolios.

Throughout this course, pay close attention to the assignments marked “Portfolio Builder” (they start in Chapter 6). These items will make particularly good samples of not only your communication skills but also your ability to understand and solve business- related challenges. By combining these projects with samples from your other courses, you can create a compelling portfolio when you’re ready to start interviewing. Your portfolio is also a great resource for writing your résumé because it reminds you of all the great work you’ve done over the years. Moreover, you can continue to refine and expand your portfolio throughout your career; many professionals use e-portfolios to advertise their services.

As you assemble your portfolio, collect anything that shows your ability to perform, whether it’s in school, on the job, or in other venues. However, you must check with employ- ers before including any items that you created while you were an employee and check with clients before including any work products (anything you wrote, designed, programmed, and so on) they purchased from you. Many business documents contain confidential infor- mation that companies don’t want distributed to outside audiences.

For each item you add to your portfolio, write a brief description that helps other people understand the meaning and significance of the project. Include such items as these:

● Background. Why did you undertake this project? Was it a school project, a work assignment, or something you did on your own initiative?

● Project objectives. Explain the project’s goals, if relevant. ● Collaborators. If you worked with others, be sure to mention that and discuss team

dynamics if appropriate. For instance, if you led the team or worked with others long distance as a virtual team, point that out.

● Constraints. Sometimes the most impressive thing about a project is the time or bud- get constraints under which it was created. If such constraints apply to a project, con- sider mentioning them in a way that doesn’t sound like an excuse for poor quality. If you had only one week to create a website, for example, you might say, “One of the intriguing challenges of this project was the deadline; I had only one week to design, compose, test, and publish this material.”

● Outcomes. If the project’s goals were measurable, what was the result? For example, if you wrote a letter soliciting donations for a charitable cause, how much money did you raise?

● Learning experience. If appropriate, describe what you learned during the course of the project.

Keep in mind that the portfolio itself is a communication project, so be sure to ap- ply everything you’ll learn in this course about effective communication and good design.

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Assume that potential employers will find your e-portfolio site (even if you don’t tell them about it), so don’t include anything that could come back to haunt you. Also, if you have anything embarrassing on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site, remove it immediately.

To get started, first check with the career center at your college; many schools offer e-portfolio systems for their students. (Some schools now require e-portfolios, so you may already be building one.) You can also find plenty of advice online; search for “e-portfolio,” “student portfolio,” or “professional portfolio.”

BUILDIng YoUR PERSonAL BRAnD

Products and companies have brands that represent collections of certain attributes, such as the safety emphasis of Volvo cars, the performance emphasis of BMW, or the luxury emphasis of Cadillac. Similarly, when people who know you think about you, they have a particular set of qualities in mind based on your professionalism, your priorities, and the various skills and attributes you have developed over the years. Perhaps without even being conscious of it, you have created a personal brand for yourself.

As you plan the next stage of your career, start managing your personal brand delib- erately. Branding specialist Mohammed Al-Taee defines personal branding succinctly as “a way of clarifying and communicating what makes you different and special.”9

You will have multiple opportunities to plan and refine your personal brand during this course. For example, Chapter 6 offers tips on business applications of social media, which are key to personal branding, and Chapters 13 and 14 guide you through the process of creating a résumé, building your network, and presenting yourself in interviews. To get you started, here are the basics of a successful personal branding strategy:10

● Figure out the “story of you.” Simply put, where have you been in life, and where are you going? Every good story has dramatic tension that pulls readers in and makes them wonder what will happen next. Where is your story going next? Chapter 13 offers more on this personal brand-building approach.

● Clarify your professional theme. Volvos, BMWs, and Cadillacs can all get you from Point A to Point B in safety, comfort, and style—but each brand emphasizes some attributes more than others to create a specific image in the minds of potential buy- ers. Similarly, you want to be seen as something more than just an accountant, a supervisor, a salesperson. What will your theme be? Brilliant strategist? Hard-nosed, get-it-done tactician? Technical guru? Problem solver? Creative genius? Inspirational leader?

● Reach out and connect. Major corporations spread the word about their brands with multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns. You can promote your brand for free or close to it. The secret is networking, which you’ll learn more about in Chapter 13. You build your brand by connecting with like-minded people, sharing information, dem- onstrating skills and knowledge, and helping others succeed.

● Deliver on your brand’s promise—every time, all the time. When you promote a brand, you make a promise—a promise that whoever buys that brand will get the benefits you are promoting. All of this planning and communication is of no value if you fail to deliver on the promises your branding efforts make. Conversely, when you deliver quality results time after time, your talents and professionalism will speak for you.

USIng ALL ThE JoB-SEARCh TooLS AT YoUR DISPoSAL

As a final note, be sure to use all the job-search tools and resources available to you. For ex- ample, many companies now offer mobile apps that give you a feel for what it’s like to work there and that let you search for job openings. A variety of apps and websites can help you find jobs, practice interviewing, and build your professional network.

We wish you great success in this course and in your career!

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Endnotes 1. Peter Coy, “The Youth Unemployment Bomb,” Bloomberg Businessweek, 2 February 2011, www.businessweek.com. 2. Ryan Kim, “By 2020, Independent Workers Will Be the Majority,” GigaOm, 8 December 2011, http://gigaom.com. 3. Darren Dahl, “Want a Job? Let the Bidding Begin,” Inc., March 2011, 93–96; Thomas W. Malone, Robert J. Laubacher, and Tammy Johns, “The Age of Hyperspecialization,” Harvard Business Review, July–August 2011, 56–65; Jennifer Wang, “The Solution to the Innovator’s Dilemma,” Entrepreneur, August 2011, 24–32. 4. “LiveOps and Vision Perry Create New Work Opportunities for Rural Tennessee,” LiveOps press release, 18 July 2011, www.liveops .com; Malone et al., “The Age of Hyperspecialization.” 5. Adapted from Dahl, “Want a Job? Let the Bidding Begin”; Malone et al., “The Age of Hyperspecialization”; Wang, “The Solution to the Innovator’s Dilemma”; Marjorie Derven, “Managing the Matrix in the New Normal,” T1D, July 2010, 42–47. 6. Courtland L. Bovèe and John V. Thill, Business in Action, 5th ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010), 18–21; Ran- dall S. Hansen and Katharine Hansen, “What Do Employers Really Want? Top Skills and Values Employers Seek from Job-Seekers,” QuintCareers.com, accessed 17 August 2010, www.quintcareers.com.

7. Nancy M. Somerick, “Managing a Communication Internship Program,” Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication 56, no. 3 (1993): 10–20. 8. Jeffrey R. Young, “ ‘E-Portfolios’ Could Give Students a New Sense of Their Accomplishments,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 March 2002, A31. 9. Mohammed Al-Taee, “Personal Branding,” Al-Taee blog, accessed 17 August 2010, http://altaeeblog.com. 10. Pete Kistler, “Seth Godin’s 7-Point Guide to Bootstrap Your Personal Brand,” Personal Branding blog, 28 July 2010, www.personalbrandingblog; Kyle Lacy, “10 Ways to Building Your Personal Brand Story,” Personal Branding blog, 5 August 2010, www.personalbrandingblog; Al-Taee, “Personal Branding”; Scot Herrick, “30 Career Management Tips—Marketing AND Delivery Support Our Personal Brand,” Cube Rules blog, 8 September 2007, http://cuberules.com; Alina Tugend, “Putting Yourself Out There on a Shelf to Buy,” New York Times, 27 March 2009, www.nytimes.com.

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1 Business Communication Foundations CHAPTER 1 Professional Communication in

Today’s Digital, Social, Mobile World

CHAPTER 2 Collaboration, Interpersonal Communication, and Business Etiquette

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Communication Matters . . . “Make no mistake, in the technology lollapalooza of the past decade, digital and social media are merely the warm-up acts to the blockbuster headliner that is mobile.”1

—Christina Kerley, marketing strategist and speaker

Christina Kerley’s observation about the staggering impact of mobile technologies points to an intriguing truth: Business in general and business communication in particular are in a heady state of change. These changes bring opportunities and challenges, with new ways to connect with customers and colleagues but an endless race to keep up with technological advances and shifts in consumer behavior. This course will help you develop as an effective communicator in today’s dynamic business environment—and no matter what career path you choose, nothing will help your career more than having solid communication skills.

Define communication, and explain the importance of effective business communication

Explain what it means to communicate as a professional in a business context

Describe the communication process model, and explain how social media are changing the nature of business communication

Outline the challenges and opportunities of mobile com- munication in business

Define ethics, explain the difference between an ethical dilemma and an ethical lapse, and list six guidelines for making ethical communication choices

Explain how cultural diversity affects business communica- tion, and describe the steps you can take to communicate more effectively across cultural boundaries

List four general guidelines for using communication technology effectively

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

Professional Communication in Today’s Digital, Social, Mobile World1

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improved their results using Pearson MyLabs. Visit mybcommlab.com for simulations, tutorials, and end-of- chapter problems.

The mobile revolution is one of the most important developments in the history of business communication.

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Understanding Why Communication Matters Communication is the process of transferring information and meaning between senders and receivers, using one or more print, oral, visual, or digital media. The essence of commu- nication is sharing—providing data, information, insights, and inspiration in an exchange that benefits both you and the people with whom you are communicating.2 As Figure 1.1 indicates, this sharing can happen in a variety of ways, including a simple and successful transfer of information, a negotiation in which the sender and receiver arrive at an agreed- upon meaning, and unsuccessful attempts in which the receiver creates a different message than the one the sender intended.

You will invest a lot of time and energy in this course developing your communication skills, so it’s fair to ask whether it will be worthwhile. This section outlines the many ways in which good communication skills are critical for your career and for any company you join.

CommuniCation is imPortant to Your Career

No matter what career path you pursue, communication skills will be essential to your suc- cess at every stage. You can have the greatest ideas in the world, but they’re no good to your company or your career if you can’t express them clearly and persuasively. Some jobs, such as sales and customer support, are primarily about communicating. In fields such as engineering or finance, you often need to share complex ideas with executives, customers, and colleagues,

Figure 1.1 Sharing Information These three exchanges between a software project manager (left) and his boss (right) illustrate the variety of ways in which information is shared between senders and receivers. In the top exchange, the sender’s mean- ing is transmitted intact to the receiver, who accepts what the sender says at face value. In the middle ex- change, the sender and receiver negotiate the meaning by discussing the situation. The negotiated meaning is that everything is fine so far, but the risk of a schedule slip is now higher than it was before. In the bottom exchange, the receiver has a negative emotional reaction to the word “think” and as a result creates her own meaning—that everything probably is not fine, in spite of what the sender says.

Ambition and great ideas aren’t enough; you need to be able to communicate with people in order to succeed in business.

1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDefine communication, and explain the importance of effective business communication.

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and your ability to connect with people outside your field can be as important as your technical expertise. If you have the en- trepreneurial urge, you will need to communicate with a wide range of audiences, from investors, bankers, and government regulators to employees, customers, and business partners.

The changing nature of employment is putting new pres- sure on communication skills, too. Many companies now supplement their permanent workforces with independent contractors who are brought on for a short period or even just a single project. Chances are you will spend some of your career as one of these independent freelancers, working without the support network that an estab- lished company environment provides. You will have to “sell yourself” into each new contract, communicate successfully in a wide range of work situations, and take full responsibility for your career growth and success.

If you launch a company or move into an executive role in an existing organization, you can expect communication to consume the majority of your time. Top executives spend most of their workdays communicating, and businesspeople who can’t communicate well don’t stand much chance of reaching the top.

In fact, improving your communication skills may be the single most important step you can take in your career. The world is full of good marketing strategists, good accoun- tants, good engineers, and good attorneys—but it is not full of good communicators. View this as an opportunity to stand out from your competition in the job market.

Employers sometimes express frustration at the poor communication skills of many employees—particularly recent college graduates who haven’t yet learned how to adapt their communication styles to a professional business environment.3 If you learn to write well, speak well, listen well, and recognize the appropriate way to communicate in any situ- ation, you’ll gain a major advantage that will serve you throughout your career.4

This course teaches you how to send and receive information more effectively and helps you improve your communication skills through practice in an environment that provides honest, constructive criticism. You will discover how to collaborate in teams, listen effectively, master nonverbal communication skills, and participate in productive meet- ings. You’ll learn about communicating across cultural boundaries. You’ll learn a three-step process that will help you write effective business messages, and you’ll get specific tips for crafting a variety of business messages using a wide range of media, from social networks to blogs to online presentations. Develop these skills, and you’ll start your business career with a clear competitive advantage.

CommuniCation is imPortant to Your ComPanY

Aside from the personal benefits, communication should be important to you because it is important to your company. Effective communication helps businesses in numerous ways. It provides5

● Closer ties with important communities in the marketplace ● Opportunities to influence conversations, perceptions, and trends ● Increased productivity and faster problem solving ● Better financial results and higher return for investors ● Earlier warning of potential problems, from rising business costs to critical safety issues ● Stronger decision making based on timely, reliable information ● Clearer and more persuasive marketing messages ● Greater employee engagement with their work, leading to higher employee satisfaction

and lower employee turnover

What makes Business CommuniCation effeCtive?

Effective communication strengthens the connections between a company and all of its stakeholders, those groups affected in some way by the company’s actions: customers, em- ployees, shareholders, suppliers, neighbors, the community, the nation, and the world as a

Improving your communication skills could be the single most important thing you do for your career.

This Pinterest board created by the authors highlights some of the most important changes taking place in the field of business communication. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

reaL-time uPDates

LEARN MORE By VISITING THIS WEBSITE

Check out the cutting edge of business communication

Effective communication delivers a variety of important benefits.

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whole.6 To make your communication efforts as effective as possible, focus on making them practical, factual, concise, clear, and persuasive:

● Provide practical information. Give recipients useful information, whether it’s to help them perform a desired action or understand a new company policy.

● Give facts rather than vague impressions. Use concrete language, specific detail, and information that is clear, convincing, accurate, and ethical. Even when an opinion is called for, present compelling evidence to support your conclusion.

● Present information in a concise, efficient manner. Concise messages show respect for people’s time, and they increase the chances of a positive response.

● Clarify expectations and responsibilities. Craft messages to generate a specific re- sponse from a specific audience. When appropriate, clearly state what you expect from audience members or what you can do for them.

● Offer compelling, persuasive arguments and recommendations. Show your readers precisely how they will benefit by responding the way you want them to respond to your message.

Keep these five characteristics in mind as you review the poor and improved versions of the message in Figure 1.2.

Communicating as a Professional You’ve been communicating your entire life, of course, but if you don’t have a lot of work experience yet, meeting the expectations of a professional environment might require some adjustment. A good place to start is to consider what it means to be a professional. Professionalism is the quality of performing at a high level and conducting oneself with purpose and pride. It means doing more than putting in the hours and collecting a pay- check; true professionals go beyond minimum expectations and commit to making mean- ingful contributions. Professionalism can be broken down into six distinct traits: striving to excel, being dependable and accountable, being a team player, demonstrating a sense of etiquette, making ethical decisions, and maintaining a positive outlook (see Table 1.1).

A key message to glean from Table 1.1 is how much these elements of professionalism depend on effective communication. For example, to be a team player, you have to be able to collaborate, resolve conflicts, and interact with a wide variety of personalities. Without strong communication skills, you won’t be able to perform to your potential—and others won’t recognize you as the professional you’d like to be.

This section offers a brief look at the skills that employers will expect you to have, the nature of communication in an organizational environment, and the importance of adopt- ing an audience-centered approach.

Effective messages are practical, factual, concise, clear, and persuasive.

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain what it means to communicate as a professional in a business context.

Communication is an essential part of being a successful professional.

TABLE 1.1 elements of Professionalism

Trait What It Means

Be the best ● Pros strive to excel, to be the best they can be at everything they do. ● Excelling at every level is how pros build a great career.

Be dependable ● Pros keep their promises and meet their commitments. ● Pros learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for their errors.

Be a team player ● Pros know how to contribute to a larger cause. ● Team players make others around them better.

Be respectful ● Pros know that good business etiquette is a sign of respect for those around them. ● Respecting others is not only good etiquette, it’s good for one’s career.

Be ethical ● Responsible professionals strive to avoid ethical lapses. ● Pros weigh their options carefully when facing ethical dilemmas.

Be positive ● Successful people believe in what they’re doing and in themselves. ● Pros don’t complain about problems; they find them and fix them.

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Figure 1.2 Effective Professional Communication At first glance, the top email message looks like a reasonable attempt at communicating with the members of a project team. However, review the blue annotations to see just how many problems the message really has.

An informative subject line helps people grasp key content immediately. The greeting is friendly without being too casual.

The opening paragraph fills in missing information so that everyone can grasp the importance of the message.

This paragraph emphasizes the importance of the meeting, and the request provides enough information to enable readers to respond.

Like the greeting, the close has a warm and personal tone, without being too casual.

The email signature provides additional information and alternative contact options.

The writer offers everyone a chance to participate, without making anyone feel guilty about not being able to attend in person. (WebEx is an online meeting system.) The closing paragraph also invites questions ahead of time so that they don’t derail the meeting.

The vague subject line fails to alert people to the upcoming meeting.

The greeting is cold and off-putting.

The opening paragraph fails to provide necessary background information for anyone who missed the meeting.

A negative, accusatory tone here puts readers on the defensive.

This request for action fails to clarify who needs to do what by when.

The meeting information includes the day, not the date, which could lead to confusion.

The wording here assumes that people who won’t attend don’t want to, which might not be true.

The lack of a closing (such as “thank you”) contributes to the harsh, abrupt tone.

The writer fails to provide alternative contact information or invite questions about the meeting.

PoorPoor

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unDerstanDing What emPLoYers exPeCt from You

Given the importance of communication in business, employers expect you to be compe- tent at a wide range of communication tasks:7

● Recognizing information needs, using efficient search techniques to locate reliable sources of information, and using gathered information ethically; this collection of skills is often referred to as digital information fluency8

● Organizing ideas and information logically and completely ● Expressing ideas and information coherently and persuasively ● Actively listening to others ● Communicating effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences ● Using communication technologies effectively and efficiently ● Following accepted standards of grammar, spelling, and other aspects of high-quality

writing and speaking ● Communicating in a civilized manner that reflects contemporary expectations of busi-

ness etiquette, even when dealing with indifferent or hostile audiences ● Communicating ethically, even when choices aren’t crystal clear ● Managing your time wisely and using resources efficiently

You’ll have the opportunity to practice these skills throughout this course, but don’t stop there. Successful professionals continue to hone communication skills throughout their careers.

CommuniCating in an organizationaL Context

In addition to having the proper skills, you need to learn how to apply those skills in the business environment, which can be quite different from your social and scholastic en- vironments. Every company has a unique communication system that connects people within the organization and connects the organization to the outside world. The “system” in this broad sense is a complex combination of communication channels (such as the Internet and department meetings), company policies, organizational structure, and per- sonal relationships.

To succeed in a job, you need to figure out how your company’s system operates and how to use it to gather information you need and to share information you want others to have. For example, one company might rely heavily on instant messaging, social networks, and blogs that are used in an open, conversational way by everyone in the company. In con- trast, another company might use a more rigid, formal approach in which information and instructions are passed down from top managers and employees are expected to follow the “chain of command” when seeking or distributing information.

aDoPting an auDienCe-CentereD aPProaCh

Successful business professionals take an audience-centered approach to their communi- cation, meaning that they focus on understanding and meeting the needs of their readers and listeners. Providing the information your audiences need is obviously an important part of this approach, but it also involves such elements as your ability to listen, your style of writing and speaking, and your ability to maintain positive working relationships. You’ll have the chance to explore all these aspects throughout this course.

An important element of audience-centered communication is etiquette, the ex- pected norms of behavior in a particular situation. In today’s hectic, competitive world, the notion of etiquette might seem outdated and unimportant. Some people might even consider such “rules” a threat to their individual freedom of expression.9 However, the way you conduct yourself can have a profound influence on your company’s success and your career. When executives hire and promote you, they expect your behavior to protect the company’s reputation. The more you understand such expectations, the better chance you have of avoiding career-damaging mistakes. The principles of etiquette discussed in Chapter 2 will help you communicate with an audience-centered approach in a variety of business settings.

You will need to adjust your communication habits to the more formal demands of business and the unique environment of your company.

Focus on the needs of your audiences to make your messages more effective.

Respect, courtesy, and common sense will help you avoid etiquette mistakes.

Employers expect you to have a broad set of communication skills, and you can practice all of these skills in this course.

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Exploring the Communication Process Even with the best intentions, communication efforts can fail. Fortunately, by understand- ing communication as a process with distinct steps, you can improve the odds that your messages will reach their intended audiences and produce their intended effects. This sec- tion explores the communication process in two stages: first by following a message from one sender to one receiver in the basic communication model, and then by expanding on that approach with multiple messages and participants in the social communication model.

the BasiC CommuniCation moDeL

Many variations of the communication process model exist, but these eight steps provide a practical overview (see Figure 1.3):

1. The sender has an idea. Whether a communication effort will ultimately be effective starts right here and depends on the nature of the idea and the motivation for sending it. For example, if your motivation is to offer a solution to a problem, you have a better chance of crafting a meaningful message than if your motivation is merely to complain about a problem.

2. The sender encodes the idea as a message. When someone puts an idea into a message, he or she is encoding it, or expressing it in words or images. Much of the focus of this course is on developing the skills needed to successfully encode your ideas into effec- tive messages.

3. The sender produces the message in a transmittable medium. With the appropri- ate message to express an idea, the sender now needs a communication medium to present that message to the intended audience. To update your boss on the status of a project, for instance, you might have a dozen or more media choices, from a phone call to an instant message to a slideshow presentation.

4. The sender transmits the message through a channel. Just as technology con- tinues to increase the number of media options, it also continues to provide new communication channels senders can use to transmit their messages. The distinction between medium and channel can get a bit murky, but think of the medium as the form a message takes (such as a Twitter update) and the channel as the system used to deliver the message (such as a mobile phone).

5. The audience receives the message. If the channel functions properly, the message reaches its intended audience. However, mere arrival is not enough. For a message to truly be received, the recipient has to sense the presence of a message, select it from all the other messages clamoring for attention, and perceive it as an actual message (as opposed to random noise).10

6. The receiver decodes the message. After a message is received, the receiver needs to extract the idea from the message, a step known as decoding. Even well-crafted, well- intentioned communication efforts can fail at this stage because extracting meaning is

3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the communication process model, and explain how social media are changing the nature of business communication.

Figure 1.3 The Basic Communication Process This eight-step model is a simplified view of how communication works in real life; understanding this basic model is vital to improving your communication skills.

The communication process starts with a sender having an idea and then encoding the idea into a mes- sage that can be transferred to a receiver.

Decoding is a complex process; receivers often extract different meanings from messages than the meanings senders intended.

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a highly personal process that is influenced by culture, experience, learning and think- ing styles, hopes, fears, and even temporary moods. As you saw in Figure 1.1, receiv- ers sometimes decode the same meaning the recipient intended, but sometimes they can decode—or re-create—entirely different meanings. Moreover, audiences tend to extract the meaning they expect to get from a message, even if it’s the opposite of what the sender intended.11

7. The receiver responds to the message. In most instances, senders want to accomplish more than simply delivering information. They often want receivers to respond in par- ticular ways, whether it’s to invest millions of dollars in a new business venture or to accept management’s explanation for why the company can’t afford to give employee bonuses this year. Whether a receiver responds as the sender hopes depends on the receiver (a) remembering the message long enough to act on it, (b) being able to act on it, and (c) being motivated to respond.

8. The receiver provides feedback. If a mechanism is available for them to do so, receiv- ers can “close the loop” in the communication process by giving the sender feedback that helps the sender evaluate the effectiveness of the communication effort. Feedback can be verbal (using written or spoken words), nonverbal (using gestures, facial expres- sions, or other signals), or both. Just like the original message, however, this feedback from the receiver also needs to be decoded carefully. A smile, for example, can have many different meanings.

Considering the complexity of this process—and the barriers and distractions that often stand between sender and receiver—it should come as no surprise that communi- cation efforts frequently fail to achieve the sender’s objective. Fortunately, the better you understand the process, the more successful you’ll be.

the soCiaL CommuniCation moDeL

The basic model presented in Figure 1.3 illustrates how a single idea moves from one sender to one receiver. In a larger sense, it also helps represent the traditional model of much busi- ness communication, which was primarily defined by a publishing or broadcasting mindset. Externally, a company issued carefully scripted messages to a mass audience that often had few options for responding to those messages or initiating messages of their own. Customers and other interested parties had few ways to connect with one another to ask questions, share in- formation, or offer support. Internally, communication tended to follow the same “we talk, you listen” model, with upper managers issuing directives to lower-level supervisors and employees.

However, in recent years, a variety of technologies have enabled and inspired a new approach to business communication. In contrast to the publishing mindset, this social communication model is interactive, conversational, and usually open to all who wish to participate. Audience members are no longer passive recipients of messages but active participants in a conversation. Social media have given customers and other stake- holders a voice they did not have in the past. And businesses are listening to that voice. In fact, one of the most common uses of social media among U.S. businesses is monitoring online discussions about a company and its brands.12 Inside companies, social media make it easier for employees to voice concerns and frustrations, increasing the chances that man- agers will address problems that are getting in the way of people doing their jobs.13

Instead of transmitting a fixed message, a sender in a social media environment initi- ates a conversation by sharing valuable information. This information is often revised and reshaped by the web of participants as they share it and comment on it. People can add to it or take pieces from it, depending on their needs and interests.

Just as Web 2.0 signified the second generation of World Wide Web technologies (blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other social media tools you’ll read about in Chapter 6), Busi- ness Communication 2.0 is a convenient label for this approach to business communication. Figure 1.4 lists the significant differences between traditional and social models of business communication.

The social communication model offers many advantages, but it has a number of dis- advantages as well. Potential problems include information overload, fragmented attention,

The social communication model is interactive, conversational, and usually open to all who wish to participate.

Social media tools present some potential disadvantages that managers and employees need to consider.

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information security risks, distractions that hurt productivity, the need to monitor and re- spond to numerous conversational threads, and blurring of the line between personal and professional lives, which can make it difficult for people to disconnect from work.14

Of course, no company, no matter how enthusiastically it embraces the social commu- nication model, is going to be run as a club in which everyone has a say in every business matter. Instead, a hybrid approach is emerging in which some communications (such as strategic plans and policy documents) follow the traditional approach, while others (such as project management updates and customer support messages) follow the social model.

You can learn more about business uses of social media in Chapter 6.

The Mobile Revolution As much of a game-changer as social media have been, some experts predict that mobile communication will change the nature of business and business communication even more. Venture capitalist Joe Schoendorf says that “mobile is the most disruptive technol- ogy that I have seen in 48 years in Silicon Valley.”15 Researcher Maribel Lopez calls mobile “the biggest technology shift since the Internet.”16 This section offers a high-level view of the mobile revolution, and you’ll see coverage of specific topics integrated throughout the book, in everything from collaborative writing and research to presentations and job search strategies.

the rise of moBiLe as a CommuniCation PLatform

Whether it’s emailing, social networking, watching video, or doing research, the percent- age of communication and media consumption performed on mobile devices continues to grow. For millions of people around the world, a mobile device is their primary, if not only, way to access the Internet. Globally, roughly 80 percent of Internet users access the web at least some of the time with a mobile device.17

Mobile has become the primary communication tool for many business professionals, including a majority of executives under age 40.18 Email and web browsing rank first and second in terms of the most common nonvoice uses of smartphones, and more email mes- sages are now opened on mobile devices than on PCs.19 Roughly half of U.S. consumers use

4 LEARNING OBJECTIVEOutline the challenges and op- portunities of mobile communication in business.

Mobile devices are rapidly taking over as the primary communica- tion platform for many business professionals.

Figure 1.4 Business Communication: 1.0 Versus 2.0 Business Communication 2.0 differs from conventional communication strategies and practices in a number of significant ways. You’re probably already an accomplished user of many new-media tools, and this experi- ence will help you on the job.

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a mobile device exclusively for their online search needs, and many online activities that eventually migrate to a PC screen start out on a mobile screen.20 For many people, the fact that a smartphone can make phone calls is practically a secondary consideration; data traffic from mobile devices far outstrips voice traffic.21

Moreover, mobile phones—particularly smartphones— have become intensely personal devices in ways that PCs

never did. For many users, the connection is so close they can feel a sense of panic when they don’t have frequent access to their phones.22 When people are closely connected to their phones, day and night, they are more closely connected to all the information sources, conversations, and networks that those phones can connect to. As result, mobile connectivity can start to resemble a continuous stream of conversations that never quite end, which influences the way businesses need to interact with their stakeholders. If wear- able technologies such as Google Glass become mainstream devices, they will contribute even more to this shift in behaviors (see Figure 1.5).

The parallels between social media and mobile communication are striking: Both sets of technologies change the nature of communication, alter the relationships between send- ers and receivers, create opportunities as well as challenges, and force business professionals to hone new skills. In fact, much of the rise in social communication can be attributed to the connectivity made possible by mobile devices. Companies that work to understand and embrace mobile, both internally and externally, stand the best chance of capitalizing on this monumental shift in the way people communicate.

hoW moBiLe teChnoLogies are Changing Business CommuniCation

The rise of mobile communication has some obvious implications, such as the need for websites to be mobile friendly. If you’ve ever tried to browse a conventional website on a tiny screen or fill in complicated online forms using the keypad on your phone, you know how frustrating the experience can be. Increasingly, users expect websites to be mobile friendly, and they’re likely to avoid sites that aren’t optimized for mobile.23 As mobile access

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The mobile revolution by the numbers

Explore dozens of statistical measures that show the impact of mobile communication. Go to http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

Figure 1.5 The Influence of Mobile Technology on Business Communication When people are connected to information sources for most of their waking hours, either through a mobile device or wearable technology, the communication experience can start to resemble an endless conversation. Source: Sergio Azenha/Alamy.

MOBILE APPS

WhatsApp lets you send and receive messages, videos, and other content via your phone’s Internet connection.

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overtakes computer-based access, some companies now take a mobile-first approach, in which websites are designed for optimum viewing on smartphones and tablets.24 Another successful approach is creating mobile apps that offer a more interactive and mobile- friendly experience than a conventional website can offer.

However, device size and portability are only the most obvious changes. Just as with social media, the changes brought about by mobile go far deeper than the technology itself. Mobile changes the way people communicate, which has profound implications for virtu- ally every aspect of business communication.

Social media pioneer Nicco Mele coined the term radical connectivity to describe “the breathtaking ability to send vast amounts of data instantly, constantly, and globally.”25 Mobile plays a major and ever-expanding role in this phenomenon by keeping people con- nected 24/7, wherever they may be. People who’ve grown up with mobile communication technology expect to have immediate access to information and the ability to stay con- nected to their various social and business networks.26

Here are the most significant ways mobile technology is changing the practice of busi- ness communication:

● Constant connectivity is a mixed blessing. As with social media, mobile connectivity can blur the boundaries between personal and professional time and space, prevent- ing people from fully disengaging from work during personal and family time. On the other hand, it can give employees more flexibility to meet their personal and professional obligations.27 In this regard, mobile plays an important role in efforts to reduce operating costs through telecommuting and other nontraditional work models.28

● The physical layouts of mobile devices present challenges for creating and consuming content, whether it’s typing an email message or watching a video. As you’ll read in Chapter 6, for example, email messages need to be written and formatted differently to make them easier to read on mobile devices.

● Mobile users are often multitasking—roughly half of mobile phone usage happens while people are walking, for instance—so they can’t give full attention to the infor- mation on their screens.29 Moreover, mobile use often occurs in environments with multiple distractions and barriers to successful communication (see Figure 1.6).

● Mobile communication, particularly text messaging, has put pressure on traditional standards of grammar, punctuation, and writing in general. Chapter 4 has more on this topic.

People who grew up with mobile phones often expect to have the same level of connectivity as cus- tomers and as employees.

Figure 1.6 The Mobile Audience: Distracted and Multitasking If the intended recipients of your business messages will view your messages on mobile devices, chances are you’ll be fighting for their attention. Source: Maridav/Shutterstock.

Constant connectivity is a mixed blessing; you can work from any- where at anytime, but it’s more dif- ficult to disconnect from work and recharge yourself.

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● Mobile devices can serve as sensory and cognitive extensions.30 For example, they can help people experience more of their environment (such as augmented reality apps that superimpose information on a live camera view) and have instant access to information without relying on faulty and limited human memory. The addition of location-aware content, such as facility maps and property information, enhances the mobile experience.

● Mobile devices create a host of security and privacy concerns, for end users and cor- porate technology managers alike.31 Companies are wrestling with the “bring your own device” or “BYOD” phenomenon, in which employees want to be able to access company networks and files with their personal smartphones and tablets, both in the office and away from it. However, these devices don’t always have the rigorous secu- rity controls that corporate networks need, and users don’t always use the devices in secure ways.

● Mobile tools can enhance productivity and collaboration by making it easier for em- ployees to stay connected and giving them access to information and work tasks during forced gaps in the workday or while traveling.32

● Mobile apps can assist in a wide variety of business tasks, from research to presenta- tions (see Figure 1.7).33

● Mobile connectivity can accelerate decision making and problem solving by putting the right information in the hands of the right people at the right time. For example, if the people in a decision-making meeting need more information, they can do the necessary research on the spot.34 Mobile communication also makes it easier to quickly tap into pockets of expertise within a company.35 Customer service can be improved by making sure technicians and other workers always have the information they need right at hand.36 Companies can also respond and communicate faster during crises.37

Figure 1.7 Mobile Communication: Opportunities and Challenges From 24/7 connectivity to business-oriented apps that let professionals perform work tasks on the go (such as making notes for a presentation, as shown here), mobile technology is revolutionizing business communication. Source: Microsoft Office 365 app.

Collaboration and problem solving are two key areas where mobile connectivity can boost productivity by enabling real-time interaction and access to vital information.

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● With interactivity designed to take advantage of the capabilities of mobile devices (including cameras, accelerometers, compasses, and GPS), companies can create more engaging experiences for customers and other users.38

The mobile revolution complicates business communication in some ways, but it can enhance communication in many ways if done thoughtfully. You’ll read more about mobile in the chapters ahead.

Committing to Ethical Communication Ethics are the accepted principles of conduct that govern behavior within a society. Ethical behavior is a companywide concern, but because communication efforts are the public face of a company, they are subjected to particularly rigorous scrutiny from regulators, legisla- tors, investors, consumer groups, environmental groups, labor organizations, and anyone else affected by business activities. Ethical communication includes all relevant informa- tion, is true in every sense, and is not deceptive in any way. In contrast, unethical com- munication can distort the truth or manipulate audiences in a variety of ways. Examples of unethical communication include39

● Plagiarism. Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s words or other creative product as your own. Note that plagiarism can also be illegal if it violates a copyright, which is a form of legal protection for the expression of creative ideas.40

● Omitting essential information. Information is essential if your audience needs it to make an intelligent, objective decision.

● Selective misquoting. Distorting or hiding the true intent of someone else’s words is unethical.

● Misrepresenting numbers. Statistics and other data can be unethically manipulated by increasing or decreasing numbers, exaggerating, altering statistics, or omitting numeric data.

● Distorting visuals. Images can be manipulated in unethical ways, such as making a product seem bigger than it really is or changing the scale of graphs and charts to exag- gerate or conceal differences.

● Failing to respect privacy or information security needs. Failing to respect the pri- vacy of others or failing to adequately protect information entrusted to your care can also be considered unethical (and is sometimes illegal).

The widespread use of social media has increased the attention given to the issue of transparency, which in this context refers to a sense of openness, of giving all participants in a conversation access to the information they need in order to accurately process the messages they are receiving.

In addition to the information itself, audiences deserve to know when they are being marketed to and who is behind the messages they read or hear. For example, with stealth marketing, companies recruit people to promote products to friends and other contacts in exchange for free samples or other rewards, without requiring them to disclose the true nature of the communication. Critics, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), assert that such techniques are deceptive because they don’t give targets the op- portunity to raise their instinctive defenses against the persuasive powers of marketing messages.41

Aside from ethical and legal concerns, trying to fool the public is simply bad for busi- ness. As LaSalle University communication professor Michael Smith puts it, “The public backlash can be long, deep, and damaging to a company’s reputation.”42

Distinguishing ethiCaL DiLemmas from ethiCaL LaPses

Some ethical questions are easy to recognize and resolve, but others are not. Deciding what is ethical in complex business situations is not always easy. An ethical dilemma involves choosing among alternatives that aren’t clear-cut. Perhaps two conflicting alternatives are

5 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDefine ethics, explain the difference between an ethical dilemma and an ethical lapse, and list six guidelines for making ethical communication choices.

Ethical communication avoids deception and provides the information audiences need.

Transparency involves giving audiences access to the information they need in order to make effective decisions.

Stealth marketing is considered unethical by some observers be- cause it prevents consumers from making fully informed decisions.

If you must choose between two ethical alternatives, you are facing an ethical dilemma.

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both ethical and valid, or perhaps the alternatives lie some- where in the gray area between clearly right and clearly wrong. Every company has responsibilities to multiple groups of people inside and outside the firm, and those various groups often have competing interests. For instance, employees gen- erally want higher wages and more benefits, but investors who have risked their money in the company want management to keep costs low so that profits are strong enough to drive up the stock price. Both sides have a valid ethical position.

Unlike a dilemma, an ethical lapse is a clearly unethical choice. With both internal and external communication efforts, the pressure to produce results or justify decisions can make unethical communication a tempting choice. Telling a potential customer you can complete a project by a certain date when you know you can’t is simply dishonest, even if you need the contract to save your career or your company. There is no ethical dilemma here.

making ethiCaL ChoiCes

Ensuring ethical business communication requires three elements: ethical individuals, ethical company leadership, and the appropriate policies and structures to support ethical decision making.43 Many companies establish an explicit ethics policy by using a written code of ethics to help employees determine what is acceptable. Showing employees that the company is serious about ethical behavior is also vital.

Even the best codes and policies can’t address every unique situation, however. If you find yourself in a situation in which the law or a code of ethics can’t guide you, answer the following questions:44

● Have you defined the situation fairly and accurately? ● What is your intention in communicating this message? ● What impact will this message have on the people who receive it or who might be

affected by it? ● Will the message achieve the greatest possible good while doing the least possible

harm? ● Will the assumptions you’ve made change over time? That is, will a decision that seems

ethical now seem unethical in the future? ● Are you comfortable with your decision? Would you be embarrassed if it were printed

in tomorrow’s newspaper or spread across the Internet? Think about a person you admire and ask yourself what he or she would think of your decision.

If you ever have doubts about the legal ramifications of a message you intend to dis- tribute, ask for guidance from your company’s legal department.

Communicating in a World of Diversity Throughout your career, you will interact with people from a variety of cultures, people who differ in race, age, gender, sexual orientation, national and regional attitudes and be- liefs, family structure, religion, native language, physical and cognitive abilities, life expe- rience, and educational background. Although the concept is often narrowly framed in terms of ethnic background, a broader and more useful definition of diversity includes “all the characteristics and experiences that define each of us as individuals.”45 For example, the pharmaceutical company Merck (see Figure 1.8) identifies 19 separate dimensions of diversity in its discussions of workforce diversity, including military experience, parental status, marital status, and thinking style.46 These characteristics and experiences can have a profound effect on the way businesspeople communicate.

This section looks at the advantages and challenges of a diverse workforce from a com- munication perspective, examines key differences among cultures, and offers advice for communicating across cultures.

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association social media disclosure guide offers simple tips for avoiding ethical lapses. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Social media disclosure guidelines that ensure transparency

If you choose an alternative that is unethical, you have committed an ethical lapse.

Responsible employers establish clear ethical guidelines for their employees to follow.

MOBILE APPS

The PRSA Ethics app is a mobile version of the Public Relations Society of America’s code of ethics.

If company ethics policies don’t cover a specific situation, you can ask yourself a number of questions in order to make an ethical choice.

6 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain how cultural diversity affects business communication, and describe the steps you can take to communicate more effectively across cultural boundaries.

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the aDvantages anD ChaLLenges of a Diverse WorkforCe

Smart business leaders recognize the competitive advantages of a diverse workforce that of- fers a broader spectrum of viewpoints and ideas, helps companies understand and identify with diverse markets, and enables companies to benefit from a wider range of employee tal- ents. “It just makes good business sense,” says Gord Nixon, CEO of Royal Bank of Canada.47 According to IBM executive Ron Glover, more-diverse teams tend to be more innovative over the long term than teams composed of people from the same culture.48

For all their benefits, diverse workforces and markets do present some communication challenges, and understanding the effect of culture on communication is essential. Culture is a shared system of symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms for behav- ior. You are a member of several cultures, in fact, based on your national origin, religious beliefs, age, and other factors.

Culture influences the way people perceive the world and respond to others, which naturally affects the way they communicate as both senders and receivers. These influences operate on such a fundamental level that people often don’t even recognize the influence of culture on their beliefs and behaviors.49

This subconscious effect of culture can create friction because it leads people to as- sume that everybody thinks and feels the way they do. For example, in a comparison of the 10 most important values in three cultures, people from the United States had no values in common with people from Japanese or Arab cultures.50

Figure 1.8 Diversity at Merck The pharmaceutical company Merck approaches employee and supplier diversity as an opportunity and a strategy imperative. Source: Courtesy of Merck, Global Communications, Reputation and Branding.

Merck’s top-line message about diversity acknowledges the strategic advantages available to companies that embrace diversity in their hiring and management practices.

This diagram lists the 19 dimensions of diversity that Merck takes into account in its management philosophy.

Significant awards and recognitions let potential employees and business partners know that Merck is serious about inclusivity.

Specific supporting points back up the high-level message about the company’s commitment to embracing diversity in all facets of its business.

In addition to developing and supporting a diverse workforce, Merck works closely with a diverse base of suppliers to its various business units.

Diverse workforces offer numer- ous benefits, but they pose some communication challenges as well.

Cultural symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms for behavior influence communication.

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The first step to making sure cultural differences don’t impede communication is rec- ognizing key factors that distinguish one culture from another. Cultural competency is an appreciation for cultural differences that affect communication and the ability to ad- just one’s communication style to ensure that efforts to send and receive messages across cultural boundaries are successful. It requires a combination of attitude, knowledge, and skills.51

keY asPeCts of CuLturaL DiversitY

You don’t need to become an expert in the details of every culture with which you do busi- ness, but you do need to attain a basic level of cultural proficiency to ensure successful com- munication.52 You can start by recognizing and accommodating the differences described in the following sections. Be aware that this is an overview only, so some generalizations won’t be accurate in every situation. Always consider the unique circumstances of each encounter when making communication decisions.

Cultural Context

Every attempt at communication occurs within a cultural context, the pattern of physical cues, environmental stimuli, and implicit understanding that convey meaning between two members of the same culture. However, cultures around the world vary widely in the role that context plays in communication.

In a high-context culture, people rely less on verbal communication and more on the context of nonverbal actions and environmental setting to convey meaning. For instance, a Chinese speaker expects the receiver to discover the essence of a message and uses indi- rectness and metaphor to provide a web of meaning.53 The indirect style can be a source of confusion during discussions with people from low-context cultures, who are more accus- tomed to receiving direct answers. Also, in high-context cultures, the rules of everyday life are rarely explicit; instead, as individuals grow up, they learn how to recognize situational cues (such as gestures and tone of voice) and how to respond as expected.54 The primary role of communication in high-context cultures is building relationships, not exchanging information.55

In a low-context culture such as the United States, people rely more on verbal com- munication and less on circumstances and cues to convey meaning. In such cultures, rules and expectations are usually spelled out through explicit statements such as “Please wait until I’m finished” or “You’re welcome to browse.”56 The primary task of communication in low-context cultures is exchanging information.57

Contextual differences are apparent in the way businesspeople approach situations such as decision making, problem solving, negotiating, interaction among levels in the organiza- tional hierarchy, and socializing outside the workplace.58 For instance, in low-context cul- tures, businesspeople tend to focus on the results of the decisions they face, a reflection of the cultural emphasis on logic and progress. In comparison, higher-context cultures emphasize the means or the method by which a decision will be made. Building or protecting relation- ships can be as important as the facts and information used in making the decisions.59 Conse- quently, negotiators working on business deals in such cultures may spend most of their time together building relationships rather than hammering out contractual details.

The distinctions between high and low context are generalizations, of course, but they are important to keep in mind as guidelines. Communication tactics that work well in a high-context culture may backfire in a low-context culture and vice versa.

Legal and Ethical Differences

Cultural context influences legal and ethical behavior, which in turn can affect communi- cation. For example, the meaning of business contracts can vary from culture to culture. While a manager from a U.S. company would tend to view a signed contract as the end of the negotiating process, with all the details hammered out, his or her counterpart in many Asian cultures might view the signed contract as an agreement to do business—and only then begin to negotiate the details of the deal.60

Improving your cultural sensitivity starts with recognizing the major ways in which cultures differ.

Cultural context plays a critical role in the communication process.

In high-context cultures, commu- nication relies less on the explicit content of a message than on the context of the message.

Members of different cultures sometimes have different views of what is ethical or even legal.

In low-context cultures, commu- nication relies more on message content than on message context.

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As you conduct business with colleagues and customers around the world, you’ll find that legal systems and ethical standards differ from culture to culture. Making ethical choices across cultures can seem complicated, but you can keep your messages ethical by applying four basic principles:61

● Actively seek mutual ground. ● Send and receive messages without judgment. ● Send messages that are honest. ● Show respect for cultural differences.

Social Customs

Social behavior is guided by numerous rules, some of them formal and specifically artic- ulated (table manners are a good example) and others more informal and learned over time (such as the comfortable standing distance between two speakers in an office). The combination of formal and informal rules influences the overall behavior of everyone in a society in areas such as manners, attitudes toward time, individual versus community val- ues, attitudes toward status and wealth, respect for authority, and degrees of openness and inclusiveness. Understanding the nuances of social customs takes time and effort, but most businesspeople are happy to explain the habits and expectations of their culture. Plus, they will view your curiosity as a sign of respect.

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication (communicating without the use of words) is a vital part of the communication process. Factors ranging from facial expressions to style of dress can influ- ence the way receivers decode messages, and the interpretation of nonverbal signals can vary widely from culture to culture. Gestures or clothing choices that you don’t think twice about, for example, might seem inappropriate or even offensive to someone from another culture. You’ll learn more about nonverbal communication in Chapter 2.

Age Differences

In some cultures, youth is associated with strength, energy, possibilities, and freedom, while age is often associated with declining powers and a loss of respect and authority. In contrast, in cul- tures that value age and seniority, longevity earns respect and increasing power and freedom.

In addition to cultural values associated with various life stages, multiple generations in the workplace present another dimension of diversity. Each of these generations has been shaped by dramatically different world events, social trends, and technological advances, so it is not surprising that they often have different values, expectations, and communica- tion habits. For instance, Generation Y workers (those born between 1981 and 1995) have a strong preference for communicating via short digital messages, but baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X workers (1965 to 1980) sometimes find these brief messages abrupt and impersonal.62

Each generation can bring particular strengths to the workplace. For instance, older workers can offer broader experience, the benefits of important business relationships nur- tured over many years, and high degrees of “practical intelligence”—the ability to solve complex, poorly defined problems.63 However, gaining the benefits of having multiple gen- erations in a workplace may require some accommodation on everyone’s part because of differing habits and perspectives.

Gender Differences

Gender influences workplace communication in several important ways. First, the percep- tion of men and women in business varies from culture to culture, and gender bias can range from overt discrimination to subtle and even unconscious beliefs.

Second, although the ratio of men and women in entry-level professional positions is roughly equal, the percentage of management roles held by men increases steadily the further one looks up the corporate ladder. This imbalance can significantly affect com- munication in such areas as mentoring, which is a vital development opportunity for lower

Learn the four principles that will help you keep your intercultural messages ethical.

Whether formal or informal, the rules governing social customs differ from culture to culture.

The meanings of gestures and other nonverbal signals can vary widely from culture to culture.

Age is an important aspect of cul- ture, both in the way different age groups are treated in a culture and in the cultural differences between age groups.

Perceptions of gender roles in business differ among cultures.

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and middle managers who want to move into senior positions. In one recent survey, for example, some men in executive positions expressed reluctance to mentor women, partly because they find it easier to bond with other men and partly out of concerns over develop- ing relationships that might look inappropriate.64

Third, evidence suggests that men and women tend to have somewhat different com- munication styles. Broadly speaking, men emphasize content and outcomes in their com- munication efforts, whereas women place a higher premium on relationship maintenance.65 As one example, men are more likely than women to try to negotiate a pay raise. Moreover, according to research by Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University, both men and women tend to accept this disparity, viewing the assertiveness as a positive quality in men but a negative quality in women. Changing these perceptions could go a long way toward improving communication and equity in the workplace.66

Religious Differences

As one of the most personal and influential aspects of life, religion brings potential for controversy and conflict in the workplace setting—as evidenced by a significant rise in the number of religious discrimination lawsuits in recent years.67 Many employees believe they should be able to follow and express the tenets of their faith in the workplace. How- ever, companies may need to accommodate employee behaviors that may conflict with each other and with the demands of operating the business. The situation is complicated, with no simple answers that apply to every situation. As more companies work to establish inclusive workplaces, you can expect to see this issue being discussed more often in the coming years.

Ability Differences

People whose hearing, vision, cognitive ability, or physical ability to operate computers or other tools is impaired can be at a significant disadvantage in today’s workplace. As with other elements of diversity, success starts with respect for individuals and sensitivity to dif- ferences. Employers can also invest in a variety of assistive technologies that help create a vital link for thousands of employees with disabilities, giving them opportunities to pursue a greater range of career paths and giving employers access to a broader base of talent.

aDviCe for imProving interCuLturaL CommuniCation

In any cross-cultural situation, you can communicate more effectively if you heed the following tips:68

● Avoid ethnocentrism, the tendency to judge all other groups according to the stan- dards, behaviors, and customs of one’s own group. When making such comparisons, people too often decide that their own group is superior.69

● Similarly, avoid stereotyping, or assigning a wide range of generalized—and often inaccurate—attributes to an individual on the basis of membership in a particular group, without considering the individual’s unique characteristics.

● Don’t automatically assume that others think, believe, or behave as you do. ● Accept differences in others without judging them. ● Learn how to communicate respect in various cultures. ● Tolerate ambiguity and control your frustration. ● Don’t be distracted by superficial factors such as personal appearance. ● Recognize your own cultural biases. ● Be flexible and be prepared to change your habits and attitudes. ● Observe and learn; the more you know, the more effective you’ll be.

Travel guidebooks are a great source of information about norms and customs in other countries. Also, check to see whether your library has online access to the CultureGrams database.

Writing for Multilingual Audiences

Ideally, businesses can communicate with employees, customers, and other stakeholders in their native languages, and many companies invest a lot of time and money in translating

As workforce diversity broadens, more companies find themselves forced to address the issue of religion in the workplace.

Assistive technologies and other adaptations can help companies support the contribution of people with varying levels of physical and cognitive impairment.

Effective intercultural communi- cation starts with efforts to avoid ethnocentrism and stereotyping.

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print and online communication to achieve this. However, translation isn’t always cost-effective or possible. To write effec- tively for people who may not be comfortable using your lan- guage, remember these tips (see Figure 1.9 on the next page):70

● Use plain language. Use short, precise words that say ex- actly what you mean.

● Avoid words with multiple meanings. As much as pos- sible, choose words that have only one obvious meaning in the context you’re using them. For example, “assess” can mean to analyze a situation, but it can also mean to impose a penalty or a fee.

● Be clear. Rely on specific terms and concrete examples to explain your points. ● Cite numbers carefully. Use figures (such as 27) instead of spelling them out

(twenty-seven). ● Avoid slang and be careful with technical jargon and abbreviations. Slang and other

nonstandard usages can be difficult or impossible for your audience to translate. ● Be brief. Construct sentences that are short and simple. ● Use short paragraphs. Each paragraph should stick to one topic. ● Use transitions generously. Help readers follow your train of thought; you’ll learn

more about transitions in Chapter 4.

Speaking with Multilingual Audiences

When speaking to people whose native language is not your own, you may find these tips helpful:

● Speak clearly, simply, and relatively slowly. Pronounce words clearly, stop at distinct punctuation points, and make one point at a time.

● Look for feedback, but interpret it carefully. Nods and smiles don’t necessarily indi- cate understanding.

● Rephrase if necessary. If someone doesn’t seem to understand you, rephrase using simpler words.

● Clarify your meaning with repetition and examples. Use concrete and specific ex- amples to illustrate difficult or vague ideas.

● Don’t talk down to the other person. Don’t blame the listener for not understanding. Say, “Am I going too fast?” rather than “Is this too difficult for you?”

● Learn important phrases in your audience’s language. Learning common greetings and a few simple phrases simplifies initial contact and shows respect.

● Listen carefully and respectfully. If you do not understand a comment, ask the person to repeat it.

● Adapt your conversation style to the other person’s. For instance, if the other person appears to be direct and straightforward, follow suit.

● Check frequently for comprehension. After you make each point, pause to gauge the other person’s comprehension before moving on.

● Clarify what will happen next. At the end of a conversation, be sure that you and the other person agree on what has been said and decided.

Finally, remember that oral communication can be more difficult for audiences be- cause it happens in real time and in the presence of other people. In some situations, written communication will be more successful because it gives the recipient the opportunity to translate in private and at his or her own pace.

Using Technology to Improve Business Communication Today’s businesses rely heavily on technology to facilitate the communication process. In fact, many of the technologies you might use in your personal life, from Facebook to Twitter to video games, are also used in business. The four-page photo essay

The Lewis Model of Culture is an intriguing way of recognizing different approaches to business. Go to http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

reaL-time uPDates

LEARN MORE By VIEWING THIS PRESENTATION

A business-focused model for identifying cultural differences

Tips for improving your intercul- tural writing include using plain language, avoiding slang, and using short sentences and short paragraphs.

7 LEARNING OBJECTIVEList four general guidelines for using communication technology effectively.

Tips for speaking with multilin- gual audiences include speaking clearly and slowly, looking for feedback, and listening carefully.

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Figure 1.9 Writing for Multilingual Audiences In today’s global and diversified work environment, chances are that many of your messages will be read by people whose native language is not English. Follow the guidelines on page 21 to help ensure successful communication. (Notice how following these guidelines makes the message easier for everybody to read, including native English speakers.)

The clear, direct headline leaves no question about the content of the message.

Simpler sentence structures are easier to translate and create fewer chances for misunderstanding.

Breaking the long paragraph into a brief introduction and three bullet points simplifies reading and makes it easy to find the key points.

Numerals are easier to read quickly than spelled-out quantities.

Standard English and plain language decrease the potential for confusion.

The headline tries to be clever regarding the three factors discussed in the post, but the message is not clear.

“Folded” is an example of an English word with multiple meanings; these multiple possibilities make translation more difficult and can lead to confusion.

Complicated sentences are difficult to translate and force readers to follow multiple ideas at once.

The idiomatic phrase “hit one out of the park” might not make sense to readers who aren’t familiar with baseball.

Spelling out numbers instead of using numerals creates more work for readers.

Long paragraphs are visually intimidating and more difficult to process.

Nonstandard language (“ain’t”) and the idiomatic phrase “cut it” will confuse some readers.

Pointers for Writing for Multilingual Audiences • Use plain language. • Be clear. • Cite numbers carefully. • Avoid slang and be careful with technical jargon and abbreviations. • Be brief. • Use short paragraphs. • Use transitions generously.

PoorPoor

Impr oved

Impr oved

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 1.9’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

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“Powerful Tools for Communicating Effectively” (pages 24–27) offers an overview of the technologies that connect people in offices, factories, and other business settings.

The benefits of technology are not automatic, of course. To communicate effectively, you need to keep technology in perspective, use technological tools productively, guard against information overload, and disengage from the computer frequently to communi- cate in person.

keePing teChnoLogY in PersPeCtive

Remember that technology is an aid to communication, not a replacement for it. Technol- ogy can’t think for you, make up for a lack of essential skills, or ensure that communication really happens. For example, you might have a presence on every new social media platform that comes along, but if the messages you are sending are confusing or self-serving, none of that technology will help.

using tooLs ProDuCtiveLY

You don’t have to become an expert to use most communication technologies effectively, but to work efficiently you do need to be familiar with basic features and functions. Con- versely, don’t worry about learning advanced features unless you really need to use them. Many software packages contain dozens of obscure features that typical business commu- nicators rarely need.

guarDing against information overLoaD

The overuse or misuse of communication technology can lead to information overload, in which people receive more information than they can effectively process. Information overload makes it difficult to discriminate between useful and useless information, inhib- its the ability to think deeply about complex situations, lowers productivity, and amplifies employee stress both on the job and at home—even to the point of causing health and relationship problems.71

As a sender, make sure every message you send is meaningful and important to your receivers. As a recipient, take steps to control the number and types of messages you receive. Use the filtering features of your communication systems to isolate high-priority messages that deserve your attention. Also, be wary of following too many blogs, Twitter accounts, and social networking feeds, and other sources of recurring messages. Focus on the infor- mation you truly need to do your job.

reConneCting With PeoPLe frequentLY

Even the best technologies can hinder communication if they are overused. For instance, a common complaint among employees is that managers rely too heavily on email and don’t communicate face-to-face often enough.72 Speaking with people over the phone or in person can take more time and effort, and can sometimes force you to confront unpleas- ant situations directly, but it is often essential for solving tough problems and maintaining productive relationships.73

Moreover, even the best communication technologies can’t show people who you really are. Remember to step out from behind the technology frequently to learn more about the people you work with—and to let them learn more about you.

For the latest information on business communication technologies, visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7 and click on Chapter 1 “Professional Communication in Today’s Digital, Social, Mobile World.”

Don’t let technology overwhelm the communication process.

MOBILE APPS

Pocket collects content you’d like to read or view later and syncs it across your mobile devices.

Everyone has an important role to play in reducing information overload.

No matter how much technology is involved, communication will always be about people connecting with people.

Professor Ellen Bremen offers a dozen reasons why she thinks talking promotes more effective communication than texting. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

reaL-time uPDates

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Twelve reasons why talking can be better than texting

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Instant Messaging

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The tools of business communication evolve with every advance in digital technology. The 20 technologies highlighted on the next four pages help businesses redefine the office, collaborate and share information, connect with stakeholders, and build communities of people with shared interests and needs. For more examples of business uses of social media tools in particular, see pages 138–139 in Chapter 6.

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Web-based meetings allow team members from all over the world to interact in real time. Meetings can also be recorded for later playback and review. Various systems support instant messaging, video, collaborative editing tools, and more.

COLLABORATING

Thanks to advances in mobile and distributed communication, the “of�ce” is no longer what it used to be. Technology lets today’s professionals work on the move while staying in close contact with colleagues, customers, and suppliers. These technologies are also rede�ning the very nature of some companies, as they replace traditional hierarchies with highly adaptable, virtual networks.

Mobile Business Apps

As the range of business software applications on smartphones and tablet computers continues to expand, almost anything that can be accomplished on a regular computer can be done on a mobile device (although not always as eff iciently or with the same feature sets).An

tu n

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COLLABORATING AND SHARING INFORMATION

The need to work with and share information quickly and easily is a constant in business. A wide variety of tools have been developed to facilitate collaboration and sharing, from general purpose systems such as instant messaging to more specialized capabilities such as data visualization.

Shared Online Workspaces

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Online workspaces help teams work productively, even if they are on the move or spread out across the country. In addition to providing controlled access to shared �les and other digital resources, some systems include such features as project management tools and real-time document sharing (letting two or more team members view and edit a document on screen at the same time).

Data Visualization

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Data visualization is a powerful tool for presenting and exploring sets of data that are very large, complex, or dynamic. As more companies rely on “big data” to identify and capitalize on market opportunities, the ability to extract insights from these large data sets can be an important competitive advantage.

Powerful Tools for Communicating Effectively

Videoconferencing provides many of the bene�ts of in-person meetings at a fraction of the cost. Advanced systems feature telepresence, in which the video images of meeting participants are life-sized and extremely realistic.

Speech recognition (converting human speech to computer commands) and speech synthesis (converting computer commands to human speech) can enhance communication in many ways, including simplifying mobile computing, assisting workers who are unwilling or unable to use keyboards, and allowing “one-sided” conversations with information systems. Speech analytics software can evaluate conversations to improve customer service and other interactions. Mobile VoIP lets people make voice calls on WiFi networks to save connection and roaming charges.

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Wikis promote collaboration by simplifying the process of creating and editing online content. Anyone with access (some wikis are private; some are public) can add and modify pages as new information becomes available.

Interactivity can make online communication much more engaging and effective, such as by personalizing the presentation of information or allowing website visitors to isolate and focus on speci�c topics.

Instant messaging (IM) is one of the most widely used digital communication tools in the business world, replacing many conversations and exchanges that once took place via email or phone calls. Enterprise IM systems are similar to consumer IM systems in many respects but have additional security and collaboration features.

Crowdsourcing, inviting input from groups of people inside or outside the organization, can give companies access to a much wider range of ideas, solutions to problems, and insights into market trends.

Interactive Websites

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24

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C/M/Y/K Short / Normal

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Instant Messaging

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Videoconferencing and Telepresence

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The tools of business communication evolve with every advance in digital technology. The 20 technologies highlighted on the next four pages help businesses redefine the office, collaborate and share information, connect with stakeholders, and build communities of people with shared interests and needs. For more examples of business uses of social media tools in particular, see pages 138–139 in Chapter 6.

Web-Based Meetings

A nd

re sr

/S hu

tt er

st oc

k

Web-based meetings allow team members from all over the world to interact in real time. Meetings can also be recorded for later playback and review. Various systems support instant messaging, video, collaborative editing tools, and more.

COLLABORATING

Thanks to advances in mobile and distributed communication, the “of�ce” is no longer what it used to be. Technology lets today’s professionals work on the move while staying in close contact with colleagues, customers, and suppliers. These technologies are also rede�ning the very nature of some companies, as they replace traditional hierarchies with highly adaptable, virtual networks.

Mobile Business Apps

As the range of business software applications on smartphones and tablet computers continues to expand, almost anything that can be accomplished on a regular computer can be done on a mobile device (although not always as eff iciently or with the same feature sets).An

tu n

H irs

m an

/S hu

tte rs

to ck

COLLABORATING AND SHARING INFORMATION

The need to work with and share information quickly and easily is a constant in business. A wide variety of tools have been developed to facilitate collaboration and sharing, from general purpose systems such as instant messaging to more specialized capabilities such as data visualization.

Shared Online Workspaces

M ic

ro so

ft O

f� ce

2 01

3, c

op yr

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© 2

01 3

M ic

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Online workspaces help teams work productively, even if they are on the move or spread out across the country. In addition to providing controlled access to shared �les and other digital resources, some systems include such features as project management tools and real-time document sharing (letting two or more team members view and edit a document on screen at the same time).

Data Visualization

Re pr

in te

d w

ith t

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er m

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n of

T he

M ot

le y

Fo ol

, L LC

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14 T

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Data visualization is a powerful tool for presenting and exploring sets of data that are very large, complex, or dynamic. As more companies rely on “big data” to identify and capitalize on market opportunities, the ability to extract insights from these large data sets can be an important competitive advantage.

Powerful Tools for Communicating Effectively

Videoconferencing provides many of the bene�ts of in-person meetings at a fraction of the cost. Advanced systems feature telepresence, in which the video images of meeting participants are life-sized and extremely realistic.

Speech recognition (converting human speech to computer commands) and speech synthesis (converting computer commands to human speech) can enhance communication in many ways, including simplifying mobile computing, assisting workers who are unwilling or unable to use keyboards, and allowing “one-sided” conversations with information systems. Speech analytics software can evaluate conversations to improve customer service and other interactions. Mobile VoIP lets people make voice calls on WiFi networks to save connection and roaming charges.

Wikis

Re pr

in te

d w

ith t

he p

er m

iss io

n of

T he

M ot

le y

Fo ol

, LL

C @

20 14

T he

M ot

le y

Fo ol

a ll

rig ht

r es

er ve

d.

Wikis promote collaboration by simplifying the process of creating and editing online content. Anyone with access (some wikis are private; some are public) can add and modify pages as new information becomes available.

Interactivity can make online communication much more engaging and effective, such as by personalizing the presentation of information or allowing website visitors to isolate and focus on speci�c topics.

Instant messaging (IM) is one of the most widely used digital communication tools in the business world, replacing many conversations and exchanges that once took place via email or phone calls. Enterprise IM systems are similar to consumer IM systems in many respects but have additional security and collaboration features.

Crowdsourcing, inviting input from groups of people inside or outside the organization, can give companies access to a much wider range of ideas, solutions to problems, and insights into market trends.

Interactive Websites

C ou

rt es

y of

F 5

N et

w or

ks , I

nc .

25

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C/M/Y/K Short / Normal

DESIGN SERVICES OF

carlisle Publishing Services

Microblogging

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Microblogging services (of which Twitter is by far the best known) are a great way to share ideas, solicit feedback, monitor market trends, and announce special deals and events.

Social Networking

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om

Electronic media and social media in particular have rede�ned the relationships businesses have with internal and external stake- holders. Any groups affected by a company’s decisions now have tools to give voice to their opinions and needs, and companies have many more conversational threads that need to be monitored and managed.

CONNECTING WITH STAKEHOLDERS

Blogs let companies connect with customers and other audiences in a fast and informal way. Commenting features let readers participate in the conversation, too.

With the portability and convenience of downloadable audio and video recordings, podcasts have become a popular means of delivering everything from college lectures to marketing messages. Podcasts are also used for internal communication, replacing conference calls, newsletters, and other media.

BUILDING COMMUNITIES User-Generated Content Sites

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User-generated content sites let businesses host photos, videos, software programs, technical solutions, and other valuable content for their customer communities.

Gaming Technologies

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Encouraging people to play games, even games as simple as “checking in” at various retail locations, can build interest in a company and its brands.

Businesses use a variety of social networks as specialized channels to engage customers, �nd new employees, attract investors, and share ideas and challenges with peers.

Community Q&A Sites

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Many companies now rely heavily on communities of customers to help each other with product questions and other routine matters.

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Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant tracking systems now play a huge role in employment-related communications. At virtually all large companies and many medium and small companies, your résumé and application information will be entered into one of these systems. Recruiters use various tools to identify promising candidates and manage the interview and selection process. After hiring, some �rms use talent management systems to track employee development through workers’ entire careers at the company.

The combination of low-cost digital video cameras and video-sharing websites such as YouTube has spurred a revolution in business video. Product demonstrations, company overviews, promotional presentations, and training seminars are among the most popular applications of business video. Branded channels allow companies to present their videos as an integrated collection in a customized user interface.

Content Curation

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ill, L

LC w

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Media curation, selecting videos and other items of interest to followers of a website or blog, has become one of the most popular ways to connect with stakeholders. Pinterest and Scoop.it are among the leading technologies in this area.

One of the most signi�cant bene�ts of new communication technologies is the ease with which companies can foster a sense of community among customers, enthusiasts, and other groups. In some instances, the company establishes and manages the online community, while in others the community is driven by product champions or other enthusiasts.

Online Video

Y ou

Tu be

, L LC

Podcasting

26

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C/M/Y/K Short / Normal

DESIGN SERVICES OF

carlisle Publishing Services

Microblogging

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2 01

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Blogging

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X er

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Microblogging services (of which Twitter is by far the best known) are a great way to share ideas, solicit feedback, monitor market trends, and announce special deals and events.

Social Networking

Bi zn

ik .c

om

Electronic media and social media in particular have rede�ned the relationships businesses have with internal and external stake- holders. Any groups affected by a company’s decisions now have tools to give voice to their opinions and needs, and companies have many more conversational threads that need to be monitored and managed.

CONNECTING WITH STAKEHOLDERS

Blogs let companies connect with customers and other audiences in a fast and informal way. Commenting features let readers participate in the conversation, too.

With the portability and convenience of downloadable audio and video recordings, podcasts have become a popular means of delivering everything from college lectures to marketing messages. Podcasts are also used for internal communication, replacing conference calls, newsletters, and other media.

BUILDING COMMUNITIES User-Generated Content Sites

© 2

01 2

Se gw

ay In

c. A

ll Ri

gh ts

R es

er ve

d

User-generated content sites let businesses host photos, videos, software programs, technical solutions, and other valuable content for their customer communities.

Gaming Technologies

C op

yr ig

ht ©

2 01

2 by

F ou

rs qu

ar e

La bs

, I nc

.

Encouraging people to play games, even games as simple as “checking in” at various retail locations, can build interest in a company and its brands.

Businesses use a variety of social networks as specialized channels to engage customers, �nd new employees, attract investors, and share ideas and challenges with peers.

Community Q&A Sites

A ut

od es

k, In

c.

Many companies now rely heavily on communities of customers to help each other with product questions and other routine matters.

C ou

rt es

y of

Z O

H O

C or

po ra

tio n

Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant tracking systems now play a huge role in employment-related communications. At virtually all large companies and many medium and small companies, your résumé and application information will be entered into one of these systems. Recruiters use various tools to identify promising candidates and manage the interview and selection process. After hiring, some �rms use talent management systems to track employee development through workers’ entire careers at the company.

The combination of low-cost digital video cameras and video-sharing websites such as YouTube has spurred a revolution in business video. Product demonstrations, company overviews, promotional presentations, and training seminars are among the most popular applications of business video. Branded channels allow companies to present their videos as an integrated collection in a customized user interface.

Content Curation

Bo ve

e an

d Th

ill, L

LC w

eb sit

e

Media curation, selecting videos and other items of interest to followers of a website or blog, has become one of the most popular ways to connect with stakeholders. Pinterest and Scoop.it are among the leading technologies in this area.

One of the most signi�cant bene�ts of new communication technologies is the ease with which companies can foster a sense of community among customers, enthusiasts, and other groups. In some instances, the company establishes and manages the online community, while in others the community is driven by product champions or other enthusiasts.

Online Video

Y ou

Tu be

, L LC

Podcasting

27

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28 Part 1 Business Communication Foundations

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DESIGN SERVICES OF

carlisle Publishing Services

Learning Objectives: Check Your Progress

Objective 1: Define communication, and explain the importance of effective business communication. Communication is the process of transferring information and meaning between senders and receivers, using one or more writ- ten, oral, visual, or digital media. The ability to communicate well will play a key role in your success as a business professional. Communication is essential to every function in business, and poor communication skills will limit your career prospects, no matter how ambitious or skilled you are in other areas. Commu- nication skills also give you an important competitive advantage in the job market.

As an effective communicator, you will be more valu- able to your company as well, because good communication skills help companies in many ways: building closer ties with important communities in the marketplace; influencing con- versations, perceptions, and trends; increasing productivity and solving problems in less time; attaining better financial re- sults and higher return for investors; enabling earlier warning of potential problems; making better decisions; creating more compelling promotional messages; and improving employee engagement.

To make your communication efforts as effective as pos- sible, focus on making them practical, factual, concise, clear, and persuasive.

Objective 2: Explain what it means to communicate as a pro- fessional in a business context. Communicating as a professional starts with being a profes- sional, which embodies striving to excel, being dependable and accountable, being a team player, demonstrating a sense of etiquette, making ethical decisions, and maintaining a positive outlook.

As a professional, you will be expected to bring a wide range of communication skills, including organizing ideas and information; expressing yourself coherently and persuasively in a variety of media; building persuasive arguments; evaluating data and information critically; actively listening to others; com- municating effectively with diverse audiences; using communi- cation technologies; following accepted standards of grammar, spelling, and other aspects of high-quality writing and speaking; adapting your messages and communication styles as needed; demonstrating strong business etiquette; communicating ethi- cally; respecting confidentiality; following applicable laws and regulations; managing your time wisely; and using resources efficiently.

Communicating in an organizational context involves adapt- ing your skills to a professional environment and using the com- pany’s communication system (in the broadest sense of the word) to gather and distribute information. An audience-centered approach to communication means focusing on understanding

and meeting the needs of all your audience members, rather than focusing on your own needs.

Objective 3: Describe the communication process model, and explain how social media are changing the nature of business communication. Communication can be modeled as an eight-step process: (1) the sender has an idea, (2) the sender encodes that idea in a message, (3) the sender produces the message in a transmittable medium, (4) the sender transmits the message through a channel, (5) the audience receives the message, (6) the audience decodes the mes- sage, (7) the audience responds to the message, and (8) the audi- ence provides feedback to the sender.

Social media have given customers and other stakeholders a voice they did not have in the past by giving them the tools to gather information from multiple sources, to respond to compa- nies and other organizations, and to initiate conversations in the marketplace. Social media are also changing the nature of messages. A message initiated by one party is often revised and reshaped by the web of participants as they share it and comment on it.

Objective 4: Outline the challenges and opportunities of mobile communication in business. The challenges and opportunities of mobile communication in- clude the mixed blessing of constant connectivity, the challenge of creating and consuming content on small screens and key- boards, the multitasking behavior of mobile users in chaotic en- vironments, the pressure being put on traditional expectations of grammar and spelling, the opportunity for mobile devices to be sensory and cognitive extensions, security and privacy concerns, improvements to productivity and collaboration, the ability to use business-focused apps for a variety of tasks, accelerating deci- sion making and problem solving, and the opportunity to creative more-engaging experiences using the unique features of mobile devices.

Objective 5: Define ethics, explain the difference between an ethical dilemma and an ethical lapse, and list six guidelines for making ethical communication choices. Ethics are the accepted principles of conduct that govern behav- ior within a society; they define the boundary between right and wrong. Ethical communication includes all relevant information, is true in every sense, does not violate the rights of others, and is not deceptive in any way.

An ethical dilemma involves choosing among alternatives that aren’t clear-cut; an ethical lapse is a clearly unethical (and frequently illegal) choice. To ensure the decisions you make are ethical, follow these six guidelines: make sure you have defined the situation fairly and accurately, make sure your intentions are honest and fair, understand the impact your messages will have on others, ensure that your messages will achieve the greatest possible good while doing the least possible harm, make sure your underlying assumptions won’t change over time, and make sure you are comfortable with your choices.

Chapter Review and Activities

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1-8. What changes would you make to your email messages if you know your recipients are typically walking or riding on mass transit when they read your messages? [LO-4]

1-9. You’re the CEO of a company whose sales are declin- ing, and there is a 50–50 chance you will need to lay off some of your employees sometime in the next two to three months. You have to decide whether to tell them now so they can look for new jobs as soon as possible, even though you’re not yet sure layoffs will be necessary, or wait until you are sure layoffs will occur. Explain why this is an ethical dilemma. Be sure to consider the effect a sudden exodus of valuable employees could have on the company’s prospects. [LO-5]

1-10. Recall one instance in which you were confused by a be- havior, an attitude, or a belief you observed in another cul- ture. (Don’t limit yourself to ethnic or national definitions of culture; consider religion, age, and other factors as well.) What about this cultural difference confused you? Why do you think the culture exhibits this behavior, attitude, or be- lief? How might it impede communication? [LO-6]

Practice Your Skills Activities

Each activity is labeled according to the primary skill or skills you will need to use. To review relevant chapter content, you can refer to the indicated Learning Objective. In some instances, support- ing information will be found in another chapter, as indicated. 1-11. Writing: Compositional Modes: Summaries [LO-1],

Chapter 3 Write a paragraph introducing yourself to your instructor and your class. Address such areas as your background, interests, achievements, and goals. Submit your paragraph using email, blog, or social network, as indicated by your instructor.

1-12. Media Skills: Microblogging [LO-1], Chapter 6 Write four messages of no more than 140 characters each (short enough to work as Twitter tweets, in other words) to per- suade other college students to take the business com- munication course. Think of the first message as the “headline” of an advertisement that makes a bold promise regarding the value this course offers every aspiring busi- ness professional. The next three messages should be sup- port points that provide evidence to back up the promise made in the first message.74

1-13. Fundamentals: Analyzing Communication Effective- ness [LO-1] Identify a video clip (on YouTube or another online source) that you believe represents an example of effective communication. It can be in any context, busi- ness or otherwise, but make sure it is something appro- priate to discuss in class. Post a link to the video on your class blog, along with a brief written summary of why you think this example shows effective communication in action.

1-14. Planning: Assessing Audience Needs [LO-2], Chapter 3 Choose a business career that sounds interesting to you and imagine you are getting ready to apply for jobs in that field. Naturally, you want to create a compelling, audience-focused résumé that answers the key questions

Objective 6: Explain how cultural diversity affects business communication, and describe the steps you can take to communicate more effectively across cultural boundaries. Cultural diversity affects business communication because cul- ture influences the way people create, send, and interpret mes- sages. Moreover, the influences of culture can be profound, and they are often unrecognized by the people involved. Major aspects of culture that affect communication include cultural context, legal and ethical differences, social customs, nonverbal communication, age differences, gender, religion, and ability.

To communicate effectively across cultures, avoid ethno- centrism and stereotyping, don’t make assumptions about oth- ers’ beliefs and values, avoid judgment, learn to communicate respect, tolerate ambiguity, don’t be distracted by superficial elements, recognize your own cultural biases, be flexible, and learn about cultures in which you do business. Also, follow the advice for writing and speaking in multilanguage environments (pages 21).

Objective 7: List four general guidelines for using com munica- tion technology effectively. To help avoid the potential drawbacks of using communication technology, (1) keep technology in perspective so that it doesn’t overwhelm the communication process, (2) learn your tools so you can use them productively, (3) guard against information overload by sending only those messages of value to your audi- ences and by protecting yourself from too many low-value incom- ing messages, and (4) disengage from the computer frequently to communicate in person.

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com to complete the problems marked with this icon .

Test Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 1-1. What are the six traits of professionalism? [LO-2] 1-2. What does BYOD refer to and what are the implications

of this phenomenon? [LO-4] 1-3. Define ethics and explain what ethical communication

encompasses. [LO-5] 1-4. How does cultural context affect communication? [LO-6]

Apply Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 1-5. Why do you think communication is vital to the success

of every business organization? Explain briefly. [LO-1] 1-6. How does the presence of a reader comments feature on

a corporate blog reflect audience-centered communica- tion? [LO-2]

1-7. How does your understanding of the communication pro- cess help you conduct business more effectively? [LO-3]

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b. Taking an office computer home to finish a work- related assignment

c. Telling an associate and close friend that she should pay more attention to her work responsibilities or management will fire her

d. Recommending the purchase of excess equipment to use up your allocated funds before the end of the fis- cal year so that your budget won’t be cut next year

1-20. Communication Ethics: Protecting Company Resources [LO-5] Blogging is a popular way for employees to com- municate with customers and other parties outside the company. In some cases, employee blogs have been quite beneficial for both companies and their customers, pro- viding helpful information and “putting a human face” on otherwise formal and imposing corporations. However, in some cases, employees have been fired for posting in- formation their employers said was inappropriate. One particular area of concern is criticism of the company or individual managers. Should employees be allowed to criti- cize their employers in a public forum such as a blog? In a brief email message, argue for or against company policies that prohibit any critical information in employee blogs.

1-21. Communication Ethics: Providing Ethical Leadership [LO-5] Visit Cisco’s website and find the Code of Conduct. In a brief email message or post to a class blog, describe three specific examples of things you could do that would violate these provisions; then list at least three opportu- nities that Cisco provides its employees to report ethics violations or ask questions regarding ethical dilemmas.

1-22. Communication Ethics: Resolving Ethical Dilem- mas [LO-5] Knowing that you have numerous friends throughout the company, your boss relies on you for feedback concerning employee morale and other issues affecting the staff. She recently approached you and asked you to start reporting any behavior that might violate company polices, from taking office supplies home to making personal long-distance calls. List the issues you’d like to discuss with her before you respond to her request.

1-23. Intercultural Communication: Writing for Multiple- Language Audiences [LO-6] Your boss wants to send a brief email message to welcome employees recently trans- ferred to your department from your Hong Kong branch. They all speak English to some degree, but your boss asks you to review her message for clarity. What would you sug- gest your boss change in the following email message—and why? Would you consider this message to be audience- centered? Why or why not?

I wanted to welcome you ASAP to our little family here in the states. It’s high time we shook hands in person and not just across the sea. I’m pleased as punch about getting to know you all, and I for one will do my level best to sell you on America.

1-24. Intercultural Communication: Recognizing Cultural Variations; Collaboration: Solving Problems [LO-6], Chapter 2 Working with two other students, prepare a list of 10 examples of slang (in your own language) that would probably be misinterpreted or misunderstood during a business conversation with someone from an- other culture. Next to each example, suggest other words

a hiring manager is most likely to have. Identify three personal or professional qualities you have that would be important for someone in this career field. Write a brief statement (one or two sentences) regarding each quality, describing in audience-focused terms how you can con- tribute to a company in this respect. Submit your state- ments via email or class blog.

1-15. Communication Etiquette: Communicating with Sen- sitivity and Tact [LO-2] Potential customers often visit your production facility before making purchase deci- sions. You and the people who report to you in the sales department have received extensive training in etiquette issues because you frequently deal with high-profile cli- ents. However, the rest of the workforce has not received such training, and you worry that someone might inad- vertently say or do something that would offend one of these potential customers. In a two-paragraph email, ex- plain to the general manager why you think anyone who might come in contact with customers should receive ba- sic etiquette training.

1-16. Fundamentals: Evaluating Communication Effective- ness [LO-3] Use the eight phases of the communication process to analyze a miscommunication you’ve recently had with a co-worker, supervisor, classmate, instructor, friend, or family member. What idea were you trying to share? How did you encode and transmit it? Did the receiver get the message? Did the receiver decode the message as you had intended? How do you know? Based on your analysis, what do you think prevented your suc- cessful communication in this instance? Summarize your conclusions in an email message to your instructor.

1-17. Writing: Compositional Modes: Persuasion [LO-3], Chapter 9 Social media use varies widely from company to company. Some firms enthusiastically embrace these new tools and new approaches. Others have taken a more cautious approach, either delaying the adoption of so- cial media or restricting their use. You work for an “old school” manufacturing firm that prohibits employees from using social media during work hours. Company management believes that social media offer little or no business value and distract employees from more impor- tant duties. In a brief email message to your boss, identify the ways that social media are changing the communi- cation process and relationships between companies and their employees, customers, and communities. Provide at least one example of a real manufacturing company that uses social media.

1-18. Fundamentals: Analyzing Communication Effective- ness [LO-4] Using a mobile device, visit the websites of five companies that make products or provide services you buy or might buy in the future. Which of the web- sites is the most user-friendly? How does it differ from the other sites? Do any of the companies offer a mobile shopping app for your device?

1-19. Communication Ethics: Distinguishing Ethical Dilem- mas and Ethical Lapses [LO-5] In a report of no more than one page, explain why you think each of the follow- ing is or is not ethical:

a. Deemphasizing negative test results in a report on your product idea

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essential business communication skill. Write a brief email mes- sage to your instructor or a post for your class blog describing the item you found and summarizing the career skills information you learned from it.

Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage You can download the text of this assignment from http:// real-timeupdates.com/bce7; click on Student Assignments and then click on Chapter 1, Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage.

Level 1: Self-Assessment—Nouns

Use the following self-assessment exercises to improve your knowledge of and power over English grammar, mechanics, and usage. Review all of Section 1.1 in the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage that appears at the end of this book. Answers to these exercises appear on page 455.

For the following items, indicate which words are common nouns and which are proper nouns. 1-28. Give the balance sheet to Melissa. 1-29. After three years of declining sales, the board fired the

CEO and hired a replacement from Google. 1-30. Tarnower Corporation donates a portion of its profits to

charity every year. 1-31. Which aluminum bolts are packaged? 1-32. Please send the Joneses a dozen of each of the following:

stopwatches, canteens, headbands, and wristbands. For the following items, underline the subjects and circle the objects. 1-33. The technician has already repaired the machine for the

client. 1-34. An attorney will talk to the group about incorporation. 1-35. After her vacation, the buyer prepared a third-quarter

budget. 1-36. More than 90 percent of the research staff has contributed

to the new wiki. 1-37. Accuracy overrides speed in importance. For the following items, indicate any inappropriate noun plurals and possessives and provide the correct form. 1-38. Make sure that all copys include the new addresses. 1-39. Ask Jennings to collect all employee’s donations for the

Red Cross drive. 1-40. Charlie now has two son-in-laws to help him with his two

online business’s. 1-41. Avoid using too many parenthesises when writing your

reports. 1-42. Follow President Nesses rules about what constitutes a

weeks work. Level 2: Workplace Applications

The following items may contain errors in grammar, capitaliza- tion, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. Rewrite each sentence, correcting all errors. If a sen- tence has no errors, write “Correct” for that number. 1-43. If a broken down unproductive guy like Carl can get a

raise; why can’t a take charge guy like me get one?

you might use to convey the same message. Do the al- ternatives mean exactly the same as the original slang or idiom? Summarize your findings in an email message or post for a class blog.

1-25. Intercultural Communication: Recognizing Cultural Variations [LO-6] Choose a country with which you are not familiar. Research the culture and write a one-page report outlining what a U.S. businessperson would need to know about concepts of personal space and rules of social behavior in order to conduct business successfully in that country.

1-26. Intercultural Communication: Recognizing Cultural Variations [LO-6] Differences in gender, age, and physi- cal and cognitive abilities contribute to the diversity of today’s workforce. Working with a classmate, role-play a conversation in which

a. A woman is being interviewed for a job by a male human resources manager

b. An older person is being interviewed for a job by a younger human resources manager

c. A person using a wheelchair is being interviewed for a job by a person who can walk

How did differences between the applicant and the inter- viewer shape the communication? What can you do to improve communication in such situations? Summarize your findings in an email message or post for a class blog.

1-27. Technology: Using Communication Tools [LO-7] Find a free online communication service that you have no experience using as a content creator or contributor. Services to consider include blogging (such as Blogger), microblogging (such as Twitter), community Q&A sites (such as Yahoo! Answers), and user-generated con- tent sites (such as Flickr). Perform a basic task such as opening an account or setting up a blog. Was the task easy to perform? Were the instructions clear? Could you find help online if you needed it? Is there anything about the experience that could be improved? Summa- rize your conclusions in a brief email message to your instructor.

Expand Your Skills Critique the Professionals

Locate an example of professional communication from a repu- table online source. It can reflect any aspect of business commu- nication, from an advertisement or a press release to a company blog or website. Evaluate this communication effort in light of any aspect of this chapter that is relevant to the sample and interesting to you. For example, is the piece effective? Audience-centered? Ethical? Using whatever medium your instructor requests, write a brief analysis of the piece (no more than one page), citing specific elements from the piece and support from the chapter. Sharpen Your Career Skills Online

Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Web Search, at http:// websearch.businesscommunicationnetwork.com, is a unique research tool designed specifically for business communication research. Use the Web Search function to find a website, video, PDF document, podcast, or presentation that explains at least one

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1-55. Keep in mind the old saying “When we laugh the world laugh with us, when you cry you cry alone.”

1-56. Albert Edmunds and me are Owners of the real estate firm of Edmunds & Cale, which have recently opened a new office in San Diego co.

1-57. The memo inferred that the economic downturn will have a greater affect on the company’s bottom line then we previously assumed, this was the worse news we could of gotten.

Level 3: Document Critique

The following document may contain errors in grammar, capital- ization, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. As your instructor indicates, photocopy this page and correct all errors using standard proofreading marks (see Appendix C) or download the document and make the correc- tions in your word-processing software.

Memo

TO: All Employees FROM: Roberta Smith, Personnel Director DATE: December 28, 2015 SUBJECT: time Cards

After reviewing our Current Method of keeping track of employee hours; we have concluded that time cards leave a lot to be desired. So starting Monday, we have a new system, a time clock. You just have to punch in and punch out; when- ever you will come and go from your work area’s.

The new system may take a little while to get used to, but should be helpful to those of us who are making a new years resolution to be more punctual.

Happy New Year to all!

1-44. Visit our website and sign up for “On Your Toes”, our free newsletter that keeps you informed of promotions, dis- counts and about Internet-only specials.

1-45. As of March, 2015, the Board of Directors have 9 mem- bers including: three women, one African-American, and one American of Hispanic descent.

1-46. As one of the nearly 3,000,000 New York Life policy- holders eligible to vote, we urge you to approve the new investment advisory agreement.

1-47. Gerrald Higgins, vice president for marketing, told us reporters that Capital One provides financial services to one-fourth of homes in the United States.

1-48. Our Customer Relations associates work with people ev- eryday to answer questions, provide assistance, and help- ing solve problems.

1-49. If anyone breaches the lease, its likely that the landlord will file legal action against them to collect on the re- mainder of they’re lease.

1-50. A IRA is one of the most common plans for the self- employed because of it’s ease of setting up and ad - ministering.

1-51. My advise to you is, to put you’re mission statement on your web cite.

1-52. According to Karen Smiths’ report small-business own- ers do’nt recognize the full effect that layoffs and termi- nations are liable to have on the motivation of surviving employees’.

1-53. To exacerbate the processing of your US tax return, use the mailing label and bar coded envelope that comes with your tax package.

1-54. The NASE have implemented a exciting array of pro- grams that make it more easy for legislative opinions and concerns to be voiced by you.

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com for Auto-graded writing questions as well as the following Assisted-graded writing questions:

1-58. What benefits does effective communication give you and your organization? [LO-1]

1-59. Why is it important to also connect in person when using technology to communicate? [LO-7]

Endnotes 1. Christina Kerley, The Mobile Revolution & B2B, ebook, 2011, http:// allthingsck.com. 2. Richard L. Daft, Management, 6th ed. (Cincinnati: Cengage South- Western, 2003), 580. 3. “Employers: 13 Common Complaints About Recent Grads,” Youtern, 2 October 2012, www.youturn.com. 4. Julie Connelly, “Youthful Attitudes, Sobering Realities,” New York Times, 28 October 2003, E1, E6; Nigel Andrews and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, “The Upwardly Global MBA,” Strategy + Business 36 (Fall 2004): 60–69; Jim McKay, “Communication Skills Found Lacking,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 28 February 2005, www.delawareonline.com.

5. Brian Solis, Engage! (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2010), 11–12; “Majority of Global Companies Face an Engagement Gap,” Inter- nal Comms Hub website, 23 October 2007, www.internalcommshub .com; Gary L. Neilson, Karla L. Martin, and Elizabeth Powers, “The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution,” Harvard Business Review, June 2008, 61–70; Nicholas Carr, “Lessons in Corporate Blogging,” BusinessWeek, 18 July 2006, 9; Susan Meisinger, “To Keep Employees, Talk—and Listen—to Them!” HR Magazine, August 2006, 10. 6. Daft, Management, 147. 7. Richard Edelman, “Teaching Social Media: What Skills Do Communicators Need?” in Engaging the New Influencers; Third

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33. Aaref Hilaly, “The Biggest Opportunity in Mobile That No One Is Talking About,” LinkedIn, 17 December 2013, www.linkedin.com. 34. Michael Saylor, The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything (New York: Vanguard Press, 2012), 10. 35. The Changing Role of Mobile Communications in the Workplace, Frost & Sullivan. 36. Top 10 Ways Successful Small Businesses Use Mobile Tech, T-Mobile. 37. Milton Kazmeyer, “The Impact of Wireless Communication in the Workplace,” Houston Chronicle, accessed 10 February 2014, http://smallbusiness.chron.com. 38. Gregg Hano, “The Power of Corporate Communications on Mobile Apps,” Mag+, 1 August 2013, www.magplus.com. 39. Philip C. Kolin, Successful Writing at Work, 6th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), 24–30. 40. Nancy K. Kubasek, Bartley A. Brennan, and M. Neil Browne, The Legal Environment of Business, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2003), 172. 41. Word of Mouth Marketing Association, “WOM 101,” accessed 2 June 2010, http://womma.org; Nate Anderson, “FTC Says Stealth Marketing Unethical,” Ars Technica, 13 December 2006, http:// arstechnica.com; “Undercover Marketing Uncovered,” CBSnews.com, 25 July 2004, www.cbsnews.com; Stephanie Dunnewind, “Teen Recruits Create Word-of-Mouth ‘Buzz’ to Hook Peers on Products,” Seattle Times, 20 November 2004, www.seattletimes.com. 42. Linda Pophal, “Tweet Ethics: Trust and Transparency in a Web 2.0 World,” CW Bulletin, September 2009, www.iabc.com. 43. Daft, Management, 155. 44. Based in part on Robert Kreitner, Management, 9th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004), 163. 45. Michael R. Carrell, Everett E. Mann, and Tracey Honeycutt Sigler, “Defining Workforce Diversity Programs and Practices in Organiza- tions: A Longitudinal Study,” Labor Law Journal, Spring 2006, 5–12. 46. “Dimensions of Diversity—Workforce,” Merck website, accessed 4 January 2011, www.merck.com. 47. Alan Kline, “The Business Case for Diversity,” USBanker, May 2010, 10–11. 48. Podcast interview with Ron Glover, IBM website, accessed 17 August 2008, www.ibm.com. 49. “Culture Influences Brain Function, Study Shows,” Science Daily, 13 January 2008, www.sciencedaily.com; Tracy Novinger, Intercultural Communication, A Practical Guide (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001), 15. 50. Lillian H. Chaney and Jeanette S. Martin, Intercultural Business Communication, 4th ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007), 53. 51. Arthur Chin, “Understanding Cultural Competency,” New Zealand Business, December 2010/January 2011, 34–35; Sanjeeta R. Gupta, “Achieve Cultural Competency,” Training, February 2009, 16–17; Diane Shannon, “Cultural Competency in Health Care Organizations: Why and How,” Physician Executive, September–October 2010, 15–22. 52. Geneviève Hilton, “Becoming Culturally Fluent,” Communication World, November/December 2007, 34–35. 53. Linda Beamer, “Teaching English Business Writing to Chinese- Speaking Business Students,” Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication 57, no. 1 (1994): 12–18. 54. Edward T. Hall, “Context and Meaning,” in Intercultural Commu- nication, 6th ed., edited by Larry A. Samovar and Richard E. Porter (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1991), 46–55. 55. Daft, Management, 459. 56. Charley H. Dodd, Dynamics of Intercultural Communication, 3rd ed. (Dubuque, Iowa: Brown, 1991), 69–70.

Annual Social Media Academic Summit (white paper), www.newmediaacademicsummit.com; “CEOs to Communicators: ‘Stick to Common Sense’,” Internal Comms Hub website, 23 October 2007, www.internalcommshub.com; “A Writing Competency Model for Business,” BizCom 101.com, 14 December 2007, www .businesswriting-courses.com; Sue Dewhurst and Liam FitzPatrick, “What Should Be the Competency of Your IC Team?” white paper, 2007, http://competentcommunicators.com. 8. “Digital Information Fluency Model,” 21cif.com, accessed 11 February 2014, http://21cif.com. 9. Eliza Browning, “Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now,” Inc., 17 April 2012, www.inc.com. 10. Paul Martin Lester, Visual Communication: Images with Messages (Belmont, Calif.: Cengage South-Western, 2006), 6–8. 11. Anne Field, “What You Say, What They Hear,” Harvard Manage- ment Communication Letter, Winter 2005, 3–5. 12. Ben Hanna, 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study ( published by Business.com), 2 November 2009, 11. 13. Mandy Thatcher, “Making Digital Work in the Real World,” Melcrum, 21 January 2014, www.melcrum.com. 14. Michael Killian, “The Communication Revolution—‘Deep Impact’ About to Strike,” Avaya Insights blog, 4 December 2009, www.avayablog.com. 15. “The Mobile Revolution Is Just Beginning,” press release, Word Economic Forum, 13 September 2013, www.weforum.org. 16. Maribel Lopez, “Three Trends That Change Business: Mobile, Social and Cloud,” Forbes, 28 January 2012, www.forbes.com. 17. “More Than Nine in 10 Internet Users Will Go Online via Phone,” eMarketer, 6 January 2014, www.emarketer.com. 18. Kerley, The Mobile Revolution & B2B. 19. Jordie can Rijn, “The Ultimate Mobile Email Statistics Overview,” Emailmonday.com, accessed 9 February 2014, www.emailmonday.com. 20. Jessica Lee, “46% of Searchers Now Use Mobile Exclusively to Research [Study],” Search Engine Watch, 1 May 2013, http:// searchenginewatch.com. 21. Dennis McCafferty, “10 Awesome Facts About the Mobile Revolu- tion,” CIO Insight, 6 December 2013, www.cioinsight.com. 22. Yun-Sen Chan, “Smartphones Are Changing Person-to-Person Communication,” Modern Media Mix, 23 April 2013, http:// modernmediamix.com. 23. “Mobile Facts and Market Stats,” Mocapay, accessed 10 February 2014, www.mocapay.com. 24. Mobile Revolution, ebook, Extron, 2011. 25. Nicco Mele, The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013), 1–2. 26. “JWT’s 13 Mobile Trends for 2013 and Beyond,” J. Walter Thompson website, 2 April 2013, www.jwt.com. 27. The Changing Role of Mobile Communications in the Workplace, white paper, Frost & Sullivan, accessed 8 February 2014, www .frost.com. 28. Top 10 Ways Successful Small Businesses Use Mobile Tech, white paper, T-Mobile, 2012. 29. Armen Ghazarian, “How Do Users Interact with Mobile Devices,” Medium.com, 29 November 2013, http://medium.com. 30. “JWT’s 13 Mobile Trends for 2013 and Beyond,” J. Walter Thompson website. 31. “Bring Your Own Device: BYOD Is Here and You Can’t Stop It,” Gartner, accessed 9 February 2014, www.gartner.com. 32. Jessica Twentyman, “Deploying Smartphones, Tables, and Apps for a New Employee Communication Era,” SCM, January/February 2013, 28–29; The Changing Role of Mobile Communications in the Workplace, Frost & Sullivan.

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68. Jensen J. Zhao and Calvin Parks, “Self-Assessment of Communi- cation Behavior: An Experiential Learning Exercise for Intercultural Business Success,” Business Communication Quarterly 58, no. 1 (1995): 20–26; Dodd, Dynamics of Intercultural Communication, 142–143, 297–299; Stephen P. Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 6th ed. ( Paramus, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1993), 345. 69. Chaney and Martin, Intercultural Business Communication, 9. 70. Mona Casady and Lynn Wasson, “Written Communication Skills of International Business Persons,” Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication 57, no. 4 (1994): 36–40. 71. “Brain Overload Causing Loss of Deep Thinking: Study,” ZeeNews, 14 December 2009, www.zeenews.com; Tara Craig, “How to Avoid Information Overload,” Personnel Today, 10 June 2008, 31; Jeff Davidson, “Fighting Information Overload,” Canadian Manager, Spring 2005, 16+. 72. “Many Senior Managers Communicate Badly, Survey Says,” Internal Comms Hub, 6 August 2007, www.internalcommshub.com. 73. Mike Schaffner, “Step Away from the Computer,” Forbes, 7 August 2009, www.forbes.com. 74. The concept of a four-tweet summary is adapted from Cliff Atkinson, The Backchannel (Berkeley, Calif.: New Riders, 2010), 120–121.

57. Daft, Management, 459. 58. Hannah Seligson, “For American Workers in China, a Culture Clash,” New York Times, 23 December 2009, www.nytimes.com. 59. Linda Beamer and Iris Varner, Intercultural Communication in the Workplace, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2001), 230–233. 60. Ed Marcum, “More U.S. Businesses Abandon Outsourcing Overseas,” Seattle Times, 28 August 2010, www.seattletimes.com. 61. Guo-Ming Chen and William J. Starosta, Foundations of Intercul- tural Communication (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1998), 288–289. 62. Steff Gelston, “Gen Y, Gen X and the Baby Boomers: Workplace Generation Wars,” CIO, 30 January 2008, www.cio.com. 63. Peter Coy, “Old. Smart. Productive.” BusinessWeek, 27 June 2005, www.businessweek.com; Beamer and Varner, Intercultural Communication in the Workplace, 107–108. 64. Joanna Barsh and Lareina Yee, “Changing Companies’ Minds About Women,” McKinsey Quarterly 4 (2011): 48–59. 65. John Gray, Mars and Venus in the Workplace (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 10, 25–27, 61–63. 66. Jennifer Luden, “Ask for a Raise? Most Women Hesitate,” NPR, 14 February 2011, www.npr.org. 67. “Religious Bias a Growing Issue,” Business Insurance, 13 February 2012, 8; Mark D. Downey, “Keeping the Faith,” HR Magazine, January 2008, 85–88.

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Communication Matters . . . “New communication platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn, have blurred the lines of appropriateness, and we’re all left wondering how to navigate uncharted social territory.”1

—Eliza Browning, Vice President, Crane Digital

Eliza Browning’s observation about Facebook and LinkedIn reflects the importance of interpersonal communication in today’s business environment. Whether the interaction takes place online or in person, creating and fostering positive relationships with colleagues, customers, and others can make or break your career. This chapter focuses on the communication skills you need in order to work well in team settings and on important interpersonal communication topics that will help you on the job: productive meetings, active listening, nonverbal communication, and business etiquette.

List the advantages and disadvantages of working in teams, and describe the characteristics of effective teams

Offer guidelines for collaborative communication, identify major collaboration technologies, and explain how to give constructive feedback

List the key steps needed to ensure productive team meetings, and identify the most common meeting technologies

Describe the listening process, and explain how good listeners overcome barriers at each stage of the process

Explain the importance of nonverbal communication, and identify six major categories of nonverbal expression

Explain the importance of business etiquette, and identify four key areas in which good etiquette is essential

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

Collaboration, Interpersonal Communication, and Business Etiquette

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35

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Crane Digital’s Eliza Browning empha- sizes that business etiquette isn’t about fussy rules and outdated behavior; it’s about showing respect for other people.

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Communicating Effectively in Teams Collaboration—working together to meet complex challenges—has become a core job re- sponsibility for roughly half the U.S. workforce.2 No matter what career path you pursue, it’s a virtual guarantee that you will be expected to collaborate in at least some of your work activities. Your communication skills will pay off handsomely in these interactions, because the productivity and quality of collaborative efforts depend heavily on communica- tion skills.

A team is a unit of two or more people who share a mission and the responsibility for working to achieve their goal.3 You will participate in teams throughout your career, so developing the skills to communicate successfully in team settings will give you an impor- tant advantage. Businesses use a wide variety of teams, from short-term problem-solving teams to permanent committees that sometimes become formal parts of the organization structure. Some teams meet and work together in person, whereas others are virtual teams, whose members work in different locations and interact through one or more electronic channels. Communication skills are particularly important with virtual teams because the physical separation can complicate everything from helping new members get oriented to capturing the knowledge a team accumulates over time.4

advantages and disadvantages of teams

When teams are successful, they can improve productivity, creativity, employee involve- ment, and even job security.5 Teams are often at the core of participative management, the effort to involve employees in the company’s decision making. The advantages of successful teamwork include6

● Increased information and knowledge. By pooling the experience of several individu- als, a team has access to more information in the decision-making process.

● Increased diversity of views. Bringing a variety of perspectives can improve decision making—as long as these diverse viewpoints are guided by a shared goal.7

● Increased acceptance of a solution. Those who participate in making a decision are more likely to support it and encourage others to accept it.

● Higher performance levels. Effective teams can be better than top-performing indi- viduals at solving complex problems.8

Although teamwork has many advantages, teams need to be aware of and work to counter the following potential disadvantages:

● Groupthink. Like other social structures, business teams can generate tremendous pressures to conform. Groupthink occurs when peer pressures cause individual team members to withhold contrary or unpopular opinions and to go along with decisions they don’t really believe in. The result can be decisions that are worse than the choices the team members might have made individually.

● Hidden agendas. Some team members may have a hidden agenda—private, counter- productive motives, such as a desire to take control of the group, to undermine some- one else on the team, or to pursue an incompatible goal.

● Cost. Aligning schedules, arranging meetings, and coordinating individual parts of a project can eat up a lot of time and money.

CharaCteristiCs of effeCtive teams

Effective teams share a number of traits, including a clear objective, a shared sense of pur- pose, full engagement from all team members, procedures for reaching decisions by con- sensus, and the right mix of creative and technical talents for the tasks at hand. While all these traits contribute to team success, however, the single most important factor is how well the team members communicate.9

In contrast, teams that lack one or more of these attributes can get bogged down in conflict or waste time and resources pursuing unclear goals. Two of the most common rea- sons cited for unsuccessful teamwork are a lack of trust and poor communication. A lack of

1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEList the advantages and disadvantages of working in teams, and describe the characteristics of effective teams.

Learning how to communicate and work well in team settings will help your company and your career.

Team members have a shared mission and are collectively responsible for the team’s performance.

Effective teams ● Understand their purpose ● Communicate openly and

honestly ● Build consensus ● Think creatively ● Stay focused ● Resolve conflict

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trust can result from team members being suspicious of one another’s motives or ability to contribute.10 Poor commu- nication can also result from basic differences in conversa- tional styles. For example, some people expect conversation to follow an orderly pattern in which team members wait their turn to speak, whereas others might view conversation as more spontaneous and are comfortable with an overlap- ping, interactive style.11

Many teams experience conflict in the course of their work, but conflict isn’t necessarily bad. Conflict can be constructive if it forces important issues into the open, increases the involvement of team members, and generates creative ideas for solving a problem. Even teams that have some friction can excel if they have ef- fective leadership and members who are committed to positive outcomes. As teamwork experts Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer put it, “Virtuoso teams are not about getting polite results.”12

Collaborating on Communication Efforts When a team collaborates on reports, websites, presentations, and other communication projects, the collective energy and expertise of the various members can produce results that transcend what each individual could do alone.13 However, collaborating on team mes- sages requires special effort and planning.

guidelines for Collaborative Writing

In any collaborative effort, team members coming from different backgrounds may have different work habits or priorities: A technical expert may focus on accuracy and scientific standards; an editor may be more concerned about organization and coherence; and a man- ager may focus on schedules, cost, and corporate goals. In addition, team members differ in writing styles, work habits, and personality traits.

To collaborate effectively, everyone involved must be flexible and open to other opin- ions, focusing on team objectives rather than on individual priorities.14 Most ideas can be expressed in many ways, so avoid the “my way is best” attitude when working with others. The following guidelines will help you collaborate more successfully:15

● Select collaborators carefully. Whenever possible, choose a combination of people who together have the experience, information, and talent needed for each project.

● Agree on project goals before you start. Starting without a clear idea of what the team hopes to accomplish inevitably leads to frustration and wasted time.

● Give your team time to bond before diving in. If people haven’t had the opportunity to work together before, try to arrange time so that they can get to know each other before being asked to collaborate.

● Clarify individual responsibilities. Because members will be depending on each other, make sure individual responsibilities are clear.

● Establish clear processes. Make sure everyone knows how the work will be managed from start to finish.

● Avoid writing as a group. The actual composition is the only part of developing team messages that does not usually benefit from group participation. Brainstorming the word- ing of short pieces of text, particularly headlines, slogans, and other high-visibility ele- ments, can be an effective way to stimulate creative word choices. However, for longer projects, it is usually more efficient to plan, research, and outline together but assign the task of writing to one person or divide larger projects among multiple writers. If you di- vide the writing, try to have one person do a final revision pass to ensure a consistent style.

● Make sure tools and techniques are ready and compatible across the team. Even minor details such as different versions of software can delay projects.

● Check to see how things are going along the way. Don’t assume that everything is working just because you don’t hear anything negative.

Successful collaborative writing requires a number of steps, from selecting the right partners and agreeing on project goals to estab- lishing clear processes and avoid- ing writing as a group.

Use these insights to manage adversarial relationships in the workplace and keep them from getting destructive. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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How to keep small battles from escalating into big ones

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEOffer guidelines for collabora- tive communication, identify major collaboration technologies, and explain how to give constructive feedback.

Conflict in team settings isn’t necessarily bad, as long as team members can stay focused on the goal.

MOBILE APPS

Freedcamp is a free collaboration and project management system.

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teChnologies for Collaborative Writing

A variety of tools are available to help writers collaborate on everything from short documents to entire websites. The simplest tools are software features such as commenting (which lets col- leagues write comments in a document without modifying the document text) and change track- ing (which lets one or more writers propose changes to the text while keeping everyone’s edits separate and reversible). The widely used Adobe Acrobat electronic document system (PDF files) also has group review and commenting features, including the option for live collaboration.

Collaboration Systems

Collaborating on website content often involves the use of a content management system, which organizes and controls website content and can include features that help team mem- bers work together on webpages and other documents. These systems range from simple blogging systems on up to enterprise systems that manage web content across an entire corporation. Many systems include work flow features that control how pages or documents can be created, edited, and published.

In contrast to the formal controls of a content management system, a wiki, from the Hawaiian word for quick, is a website that allows anyone with access to add new material and edit existing material. Public wikis (Wikipedia is the best known of these) allow any registered user to edit pages; private wikis are accessible only with permission. A key benefit of wikis is the freedom to post new or revised material without prior approval. Chapter 11 offers guidelines for effective wiki collaboration.

Teams and other work groups can also take advantage of a set of broader technolo- gies often referred to as groupware or collaboration platforms. These technologies let people communicate, share files, review previous message threads, work on documents simulta- neously, and connect using social networking tools. These systems help companies cap- ture and share knowledge from multiple experts, bringing greater insights to bear on tough challenges.16 Collaboration systems often take advantage of cloud computing, a somewhat vague term that refers to “on-demand” capabilities delivered over the Internet, rather than through conventional on-site software.17

Shared workspaces are online “virtual offices” that give everyone on a team access to the same set of resources and information (see Figure 2.1). You may see some of these workspaces referred to as intranets (restricted-access websites that are open to employees only) or extranets (restricted sites that are available to employees and to outside parties by invitation only). Many intranets have now evolved into social networking systems that

Collaboration tools include group review and commenting features, content management systems, wikis, and dedicated collaboration platforms.

Each project and program gets its own workspace, which can be shared with designated users inside or outside the company.

Within each workspace, the system organizes tasks, links, messages, project assignments, message archives, and all the other resources a team needs.

The system tracks all recent activity on a project, creating a searchable record of messages, task assignments, and other important details.

Figure 2.1 Shared Workspaces Shared workspaces give employees instant access to all the files they need. Source: Copyright © 2011 by Wize Hive. Reprinted with permission.

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include a variety of communication and collaboration tools, from microblogging to video clip libraries. For example, the performance troupe Blue Man Group uses a social intranet to help its 500 employees plan, stage, and promote shows all over the world.18

Collaboration via Mobile Devices

Mobile devices add another layer of options for collaborative writing and other communication projects, particularly when used with cloud computing. Today’s mobile systems can do virtually everything that fixed-web collaboration systems can do, from writing on virtual whiteboards to sharing photos, videos, and other multime- dia files.19 Mobility lets workers participate in online brainstorming sessions, seminars, and other formal or informal events from wherever they happen to be at the time. This flexibil- ity can be particularly helpful during the review and production stages of major projects, when deadlines are looming and decisions and revisions need to be made quickly.

An important aspect of mobile collaboration and mobile communication in general is unified communication, which integrates such capabilities as voice and video calling, voice and video conferencing, instant messaging, and real-time collaboration software into a single system. By minimizing or eliminating the need to manage multiple communication systems and devices, unified communication promises to improve response times, produc- tivity, and collaboration efforts.20

giving—and resPonding to—ConstruCtive feedbaCk

Aside from processes and tools, collaborative communication often involves giving and re- ceiving feedback about writing efforts. Constructive feedback, sometimes called construc- tive criticism, focuses on the process and outcomes of communication, not on the people involved (see Table 2.1). In contrast, destructive feedback delivers criticism with no ef- fort to stimulate improvement.21 For example, “This proposal is a confusing mess, and you failed to convince me of anything” is destructive feedback. Your goal is to be more construc- tive: “Your proposal could be more effective with a clearer description of the manufactur- ing process and a well-organized explanation of why the positives outweigh the negatives.” When giving feedback, avoid personal attacks and give the person clear guidelines for improvement.

When you receive constructive feedback, resist the urge to defend your work or deny the validity of the feedback. Remaining open to criticism isn’t easy when you’ve poured

Mobile collaboration systems can now do virtually everything computer-based systems can do.

When you give writing feedback, make it constructive by focus- ing on how the material can be improved.

TABLE 2.1 giving Constructive feedback

How to Be Constructive Explanation

Think through your suggested changes carefully. Because many business documents must illustrate complex relationships between ideas and other information, isolated and superficial edits can do more harm than good.

Discuss improvements rather than flaws. Instead of saying “this is confusing,” for instance, explain how the writing can be improved to make it clearer.

Focus on controllable behavior. The writer may not have control over every variable that affected the quality of the message, so focus on those aspects the writer can control.

Be specific. Comments such as “I don’t get this” or “Make this clearer” don’t give the writer much direction.

Keep feedback impersonal. Focus comments on the message, not on the person who created it.

Verify understanding. If in doubt, ask for confirmation from the recipient to make sure that the person understood your feedback.

Time your feedback carefully. Respond in a timely fashion so that the writer will have sufficient time to implement the changes you suggest.

Highlight any limitations your feedback may have. If you didn’t have time to give the document a thorough edit, or if you’re not an expert in some aspect of the content, let the writer know so that he or she can handle your comments appropriately.

Going mobile helps teams work faster and more effectively. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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The benefits of mobile collaboration

When you receive constructive feedback on your writing, keep your emotions in check and view it as an opportunity to improve.

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your heart and soul into a project, but good feedback provides a valuable opportunity to learn and to improve the quality of your work.

Making Your Meetings More Productive Much of your workplace communication will occur during in-person or online meetings. To a large degree, your ability to contribute to the company—and to be recognized for your contributions—will depend on your meeting skills. Well-run meetings can help companies solve problems, develop ideas, and identify opportunities. Meetings can also be a great way to promote team building through the experience of social interaction.22

PreParing for meetings

The first step in preparing for a meeting is to make sure the meeting is really necessary. Meetings can consume hundreds or thousands of dollars of productive time and take peo- ple away from other work, so don’t hold a meeting if some other form of communication (such as an email message) can serve the purpose as effectively.23 If a meeting is truly neces- sary, proceed with these four planning tasks:

● Clarify your purpose. Most meetings are one of two types: Informational meetings involve sharing information and perhaps coordinating action. Decision-making meet- ings involve analysis, problem solving, and in many cases, persuasive communication. Whatever your purpose, make sure it is clear and specific—and clearly communicated to all participants.

● Select participants for the meeting. The rule here is simple: Invite everyone who re- ally needs to be involved, and don’t invite anyone who doesn’t. For decision-making meetings, for example, invite only those people who are in a direct position to help the meeting reach its objective.

● Choose the venue and the time. Online meetings are often the best way (and sometimes the only way) to connect people in multiple locations or to reach large audiences. For on-site meetings, review the facility and the seating arrangements. Are rows of chairs suitable, or do you need a conference table or some other arrangement? Pay attention to room temperature, lighting, ventilation, acoustics, and refreshments. These details can make or break a meeting. If you have control over the timing, morning meetings are often more productive because people are generally more alert and not yet engaged with the work of the day.

● Set and share the agenda. People who will be presenting information need to know what is expected of them, nonpresenters need to know what will be presented so they can prepare questions, and everyone needs to know how long the meeting will last. In addition, the agenda is an important tool for guiding the progress of the meeting (see Figure 2.2).

ConduCting and Contributing to effiCient meetings

Everyone in a meeting shares the responsibility for keeping the meeting productive and making it successful. If you are the designated leader of a meeting, however, you have an extra degree of responsibility and accountability. To ensure productive meetings, be sure to do the following:

● Keep the meeting on track. A good meeting draws out the best ideas and information the group has to offer. Good leaders occasionally need to guide, mediate, probe, stimu- late, summarize, and redirect discussions that have gotten off track.

● Follow agreed-upon rules. The larger the meeting, the more formal you’ll need to be to maintain order. Formal meetings often use parliamentary procedure, a time-tested method for planning and running effective meetings. The best-known guide to this procedure is Robert’s Rules of Order.

A single poorly planned or poorly run meeting can waste hundreds or thousands of dollars, so make sure every meeting is necessary and well managed.

3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEList the key steps needed to ensure productive team meetings, and identify the most common meeting technologies.

To ensure a successful meeting, clarify your purpose, select the right mix of participants, choose the venue and time carefully, and set a clear agenda.

Everyone shares the responsibility for successful meetings.

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● Encourage participation. You may discover that some participants are too quiet and others are too talkative. Draw out nonparticipants by asking for their input. For the overly talkative, you can say that time is limited and others need to be heard.

● Participate actively. Try to contribute to the progress of the meeting and the smooth interaction of the participants. Use your listening skills and powers of observation to size up the interpersonal dynamics of the group, then adapt your behavior to help the group achieve its goals. Speak up if you have something useful to say, but don’t talk or ask questions just to demonstrate how much you know about the subject at hand.

● Use mobile devices respectfully. Tweeting key points from a convention speech or using your phone to jot down essential ideas and follow-up questions can be productive and respectful ways to use a device during a meeting. Checking Facebook or working on unrelated tasks is not. If you intend to use your device to take notes during a meet- ing, consider letting the meeting leader know that’s what you’re doing.24

● Close effectively. At the conclusion of a meeting, verify that the objectives have been met. If they have not, arrange for follow-up work as needed. Either summarize the deci- sions reached or list the actions to be taken. Make sure all participants understand and agree on the outcome.

Putting meeting results to ProduCtive use

In most cases, the value of a meeting doesn’t end when the meeting ends. For example, problems or opportunities brought up during a meeting need to be addressed, any action items assigned during the meeting need to be acted on, and key decisions and announce- ments should be distributed to anyone who is affected but was unable to attend. Having a written, audio, or video record of a meeting also gives the participants a chance to verify their impressions and conclusions.

Figure 2.2 Typical Meeting Agenda Agenda formats vary widely, depending on the complexity of the meeting and the presentation technologies that will be used. One good approach is to first distribute a detailed planning agenda so that presenters know what they need to prepare, then create a simpler display agenda such as this PowerPoint slide to guide the progress of the meeting. Note how the agenda includes the time limit for each topic.

The agenda title clearly identifies the scope of the meeting.

The clear and concise outline format identifies the topics that will be addressed and the order of discussion, which helps participants plan questions and suggestions.

Establishing a time limit for each section helps keep the meeting on track and ensures that time will be available for every topic.

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 2.2’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

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The conventional method of recording meetings is through written minutes, a summary of the important information presented and the decisions made (see Figure 2.3). One person is usually assigned to keep notes as the meeting progresses and then to share them afterward. The specific format of the minutes is less important than making sure you record all the key information, particularly regarding responsibilities that were assigned during the meeting. Typical elements include a list of those present and a list of those who were invited but didn’t attend, followed by the times the meeting started and ended, all major decisions reached at the meeting, all assignments of tasks to meeting participants, and all subjects that were deferred to a later meeting. In addition, the minutes objectively summarize important discussions, noting the names of those who contributed major points. Any handouts, electronic slides, or supporting documents can be attached to the minutes when they are distributed.

Depending on the meeting technologies at your disposal (see next section), you may have software specifically designed to record, distribute, and store meeting minutes. Some systems automatically forward action items to each employee, record audio discussions for future playback, and make all the relevant documents and files available in one convenient place.25

using meeting teChnologies

Today’s companies use a number of technologies to enhance or even replace traditional in-person meetings. Replacing in-person meetings with virtual meetings can dramatically reduce costs and resource usage, reduce wear and tear on employees, and give teams access to a wider pool of expertise.

Expect to participate in many virtual meetings using a variety of online meeting technologies.

Figure 2.3 Typical Meeting Minutes The specific format of meeting minutes is less important than making sure you record all the key information, particularly regarding responsibilities assigned during the meeting. No matter what medium is used, key elements of meeting minutes include a list of those present and a list of those who were invited but didn’t attend, followed by the times the meeting started and ended, all major decisions reached at the meeting, all assign- ments of tasks to meeting participants, and all subjects that were deferred to a later meeting. Minutes objectively summarize important discussions, noting the names of those who contributed major points. Outlines, subhead- ings, and lists help organize the minutes; additional documentation is noted in the minutes and attached.

The heading and subheading clearly identify the specific meeting, so there is no confusion about which meeting these minutes are for.

Listing the invited participants who did and did not attend clarifies the record in case any of the decisions made are questioned later on.

Concise summaries of each discussion serve as the official record of the meeting, in case there is confusion or disagree- ment about what was discussed and the details of any decisions or task assignments.

Minutes are a written summary of the key discussion points and decisions made during a meeting.

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 2.3’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

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Instant messaging (IM) and teleconferencing are the simplest forms of virtual meetings. Videoconferencing lets participants see and hear each other, demonstrate products, and trans- mit other visual information. Telepresence (see Figure 2.4) enables realistic conferences in which participants thousands of miles apart almost seem to be in the same room.26 The ability to con- vey nonverbal subtleties such as facial expressions and hand gestures makes these systems par- ticularly good for negotiations, collaborative problem solving, and other complex discussions.27

The most sophisticated web-based meeting systems combine the best of real-time com- munication, shared workspaces, and videoconferencing with other tools, such as virtual whiteboards, that let teams collaborate in real time. Such systems are used for everything from spontaneous discussions among small groups to carefully planned formal events such as press conferences, training sessions, sales presentations, and webinars (web-based semi- nars).28 One of the newest virtual tools is online brainstorming, in which a company can conduct “idea campaigns” to generate new ideas from people across the organization.

Conducting successful virtual meetings requires extra planning before the meeting and more diligence during the meeting. Recognizing the limitations of the virtual meeting for- mat is a key to using it successfully.29 Because virtual meetings offer less visual contact and nonverbal communication than in-person meetings, leaders need to make sure everyone stays engaged and has the opportunity to contribute. Paying attention during online meet- ings takes greater effort as well. Participants need to stay committed to the meeting and resist the temptation to work on unrelated tasks.30

For the latest information on meeting technologies, visit http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7 and click on Chapter 2.

Improving Your Listening Skills Your long-term career prospects are closely tied to your ability to listen effectively. In fact, some 80 percent of top executives say that listening is the most important skill needed to get things done in the workplace.31 Plus, today’s younger employees place a high premium on being heard, so listening is becoming even more vital for managers.32

Effective listening strengthens organizational relationships, alerts the organization to opportunities for innovation, and allows the organization to manage growing diversity both in the workforce and in the customers it serves.33 Companies whose employees and

MOBILE APPS

WebEx Mobile gives you mobile access to one of the world’s most popular online meeting platforms.

Online meetings can save a lot of time and money, but they require extra planning and management steps.

Figure 2.4 Telepresence How many people are actually in this conference room in Chicago? Only the two people in the foreground are in the room; the other six are in Atlanta and London. Virtual meeting technologies such as this telepresence system connect people spread across the country or around the world. Source: Peter Wynn Thompson/The New York Times/Redux.

4 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the listening process, and explain how good listeners overcome barriers at each stage of the process.

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managers listen effectively are able to stay informed, up, to date, and out of trouble. Conversely, poor listening skills can cost companies millions of dollars per year as a result of lost opportunities, legal mistakes, and other errors. Effective lis- tening is also vital to the process of building trust between organizations and between individuals.34

reCognizing various tyPes of listening

Effective listeners adapt their listening approaches to different situations. The primary goal of content listening is to understand and retain the information in the speaker’s message. With this type of listening, you ask questions to clarify the material but don’t argue or judge. Try to overlook the speaker’s style and any limitations in the presentation; just focus on the information.35

The goal of critical listening is to understand and evaluate the meaning of the speaker’s message on several levels: the logic of the argument, the strength of the evidence, the valid- ity of the conclusions, the implications of the message for you and your organization, the speaker’s intentions and motives, and the omission of any important or relevant points. Be on the lookout for bias that might color the way the information is presented, and be care- ful to separate opinions from facts.36 (Note that “critical listening” does not mean you are listening with the intent to criticize, but rather to understand the full meaning and implica- tions of the speaker’s message.)

The goal of empathic listening is to understand the speaker’s feelings, needs, and wants so that you can appreciate his or her point of view, regardless of whether you share that perspective. By listening in an empathic way, you help the individual release emotions that can prevent a calm, clear-headed approach to the subject. Don’t jump in with advice unless the person asks for it, and don’t judge the speaker’s feelings. Instead, let the person know that you appreciate his or her feelings and understand the situation. After you estab- lish that connection, you can then help the speaker search for a solution.37

No matter what mode they are using at any given time, effective listeners try to engage in active listening, making a conscious effort to turn off their own filters and biases to truly hear and understand what the other party is saying. They ask questions or summarize the speaker’s message to verify key points and encourage the speaker through positive body language and supportive feedback.38

understanding the listening ProCess

Listening is a far more complex process than most people think—and most of us aren’t very good at it. People typically listen at no better than a 25 percent efficiency rate, remem- ber only about half of what’s said during a 10-minute conversation, and forget half of that within 48 hours.39 Furthermore, when questioned about material they’ve just heard, they are likely to get the facts mixed up.40

Why is such a seemingly simple activity so difficult? The reason is that listening is not a simple process, by any means. Listening follows the same sequence as the basic commu- nication process model you explored in Chapter 1 (page 9), with the added difficulty that it happens in real time. To listen effectively, you need to successfully complete five steps:41

1. Receiving. Physically hear the message and recognize it as incoming information. 2. Decoding. Assign meaning to sounds, according to your own values, beliefs, ideas,

expectations, roles, needs, and personal history. 3. Remembering. Store the information for future processing. 4. Evaluating. Analyze the quality of the information. 5. Responding. React based on the situation and the nature of the information.

If any one of these steps breaks down, the listening process becomes less effective or even fails entirely. As both a sender and a receiver, you can reduce the failure rate by recog- nizing and overcoming a variety of physical and mental barriers to effective listening.

To be a good listener, adapt the way you listen to suit the situation.

Listening involves five steps: receiving, decoding, remembering, evaluating, and responding.

Listening is one of the most important skills in the workplace, but most people don’t do it as well as they assume they do.

See why companies that listen to their stakeholders have a competitive edge over those that don’t. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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overComing barriers to effeCtive listening

Good listeners look for ways to overcome the many potential barriers to successful listen- ing (see Table 2.2). Some factors you may not be able to control, such as conference room acoustics or poor phone reception. However, you can control other factors, such as not interrupting speakers, not multitasking when someone is talking to you, and not creating distractions that make it difficult for others to pay attention. And don’t think that you’re not interrupting just because you’re not talking. Such actions as sighing or checking your watch can interrupt a speaker and lead to communication breakdowns.

Selective listening is one of the most common barriers to effective listening. If your mind wanders, you may stay tuned out until you hear a word or phrase that gets your atten- tion once more. But by that time, you’ll be unable to recall what the speaker actually said; instead, you’ll remember what you think the speaker probably said.42

One reason listeners’ minds tend to wander is that people think faster than they speak. Most people speak at 120 to 150 words per minute. However, listeners can process audio information at up to 500 words per minute or more.43 Consequently, your brain has a lot of free time whenever you’re listening, and if left unsupervised, it will find a thousand other things to think about. Make a conscious effort to focus on the speaker, and use the extra time to analyze and paraphrase what you hear or to take relevant notes.

Overcoming interpretation barriers can be difficult because you may not even be aware of them. Selective perception leads listeners to mold messages to fit their own conceptual frameworks. Listeners sometimes make up their minds before fully hearing the speaker’s message, or they engage in defensive listening—protecting their egos by tuning out anything that doesn’t confirm their beliefs or their view of themselves.

Even when your intentions are good, you can still misinterpret incoming messages if you and the speaker don’t share enough language or experience. When listening to a speaker whose na- tive language or life experience is different from yours, try to paraphrase that person’s ideas. Give the speaker a chance to confirm what you think you heard or to correct any misinterpretation.

Improving Your Nonverbal Communication Skills Nonverbal communication is the process of sending and receiving information, both intentionally and unintentionally, without using written or spoken language. Nonverbal signals play a vital role in communication because they can strengthen a verbal message

Good listeners actively try to overcome the barriers to successful listening.

TABLE 2.2 What makes an effective listener?

Effective Listeners Ineffective Listeners

● Listen actively ● Listen passively

● Take careful and complete notes, when applicable ● Take no notes or ineffective notes

● Make frequent eye contact with the speaker (depends on culture to some extent)

● Make little or no eye contact—or inappropriate eye contact

● Stay focused on the speaker and the content ● Allow their minds to wander, are easily distracted, work on unrelated tasks

● Mentally paraphrase key points to maintain attention level and ensure comprehension

● Fail to paraphrase

● Adjust listening style to the situation ● Listen with the same style, regardless of the situation

● Give the speaker nonverbal cues (such as nodding to show agreement or raising eyebrows to show surprise or skepticism)

● Fail to give the speaker nonverbal feedback

● Save questions or points of disagreement until an appropriate time ● Interrupt whenever they disagree or don’t understand

● Overlook stylistic differences and focus on the speaker’s message ● Are distracted by or unduly influenced by stylistic differences; are judgmental

● Make distinctions between main points and supporting details ● Unable to distinguish main points from details

● Look for opportunities to learn ● Assume they already know everything that’s important to know

Sources: Adapted from Madelyn Burley-Allen, Listening: The Forgotten Skill (New York: Wiley, 1995), 70–71, 119–120; Judi Brownell, Listening: Attitudes, Principles, and Skills (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2002); 3, 9, 83, 89, 125; Larry Barker and Kittie Watson, Listen Up (New York: St. Martin’s, 2000), 8, 9, 64.

5 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain the importance of non- verbal communication, and identify six major categories of nonverbal expression.

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(when the nonverbal signals match the spoken words), weaken a verbal message (when nonverbal signals don’t match the words), or replace words entirely. For example, you might tell a client that a project is coming along nicely, but your forced smile and nervous glances will send an entirely different message.

You’ve been tuned in to nonverbal communication since your first contact with other human beings. Paying special at- tention to nonverbal signals in the workplace will enhance your

ability to communicate successfully. Moreover, as you work with a diverse range of people in the global marketplace, you’ll also need to grasp the different meanings of common gestures, expressions, and other signals in various cultures. Six types of signals are particularly important:

● Facial expressions. Your face is the primary site for expressing your emotions; it reveals both the type and the intensity of your feelings.44 Your eyes are especially effective for in- dicating attention and interest, influencing others, regulating interaction, and establishing dominance.45 As with other areas of nonverbal expressions, facial signals can vary widely from culture to culture. For instance, maintaining eye contact is usually viewed as a sign of sincerity and openness in the United States, but it can be viewed as rude in Japan.46

● Gestures and postures. Many gestures—a wave of the hand, for example—have a spe- cific and intentional meaning. Other types of body movement are often unintentional and express more general messages. Slouching, leaning forward, fidgeting, and walk- ing briskly are all unconscious signals that can reveal whether you feel confident or nervous, friendly or hostile, assertive or passive, powerful or powerless.

● Vocal characteristics. Voice carries both intentional and unintentional messages. A speaker can intentionally control pitch, pace, and stress to convey a specific message. For instance, compare “What are you doing?” and “What are you doing?” Uninten- tional vocal characteristics can convey happiness, surprise, fear, and other emotions. For example, fear often increases the pitch and the pace of your speaking voice.

● Personal appearance. People respond to others on the basis of their physical appear- ance, sometimes fairly and other times unfairly. Although an individual’s body type and facial features impose limitations, most people are able to control their appearance to some degree. Grooming, clothing, accessories, piercings, tattoos, hairstyle—you can control all of these. Many employers also have guidelines concerning attire, body art, and other issues, so make sure you understand and follow them.47

● Touch. Touch is an important way to convey warmth, comfort, and reassurance—as well as control. Touch is so powerful, in fact, that it is governed by cultural customs that establish who can touch whom and how in various circumstances. In the United States and Great Britain, for instance, people usually touch less frequently than people in France or Costa Rica do. Even within each culture’s norms, however, individual atti- tudes toward touch vary widely. A manager might be comfortable using hugs to express support or congratulations, but his or her subordinates could interpret those hugs as a show of dominance or sexual interest.48 Touch is a complex subject. The best advice: When in doubt, don’t touch.

● Time and space. Like touch, time and space can be used to assert authority, imply intimacy, and send other nonverbal messages. For instance, some people try to demon- strate their own importance or disregard for others by making other people wait; others show respect by being on time. Similarly, taking care not to invade private space, such as standing too close when talking, is a way to show respect for others. Keep in mind that expectations regarding both time and space vary by culture.

When you listen to others, be sure to pay attention to nonverbal clues. Do these signals seem to support the spoken words or contradict them? Is the speaker intentionally using nonverbal signals to send you a message that he or she can’t put into words? Be observant, but don’t assume that you can “read someone like a book.” Nonverbal signals are powerful, but they aren’t infallible. For example, contrary to popular belief, avoiding eye contact and covering one’s face while talking are not reliable clues that someone is lying. These behav- iors may be influenced by culture or might just be ways of coping with stressful situations.49

Nonverbal communication can strengthen, weaken, or sometimes even replace written or spoken communication.

Nonverbal signals include facial expression, gestures and posture, vocal characteristics, personal appearance, touch, and use of time and space.

Send these nonverbal signals to build credibility in conversations. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Improve your professional “curb appeal”

The way somebody says something can mean as much as the words he or she uses.

If you want to appear professional and confident in business settings, learn the behavioral expectations in your workplace.

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Think carefully about the entire package of nonverbal signals you send to those around you. For instance, are you talking like a serious business professional but dressing like you belong in a dance club or a frat house? If your goal is to make a good impression, adopt the style of the people you want to impress. Whether or not you think it is fair to be judged on superficial matters, the truth is that you are judged this way. Don’t let careless choices or disrespectful habits undermine all the great work you’re doing on the job.

Developing Your Business Etiquette You may have noticed a common thread running through the topics of successful team- work, productive meetings, effective listening, and nonverbal communication: They all depend on mutual respect and consideration among all participants. Nobody wants to work with someone who is rude to colleagues or an embarrassment to the company. Moreover, shabby treatment of others in the workplace can be a huge drain on morale and productiv- ity.50 Poor etiquette can drive away customers, investors, and other critical audiences—and it can limit your career potential.

This section addresses some key etiquette points to remember when you’re in the work- place, out in public, and online. Long lists of etiquette rules can be difficult to remember, but you can get by in most every situation by remembering to be aware of your effect on others, treating everyone with respect, and keeping in mind that the impressions you leave behind can have a lasting effect on you and your company. As etiquette expert Cindy Post Senning points out, “The principles of respect, consideration, and honesty are universal and timeless.”51

business etiquette in the WorkPlaCe

Workplace etiquette includes a variety of behaviors, habits, and aspects of nonverbal com- munication. Although it isn’t always thought of as an element of etiquette, your personal appearance in the workplace sends a strong signal to managers, colleagues, and customers. Pay attention to the style of dress where you work and adjust your style to match. Observe others and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. It’s not a question of mindlessly conforming or surrendering your individuality; it’s a question of showing respect for an organizational culture that is bigger than you (see Figure 2.5). If you’re not sure, dress modestly and simply—earn a reputation for what you do, not for what you wear.

Make sure the nonverbal signals you send don’t undermine your efforts to succeed on the job.

6 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain the importance of business etiquette, and identify four key areas in which good etiquette is essential.

Etiquette may sound like a fussy, old-fashioned idea, but it is really just a matter of showing respect for other people.

Figure 2.5 Showing Respect for Organizational Culture Being aware of expectations for personal appearance in a business setting is not only a sign of respect, it will help keep you from making career-limiting mistakes. Source: Paul Bradbury/OJO Images Ltd/Alamy.

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Grooming is as important as attire. Pay close attention to cleanliness and avoid using products with powerful scents, such as perfumed soaps, colognes, shampoos, and after- shave lotions. Many people are bothered by these products, and some are allergic to them.

IM and other text-based tools have taken over many exchanges that used to take place over the phone, but phone skills are still essential. Because phone calls lack the visual rich- ness of face-to-face conversations, you have to rely on your attitude and tone of voice to convey confidence and professionalism. Here are some important tips for using phones at work (for etiquette points specifically about mobile devices, see page 00):52

● Be conscious of how your voice sounds. Don’t speak in a monotone; vary your pitch and inflections so people know you’re interested. Slow down when conversing with people whose native language isn’t the same as yours.

● Be courteous when you call someone. Identify yourself and your organization, briefly describe why you’re calling, and verify that you’ve called at a good time. Minimize the noise level in your environment as much as possible. For important or complicated conversations, plan what you want to say before calling.

● Convey a positive, professional attitude when you answer the phone. Answer promptly and with a smile so that you sound welcoming. Identify yourself and your company (some companies have specific instructions for what to say when you an- swer). Establish the needs of your caller by asking, “How may I help you?” If you know the caller’s name, use it. If you can’t answer the caller’s questions, either forward the call to a colleague who can or advise the caller on how to get his or her questions resolved. If you do forward a call, put the caller on hold and call the next person yourself to verify that he or she is available.

● End calls with courtesy and clarity. Close in a friendly, positive manner and double- check all vital information such as meeting times and dates.

● Use your own voicemail features to help callers. Record a brief, professional- sounding outgoing message for regular use. When you will be away or unable to answer the phone for an extended period, record a temporary greeting that tells callers when you will respond to their messages. If you don’t check your messages regularly or at all, disable your voicemail so callers won’t be left waiting to hear from you and wondering if you received their messages. Letting voicemail messages pile up for days or weeks without answering them is extremely thoughtless.

● Be considerate when leaving voicemail messages. Retrieving voicemail messages can be a chore, so be thoughtful about leaving them. Unless voicemail is the best or only choice, consider leaving a message through other means, such as text messaging or email. If you do leave a voicemail message, make it as brief as possible. Leave your name, number (don’t assume the recipient has caller ID), reason for calling, and times you can be reached. State your name and telephone number slowly so the other person can easily write them down; repeat both if the other person doesn’t know you.

business etiquette in soCial settings

From business lunches to industry conferences, you may be asked to represent your com- pany when you’re out in public. Make sure your appearance and actions are appropriate to the situation. Get to know the customs of the culture when you meet new people. For example, in North America, a firm handshake is expected when two people meet, whereas a respectful bow is more appropriate in Japan. If you are expected to shake hands, be aware that the passive “dead fish” handshake creates an extremely negative impression with most people. If you are physically able, always stand when shaking someone’s hand.

When introducing yourself, include a brief description of your role in the company. When introducing two other people, speak their first and last names clearly and then try to offer some information (perhaps a shared professional interest) to help the two people ease into a conversation.53 Generally speaking, the lower-ranking person is introduced to the senior-ranking person, without regard to gender.54

Business is often conducted over meals, and knowing the basics of dining etiquette will make you more effective and comfortable in these situations.55 Start by choosing foods that

Your telephone skills will be vital to your business success.

You represent your company when you’re out in public—or commu- nicating online under your own name—so etiquette continues to be important even after you leave the office.

Basic courtesy on the phone makes communication more efficient and more pleasant for everyone involved.

If you never or rarely check your voicemail, disable it or record an outgoing message advising callers to reach you another way.

MOBILE APPS

The Etiquette App helps you make appropriate choices in a variety of social and business situations.

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are easy to eat. Avoid alcoholic beverages in most instances, but if drinking one is appropri- ate, save it for the end of the meal. Leave business documents under your chair until entrée plates have been removed; the business aspect of the meal doesn’t usually begin until then.

Remember that business meals are a forum for business, period. Don’t discuss politics, religion, or any other topic that’s likely to stir up emotions. Don’t complain about work, don’t ask deeply personal questions, avoid profanity, and be careful with humor—a joke that entertains some people could easily offend others.

business etiquette online

Electronic media seem to be a breeding ground for poor etiquette. Learn the basics of pro- fessional online behavior to avoid mistakes that could hurt your company or your career. Here are some guidelines to follow whenever you are representing your company while using electronic media:56

● Avoid personal attacks. The anonymous and instantaneous nature of online commu- nication can cause even level-headed people to lose their tempers and go after others.

● Stay focused on the original topic. If you want to change the subject of an online con- versation, start with a new message or thread.

● Don’t present opinions as facts; support facts with evidence. This guideline applies to all communication, of course, but online venues in particular seem to tempt people into presenting their beliefs and opinions as unassailable truths.

● Follow basic expectations of spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Sending careless, acronym-filled messages that look like you’re texting your high school bud- dies makes you look like an amateur.

● Use virus protection and keep it up to date. Sending or posting a file that contains a computer virus puts others at risk.

● Ask if this is a good time for an IM chat. Don’t assume that just because a person is showing as “available” on your IM system that he or she wants to chat at this moment.

● Watch your language and keep your emotions under control. A single indiscretion could haunt you forever.

● Avoid multitasking while using IM or other tools. You might think you’re saving time by doing a dozen things at once, but you’re probably making the other person wait while you bounce back and forth between IM and your other tasks.

● Never assume you have privacy. Assume that anything you type will be stored forever, could be forwarded to other people, and might be read by your boss or the company’s security staff.

● Don’t use “reply all” in email unless everyone can benefit from your reply. If one or more recipients of an email message don’t need the information in your reply, remove their addresses before you send.

● Don’t waste others’ time with sloppy, confusing, or incomplete messages. Doing so is disrespectful.

● Respect boundaries of time and virtual space. For instance, don’t start using an employee’s personal Facebook page for business messages unless you’ve discussed it beforehand, and don’t assume people are available to discuss work matters around the clock, even if you do find them online in the middle of the night.

● Be careful of online commenting mechanisms. For example, many blogs and websites now use your Facebook login to let you comment on articles. If your Facebook profile includes your job title and company name, those could show up along with your comment.

business etiquette using mobile deviCes

Like every other aspect of communication, your mobile de- vice habits say a lot about how much respect you have for the people around you. Selecting obnoxious ringtones, talking

When you represent your com- pany online, you must adhere to a high standard of etiquette and respect for others.

Follow these five tips for a more professional online presence. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Simple steps to improve social media etiquette

Respect personal and professional boundaries when using social net- working tools.

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loudly in open offices or public places, using your phone right next to someone else, making excessive or unnecessary personal calls during work hours, invading someone’s privacy by using your phone’s camera without permission, taking or making calls in restrooms and other inappropriate places, texting during a meal or while someone is talking to you, al- lowing incoming calls to interrupt meetings or discussions— these are all disrespectful choices that will reflect negatively

on you.57 In general, older employees, managers, and customers are less tolerant of mobile device use than are younger people, so don’t assume that your habits will be universally acceptable.58

Virtual assistants, such as the Siri voice recognition system in Apple iPhones, raise an- other new etiquette dilemma. From doing simple web searches to dictating entire memos, these systems may be convenient for users, but they can create distractions and annoyances for other people.59 As with other public behaviors, think about the effect you have on others before using these technologies.

Note that expectations and policies regarding mobile device use vary widely from company to company. At one extreme, venture capitalist Ben Horowitz fines his em- ployees if they even look at a mobile device while an entrepreneur is making a busi- ness plan pitch, because he considers it disrespectful to people making presentations.60 Not all bosses are quite so strict, but make sure you understand the situation in your workplace.

Your mobile phone habits send a signal about the degree of respect you have for those around you.

Virtual assistants and other mobile phone voice features can annoy and disrupt the workplace and social settings if not used with respect for others.

See the impact of mobile devices on our conversational habits. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Whatever happened to live conversation?

MOBILE APPS

Locale can “geofence” your smart- phone, automatically changing set- tings based on your location—such as putting it into silent mode when you arrive at the your office.

Chapter Review and Activities

Learning Objectives: Check Your Progress

Objective 1: List the advantages and disadvantages of work- ing  in teams, and describe the characteristics of effective teams. The advantages of successful teamwork include improved pro- ductivity, creativity, and employee involvement; increased infor- mation and knowledge; greater diversity of views; and increased acceptance of new solutions and ideas. The potential disadvan- tages of working in teams include groupthink (the tendency to let peer pressure overcome one’s better judgment), the pursuit of hidden agendas, and the cost (in money and time) of planning and conducting team activities. The most effective teams have a clear objective, a shared sense of purpose, full engagement from all team members, procedures for reaching decisions by consen- sus, the right mix of creative and technical talents for the tasks at hand, and the ability to communicate well.

Objective 2: Offer guidelines for collaborative communication, identify major collaboration technologies, and explain how to give constructive feedback. To succeed with collaborative writing, (1) select team members carefully to balance talents and viewpoints; (2) agree on project goals; (3) make sure team members have time to get to know one another; (4) make sure that everyone clearly understands indi- vidual responsibilities, processes, and tools; (5) generally, avoid writing as a group (assign the writing phase to one person, or assign separate sections to individual writers and have one person

edit them all); (6) make sure tools and techniques are compatible; and (7) check in with everyone periodically.

Some of the major collaboration technologies are review and commenting features in document preparation software, wikis, content management systems, groupware, and shared workspaces.

When you are asked to give feedback on someone’s writing, focus on how the writing can be improved. Avoid personal attacks and give the person clear and specific advice.

Objective 3: List the key steps needed to ensure productive team meetings, and identify the most common meeting technologies. Meetings are an essential business activity, but they can waste time and money if conducted poorly. Help your company make better use of meetings by preparing carefully, conducting meet- ings efficiently, and using meeting technologies wisely. Make sure your meetings are necessary, are carefully planned, include only the necessary participants, and follow clear agendas.

A variety of meeting technologies are available to help teams and other groups communicate more successfully. The primary advantage of these tools is the ability to conduct virtual meetings that don’t require everyone to be in the same place at the same time. The tools range from simple instant messaging sessions and teleconferences to videoconferencing and web-based meetings to specialized capabilities such as online brainstorming systems.

Objective 4: Describe the listening process, and explain how good listeners overcome barriers at each stage of the process. The listening process involves five steps: receiving, decoding, remembering, evaluating, and responding. At any stage, barriers

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Test Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 2-1. What are six characteristics of effective teams? [LO-1] 2-2. How does an agenda help make a meeting more success-

ful? [LO-3] 2-3. Why should you adapt your listening techniques for

various business situations? [LO-4] 2-4. What are the six main categories of nonverbal signals?

[LO-5] 2-5. How do your mobile phone habits demonstrate your

sensitivity to business etiquette? [LO-6]

Apply Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 2-6. You head up the interdepartmental design review team

for a manufacturer of high-performance motorcycles, and things are not going well at the moment. The de- sign engineers and marketing strategists keep arguing about which should be a higher priority, performance

MyBCommLab® Go to mybcommlab.com to complete the problems marked with this icon .

can disrupt the process, so good listeners practice active listening, avoid disrupting the speaker or other people, work hard to see past superficial differences and distractions, and take care not to let selective perception filter out important information.

Objective 5: Explain the importance of nonverbal com- munication, and identify six major categories of nonverbal expression. Nonverbal signals play a vital role in communication because they can strengthen a verbal message (when the nonverbal signals match the spoken words), weaken a verbal message (when nonverbal signals don’t match the words), or replace words en- tirely. The six major categories of nonverbal expression are facial expressions, gestures and posture, vocal characteristics, personal appearance, touch, and use of time and personal space.

Objective 6: Explain the importance of business etiquette, and identify four key areas in which good etiquette is essential. Etiquette is an essential business skill because the impression you make on others and your ability to help others feel comfortable will be major contributors to your career success. Poor etiquette can hinder team efforts, drain morale and productivity, drive away customers and investors, and limit your career potential. Four key areas that require good business etiquette are in the workplace, in social settings in which you represent your company, in online venues, and while using mobile devices.

or aesthetics, and the accountants say both groups are driving the cost of the new model through the roof by adding too many new features. Everyone has valid points to make, but the team is getting bogged down in conflict. Explain how you could go about resolving the stalemate. [LO-1]

2-7. Whenever your boss asks for feedback, she blasts anyone who offers criticism, so people tend to agree with every- thing she says. You want to talk to her about it, but what should you say? List some of the points you want to make when you discuss this issue with your boss. [LO-2]

2-8. Several members of your sales team are protesting the company’s “business casual” dress code, claiming that dressing nicely makes them feel awkward and overly for- mal in front of customers. You have to admit that most of the company’s customers dress like they’ve just walked in from a picnic or a bike ride, but that doesn’t change the fact that you want your company to be seen as conscien- tious and professional. How will you explain the policy to these employees in a way that will help them understand and accept it? [LO-6]

2-9. Your company provides several mobile productivity apps for employees so they can access the company network and collaborate while working from home, waiting for trains, and during other times when they are away from their desks. The apps work well, but lately you notice some of your employees using them during meetings and pre- sentations to work on projects not related to those events. You explained to several employees that this behavior can be considered rude to speakers and fellow team mem- bers, but your employees protested that they have moun- tains of work to do and meetings are sometimes a waste of time. Explain how to respond to this dilemma.

Practice Your Skills Activities

Each activity is labeled according to the primary skill or skills you will need to use. To review relevant chapter content, you can refer to the indicated Learning Objective. In some instances, support- ing information will be found in another chapter, as indicated. 2-10. Collaboration: Working in Teams [LO-1] In teams as-

signed by your instructor, prepare a 10-minute presenta- tion on the potential disadvantages of using social media for business communication. When the presentation is ready, discuss how effective the team was in using the criteria of (1) having a clear objective and a shared sense of purpose, (2) communicating openly and honestly, (3) reaching decisions by consensus, (4) thinking cre- atively, and (5) knowing how to resolve conflict. Be pre- pared to discuss your findings with the rest of the class.

2-11. Collaboration: Using Collaboration Technologies [LO-2] In a team assigned by your instructor, use Zoho (free for personal use) or a comparable system to col- laborate on a set of directions that out-of-town visitors could use to reach a specific point on your campus, such as a stadium or dorm. The team should choose the location and the mode(s) of transportation involved.

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Be creative—brainstorm the best ways to guide first-time visitors to the selected location using all the media at your disposal.

2-12. Collaboration: Collaborating on Writing Projects: Media Skills: Blogging [LO-2] In this project, you will conduct research on your own and then merge your results with those of the rest of your team. Search Twitter for messages on the subject of workplace safety. (You can use Twitter’s advanced search function or use the “site: twitter.com” qualifier on a regular search engine.)

Compile at least five general safety tips that apply to any office setting, and then meet with your team to select the five best tips from all those the team has collected. Collabo- rate on a blog post that lists the team’s top five tips.

2-13. Collaboration: Planning Meetings: Media Skills: Pre- sentations [LO-3] A project leader has made notes about covering the following items at the quarterly budget meeting. Prepare an agenda by putting these items into a logical order and rewriting them, where necessary, to give phrases a more consistent sound. Create a presentation slide (or a blog post, as your instructor indicates). • Budget Committee meeting to be held on December 12,

2015, at 9:30 a.m. • I will call the meeting to order. • Site director’s report: A closer look at cost overruns on

Greentree site. • The group will review and approve the minutes from

last quarter’s meeting. • I will ask the finance director to report on actual vs.

projected quarterly revenues and expenses. • I will distribute copies of the overall divisional budget

and announce the date of the next budget meeting. • Discussion: How can we do a better job of anticipat-

ing and preventing cost overruns? • Meeting will take place in Conference Room 3. • What additional budget issues must be considered

during this quarter? 2-14. Collaboration: Participating in Meetings [LO-3] With

a classmate, attend a local community or campus meet- ing where you can observe group discussion. Take notes individually during the meeting and then work together to answer the following questions. Submit your conclu- sions in an email message to your instructor.

a. What is your evaluation of this meeting? In your answer, consider (1) the leader’s ability to clearly state the meeting’s goals, (2) the leader’s ability to engage members in a meaningful discussion, and (3) the group’s listening skills.

b. How well did the individual participants listen? How could you tell?

c. Compare the notes you took during the meeting with those of your classmate. What differences do you notice? How do you account for these differences?

2-15. Collaboration: Leading Meetings [LO-3], Chapter 1 Every month, each employee in your department is ex- pected to give a brief oral presentation on the status of his or her ongoing projects. However, your department has recently hired an employee who has a severe speech

impediment that prevents people from understanding most of what he has to say. As assistant department man- ager, how will you resolve this dilemma? Explain your plan in an email message to your instructor.

2-16. Interpersonal Communication: Listening Actively [LO-4] For the next several days, take notes on your listening performance during at least a half-dozen situ- ations in class, during social activities, and at work, if applicable. Referring to the traits of effective listeners in Table 2.2, rate yourself using always, frequently, occasion- ally, or never on these positive listening habits. In a report no longer than one page, summarize your analysis and identify specific areas in which you can improve your lis- tening skills.

2-17. Interpersonal Communication: Listening to Empa- thize [LO-4] Think back over conversations you have had with friends, family members, co-workers, or class- mates in the past week. Select a conversation in which the other person wanted to talk about something that was troubling him or her—a bad situation at work, a scary exam on the horizon, difficulties with a professor, a health problem, financial concerns, or the like. As you replay this conversation in your mind, think about how well you did in terms of empathic listening (see page 44). For example, did you find yourself being critical when the person really just needed someone to listen? Did you let the person know, by your words or actions, that you cared about his or her dilemma, even if you were not able to help in any other way? Analyze your listening performance in a brief email to your instructor. Be sure not to disclose any private information; you can change the names of the people involved or the circumstances as needed to maintain privacy.

2-18. Nonverbal Communication: Analyzing Nonverbal Sig- nals [LO-5] Select a piece of business mail that you re- ceived at work or at home. Analyze its appearance. What nonverbal messages does this piece send? Are these mes- sages consistent with the content of the mailing? If not, what could the sender have done to make the nonverbal communication consistent with the verbal communica- tion? Summarize your findings in a post on your class blog or in an email message to your instructor.

2-19. Nonverbal Communication: Analyzing Nonverbal Signals [LO-5] Explain what the following gestures or postures could mean when they are exhibited by some- one during a conversation. How did you reach your conclusions about each nonverbal signal? How do such signals influence your interpretation of spoken words? Summarize your findings in a post on your class blog or in an email message to your instructor.

a. Shifting one’s body continuously while seated b. Twirling and playing with one’s hair c. Sitting in a sprawled position d. Rolling one’s eyes e. Extending a weak handshake

2-20. Communication Etiquette: Telephone Skills [LO-6] Late on a Friday afternoon, you learn that the facilities department is going to move you—and your computer, your desk, and all your files—to another office first thing

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Monday morning. However, you have an important cli- ent meeting scheduled in your office for Monday after- noon, and you need to finalize some contract details on Monday morning. You simply can’t lose access to your office at that point, and you’re more than a little annoyed that your boss didn’t ask you before approving the move. He has already left for the day, but you know he usually checks his voicemail over the weekend, so you decide to leave a voicemail message, asking him to cancel the move or at least call you at home as soon as possible. Plan your message (use an imaginary phone number as your con- tact number and make up any other details you need for the call). As directed by your instructor, submit either a written script of the message or a recording of the actual message.

2-21. Communication Etiquette: Etiquette in the Workplace [LO-6] As the regional manager of an international ac- counting firm, you place high priority on professional etiquette. Not only does it communicate respect to your clients, it also instills confidence in your firm by show- ing that you and your staff are aware of and able to meet the expectations of almost any audience. Earlier today, you took four recently hired college graduates to lunch with an important client. You’ve done this for years, and it’s usually an upbeat experience for everyone, but today’s lunch was a disaster. One of the new employees made not one, not two, but three calls on his mobile phone during lunch without leaving the table. Another interrupted the client several times and even got into a mild argument. The third employee kept making sarcastic jokes about politics, making everyone at the table uncomfortable. And the fourth showed up dressed like she was expecting to bale hay or work in a coal mine, not have a business lunch in a posh restaurant. You’ve already called the cli- ent to apologize, but now you need to coach these em- ployees on proper business etiquette. Draft a brief memo to these employees, explaining why etiquette is so impor- tant to the company’s success—and to their individual careers.

Expand Your Skills Critique the Professionals

Celebrities can learn from successful businesses when it comes to managing their careers, but businesses can learn from success- ful celebrities, too—particularly when it comes to building com- munities online using social media. For instance, social media guru Dan Schawbel cites Vin Diesel, Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz, and Michael Phelps as celebrities who have used Facebook to build their personal brands.61 Locate three celebri- ties (musicians, actors, authors, or athletes) who have sizable fan bases on Facebook and analyze how they use the social network. Using whatever medium your instructor requests, write a brief analysis (no more than one page) of the lessons, positive or nega- tive, that a business could learn from these celebrities. Be sure to cite specific elements from the Facebook pages you’ve chosen, and if you think any of the celebrities have made mistakes in their use of Facebook, describe those as well.

Sharpen Your Career Skills Online

Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Web Search, at http://websearch.businesscommunicationnetwork.com, is a unique research tool designed specifically for business commu- nication research. Use the Web Search function to find a website, video, PDF document, podcast, or presentation that explains at least one essential skill related to teamwork, collaborative writing, listening, nonverbal communication, or business etiquette. Write a brief email message to your instructor, describing the item you found and summarizing the career skills information you learned from it.

Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage You can download the text of this assignment from http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7; click on Student Assignments, and then click on Chapter 2. Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage. Level 1: Self-Assessment—Pronouns

Review Section 1.2 in the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage. Answers to these exercises appear on page 455.

For the following items, replace the underlined nouns with the correct pronouns. 2-22. To which retailer will you send your merchandise? 2-23. Have you given John and Nancy a list of parts? 2-24. The main office sent the invoice to Mr. and Mrs. Litvak

on December 5. 2-25. The company settled the company’s accounts before the

end of the year. 2-26. Which person’s umbrella is this? For the following items, identify which of the pronoun forms provided in parentheses is correct. 2-27. The sales staff is preparing guidelines for (their, its)

clients. 2-28. Few of the sales representatives turn in (their, its) reports

on time. 2-29. The board of directors has chosen (their, its) officers. 2-30. Gomez and Archer have told (his, their) clients about the

new program. 2-31. Each manager plans to expand (his, their, his or her)

sphere of control next year. 2-32. Has everyone supplied (his, their, his or her) Social

Security number? 2-33. After giving every employee (his, their, a) raise, George

told (them, they, all) about the increased workload. 2-34. Bob and Tim have opposite ideas about how to achieve

company goals. (Who, Whom) do you think will win the debate?

2-35. City Securities has just announced (who, whom) it will hire as CEO.

2-36. Either of the new products would readily find (their, its) niche in the marketplace.

Level 2: Workplace Applications

The following items may contain errors in grammar, capitaliza- tion, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division,

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and vocabulary. Rewrite each sentence, correcting all errors. If a sentence has no errors, write “Correct” for that number. 2-37. Anita Doig from Data Providers will outline their data

interpretations as it relates to industry trends, addition- ally Miss Doig will be asked to comment on how their data should be ulililized.

2-38. You’re order for 2000 mylar bags has been received by us; please be advised that orders of less than 5000 bags only get a 20 percent discount.

2-39. Just between you and I, the new ‘customer centric’ phi- losophy seems pretty confusing.

2-40. Podcasting can be an effective way to distribute messages to a widespread audience, but you need to pay close atten- tion to the demands of an audio medium.

2-41. Among the specialties of Product Marketers Interna- tional is promotional efforts for clients, including pres- ence on the Internet, radio, and on television.

2-42. An overview of a typical marketing plan will be covered in the introduction to this report, to give you an idea of what’s in it.

2-43. Subsidiary rights sales can be a discreet source of income and compliment your overall sales.

2-44. Special events ranging from author breakfasts and luncheons to awards programs and reception’s offers a great way to make industry contacts.

2-45. We will show you how not only to meet the challenges of information rich material but also the challenges of elec- tronic distance learning.

2-46. To site just one problem, the reason that the market is in such a state of confusion is the appalling lack of standards whether for hardware, software or for metadata.

2-47. Two leading business consultants Doug Smith and Carla McNeil will share their insights on how specialty

stores can effectively compete in a world of Corporate Superstores.

2-48. One of the big questions we need to address are “How does buying effect inventory levels”?

2-49. The closing of many industry digital entities have greatly affected the perception of e-books as a viable platform.

2-50. A competent, motivated, and enthusiastic staff can be a managers’ most important asset in a competitive marketplace.

2-51. Come by the Technology Lounge where you can log on to computers and plugin laptops and check out demos of sponsor’s websites.

Level 3: Document Critique

The following document may contain errors in grammar, capital- ization, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. As your instructor indicates, photocopy this page and correct all errors using standard proofreading marks (see Appendix C) or download the document and make the correc- tions in your word processing software.

Marketing Pro’s: Are You’re Messages Truthful and Non-Deceptive?!

In the United States, the FTC (federal Trade Commission) has the authority to impose penalty against advertisers whom violate Federal Standards for truthful advertising. The FTC considers a message to be deceptive, if they include statements that are likely to mislead reasonable customers and the statements are an important part of the purchasing decision. A failures to include important information are also considered deceptive. Also, the FTC also looks at so-called “implied claims,?” Claims you don’t explicitly make but that can be inferred from what you do or don’t say.

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com for Auto-graded writing questions as well as the following Assisted-graded writing questions:

2-52. What is the difference between constructive and destructive feedback? [LO-2] 2-53. Considering what you’ve learned about nonverbal communication, what are

some of the ways in which communication might break down during an online meeting in which the participants can see video images of only the person presenting at any given time—and then only his or her face? [LO-5]

Endnotes 1. Eliza Browning, “Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now,” Inc., 17 April 2012, www.inc.com. 2. James Manyika, Kara Sprague, and Lareina Yee, “Using Technology to Improve Workforce Collaboration,” What Matters (McKinsey & Company), 27 October 2009, http://whatmatters.mckinseydigital.com. 3. Courtland L. Bovée and John V. Thill, Business in Action, 6th ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2013), 173. 4. Aliza Sherman, “5 Reasons Why Virtual Teams Fail,” GigaOM, 20 April 2011, http://gigaom.com. 5. “Five Case Studies on Successful Teams,” HR Focus, April 2002, 18.

6. Stephen R. Robbins, Essentials of Organizational Behavior, 6th ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2000), 98. 7. Max Landsberg and Madeline Pfau, “Developing Diversity: Lessons from Top Teams,” Strategy + Business, Winter 2005, 10–12. 8. “Groups Best at Complex Problems,” Industrial Engineer, June 2006, 14. 9. Alex “Sandy” Pentland, “The New Science of Building Great Teams,” Harvard Business Review, April 2012, 60–70; Nicola A. Nel- son, “Leading Teams,” Defense AT&L, July–August 2006, 26–29; Larry Cole and Michael Cole, “Why Is the Teamwork Buzz Word Not Work- ing?” Communication World, February–March 1999, 29;

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Patricia Buhler, “Managing in the 90s: Creating Flexibility in Today’s Workplace,” Supervision, January 1997, 241; Allison W. Amason, Allen C. Hochwarter, Wayne A. Thompson, and Kenneth R. Harrison, “Conflict: An Important Dimension in Successful Management Teams,” Organizational Dynamics, Autumn 1995, 201. 10. Geoffrey Colvin, “Why Dream Teams Fail,” Fortune, 12 June 2006, 87–92. 11. Louise Rehling, “Improving Teamwork Through Awareness of Conversational Styles,” Business Communication Quarterly, December 2004, 475–482. 12. Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer, Virtuoso Teams: Lessons from Teams That Changed Their Worlds (Harrow, UK: FT Prentice Hall, 2005), 10. 13. Jon Hanke, “Presenting as a Team,” Presentations, January 1998, 74–82. 14. William P. Galle, Jr., Beverly H. Nelson, Donna W. Luse, and Maurice F. Villere, Business Communication: A Technology-Based Approach (Chicago: Irwin, 1996), 260. 15. Mary Beth Debs, “Recent Research on Collaborative Writing in Industry,” Technical Communication, November 1991, 476–484. 16. Rob Koplowitz, “Building a Collaboration Strategy,” KM World, November/December 2009, 14–15. 17. Eric Knorr and Galen Gruman, “What Cloud Computing Really Means,” InfoWorld, 3 May 2012, www.infoworld.com; Lamont Wood, “Cloud Computing Poised to Transform Communication,” LiveScience, 8 December 2009, www.livescience.com. 18. “How Blue Man Group Gets Creative with Its Social Intranet,” Socialtext website, accessed 1 May 2012, www.socialtext.com. 19. “Adobe Connect Mobile,” Adobe website, accessed 27 February 2014, www.adobe.com. 20. Parks Associates, “Mobile Collaborative Communications for Business,” white paper, accessed 27 February 2014, www .parksassociates.com. 21. Chuck Williams, Management, 2nd ed. (Cincinnati: Cengage South-Western, 2002), 706–707. 22. Ron Ashkenas, “Why We Secretly Love Meetings,” Harvard Business Review blogs, 5 October 2010, http://blogs.hbr.org. 23. Douglas Kimberly, “Ten Pitfalls of Pitiful Meetings,” Payroll Manager’s Report, January 2010, 1, 11; “Making the Most of Meetings,” Journal of Accountancy, March 2009, 22. 24. Janine Popick, “Business Meeting Etiquette: 8 Pet Peeves,” Inc., 9 April 2012, www.inc.com. 25. “Features Overview,” MeetingSense website, accessed 11 May 2013, www.meetingsense.com. 26. Roger O. Crockett, “The 21st Century Meeting,” BusinessWeek, 26 February 2007, 72–79. 27. Steve Lohr, “As Travel Costs Rise, More Meetings Go Virtual,” New York Times, 22 July 2008, www.nytimes.com. 28. GoToMeeting website, accessed 3 May 2012, www.gotogmeeting .com; “Unlock the Full Power of the Web Conferencing,” CEOworld .biz, 20 November 2007, www.ceoworld.biz. 29. Nick Morgan, “How to Conduct a Virtual Meeting,” Harvard Business Review blogs, 1 March 2011, http://blogs.hbr.org. 30. “17 Tips for More Productive Conference Calls,” AccuConference, accessed 30 January 2008, www.accuconference.com. 31. Judi Brownell, Listening, 2nd ed. (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2002), 9, 10. 32. Carmine Gallo, “Why Leadership Means Listening,” BusinessWeek, 31 January 2007, www.businessweek.com. 33. Augusta M. Simon, “Effective Listening: Barriers to Listening in a Diverse Business Environment,” Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication 54, no. 3 (September 1991): 73–74.

34. Robyn D. Clarke, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Black Enterprise, May 1998, 129. 35. Dennis M. Kratz and Abby Robinson Kratz, Effective Listening Skills (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995), 45–53; J. Michael Sproule, Communication Today (Glenview, Ill.: Scott Foresman, 1981), 69. 36. Brownell, Listening, 230–231. 37. Kratz and Kratz, Effective Listening Skills, 78–79; Sproule, Communication Today. 38. Tyner Blain, “Ten Supercharged Active Listening Skills to Make You More Successful,” Tyner Blain blog, 15 March 2007, http:// tynerblain.com/blog; Bill Brooks, “The Power of Active Listening,” American Salesman, June 2003, 12; “Active Listening,” Study Guides and Strategies, accessed 5 February 2005, www.studygs.net. 39. Bob Lamons, “Good Listeners Are Better Communicators,” Marketing News, 11 September 1995, 13+; Phillip Morgan and H. Kent Baker, “Building a Professional Image: Improving Listening Behavior,” Supervisory Management, November 1985, 35–36. 40. Clarke, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”; Dot Yandle, “Listening to Understand,” Pryor Report Management Newsletter Supplement 15, no. 8 (August 1998): 13. 41. Brownell, Listening, 14; Kratz and Kratz, Effective Listening Skills, 8–9; Sherwyn P. Morreale and Courtland L. Bovée, Excellence in Public Speaking (Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt Brace, 1998), 72–76; Lyman K. Steil, Larry L. Barker, and Kittie W. Watson, Effective Listening: Key to Your Success (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1983), 21–22. 42. Patrick J. Collins, Say It with Power and Confidence (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1997), 40–45. 43. Morreale and Bovée, Excellence in Public Speaking, 296. 44. Dale G. Leathers, Successful Nonverbal Communication: Principles and Applications (New York: Macmillan, 1986), 19. 45. Gerald H. Graham, Jeanne Unrue, and Paul Jennings, “The Impact of Nonverbal Communication in Organizations: A Survey of Perceptions,” Journal of Business Communication 28, no. 1 (Winter 1991): 45–62. 46. Bremer Communications website, accessed 28 January 2008, www .bremercommunications.com. 47. Danielle S. Urban, “What to Do About ‘Body Art’ at Work,” Workforce Management, March 2010, www.workforce.com. 48. Virginia P. Richmond and James C. McCroskey, Nonverbal Behav- ior in Interpersonal Relations (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2000), 153–157. 49. Joe Navarro, “Body Language Myths,” Psychology Today, 25 October 2009, www.psychologytoday.com; Richmond and McCroskey, Nonverbal Behavior in Interpersonal Relations, 2–3. 50. John Hollon, “No Tolerance for Jerks,” Workforce Management, 12 February 2007, 34. 51. Linton Weeks, “Please Read This Story, Thank You,” NPR, 14 March 2012, www.npr.org. 52. Alan Cole, “Telephone Etiquette at Work,” Work Etiquette website, 14 March 2012, www.worketiquette.co.uk; Alf Nucifora, “Voice Mail Demands Good Etiquette from Both Sides,” Puget Sound Business Journal, 5–11 September 2003, 24; Ruth Davidhizar and Ruth Shearer, “The Effective Voice Mail Message,” Hospital Material Management Quarterly, 45–49; “How to Get the Most Out of Voice Mail,” The CPA Journal, February 2000, 11; Jo Ind, “Hanging on the Telephone,” Birmingham Post, 28 July 1999, PS10; Larry Barker and Kittie Watson, Listen Up (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 64–65; Lin Walker, Telephone Techniques, (New York: Amacom, 1998), 46–47; Dorothy Neal, Telephone Techniques, 2nd ed. (New York: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 1998), 31; Jeannie Davis, Beyond “Hello” (Aurora, Col.: Now Hear This, Inc., 2000), 2–3; “Ten Steps to Caller-Friendly Voice Mail,” Managing Office Technology, January 1995, 25; Rhonda Finniss, “Voice Mail: Tips for a Positive Impression,” Administrative Assistant’s Update, August 2001, 5.

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53. Dana May Casperson, Power Etiquette: What You Don’t Know Can Kill Your Career (New York: AMACOM, 1999), 10–14; Ellyn Spragins, “Introducing Politeness,” Fortune Small Business, November 2001, 30. 54. Tanya Mohn, “The Social Graces as a Business Tool,” New York Times, 10 November 2002, sec. 3, 12. 55. Casperson, Power Etiquette, 44–46. 56. “Are You Practicing Proper Social Networking Etiquette?” Forbes, 9 October 2009, www.forbes.com; Pete Babb, “The Ten Command- ments of Blog and Wiki Etiquette,” InfoWorld, 28 May 2007, www .infoworld.com; Judith Kallos, “Instant Messaging Etiquette,” Net [email protected] blog, accessed 3 August 2008, www.netmanners.com; Michael S. Hyatt, “Email Etiquette 101,” From Where I Sit blog, 1 July 2007, www.michaelhyatt.com.

57. J. J. McCorvey, “How to Create a Cell Phone Policy,” Inc., 10 February 2010, www.inc.com; “Use Proper Cell Phone Etiquette at Work,” Kelly Services website, accessed 11 June 2010, www .kellyservices.us. 58. Chad Brooks, “Poor Mobile Manners Not Lost on Bosses,” Fox Business, 29 October 2013, http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com. 59. Nick Wingfield, “Oh, for the Good Old Days of Rude Cellphone Gabbers,” New York Times, 2 December 2011, www.nytimes.com. 60. Cromwell Schubarth, “VC Ben Horowitz on What He Wants in a Startup and Why Rap Genius Is It,” Silicon Valley Business Journal, 4 February 2014, www.bizjournals.com. 61. Dan Schawbel, “5 Lessons Celebrities Can Teach Us About Facebook Pages,” Mashable, 15 May 2009, http://mashable.com.

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CHAPTER 3 Planning Business Messages CHAPTER 4 Writing Business Messages CHAPTER 5 Completing Business

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Communication Matters . . . “This is the role that stories play—putting knowledge into a framework that is more lifelike, more true to our day-to-day existence.” —Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Why do some ideas catch on and others disappear? Why do smart ideas often go unnoticed while mediocre or even bad ideas become permanently stuck in people’s consciousness? Brothers Chip and Dan Heath devoted years to solving this puzzle and concluded that audiences are more likely to pay attention to and care about ideas that are simple, concrete, cred- ible, unexpected, and emotional, and they are more likely to act on ideas that are presented in a compelling story.1 Every busi- ness message can be improved by making it simple, concrete, and credible, and many can be improved through the careful use of surprise, emotion, and storytelling.

This chapter is the first of three that explore the three-step writing process, a time-tested method for creating more-effective messages in less time. The techniques you’ll learn in this chapter will help you plan and organize messages that will capture and keep your audience’s attention.

Describe the three-step writing process, and explain why it will help you create better messages in less time

Explain what it means to analyze the situation when planning a message

Describe the techniques for gathering information for simple messages, and identify three attributes of quality information

Identify the six basic combinations of media and channels, and highlight the unique challenges of communication on mobile devices

Explain why good organization is important to both you and your audience, and explain how to organize any business message

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

Planning Business Messages3

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Stanford University’s Chip Heath and Duke University’s Dan Heath have identi- fied the key factors that lead audiences to care about and act on the messages they receive.

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Understanding the Three-Step Writing Process No matter what kind of information you need to convey, your goal is to craft a message that is effective (it meets your audience’s needs and gets your points across) and efficient (it makes the best use of your time and your audience’s time). Following a clear and proven three-step process (see Figure 3.1) will help you meet both goals:

● Planning business messages. To plan any message, first analyze the situation by defin- ing your purpose and developing a profile of your audience. When you’re sure about what you need to accomplish with your message, gather information that will meet your audience’s needs. Next, select the right combination of media and channels for producing and delivering your message. Then organize the information by defining your main idea, limiting your scope, selecting the direct or indirect approach, and out- lining your content. Planning messages is the focus of this chapter.

● Writing business messages. After you’ve planned your message, adapt your approach to your audience with sensitivity, relationship skills, and style. Then you’re ready to compose your message by choosing strong words, creating effective sentences, and developing coherent paragraphs. Writing business messages is discussed in Chapter 4.

● Completing business messages. After writing your first draft, revise your message to make sure it is clear, concise, and correct. Next produce your message, giving it an at- tractive, professional appearance. Proofread the final product to ensure high quality and then distribute your message. Completing business messages is discussed in Chapter 5.

Throughout this book, you’ll see the three steps in this process applied to a wide vari- ety of business messages. The more you use the process, the easier and faster writing will become for you. You’ll also get better at allocating your time for each step. As a general rule, for anything beyond short and simple messages, set aside roughly 50 percent of your avail- able time for planning, 25 percent for writing, and 25 percent for completing. Using half

Figure 3.1 The Three-Step Writing Process This three-step process will help you create more effective messages in any medium. As you get more practice with the process, it will become easier and more automatic. Sources: Adapted from Kevin J. Harty and John Keenan, Writing for Business and Industry: Process and Product (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987), 3–4; Richard Hatch, Business Writing (Chicago: Science Research Associates, 1983), 88–89; Richard Hatch, Business Communication Theory and Technique (Chicago: Science Research Associates, 1983), 74–75; Center for Humanities, Writing as a Process: A Step-by-Step Guide (Mount Kisco, N.Y.: Center for Humanities, 1987); Michael L. Keene, Effective Professional Writing (New York: D. C. Heath, 1987), 28–34.

Analyze the Situation De�ne your purpose and develop an audience pro�le.

Gather Information Determine audience needs and obtain the information necessary to satisfy those needs.

Choose Medium and Channel Identify the best combination for the situation, message, and audience.

Organize the Information

De�ne your main idea, limit your scope, select a direct or an indirect approach, and outline your content.

Adapt to Your Audience Be sensitive to audience needs by using a “you” attitude, politeness, positive emphasis, and unbiased language. Build a strong relationship with your audience by establishing your credibility and projecting your company’s preferred image. Control your style with a conversational tone, plain English, and appropriate voice.

Compose the Message Choose strong words that will help you create e�ective sentences and coherent paragraphs.

Revise the Message Evaluate content and review readability, edit and rewrite for conciseness and clarity.

Produce the Message Use e�ective design elements and suitable layout for a clean, professional appearance.

Proofread the Message Review for errors in layout, spelling, and mechanics.

Distribute the Message Deliver your message using the chosen medium; make sure all documents and all relevant �les are distributed successfully.

Plan Write Complete1 2 3

The three-step writing process consists of planning, writing, and completing your messages.

As a starting point, allot roughly half your available time for plan- ning, one quarter for writing, and one quarter for completing a message.

MOBILE APPS

The note-taking apps Evernote and Notebook help you collect, organize, and retrieve the information for planning writing projects.

1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the three-step writing process, and explain why it will help you create better messages in less time.

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your time for planning might seem excessive, but careful planning—particularly for lengthy or difficult writing projects—can save you lots of time and trouble in the long run and lead to better results.

Analyzing the Situation Every communication effort takes place in a particular situation, meaning you have a spe- cific message to send to a specific audience under a specific set of circumstances. Analyzing the situation gives you the insights necessary to meet your own needs as a communicator while also meeting the information needs of your recipients.

Defining Your PurPose

A successful message starts with a clear purpose that connects the sender’s needs with the audience’s needs. All business messages have a general purpose: to inform, to persuade, to collaborate, or to initiate a conversation. This purpose helps define the overall approach you’ll need to take, from gathering information to organizing your message. Within the scope of that general purpose, each message also has a specific purpose, which identifies what you hope to accomplish with your message. The more precisely you can define your specific purpose, the better you’ll be able to fine-tune your message to achieve your desired outcome. For example, “get approval to hire three programmers by June 1 in order to meet our November 15 deadline” is more helpful as a planning device than “get approval to hire more staff.”

After you have defined your specific purpose, make sure it merits the time and effort required for you to prepare and send the message. Ask these four questions:

● Will anything change as a result of your message? Make sure you don’t contribute to information overload by sending messages that won’t change anything. Complaining about things you have no influence over is a good example of a message that probably shouldn’t be sent.

● Is your purpose realistic? Recognizing whether a goal is realistic is an important part of having good business sense. For example, if you request a raise while the company is struggling, you might send the message that you’re not tuned into the situation around you.

● Is the time right? People who are busy or distracted when they receive your message are less likely to pay attention to it.

● Is your purpose acceptable to your organization? Your company’s business objectives and policies, and even laws that apply to your industry, may dictate whether a given purpose is acceptable.

When you are satisfied that you have a clear and meaningful purpose and that now is a smart time to proceed, your next step is to understand the members of your audience and their needs.

DeveloPing an auDienCe Profile

Before audience members will take the time to read or listen to your messages, they have to be interested in what you’re saying. They need to know the message is relevant to their needs—even if they don’t necessarily want to read or see your message. The more you know about your audience members, their needs, and their expectations, the more effectively you’ll be able to communicate with them. The planning sheet in Figure 3.2 provides an ex- ample of the kind of information you need to compile in an audience analysis. Conducting an audience analysis involves the following steps:

● Identify your primary audience. For some messages, certain audience members might be more important than others. Don’t ignore the needs of less influential members, but make sure you address the concerns of the key decision makers.

Business messages have both a general purpose and a specific purpose.

After defining your purpose, verify that the message will be worth the time and effort required to create, send, and receive it.

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain what it means to analyze the situation when planning a message.

Ask yourself some key questions about your audience: ● Who are they? ● How many people do you need

to reach? ● How much do they already

know about the subject? ● What is their probable reaction

to your message?

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Figure 3.2 Using Audience Analysis to Plan a Message For simple, routine messages, you usually don’t need to analyze your audience in depth. However, for complex messages or messages for indifferent or hostile audiences, take the time to study their information needs and potential reactions to your message. Source: Microsoft Word 2013, Microsoft Corporation.

● Determine audience size and geographic distribution. A message aimed at 10,000 people spread around the globe will likely require a different approach than one aimed at a dozen people down the hall.

● Determine audience composition. Look for similarities and differences in culture, language, age, education, organizational rank and status, attitudes, experience, motiva- tions, biases, beliefs, and any other factors that might affect the success of your message (see Figure 3.3).

● Gauge audience members’ level of understanding. If audience members share your general background, they’ll probably understand your material without difficulty. If not, your message may need an element of education.

● Understand audience expectations and preferences. For example, will members of your audience expect complete details or just a summary of the main points? In general, for internal communication, the higher up the organization your message goes, the fewer details people want to see.

● Forecast probable audience reaction. As you’ll read later in this chapter, the way you organize a message should depend on the reaction you expect to get from your audi- ence. If you expect a favorable response, you can state conclusions and recommen- dations up front and offer minimal supporting evidence. If you expect skepticism or resistance, you can introduce conclusions gradually and with more proof.

Gathering Information When you have a clear picture of your audience, your next step is to assemble the informa- tion you will include in your message. For simple messages, you may already have all the information at hand, but for more complex messages, you may need to do considerable research and analysis before you’re ready to begin writing. Chapter 10 explores formal tech- niques for finding, evaluating, and processing information, but you can often use a variety of informal techniques to gather insights and guide your research efforts:

● Consider the audience’s perspective. Put yourself in the audience’s position. What are these people thinking, feeling, or planning? What information do they need in order

If audience members have different levels of understanding of the topic, aim your message at the most influential decision makers.

A gradual approach and solid evidence are required to win over a skeptical audience.

3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the techniques for gathering information for simple messages, and identify three attributes of quality information.

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to move forward? If you are initiating a conversation in a social media context, what information will stimulate discussion in your target communities?

● Listen to the community. For almost any subject related to business these days, chances are there is a community of customers, product enthusiasts, or other people linked through social media who engage in online discussions. Find them and listen to what they have to say.

● Read reports and other company documents. Annual reports, financial statements, news releases, blogs and microblogs by industry experts, marketing reports, and cus- tomer surveys are just a few of the many potential sources. Find out whether your company has a knowledge-management system, a centralized database that collects the experiences and insights of employees throughout the organization.

● Talk with supervisors, colleagues, or customers. Fellow workers and customers may have information you need, or they may have good insights into the needs of your tar- get audience.

● Ask your audience for input. If you’re unsure what audience members need from your message, ask them if at all possible. Admitting you don’t know but want to meet their needs will impress an audience more than guessing and getting it wrong.

unCovering auDienCe neeDs

In many situations, your audience’s information needs are readily apparent, such as when a consumer sends an email asking a specific question. In other situations, audience members might be unable to articulate exactly what they want, or you won’t have the opportunity to communicate with them before you need to create a message.

In some cases, you may need to do some detective work to find out what information is needed. If you’re asked to sug- gest steps a company can take to improve employee morale,

Figure 3.3 Predicting the Effects of Audience Composition As just one example of why it’s important to analyze the composition of your audience, the attitudes and beliefs of individual audience members can have a significant impact on the success of a message. In this scenario, for instance, a seemingly positive message about employee benefits can generate a wide range of responses from employees with different beliefs and concerns.

If a project doesn’t require formal research techniques, or you need answers in a hurry, you can use a variety of informal techniques to gather the information your audi- ence needs.

This in-depth audience analysis tool can help you analyze audiences for even the most complex communication scenarios. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

real-tiMe uPDates

LEARN MORE By REAdING THIS PdF

Dig deep into audience needs with this planning tool

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for example, you’ll need to investigate the underlying reasons for low morale. By including this information in your report—even though it wasn’t specifically requested—you demon- strate to your audience that you’ve thoroughly investigated the problem.

ProviDing requireD inforMation

After you have defined your audience’s information needs, your next step is to satisfy those needs completely. In addition to delivering the right quantity of information, you are responsible for verifying the quality of that information. Ask yourself these three questions:

● Is the information accurate? Inaccuracies can cause a host of problems, from embar- rassment and lost productivity to serious safety and legal issues. Be sure to review any mathematical or financial calculations. Check all dates and schedules. Examine your own assumptions and conclusions to be certain they are valid.

● Is the information ethical? By working hard to ensure the accuracy of the informa- tion you gather, you’ll also avoid many ethical problems in your messages. However, messages can also be unethical if important information is omitted or obscured.

● Is the information pertinent? Some points will be more important to your audience than others. By focusing on the information that concerns your audience the most, you increase your chances of sending an effective message.

Selecting the Best Combination of Media and Channels With the necessary information in hand, your next decision involves the best combination of media and channels to reach your target audience. As you recall from Chapter 1, the medium is the form a message takes and the channel is the system used to deliver the message. The distinc- tion between the two isn’t always crystal clear, and some people use the terms differently, but these definitions are a good way to think about the possibilities for business communication.

Most media can be distributed through more than one channel, so whenever you have a choice, think through your options to select the optimum combination. For example, a brief written message could be distributed as a printed letter or memo, or it could be dis- tributed through a variety of digital channels, from email to blogging to social networking.

the Most CoMMon MeDia anD Channel oPtions

The simplest way to categorize media choices is to divide them into oral (spoken), written, and visual. Each of these media can be delivered through digital and nondigital channels, which creates six basic combinations that are discussed in the following sections. Table 3.1 summarizes the general advantages and disadvantages of the six medium/channel combi- nations. Specific options within these categories have their own strengths and weaknesses to consider as well. (For simplicity’s sake, subsequent chapters occasionally use “digital media” to indicate any of the three media types delivered through digital channels.)

Oral Medium, In-Person Channel

The oral medium, in-person combo involves talking with people who are in the same location, whether it’s a one-on-one conversation over lunch or a more formal speech or presentation. Being in the same physical space is a key distinction because it enables the nuances of nonver- bal communication more than any other media/channel combo. As Chapter 2 points out, these nonverbal signals can carry as much weight in the conversation as the words being spoken.

By giving people the ability to see, hear, and react to each other, in-person communica- tion is useful for encouraging people to ask questions, make comments, and work together to reach a consensus or decision. Face-to-face interaction is particularly helpful in complex, emotionally charged situations in which establishing or fostering a business relationship is important.2 Managers who engage in frequent “walk-arounds,” chatting with employees face- to-face, can get input, answer questions, and interpret important business events and trends.3

You have a responsibility to make sure the information you provide is accurate, ethical, and pertinent.

4 LEARNING OBJECTIVEIdentify the six basic combina- tions of media and channels, and highlight the unique challenges of communication on mobile devices.

Audience members might not be able to describe all the information they need, or you might not have the opportunity to ask them, so you may need to engage in some detective work.

Media can be divided into oral, written, and visual forms, and all three can be distributed through digital and nondigital channels.

The nonverbal and interactive aspects of in-person communi- cation are difficult to replicate in most other media/channel combinations.

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Oral Medium, Digital Channel

Oral media via digital channels include any transmission of voice via electronic means, both live and recorded. Examples include telephone calls, podcasts, and voice mail messages. Live phone conversations offer the give-and-take of in-person conversations and can be the best alternative to talking in person. However, without a video component, they can’t provide the nuances of nonverbal communication. Podcasts can be a good way to share lec- tures, commentary, and other spoken content. You can read about podcasting in Chapter 6.

TABLE 3.1 Medium/Channel Combinations: advantages and Disadvantages

Medium/Channel Advantages Disadvantages

Oral, in-person ● Provide opportunity for immediate feedback ● Easily resolve misunderstandings and negotiate

meanings ● Involve rich nonverbal cues (both physical gesture

and vocal inflection) ● Allow you to express the emotion behind your

message

● Restrict participation to those physically present ● Unless recorded, provide no permanent, verifiable record

of the communication ● Reduces communicator’s control over the message

Oral, digital ● Can provide opportunity for immediate feedback (live phone or online conversations)

● Not restricted to participants in the same location ● Allow time-shifted consumption (e.g., podcasts)

● Lack nonverbal cues other than voice inflections ● Can be tedious to listen to if not audience-focused

(recorded messages)

Written, printed ● Allow writers to plan and control their messages ● Can reach geographically dispersed audiences ● Offer a permanent, verifiable record ● Minimize the distortion that can accompany oral

messages ● Can be used to avoid immediate interactions ● Deemphasize any inappropriate emotional

components ● Give recipients time to process messages before

responding (compared to oral communication)

● Offer limited opportunities for timely feedback ● Lack the rich nonverbal cues provided by oral media ● Often take more time and more resources to create

and distribute ● Can require special skills in preparation and production

if document is elaborate

Written, digital ● Generally, all the advantages of written printed documents plus:

● Fast delivery ● Can reach geographically dispersed audiences ● Flexibility of multiple formats and channels, from

microblogs to wikis ● Flexibility to structure messages in creative ways,

such as writing a headline on Twitter and linking to the full message on a blog

● Ability to link to related and more in-depth information ● Can increase accessibility and openness in an

organization through broader sharing ● Enable audience interaction through social media

features. Ease of integrating with other media types, such as embedded videos or photos

● Can be limited in terms of reach and capability (e.g., on Twitter you can reach only those people who follow you or search for you)

● Require Internet or mobile phone connectivity ● Vulnerable to security and privacy problems ● Are easy to overuse (sending too many messages

to too many recipients) ● Create privacy risks and concerns (exposing confidential

data; employer monitoring; accidental forwarding) ● Entail security risks (viruses, spyware; network breaches) ● Create productivity concerns (frequent interruptions;

nonbusiness usage)

Visual, printed ● Can convey complex ideas and relationships quickly ● Often less intimidating than long blocks of text ● Can reduce the burden on the audience to figure

out how the pieces of a message or concept fit ● Can be easy to create in spreadsheets and other

software (simple charts and graphs), then integrated with reports

● Can require artistic skills to design ● Require some technical skills to create ● Can require more time to create than equivalent amount

of text ● Can be expensive to print

Visual, digital ● Generally, all the advantages of visual printed documents and all the advantages of written digital formats plus:

● Can personalize and enhance the experience for audience members

● Offer the persuasive power of multimedia formats, particularly video

● Potential time, cost, and skills needed to create ● Can require large amounts of bandwidth

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Written Medium, Print Channel

Written, printed documents are the classic format of business communication. Memos are brief printed documents traditionally used for the routine, day-to-day exchange of information within an organization. Letters are brief written messages sent to customers and other recipi- ents outside the organization. Reports and proposals are usually longer than memos and letters, although both can be created in memo or letter format. These documents come in a variety of lengths, ranging from a few pages to several hundred, and are usually fairly formal in tone.

While still a useful format, printed documents have been replaced by digital alterna- tives in many instances. However, here are several situations in which you should consider a printed message over electronic alternatives:

● When you want to make a formal impression ● When you are legally required to provide information in printed form ● When you want to stand out from the flood of electronic messages ● When you need a permanent, unchangeable, or secure record

Obviously, if you can’t reach a particular audience electronically, you’ll need to use a printed message. Appendix A offers guidelines on formatting printed memos and letters.

Written Medium, Digital Channel

Most of your business communication efforts will involve written digital messages, with everything from 140-character tweets to website content to book-length reports distributed as portable document format (PDF) files (see Figure 3.4). Business uses of written, digital messages keeps evolving as companies look for ways to communicate more effectively. For example, email has been a primary business medium for the past decade or two, but it is being replaced in many cases by a variety of other digital formats.4 Chapter 6 takes a closer look at email, IM, blogs, and social networks; Chapter 11 discusses wikis in more detail.

Visual Medium, Print Channel

Photographs and diagrams can be effective communication tools for conveying emotional content, spatial relationships, technical processes, and other content that can be difficult to describe using words alone. You may occasionally create visual, printed messages as stand- alone items, but most will be used as supporting material in printed documents.

Digital media/channel formats have replaced printed documents in many instances, but print is still the best choice for some messages and situations.

Most of your business communi- cation efforts will involve the com- bination of written medium and digital channel.

Figure 3.4 Media and Channel Choices: Written + Digital The online video game magazine GamesRadar uses Twitter as a platform for announcing new articles. These tweets are written as teasers (see page 132) to entice readers to click through to full articles on the GamesRadar website. Source: Screenshot of Games Radar Twitter account, Author: Future US, Inc.

“The most intriguing . . .” is a good teaser phrase designed to capture the attention of curious readers.

The cheeky phrase “oh so moe” teases readers to find out why this game offers more than one might think at first glance.

Offering lists of favorites (or best or worst) is a good way to entice readers to see if they agree.

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Visual Medium, Digital Channel

Business messages can really come alive when conveyed by visual media in digital chan- nels. Infographics, interactive diagrams, animation, and digital video have the potential to engage audiences in ways that other formats can’t, which is why the use of visual elements in business communication continues to grow.

Traditional business messages rely primarily on text, with occasional support from graphics such as charts, graphs, or diagrams to help illustrate points discussed in the text. However, many business communicators are discovering the power of messages in which the visual element is dominant and supported by small amounts of text. For the purposes of this discussion, you can think of visual media as formats in which one or more visual elements play a central role in conveying the message content.

Messages that combine powerful visuals with supporting text can be effective for a number of reasons. Today’s audiences are pressed for time and bombarded with messages, so anything that communicates quickly is welcome. Visuals are also effective at describing complex ideas and processes because they can reduce the work required for an audience to identify the parts and relationships that make up the whole. Also, in a multilingual business world, diagrams, symbols, and other images can lower communication barriers by requir- ing less language processing. Finally, visual images can be easier to remember than purely textual descriptions or explanations.

The Unique Challenges of Communication on Mobile Devices

Mobile devices can be used to create and consume virtually every digital form of oral, writ- ten, and visual media. Thanks to the combination of portability and the flexibility enabled by a wide array of business-focused apps, mobile devices have become a primary tool in business communication. In addition to the factors discussed on pages 11–15 in Chapter 1, consider these issues whenever your messages are likely to be viewed on mobile devices:

● Screen size and resolution. The screen resolution of phones and tablets has improved considerably in recent years, but the limited size of these screens still presents a chal- lenge simply because many messages are significantly larger than the screens they will be viewed on. The result is a dilemma that pits clarity again context. Readers can zoom in to make text readable and visuals understandable, but particularly on phone screens, the inability to see an entire document page or visual at once can limit a reader’s ability to grasp its full meaning. This can be particularly troublesome if you are collaborating on writing or presentation projects and team members need to review documents or slides.

● Input technologies. Even for accomplished texters, typing on mobile keyboards can be a challenge. Voice recognition is one way around the keyboard limitation, but anyone using it in public areas or shared offices runs the risk of sharing private message content and annoying anyone within earshot. In addition, even with a stylus, selecting items on a touchscreen can be more difficult than doing so on a PC screen using a mouse. If your website content or other messages and materials require a significant amount of input activity from recipients, try to make it as easy as possible for them. Even simple steps such as increasing the size of buttons and text-entry fields can help.

● Bandwidth, speed, and connectivity limitations. The speed and quality of mobile con- nectivity varies widely by device, carrier, service plan, and geographic location. Even users with higher bandwidth service don’t always enjoy the advertised transfer speeds they are paying for. Moreover, mobile users can lose connectivity while traveling, passing through network “dead spots,” or during peak-demand hours or events (trade shows and conventions are notorious for this). Don’t assume that your mobile recipients will be able to satisfactorily consume the content that you might be creating on a fast, reliable, in-office network.

● Data usage and operational costs. As the amount of video traffic in particular in- creases (video requires much higher bandwidth than text or audio), data consumption is becoming a key concern for mobile carriers and customers alike. Many mobile users do not have unlimited data-usage plans and have to manage their data consumption carefully to avoid excess fees. Some carriers offer unlimited data plans, but even those can come with restrictions such as bandwidth throttling that reduces the speed of a user’s connection.5 Given these factors, be careful about expecting or requiring mobile users to consume a lot of video or other data-intensive content.

The combination of the visual medium and a digital channel can be the most compelling and en- gaging choice for many messages, although it is not always the easiest or cheapest format.

The mobile digital channel has become significant in business communication of all types, but it presents some challenges that must be considered.

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Business Communicators Innovating with Mobile

Training

In the face of changing markets, government regulations, and other forces in the business environment, developing and maintaining employee skill sets is an ongoing chal- lenge for most companies. The challenge is made even more difficult when employees are constantly on the move or geographically dispersed. With training materials developed specifically for mobile devices, companies can deliver training content when and where it helps employ- ees the most.6

68

As the third major revolution in business communication in the past two decades (after the World Wide Web and social media), mobile communication has the potential to change nearly every aspect of business communication. Here is a small sample of the ways companies are putting mobile to work.

Property: 2330 James St.

On-site manager: Cecilia Da Gama

Issue: Protest filed by neighboring property owner

Notes: Last week, the owners of 2332 James St. filed a protest with the city zoning office about the height of our building. They claim we violated our permit by including roof terrace space.

Action: I notified in-house counsel and requested a review of the protest and an analysis of our options. We are obligated to build out 200k square feet.

Incident Tracker

New incident Unresolved

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Distributed Decision Making

A complementary aspect to managing remote workers via mobile apps is giving employees the authority to make decisions in the field, rather than relying on managers back in the office. In the oil and gas industry, for instance, specialized mobile apps include tools for data visualization, collaboration, and data collection to help on-site employees and supervisors communicate and coordinate their efforts. This capability can be particularly vital after accidents or other crisis events, because it lets employees who are on the scene choose the best course of action without delay.7

Mobile Glossary

In addition to terms defined elsewhere in the book, here are some helpful mobile terms.

3G, 4G, and 5G Successive generations of mobile phone technology, although the generational boundaries are loosely defined and each generation includes a number of competing technologies; roughly speaking, we’re in a transition from 3G to 4G now, and 5G (whatever it ends up being) won’t arrive for at least several more years.

Android and iOS The two major operating systems/platforms for mobile devices. Android devices are made by a wide variety of manufacturers, but iOS devices are made only by Apple.

Bandwidth A measure of the data-carrying capacity of a mobile, Wi-Fi, or other network connection; streaming video and other demanding applications require a broadband connection, but there’s no general agreement on exactly what constitutes broadband.

Cellular Versus Mobile Two terms for the same concept; cellular (derived from the way phone networks are configured) is used mainly in the United States, whereas mobile is used more generally around the world and is also more descriptive, so that’s the term used in this book.

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Project Management

Work teams are often dispersed over wide geographic ranges and frequently on the move, so mobile commu- nication is an essential element of contemporary project management. Instant access to task status and other vital information helps project managers stay on top of rapidly moving projects and helps team members com- municate efficiently.

69

Projects Progress

Project: Gigabit High-Powered Router

View: Critical Path Tasks

Sort order: Highest-Impact First

1. Task: Debug beamforming feature Behind schedule: 2 wks Reason: No performance difference at mid distances; root cause still unknown Owner: Janet Li

2. Task: 802.11ac certi�cation test Behind schedule: 1 wk Reason: Family emergency and short staf�ng delayed application submission Owner: Todd Thurber

3. Task: Mobile network app Behind schedule: 1 wk Reason: Delays in debugging

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Remote Workforce Management

Dispersed workforces also present a variety of supervision and manage- ment difficulties. Mobile workforce management apps can solve many of these, from basic functions such as ensuring that workers show up on time at remote job sites to reschedul- ing customer appointments on the fly to collecting information to share with technical support staff. Sales managers can give just-in-time coaching and encouragement to representatives who are about to call on potential customers. Some systems can even embed information on best practices from experienced workers and deliver virtual coaching to less-experienced workers in the field.8

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How do you deal with difficult team members?

Recording

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Recruiting

With a target population that is often on the move, companies are responding by integrating mobile into their recruiting processes. These efforts include mobile-friendly job postings, mobile application and recruit- ing apps, and interviewing systems that let candidates and recruiters connect using their mobile devices.9

Context Awareness A mobile device’s ability to modify its operation based on knowledge of where it is; silencing the ringer when you arrive at your office is a simple example.

Geofencing Using the location-sensing capabilities of mobile devices to remotely monitor and control the device and its user; delivery companies, for example, can monitor where their drivers are and make sure they stay within designated areas.

Over-the-Top (OTT) Application A digital service that bypasses a traditional distribution network to provide similar capability, often by using cloud capabilities; an

example is WhatsApp using Internet connections to create services traditionally provided by mobile phone carriers.10

Phablet A rather ungainly name for mobile devices that are larger than phones but smaller than tablets.

Quick Response (QR) Codes and Near-Field Communication (NFC) Two ways for a mobile device to access additional information; QR codes are square, phone-scannable barcodes that connect the phone to a website; NFC is a short-distance radio technology that enables a data link between a phone and tags that can be attached to products or other locations.

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faCtors to ConsiDer When Choosing MeDia anD Channels

You don’t always have the option of choosing which medium or channel to use for a partic- ular message. For example, many companies have internal instant messaging (IM) or social networking systems that you are expected to use for certain types of communication, such as project updates. However, when you do have a choice, consider these factors:

● Richness. Richness is a medium’s ability to (1) convey a message through more than one informational cue (visual, verbal, vocal), (2) facilitate feedback, and (3) establish personal focus. The richest medium is face-to-face communication; it’s personal, it provides immediate feedback (verbal and nonverbal), and it conveys the emotion be- hind a message.11 At the other extreme are the leanest media, such as texting and IM— those that communicate in the simplest ways, provide no opportunity for audience feedback, and aren’t personalized. In general, use richer media to send nonroutine or complex messages, to humanize your presence throughout the organization, to com- municate caring to employees, and to gain employee commitment to company goals. Use leaner media to send routine messages or to transfer information that doesn’t require significant explanation.12

● Formality. Your media choice is a nonverbal signal that affects the style and tone of your message. For example, a printed memo or letter is likely to be perceived as a more formal gesture than an IM or email message.

● Media and channel limitations. Every medium and channel has limitations. For instance, IM is perfect for communicating simple, straightforward messages between two people, but it is less effective for complex messages or conversations that involve three or more people.

● Urgency. Some media establish a connection with the audience faster than others, so choose wisely if your message is urgent. However, be sure to respect audience members’ time and workloads. If a message isn’t urgent and doesn’t require immediate feedback, choose a medium such as email or blogging that allows people to respond at their convenience.

● Cost. Cost is both a real financial factor and a perceived nonverbal signal. For example, depending on the context, extravagant (and expensive) video or multimedia presenta- tions can send a nonverbal signal of sophistication and professionalism—or careless disregard for company budgets.

● Audience preferences. If you know that your audience prefers a particular media and channel combination, use that format if it works well for the message and the situation. Otherwise you risk annoying the audience or having your message missed or ignored.

● Security and privacy. Your company may have restrictions on the media and channels that can be used for certain types of messages, but even if it doesn’t, think carefully whenever your messages include sensitive information. Never assume that your email, IM, and other digital communications are private. Many companies monitor these channels, and there is always the risk that networks could get hacked or that messages will be forwarded beyond their original recipients.

Organizing Your Message The ability to organize messages effectively is a skill that helps readers and writers alike. Good organization helps your readers in at least three ways:

● It helps your audience understand your message. By making your main idea clear and supporting it with logically presented evidence, you help audiences grasp the essential elements of your message.

● It helps your audience accept your message. Careful organization also helps you se- lect and arrange your points in a diplomatic way that can soften the blow of unwelcome news or persuade skeptical readers to see your point of view. In contrast, a poorly orga- nized message can trigger negative emotions that prevent people from seeing the value of what you have to say.

Media vary widely in terms of richness, which encompasses the number of information cues, feedback mechanisms, and opportunities for personalization.

Many types of media offer instan- taneous delivery, but take care not to interrupt people unnecessarily (with IM or phone calls, for example) if you don’t need an immediate answer.

Remember that media choices can also send a nonverbal signal regarding costs; make sure your choices are financially appropriate.

When choosing media, don’t for- get to consider your audience’s preferences.

Good organization benefits your audiences by helping them under- stand and accept your message in less time.

5 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain why good organization is important to both you and your audience, and explain how to organize any business message.

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● It saves your audience time. Good organization saves readers time because they don’t have to wade through irrelevant information, seek out other sources to fill in missing information, or struggle to follow your train of thought.

In addition to saving time and energy for your readers, good organization saves you time and consumes less of your creative energy. Having a good organizational plan before you start writing helps the words flow because you can focus on how you want to say something, rather than struggling with what you want to say next. (In fact, whenever you struggle with “writer’s block,” step back and think about the organization of your message. Chances are what you’re really facing is a thinking block, not a writing block.) A clear plan also helps you avoid composing material you don’t need, and it minimizes the time you have to spend revising your first draft.

Good organizational skills are also good for your career. When you develop a repu- tation as a clear thinker who cares about your readers and listeners, people will be more inclined to pay attention to what you have to say.

That said, what exactly is good organization? You can think of it as structuring mes- sages in a way that helps recipients get all the information they need while requiring the least amount of time and energy for everyone involved. Good organization starts with a clear definition of your main idea.

Defining Your Main iDea

The topic of your message is the overall subject, and your main idea is a specific statement about that topic. For example, if you believe that the current system of using paper forms for filing employee insurance claims is expensive and slow, you might craft a message in which the topic is employee insurance claims and the main idea is that a new web-based claim-filing system would reduce costs for the company and reduce reimbursement delays for employees.

In longer documents and presentations, you may need to unify a mass of material with a main idea that encompasses all the individual points you want to make. Sometimes you won’t even be sure what your main idea is until you sort through the information. For tough assignments like these, consider a variety of techniques to generate creative ideas:

● Brainstorming. Working alone or with others, generate as many ideas and questions as you can, without stopping to criticize or organize. After you capture all these pieces, look for patterns and connections to help identify the main idea and the groups of sup- porting ideas.

● Journalistic approach. The journalistic approach asks who, what, when, where, why, and how questions to distill major thoughts from unorganized information.

● Question-and-answer chain. Start with a key question the audience is likely to have, and work back toward your message. In most cases, you’ll find that each answer gener- ates new questions, until you identify the information that needs to be in your message.

● Storyteller’s tour. Some writers find it helpful to talk through a communication chal- lenge before trying to write. Record yourself as you describe what you intend to write. Then listen to the playback, identify ways to tighten and clarify the message, and repeat the process until you distill the main idea down to a single, concise message.

● Mind mapping. You can generate and organize ideas by using a graphic method called mind mapping. Start with a main idea and then branch out to connect every other re- lated idea that comes to mind. You can find a number of mind-mapping tools online.

liMiting Your sCoPe

The scope of your message is the range of information you present, the overall length, and the level of detail—all of which need to correspond to your main idea. The length of some business messages has a preset limit, whether from a boss’s instructions, the technology

Surveys indicate many people are in a creative rut. Finding ways to unleash your creativity as a communicator and business professional in general could boost your career. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Are you living up to your creative potential?

Good organization helps you by reducing the time and creative energy needed to create effective messages.

To organize any message, ● Define your main idea ● Limit the scope ● Choose the direct or indirect

approach ● Outline your information in a

logical sequence

The topic is the broad subject; the main idea makes a statement about the topic.

In some instances, you’ll need to do some work up front to deter- mine what the main idea of a mes- sage really should be.

MOBILE APPS

With Mindjet Maps you can quickly build mind maps to brainstorm a writing project, using text boxes, photos, and more.

Limit the scope of your message so that you can convey your main idea as briefly as possible.

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you’re using, or a time frame such as individual speaker slots during a seminar. However, even if you don’t have a preset length, limit your scope to the minimum amount of informa- tion needed to convey your main idea.

In addition to limiting the overall scope of your message, limit the number of major supporting points to a half dozen or so—and if you can get your idea across with fewer points, all the better. Listing 20 or 30 supporting points might feel as

though you’re being thorough, but your audience is likely to view such detail as rambling and mind numbing. Instead, group your supporting points under major headings, such as finance, customers, competitors, employees, or whatever is appropriate for your subject. Look for ways to distill your supporting points so that you have a smaller number with greater impact.

The number of words, pages, or minutes you need in order to communicate and support your main idea depends on your topic, your audience members’ familiarity with the material and their receptivity to your conclusions, and your credibility. You’ll need fewer words to present routine information to a knowledgeable audience that already knows and respects you. You’ll need more words to build a consensus about a complex and controver- sial subject, especially if the members of your audience are skeptical or hostile strangers.

Choosing BetWeen DireCt anD inDireCt aPProaChes

After you’ve defined your main idea and supporting points, you’re ready to decide on the sequence you will use to present your information. You have two basic options:

● Direct approach. When you know your audience will be receptive to your message, use the direct approach: Start with the main idea (such as a recommendation, conclusion, or request) and follow that with your supporting evidence.

● Indirect approach. When your audience will be skeptical about or even resistant to your message, you generally want to use the indirect approach: Start with the evidence first and build your case before presenting the main idea. Note that taking the indirect approach does not mean avoiding tough issues or talking around in circles. It simply means building up to your main idea in a logical or sensitive way.

To choose between these two alternatives, analyze your audience’s likely reaction to your purpose and message, as shown in Figure 3.5. Bear in mind, however, that Figure 3.5 presents only general guidelines; always consider the unique circumstances of each mes- sage and audience situation. The type of message also influences the choice of the direct or indirect approach. In the coming chapters, you’ll get specific advice on choosing the best approach for a variety of different communication challenges.

outlining Your Content

After you have chosen the direct or indirect approach, the next task is to determine the most logical and effective way to present your major points and supporting details. Even if you’ve resisted creating outlines in your school assignments over the years, get into the habit of creating outlines when you’re preparing most business messages. You’ll save time, get better results, and do a better job of navigating through complicated situations.

You’re no doubt familiar with the basic outline formats that identify each point with a number or letter and that indent certain points to show which ones are of equal status. A good outline divides a topic into at least two parts, restricts each subdivision to one cat- egory, and ensures that each subdivision is separate and distinct (see Figure 3.6).

Whichever outlining or organizing scheme you use, start by stating your main idea; you then list your major supporting points and follow with examples and evidence:

● Start with the main idea. The main idea helps you establish the goals and general strategy of the message, and it summarizes (1) what you want your audience members to do, think, or feel after receiving the message and (2) why it makes sense for them

Generate better ideas in less time with these helpful tips. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Smart advice for brainstorming sessions

With the direct approach, you open with the main idea of your message and support it with reasoning, evidence, and examples.

With the indirect approach, you withhold the main idea until you have built up to it logically and persuasively with reasoning, evidence, and examples.

Outlining takes some time and effort, but it can often save you considerable time and effort in the composing and revising stages.

MOBILE APPS

Outliner is one of several apps that make it easy to create and modify writing outlines.

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Figure 3.5 Choosing Between the Direct and Indirect Approaches Think about the way your audience is likely to respond before choosing your approach.

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Direct Approach

Eager/interested/ pleased/neutral

Start with the main idea, the request, or

the good news.

Provide necessary details.

Close with a cordial comment, a reference to the good news, or a statement about the

specific action desired.

Audience Reaction

Message Opening

Message Body

Message Close

Indirect Approach

Displeased

Start with a neutral statement that acts as a transition to the

reasons for the bad news.

Give reasons to justify a negative answer. State or imply the bad news, and

make a positive suggestion.

Close cordially.

Uninterested/unwilling

Start with a statement or question that captures

attention.

Arouse the audience’s interest in the subject.

Build the audience’s desire to comply.

Request action.

Figure 3.6 Structuring an Outline No matter what outlining format you use, think through your major supporting points and the examples and evidence that can support each point.

I. First major point

A. First subpoint

B. Second subpoint

1. Examples and evidence

2. Examples and evidence

a. Detail

b. Detail

3. Examples and evidence

C. Third subpoint

II. Second major point

A. First subpoint

1. Examples and evidence

2. Examples and evidence

B. Second subpoint

Subpoint B is supported with three sets of examples and evidence (1,2, and 3), the second of which is further subdivided with two detail sections.

The first major point is divided into three subpoints (A, B, and C).

The particular message is divided into two major points (I and II).

to do so. Everything in your message should either support the main idea or explain its implications. (Remember that if you choose the indirect approach, the main idea will appear toward the end of your message, after you’ve presented your major supporting points.)

● State the major points. Support your main idea with the major points that clarify and explain your ideas in more concrete terms. If your purpose is to inform and the mate- rial is factual, your major points may be based on something physical or financial—for example, something you can visualize or measure, such as activities to be performed, functional units, spatial or chronological relationships, or parts of a whole. When you’re describing a process, the major points are usually steps in the process. When

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 3.6’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

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Choose supporting points, evidence, and examples carefully; a few strong points will make your case better than a large collection of weaker points.

Learn these proven steps for creating robust, practical outlines. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Get helpful tips on creating an outline for any project

you’re describing an object, the major points often cor- respond to the parts of the object. When you’re giving a historical account, major points represent events in the chronological chain of events. If your purpose is to per- suade or to collaborate, select major points that develop a line of reasoning or a logical argument that proves your central message and motivates your audience to act.

● Provide examples and evidence. After you’ve defined the main idea and identified major supporting points, you’re

ready to back up those points with examples and evidence that help audience members understand, accept, and remember your message. Choose your examples and evidence carefully. You want to be compelling and complete but also as concise as possible. One strong example or piece of evidence can be more effective than three or four weaker items.

Figure 3.7 illustrates several of the key themes about organizing a message: helping readers get the information they need quickly, defining and conveying the main idea, limit- ing the scope of the message, choosing the approach, and outlining your information.

BuilDing reaDer interest With storYtelling teChniques

Storytelling might seem like an odd subject for a business course, but stories can be an effective way to organize messages in a surprising number of business communication sce- narios, from recruiting and training employees to enticing investors and customers. Story- telling is such a vital means of communicating that, in the words of management consultant Steve Tobak, “It’s hard to imagine your career going anywhere if you can’t tell a story.”13 Fortunately, you’ve been telling stories all your life, so narrative techniques already come naturally to you; now it’s just a matter of adapting those techniques to business situations.

You’ve already been on the receiving end of thousands of business stories. Storytelling is one of the most common structures used in television commercials and other advertise- ments. People love to share stories about themselves and others, too, which makes social media ideal for storytelling.14

Career-related stories, such as how someone sought and found the opportunity to work on projects he or she is passionate about, can entice skilled employees to consider joining a firm. Established companies often tell the stories of their early days to highlight their depth of experience or core values (see Figure 3.8 on page 76). Entrepreneurs use stories to help investors see how their new ideas have the potential to affect people’s lives (and therefore generate lots of sales). Stories can be cautionary tales as well, dramatizing the consequences of career blunders, ethical mistakes, and strategic missteps.

A key reason storytelling can be so effective is that stories help readers and listen- ers imagine themselves living through the experience of the person in the story. As a result, people tend to remember and respond to the message in ways that can be difficult to achieve with other forms of communication.

In addition, stories can demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships in a compelling fashion.15 Imagine attending an employee orientation and listening to the trainer read off a list of ethics rules and guidelines. Now imagine the trainer telling the real-life story of an ambitious new employee who bent the rules and wound up paying dearly. As an ambitious new employee yourself, that story is likely to stick in your mind a lot more permanently than a list of rules. This ability to share organizational values is one of the major benefits of using storytelling in business communication, particularly across diverse workforces.16

A classic story has three basic parts. The beginning of the story presents someone whom the audience can identify with in some way, and this person has a dream to pursue or a problem to solve. (Think of how movies and novels often start by introducing a lik- able character who immediately gets into danger, for example.) The middle of the story shows this character taking action and making decisions as he or she pursues the goal or tries to solve the problem. The storyteller’s objective here is to build the audience’s inter- est by increasing the tension: Will the “hero” overcome the obstacles and defeat whatever

Storytelling is an effective way to organize many business messages because it helps readers personal- ize the message and understand causes and consequences.

Organize stories in three parts: a beginning that introduces a sym- pathetic person with a dream or a challenge, a middle that shows the obstacles to be overcome, and an ending that resolves the situation and shows the moral or message of the story.

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Figure 3.7 Improving the Organization of a Message This writer is following up on a conversation from the previous day, in which he and the recipient discussed which of two forms of ownership, a partnership or a corporation, they should use for their new company. (Partnership has a specific legal meaning in this context.) That question is the topic of the message; the main idea is the recommendation that they incorporate, rather than form a partnership. Notice how the Improved version uses the direct approach to quickly get to the main idea and then supports that by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of ownership. In contrast, the Poor version contains irrelevant information, makes the comparison difficult to follow, and buries the main idea in the middle of the message.

This vague subject line offers few clues about the topic of the message.

The subject line states the topic (incorporation vs. partnership) and the main idea (incorporation is the better choice).

The email starts off with an irrelevant discussion, doesn’t explain what research this refers to, and fails to introduce the topic of the message.

This paragraph introduces the topic but then shifts to an irrelevant discussion (it makes a good point about unlimited liability, but the point is buried in irrelevant material).

The main idea, that the pair should incorporate, is buried in the middle of the message.

By jumping from partnership to incorporation, back to partnership, and then back to incorporation again throughout the course of the message, the writer forces the reader to piece together the comparative evidence herself.

The opening provides a context by referring to a previous conversation and then states the main idea.

The writer continues to provide support by explaining how incorporation overcomes all three key disadvantages of partnerships.

The comparison is completed by identifying two disadvantages of incorporation but noting that they are outweighed by the advantages.

These two paragraphs support the main idea by showing how the disadvantages of partnerships outweigh the advantages.

Impr oved

Impr oved

Pointers for Good Organization

• Get to the topic of the message quickly; don’t make the reader guess what the message is about. • Start with the main idea and then support it (direct approach) or build up to the main idea at the end (indirect approach). • Group related ideas and present them in a logical order. • Include only the information needed to convey and support your main idea.

PoorPoor

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adversary is keeping him or her from away from the goal?17 The end of the story answers that question and usually offers a lesson to be learned about the outcome as well.

By the way, even though these are “sto- ries,” they must not be made-up tales. Tell- ing stories that didn’t happen to people who don’t exist while presenting them as real-life events is a serious breach of ethics that dam- ages a company’s credibility.18

Consider adding an element of storytell- ing whenever your main idea involves the opportunity to inspire, persuade, teach, or warn readers or listeners about the potential outcomes of a particular course of action.

For fresh ideas and media materials on plan- ning messages, visit http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7 and click on Chapter 3.

Figure 3.8 Storytelling as a Way to Organize Messages Many companies now use Face- book’s timeline feature to create visual stories of their founding and early years. Source: Copyright © 2012 by General Electric, Inc.

Learning Objectives: Check Your Progress

Objective 1: Describe the three-step writing process, and explain why it will help you create better messages in less time. The three-step writing process is built around planning, writing, and completing business messages. Planning involves analyzing the situation, gathering the information you will need to meet audience needs, selecting the right medium or combination of media, and organizing your information. The writing step in- volves adapting to your audience and composing your message. Completing involves the four tasks of revising, proofreading, producing, and distributing the message. The three-step process helps you create more effective messages because it keeps you focused on what your audience needs to get from a message, and it saves you time by reducing the amount of reworking that can happen when someone starts writing without clear goals or organization in mind.

Objective 2: Explain what it means to analyze the situation when planning a message. Analyzing the situation gives you the insights necessary to meet your own needs as a communicator while also meeting the infor- mation needs of your recipients. You can accomplish this goal by looking at the communication process from both ends, by defin- ing your purpose in sending the message, and by creating a profile of your target audience. The general purpose of a message identi- fies your overall intent—to inform, to persuade, to collaborate, or to initiate a conversation. The specific purpose identifies what you hope to accomplish with the message. Without a clear purpose in mind, you are likely to spend more time and energy than you re- ally need to, and chances are you won’t create an effective message.

Understanding your audience is a vital aspect of planning because the more you know about your audience members, their

needs, and their expectations, the more effectively you’ll be able to communicate with them. To create an audience profile, identify the primary audience, its size and geographic distribution, its composi- tion (language, education, experience, and other factors that could affect message reception), and its level of understanding, expecta- tions and preferences, and probable reaction to your message.

Objective 3: Describe the techniques for gathering information for simple messages, and identify three attributes of quality information. Simple messages usually don’t require extensive information gathering, but to acquire useful insights, consider the audience’s perspective; find and listen to online communities; read reports and other company documents; talk with supervisors, colleagues, or customers; and ask your audience for input, if possible. Judge the quality of any information you include by making sure it is accurate, ethical, and pertinent.

Objective 4: Identify the six basic combinations of media and channels, and highlight the unique challenges of com- munication on mobile devices. Media can be divided into oral (spoken), written, and visual, and these three formats can be delivered through digital and nondigi- tal channels.

Objective 5: Explain why good organization is important to both you and your audience, and explain how to organize any business message. Good organization helps your audience understand and accept your message with less time and effort. It also saves you time when preparing messages. With a clear path to follow when writing, you’ll produce messages faster and spend far less time revising. To orga- nize any message, define your main idea, limit the scope for maxi- mum impact, choose the direct or indirect approach to match the situation, and outline your information in a logical sequence.

Chapter Review and Activities

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Practice Your Skills Exercises for Perfecting Your Writing

To review chapter content related to each set of exercises, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. Specific Purpose: For each of the following communication tasks, state a specific purpose (if you have trouble, try beginning with “I want to . . .”). [LO-2] 3-10. A report to your boss, the store manager, about the out-

dated items in the warehouse 3-11. A blog posting to customers and the news media about

your company’s plans to acquire a competitor 3-12. An email message to employees about the office’s high

water bills 3-13. A phone call to a supplier to check on an overdue parts

shipment 3-14. A podcast to new users of the company’s online content

management system Audience Profile: For each communication task below, write brief answers to three questions: (1) Who is my audience? (2) What is my audience’s general attitude toward my subject? (3) What does my audience need to know? [LO-2] 3-15. A final-notice collection letter from an appliance manu-

facturer to an appliance dealer, sent 10 days before initia- tion of legal collection procedures

3-16. An advertisement for peanut butter 3-17. A letter to the property management company responsible

for maintaining your office building, complaining about persistent problems with the heating and air conditioning

3-18. A cover letter sent along with your résumé to a potential employer

3-19. A request (to the seller) for a price adjustment on a piano that incurred $150 in damage during delivery to a ban- quet room in the hotel you manage

Media and Purpose: List three messages you have read, viewed, or listened to lately (such as direct-mail promotions, letters, email or instant messages, phone solicitations, blog posts, social net- work pages, podcasts, or lectures). For each message, determine the general and the specific purpose, then answer the questions listed. [LO-2] [LO-4]

Message #1: 3-20. General purpose 3-21. Specific purpose 3-22. Was the message well timed? 3-23. Did the sender choose an appropriate medium and chan-

nel for the message? 3-24. Was the sender’s purpose realistic?

Message #2: 3-25. General purpose 3-26. Specific purpose 3-27. Was the message well timed? 3-28. Did the sender choose an appropriate medium and chan-

nel for the message? 3-29. Was the sender’s purpose realistic?

Message #3: 3-30. General purpose 3-31. Specific purpose

Test Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 3-1. What are the three major steps in the writing process?

[LO-1] 3-2. What do you need to know to develop an audience

profile? [LO-2] 3-3. What are the three attributes of quality information in a

business message? [LO-3] 3-4. Why are in-person conversations considered a rich

medium? [LO-4] 3-5. What is the difference between the topic of a message and

its main idea? [LO-5]

Apply Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 3-6. Some writers argue that planning messages wastes time

because they inevitably change their plans as they go along. How would you respond to this argument? Briefly explain. [LO-1]

3-7. A day after sending an email to all 1,800 employees in your company regarding income tax implications of the company’s retirement plan, you discover that one of the sources you relied on for your information plagiarized from other sources. You quickly double-check all the in- formation in your message and confirm that it is accu- rate. However, you are concerned about using plagiarized information, even though you did nothing wrong. How you would handle this situation? [LO-3]

3-8. You are organizing an exploratory in-person meeting with engineering representatives from a dozen manufac- turers around the world to discuss updates to a technical standard that all the companies’ products must adhere to. The representatives have a wide range of firmly held opinions on the subject, because the changes could help some companies and hurt others. They can’t even agree on what should be addressed in the first meeting, so you need to develop a minimum level of consensus on what should be on the agenda. Which combination of media and channels would you use to move the conversation forward and finalize the agenda? Each company has one representative, and any discussions need to be kept confidential. [LO-4]

3-9. You have been invited to speak at an annual industry conference. After preparing the outline for your presen- tation, you see that you’ve identified 14 separate points to support your main idea. Should you move ahead with creating the slides for your presentation or move back and rethink your outline? Why? [LO-5]

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com to complete the problems marked with this icon .

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of public relations for a cruise line that operates out of Miami. You are shocked to read a letter in a local news- paper from a disgruntled passenger, complaining about the service and entertainment on a recent cruise. You need to respond to these publicized criticisms in some way. What audiences will you need to consider in your response? What medium or media and channels should you choose? If the letter had been published in a travel publication widely read by travel agents and cruise travel- ers, how might your course of action have differed? In an email message to your instructor, explain how you will respond.

3-49. Planning: Limiting Your Scope [LO-5] Suppose you are preparing to recommend that top management install a new heating system that uses the cogeneration process. The following information is in your files. Eliminate top- ics that aren’t essential and then arrange the other topics so that your report will give top managers a clear under- standing of the heating system and a balanced, concise justification for installing it. Submit a clear and concise outline to your instructor. • History of the development of the cogeneration heat-

ing process • Scientific credentials of the developers of the process • Risks assumed in using this process • Your plan for installing the equipment in the head-

quarters building • Stories about the successful use of cogeneration

technology in comparable facilities • Specifications of the equipment that would be

installed • Plans for disposing of the old heating equipment • Costs of installing and running the new equipment • Advantages and disadvantages of using the new

process • Detailed 10-year cost projections • Estimates of the time needed to phase in the new

system • Alternative systems that management might want to

consider 3-50. Planning: Using Storytelling Techniques; Commu-

nication Ethics: Providing Ethical Leadership: Media Skills: Podcasting [LO-5], Chapter 1 Research recent episodes of ethical lapses by a business professional or executive in any industry. Choose one example that has a clear story “arc” from beginning to end. Outline a cau- tionary tale that explains the context of the ethical lapse, the choice the person made, and the consequences of the ethical lapse. Script a podcast (aim for roughly 3 to 5 minutes) that tells the story. If your instructor directs, record your podcast and post to your class blog.

Expand Your Skills Critique the Professionals

Locate an example of professional communication in any medium-channel combo that you think would work equally well—or perhaps better—in another combination. Using the

3-32. Was the message well timed? 3-33. Did the sender choose an appropriate medium and chan-

nel for the message? 3-34. Was the sender’s purpose realistic? Message Organization: Choosing the Approach: Indicate whether the direct or the indirect approach would be best in each of the following situations. [LO-5] 3-35. An email message to a car dealer, asking about the avail-

ability of a specific make and model of car 3-36. A letter from a recent college graduate, requesting a letter

of recommendation from a former instructor 3-37. A letter turning down a job applicant 3-38. An internal blog post explaining that because of high air-

conditioning costs, the plant temperature will be held at 78 degrees during the summer

3-39. A final request to settle a delinquent debt Message Organization: Drafting Persuasive Messages: If you were trying to persuade people to take the following actions, would you choose the direct or indirect approach? [LO-5] 3-40. You want your boss to approve your plan for hiring two

new people. 3-41. You want to be hired for a job. 3-42. You want to be granted a business loan. 3-43. You want to collect a small amount from a regular cus-

tomer whose account is slightly past due. 3-44. You want to collect a large amount from a customer whose

account is seriously past due.

Activities

Each activity is labeled according to the primary skill or skills you will need to use. To review relevant chapter content, you can refer to the indicated Learning Objective. In some instances, support- ing information will be found in another chapter, as indicated. 3-45. Analyzing the Situation; Media Skills: Presentations

[LO-2] Visit the PepsiCo website and locate the latest an- nual report. Read the annual report’s letter to sharehold- ers. Who is the audience for this message? What is the general purpose of the message? What do you think this audience wants to know from the chairman of PepsiCo? Summarize your answers in a one-page report or five- slide presentation, as your instructor directs.

3-46. Planning: Creating an Audience Profile; Collabora- tion: Team Projects [LO-2], [LO-3], Chapter 2 With a team assigned by your instructor, compare the Facebook pages of three companies in the same industry. Analyze the content on all the available tabs. What can you sur- mise about the intended audience for each company? Which of the three does the best job of presenting the information its target audience is likely to need? Prepare a brief presentation, including slides that show samples of the Facebook content from each company.

3-47. Planning: Assessing Audience Needs; Media Skills [LO-4], Chapter 1 Using a laptop or desktop computer, visit the website of any well-known company and review its About or About Us page. Identify three ways you would modify this page to meet the needs of readers ac- cessing it with smartphones.

3-48. Planning: Analyzing the Situation, Selecting Media; Media Skills: Email [LO-4], Chapter 8 You are the head

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3-63. C&B Sales (is, are) listed in the directory. 3-64. When measuring shelves, 7 inches (is, are) significant. 3-65. About 90 percent of the employees (plan, plans) to come

to the company picnic.

Level 2: Workplace Applications

The following items may contain errors in grammar, capitaliza- tion, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. Rewrite each sentence, correcting all errors. If a sentence has no errors, write “Correct” for that number. 3-66. Cut two inches off trunk and place in a water stand, and

fill with water. 3-67. The newly-elected officers of the Board are: John Rogers,

president, Robin Doig, vice-president, and Mary Stur- hann, secretary.

3-68. Employees were stunned when they are notified that the trainee got promoted to Manager only after her 4th week with the company.

3-69. Seeking reliable data on U.S. publishers, Literary Market- place is by far the best source.

3-70. Who did you wish to speak to? 3-71. The keynote address will be delivered by Seth Goodwin,

who is the author of six popular books on marketing, has written two novels, and writes a column for “Fortune” magazine.

3-72. Often the reputation of an entire company depend on one employee that officially represents that company to the public.

3-73. The executive director, along with his staff, are working quickly to determine who should receive the Award.

3-74. Him and his co-workers, the top bowling team in the tournament, will represent our Company in the league finals on saturday.

3-75. Listening on the extension, details of the embezzlement plot were overheard by the Security Chief.

3-76. The acceptance of visa cards are in response to our cus- tomer’s demand for a more efficient and convenient way of paying for parking here at San Diego International airport.

3-77. The human resources dept. interviewed dozens of people, they are seeking the better candidate for the opening.

3-78. Libraries’ can be a challenging; yet lucrative market if you learn how to work the “system” to gain maximum visibil- ity for you’re products and services.

3-79. Either a supermarket or a discount art gallery are sched- uled to open in the Mall.

3-80. I have told my supervisor that whomever shares my office with me cannot wear perfume, use spray deodorant, or other scented products.

Level 3: Document Critique

The following document may contain errors in grammar, capital- ization, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. As your instructor indicates, photocopy this page and correct all errors using standard proofreading marks (see Appendix C) or download the document and make the correc- tions in your word-processing software.

media and channel selection guidelines in this chapter and your understanding of the communication process, write a brief anal- ysis (no more than one page) of the company’s choice and explain why your choice would be at least as effective. Be sure to cite specific elements from the piece and support from the chapter.

Sharpen Your Career Skills Online

Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Web Search, at http:// websearch.businesscommunicationnetwork.com, is a unique research tool designed specifically for business communication research. Use the Web Search function to find a website, video, PDF document, podcast, or presentation that offers advice on analyzing audiences, selecting media, outlining, storytelling (in a business context), or any aspect of the writing process (including models other than the three-step process covered in this text). Write a brief email message to your instructor or a post for your class blog, describing the item that you found and summarizing the career skills information you learned from it.

Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage You can download the text of this assignment from http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7; click on Student Assignments and then click on Chapter 3. Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage.

Level 1: Self-Assessment—Verbs

Review Section 1.3 in the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage.

For these items, indicate the verb form called for in each sentence. 3-51. I (present perfect, become) the resident expert on repair-

ing the copy machine. 3-52. She (past, know) how to conduct an audit when she came

to work for us. 3-53. Since Joan was promoted, she (past perfect, move) all the

files to her office. 3-54. Next week, call John to tell him what you (future, do) to

help him set up the seminar. 3-55. By the time you finish the analysis, he (future perfect,

return) from his vacation. For these items, rewrite the sentences so that they use active voice instead of passive. 3-56. The report will be written by Leslie Cartwright. 3-57. The failure to record the transaction was mine. 3-58. Have you been notified by the claims department of your

rights? 3-59. We are dependent on their services for our operation. 3-60. The damaged equipment was returned by the customer

before we even located a repair facility. In these items, indicate the correct verb form provided in parentheses. 3-61. Everyone upstairs (receive, receives) mail before we do. 3-62. Neither the main office nor the branches (is, are) blameless.

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To help us make that determination, respond to the following survey questions and fax them back. Answer concisely; but use extra paper if necessary—for details and explanations.

When you finish the survey it will help headquarters improve service to you; but also, help us all improve service to our customers. Return your survey before May 15 to my attention. Then Stereo city hopefully can thrive in a marketplace, that critics say we cannot conquer. Stereo City must choose wisely and serve it’s customers well in a difficult retail business environment.

Times are very tough but if we work hard at it its possible we might make Stereo City’s ‘the man on the streets’ favorite ‘place to go to purchase audio equipment!

Memo

TO: Store mngrs. FROM: Tom Dooley, vice pres. real estate, from Stereo City

headquarters, Renaissance Tower 1201 Elm street; Dallas TX 75270

DATE: May 8 2015 SUB: Recent Cash Flow and consumer response—Survey

Now that our stores have been re-organized with your hard work and cooperation, we hope revenues will rise to new heights; if we reemphasize equipment sales as Stereo City core business and reduce the visibility of our sideline retail products. Just in case though, we want to be certain that these changes are having the postive affect on our cash flow that we all except and look forward to.

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com for Auto-graded writing questions as well as the following Assisted-graded writing questions:

3-81. As a member of your firm’s public relations department, which medium- channel combination(s) would you recommend using to inform the local community that your toxic-waste cleanup program has been successful? Justify your recommendation. [LO-4]

3-82. Would you use the direct or indirect approach to ask employees to work overtime to meet an important deadline? Please explain. [LO-5]

Endnotes 1. Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (New York: Random House, 2008), 214. 2. Carol Kinsey Gorman, “What’s So Great About Face-to-Face?” Communication World, May–June 2011, 38–39. 3. Linda Duyle, “Get Out of Your Office,” HR Magazine, July 2006, 99–101. 4. Caroline McCarthy, “The Future of Web Apps Will See the Death of Email,” Webware blog, 29 February 2008, http://news.cnet.com; Kris Maher, “The Jungle,” Wall Street Journal, 5 October 2004, B10; Kevin Maney, “Surge in Text Messaging Makes Cell Operators,” USA Today, 28 July 2005, B1–B2. 5. Roger Cheng, “Verizon CEO: Unlimited Data Plans Just Aren’t Sustainable,” CNET, 24 September 2013, http://news.cnet.com; Brian Bennet, “Sprint Officially Outs New Unlimited Plans,” CNET, 11 July 2013, http://reviews.cnet.com; footnotes on Sprint website, accessed 2 March 2014, http://shop.sprint.com. 6. “Mobile Learning Adds Value to BFSI Industry,” DRONA Mobile Blog, 11 October 2013, http://blog.dronamobile.com. 7. “Enterprise Mobility Accelerates ROI for Oil & Gas Industry,” DRONA Mobile Blog, 7 March 2013, http://blog.dronamobile.com. 8. ClickSoftware website, accessed 6 March 2014, www .clicksoftware.com; Sarah Fister Gale, “One Roof Energy: We Promise Not to Stalk You,” Talent Management, 20 February 2014, http://talentmgt.com; Sarah Fister Gale, “Tracking Remote Workers? There an App for That,” Talent Management, 20 February 2014, http:// talentmgt.com.

9. HireVue website, accessed 7 March 2014, http://hirevue.com; Jennifer Kahn, “Mobile Recruiting Apps: A Gimmick or Here to Stay?” Talent Management, 19 April 2013, http://talentmgt.com. 10. “Over-the-Top Application (OTT),” Techopedia, accessed 26 February 2014, www.techopedia.com. 11. Laurey Berk and Phillip G. Clampitt, “Finding the Right Path in the Communication Maze,” IABC Communication World, October 1991, 28–32. 12. Samantha R. Murray and Joseph Peyrefitte, “Knowledge Type and Communication Media Choice in the Knowledge Transfer Process,” Journal of Managerial Issues, Spring 2007, 111–133. 13. Steve Tobak, “How to Be a Great Storyteller and Win Over Any Audience,” BNET, 12 January 2011, www.bnet.com. 14. Debra Askanase, “10 Trends in Sustainable Social Media,” Commu- nity Organizer 2.0 blog, 13 May 2010, www.communityorganizer20.com. 15. Heath and Heath, Made to Stick, 206. 16. Randolph T. Barker and Kim Gower, “Strategic Application of Storytelling in Organizations,” Journal of Business Communication 47, no. 3 (July 2010): 295–312. 17. David Meerman Scott, “Effective Storytelling for Business,” WebInkNow blog, 18 February 2013, www.webinknow.com. 18. Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, “7 Deadly Sins of Business Storytelling,” American Express Open Forum, accessed 21 March 2011, www.openforum.com.

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Communication Matters . . . “From now on, write all your email messages as though you’re writing for a mobile reader and save all your readers time and effort.”1

—Verne Ordman, business writing skills trainer, Verne Ordman and Associates

As an experienced business trainer with an advanced degree in industrial psychology, Verne Ordman has a keen sense of how people process information. Her advice regarding email messages not only suggests how pervasive mobile devices have become in business today but also highlights the importance of keeping readers’ needs in mind for every message you create. This chapter addresses the writing phase of the three-step writing process, with practical advice for adapting to your audiences and composing messages that get results.

Identify the four aspects of being sensitive to audience needs when writing business messages

Explain how establishing your credibility and projecting your company’s image are vital aspects of building strong relationships with your audience

Explain how to achieve a tone that is conversational but businesslike, explain the value of using plain language, and define active and passive voice

Describe how to select words that are not only correct but also effective

Define the four types of sentences, and explain how sentence style affects emphasis within a message

Define the three key elements of a paragraph, and list five ways to develop coherent paragraphs

List five techniques for writing effective messages for mobile readers

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

Writing Business Messages

1

The techniques that promote easy reading on small mobile screens make messages easier to read on any device or system.

MyBCommLab® Improve Your Grade! Over 10 million students

improved their results using Pearson MyLabs. Visit mybcommlab.com for simulations, tutorials, and end-of- chapter problems.

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Adapting to Your Audience: Being Sensitive to Your Audience’s Needs Verne Ordman and other successful communicators will tell you that audiences tend to greet incoming messages with a selfish question: “What’s in this for me?” If your target readers or listeners don’t think a message applies to them, or if they don’t think you are be- ing sensitive to their needs, they won’t pay attention. You can improve your audience sensi- tivity by adopting the “you” attitude, maintaining good standards of etiquette, emphasizing the positive, and using bias-free language.

adoPting the “You” attitude

You are already becoming familiar with the audience-centered approach, trying to see a subject through your audience’s eyes. Now you want to project this approach in your mes- sages by adopting the “you” attitude—that is, by speaking and writing in terms of your audience’s wishes, interests, hopes, and preferences.

On a simple level, you can adopt the “you” attitude by replacing terms that refer to yourself and your company with terms that refer to your audience. In other words, use you and your instead of I, me, mine, we, us, and ours:

Instead of This Write This

Tuesday is the only day that we can promise quick response to purchase order requests; we are swamped the rest of the week.

If you need a quick response, please submit your purchase order requests on Tuesday.

We offer MP3 players with 50, 75, or 100 gigabytes of storage capacity.

You can choose an MP3 player with 50, 75, or 100 gigabytes of storage.

Of course, you will have occasions when it is entirely appropriate to write or speak from your perspective, such as when you are offering your opinions or reporting on something you have seen. However, even in those instances, make sure you focus on your readers’ needs.

Also, be aware that the “you” attitude involves a lot more than just using particular pro- nouns. It’s a matter of demonstrating genuine interest in your readers and concern for their needs (see Figure 4.1). You can use you 25 times in a single page and still offend your audience or ignore readers’ true concerns. If you’re writing to a retailer, try to think like a retailer; if you’re dealing with a production supervisor, put yourself in that position; if you’re writing to a dissatisfied customer, imagine how you would feel at the other end of the transaction.

Keep in mind that on some occasions it’s better to avoid using you, particularly if doing so will sound overly authoritative or accusing. For instance, instead of saying, “You failed to deliver the customer’s order on time,” you could avoid the confrontational tone by say- ing, “The customer didn’t receive the order on time,” or “Let’s figure out a system that will ensure on-time deliveries.”

Maintaining StandardS of etiquette

Good etiquette shows respect for your audience and helps foster a more successful environ- ment for communication by minimizing negative emotional reaction:

Instead of This Write This

Once again, you’ve managed to bring down the website through your incompetent programming.

Let’s review the last website update to explore ways to improve the process.

You’ve been sitting on our order for two weeks, and we need it now!

Our production schedules depend on timely delivery of parts and supplies, but we have not yet received the order scheduled for delivery two weeks ago. Please respond today with a firm delivery commitment.

Readers and listeners are more likely to respond positively when they believe messages address their concerns.

Adopting the “you” attitude means speaking and writing in terms of your audience’s wishes, interests, hopes, and preferences.

Avoid using you and your when doing so ● Makes you sound dictatorial ● Makes someone else feel guilty ● Goes against your organization’s

style

Even if a situation calls for you to be brutally honest, express the facts of the matter in a kind and thoughtful manner.

1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEIdentify the four aspects of being sensitive to audience needs when writing business messages.

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Some situations naturally require more diplomacy than others. If you know your au- dience well, a less formal approach might be more appropriate. However, when you are communicating with people who outrank you or with people outside your organization, an added measure of courtesy is usually needed.

Written messages and most forms of digital communication generally require more tact than oral communication. When you’re speaking to someone live, you can soften your words by your tone of voice and facial expressions. Plus, you can adjust your approach ac- cording to the feedback you get. However, if you inadvertently offend someone in writing or in a podcast, for example, you usually don’t get the immediate feedback you would need in order to resolve the situation. In fact, you may never know that you offended your audience.

eMPhaSizing the PoSitive

You will encounter situations throughout your career in which you need to convey unwanted news. However, sensitive communicators understand the difference between delivering negative news and being negative. Never try to hide the negative news, but look for positive points that will foster a good relationship with your audience:2

Instead of This Write This

It is impossible to repair your laptop today.

Your computer can be ready by Tuesday. Would you like a loaner until then?

We wasted $300,000 advertis- ing in that magazine.

Our $300,000 advertising investment did not pay off; let’s ana- lyze the experience and apply the insights to future campaigns.

Use extra tact when communicat- ing with people higher up the organization chart or outside the company.

Figure 4.1 Fostering a Positive Relationship with an Audience CD Baby, the world’s largest retailer of independent music, uses clear, positive language to help musicians understand the process of selling their music through the company and its affiliates. By making the effort to communicate clearly and succinctly, the company encourages a positive response from its target readers. Source: http://members.cdbaby.com

The no-nonsense headline makes it clear what this page is about, and it speaks directly to a major question virtually all aspiring professional musicians have.

The four numbered subheadings provide a brief and clear overview of the process.

The first paragraph tells readers what to expect before they click through to begin the sign-up process.

The next two paragraphs explain two key questions: how musicians get their music to CD Baby and how CD Baby and its affiliated retailers get the music in front of consumers.

The final paragraph answers one of the most important questions of all: “How do I get paid?”

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 4.1’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

You can communicate negative news without being negative.

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If you’re trying to persuade audience members to perform a particular action, point out how doing so will benefit them:

Instead of This Write This

We will notify all three credit reporting agencies if you do not pay your overdue bill within 10 days.

Paying your overdue bill within 10 days will prevent a negative entry on your credit record.

I am tired of seeing so many errors in the customer service blog.

Proofreading your blog postings will help avoid embarrassing mistakes that erode confidence in our brand.

Look for appropriate opportunities to use euphemisms, or milder synonyms, that con- vey your meaning without carrying negative connotations. For example, when referring to people beyond a certain age, use “senior citizens” rather than “old people.” Senior conveys respect in a way that old doesn’t.

However, take care when using euphemisms. It’s easy to push the idea too far and wind up sounding ridiculous—or worse yet, obscuring the truth. Speaking to your lo- cal community about the disposal of “manufacturing by-products” would be unethical if you’re really talking about toxic waste. Even if it is unpleasant, people respond better to an honest message delivered with integrity than they do to a sugar-coated message that obscures the truth.

uSing BiaS-free Language

Bias-free language avoids words and phrases that unfairly and even unethically categorize or stigmatize people in ways related to gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, or other per- sonal characteristics. Contrary to what some might think, biased language is not simply about “labels.” To a significant degree, language reflects the way people think and what they believe, and biased language may well perpetuate the underlying stereotypes and prejudices that it represents.3 Moreover, because communication is largely about perception, being fair and objective isn’t enough: To establish a good relationship with your audience, you must also appear to be fair.4 Good communicators make every effort to change biased language (see Table 4.1). Bias can take a variety of forms:

● Gender bias. Avoid sexist language by using the same labels for everyone, regardless of gender. Don’t refer to a woman as chairperson and then to a man as chairman. Use chair, chairperson, or chairman consistently. (Note that it is not uncommon to use chairman when referring to a woman who heads a board of directors. Archer Daniels Midland’s Patricia Woertz and Xerox’s Ursula Burns, for example, both refer to themselves as chairman.5) Reword sentences to use they or to use no pronoun at all rather than refer to all individuals as he. Note that the preferred title for women in business is Ms. unless the individual asks to be addressed as Miss or Mrs. or has some other title, such as Dr.

● Racial and ethnic bias. Avoid identifying people by race or ethnic origin unless such identification is relevant to the matter at hand—and it rarely is.

● Age bias. Mention the age of a person only when it is relevant. Moreover, be careful of the context in which you use words that refer to age; such words carry a variety of posi- tive and negative connotations. For example, young can imply youthfulness, inexperi- ence, or even immaturity, depending on how it’s used.

● Disability bias. Physical, cognitive, sensory, or emotional impairments should never be mentioned in business mes- sages unless those conditions are directly relevant to the subject. If you must refer to someone’s disability, put the person first and the disability second.6 For example, by saying “employees with physical disabilities,” not “handi- capped employees,” you focus on the whole person, not the disability. Finally, never use outdated terminology such as crippled or retarded.

Show audience members how they will benefit by responding to your message.

Euphemisms are milder synonyms that can express an idea while triggering fewer negative connota- tions, but they should never be used to obscure the truth.

Bias-free language avoids words and phrases that unfairly and even unethically categorize or stigmatize people.

This in-depth guide offers practical tips for avoiding many types of cultural bias in your writing and speaking. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Adapting to Your Audience: Building Strong Relationships Successful communication relies on a positive relationship between sender and receiver. Establishing your credibility and projecting your company’s image are two vital steps in building and fostering positive business relationships.

eStaBLiShing Your CrediBiLitY

Audience responses to your messages depend heavily on your credibility, which is a mea- sure of your believability and is based on how reliable you are and how much trust you evoke in others. With audiences who don’t know you and trust you already, you need to establish credibility before they’ll accept your messages (see Figure 4.2 on the next page). On the other hand, when you do establish credibility, communication becomes much easier because you no longer have to spend time and energy convincing people that you are a

TABLE 4.1 overcoming Bias in Language

Examples Unacceptable Preferable

Gender Bias    

Using words containing man Man-made

Mankind Manpower Businessman Salesman Foreman

Artificial, synthetic, manufactured, constructed, human-made Humanity, human beings, human race, people Workers, workforce Executive, manager, businessperson, professional Sales representative, salesperson Supervisor

Using female-gender words Actress, stewardess Actor, flight attendant

Using special designations Woman doctor, male nurse Doctor, nurse

Using he to refer to “everyone” The average worker . . . he The average worker . . . he or she OR Average workers . . . they

Identifying roles with gender The typical executive spends four hours of his day in meetings. The consumer . . . she The nurse/teacher . . . she

Most executives spend four hours a day in meetings.

Consumers . . . they Nurses/teachers . . . they

Identifying women by marital status Mrs. Norm Lindstrom Maria Lindstrom OR Ms. Maria Lindstrom

   Norm Lindstrom and Ms. Drake Norm Lindstrom and Maria Drake OR Mr. Lindstrom and Ms. Drake

Racial and Ethnic Bias    

Assigning stereotypes Not surprisingly, Shing-Tung Yau excels in mathematics.

Shing-Tung Yau excels in mathematics.

Identifying people by race or ethnicity Mario M. Cuomo, Italian-American politician and ex-governor of New York

Mario M. Cuomo, politician and ex-governor of New York

Age Bias    

Including age when irrelevant Mary Kirazy, 58, has just joined our trust department.

Mary Kirazy has just joined our trust department.

Disability Bias    

Putting the disability before the person Disabled workers face many barriers on the job.

Workers with physical disabilities face many barriers on the job.

  An epileptic, Tracy has no trouble doing her job.

Tracy’s epilepsy has no effect on her job performance.

People are more likely to react positively to your message when they have confidence in you.

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain how establishing your credibility and projecting your company’s image are vital aspects of building strong relationships with your audience.

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trustworthy source of information and ideas. To build, maintain, or repair your credibility, emphasize the following characteristics:

● Honesty. Demonstrating honesty and integrity will earn you the respect of your audi- ences, even if they don’t always agree with or welcome your messages.

● Objectivity. Show that you can distance yourself from emotional situations and look at all sides of an issue.

● Awareness of audience needs. Directly or indirectly, let your audience members know that you understand what’s important to them.

● Credentials, knowledge, and expertise. Audiences need to know that you have what- ever it takes to back up your message, whether it’s education, professional certification, special training, past successes, or simply the fact that you’ve done your research.

● Endorsements. An endorsement is a statement on your behalf by someone who is accepted by your audience as an expert.

● Performance. Demonstrating impressive communication skills is not enough; people need to know they can count on you to get the job done.

Figure 4.2 Building Credibility Gregg Fraley is a highly regarded expert in the field of creativity and business innovation, but because his services are intangible, potential clients can’t “test drive” those services before making a purchase decision. He therefore takes special care to build credibility as part of his communication efforts. Source: Gregg Fraley Enterprises.

Photography plays an important role because clients are essentially “buying” Fraley when they buy his services. These images show him to be friendly, engaging, and confident.

The first paragraph summarizes his business background, which sends a strong message that he has the experience to back up the advice he gives.

Describing some of his career-accomplishments provides persuasive support to his high-level message of being an innovator himself—not just somebody who knows how to talk about innovation.

Listing publications that have quoted him adds to his credibility as a respected expert in the field.

To enhance your credibility, emphasize such factors as honesty, objectivity, and awareness of audience needs.

Follow these steps to build your credibility as an online voice. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Building credibility online

● Confidence. Audiences need to know that you believe in yourself and your message. If you are convinced that your message is sound, you can state your case confidently, without sounding boastful or arrogant.

● Sincerity. When you offer praise, don’t use hyperbole, such as “You are the most fantastic employee I could ever imagine.” Instead, point out specific qualities that warrant praise.

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Be aware that credibility can take days, months, even years to establish—and it can be wiped out in an instant. An occasional mistake or letdown may be forgiven, but major lapses in honesty or integrity can destroy your reputation.

ProjeCting Your CoMPanY’S iMage

When you communicate with anyone outside your organization, it is more than a con- versation between two individuals. You represent your company and therefore play a vital role in helping the company build and maintain positive relationships with all of its stakeholders. Most successful companies work hard to foster a specific public image, and your external communication efforts need to project that image. As part of this re- sponsibility, the interests and preferred communication style of your company must take precedence over your own views and personal communication style.

Many organizations have specific communication guidelines that show everything from the correct use of the company name to preferred abbreviations and other grammati- cal details. Specifying a desired style of communication is more difficult, however. Observe more experienced colleagues to see how they communicate, and never hesitate to ask for editorial help to make sure you’re conveying the appropriate tone. For instance, with clients entrusting thousands or millions of dollars to it, an investment firm communicates in a style quite different from that of a clothing retailer. And a clothing retailer specializing in high-quality business attire communicates in a different style than a store catering to the latest trends in casual wear.

Adapting to Your Audience: Controlling Your Style and Tone Your communication style involves the choices you make to express yourself: the words you select, the manner in which you use those words in sentences, and the way you build paragraphs from individual sentences. Your style creates a certain tone, or overall impres- sion, in your messages. The right tone depends on the nature of your message and your relationship with the reader.

Creating a ConverSationaL tone

The tone of your business messages can range from informal to conversational to formal. If you’re in a large organization and you’re communicating with your superiors or with customers, the right tone will usually be more formal and respectful.7 However, that same tone might sound distant and cold in a small organization or if used with close colleagues. Part of the challenge of communicating on the job is to read each situation and figure out the appropriate tone to use.

Compare the three versions of the message in Table 4.2 on the next page. The first is too formal and stuffy for today’s audiences, whereas the third is too casual for any audience other than close associates or friends. The second message demonstrates the conversational tone used in most business communication—plain language that sounds businesslike without being stuffy at one extreme or too laid-back and informal at the other extreme. You can achieve a tone that is conversational but still businesslike following these guidelines:

● Understand the difference between texting and writing. The casual, acronym-filled language friends often use in text messaging, IM, and social networks is not considered professional business writing. Yes, it is an efficient way for friends to communicate— particularly taking into account the limitations of a phone keypad—but if you want to be taken seriously in business, you simply cannot write like this on the job.

● Avoid obsolete and pompous language. Most companies now shy away from such dated phrases as “attached please find” and “please be advised that.” Similarly, avoid us- ing obscure words, stale or clichéd expressions, and complicated sentences whose only intent is to impress others.

Your company’s interests and reputation take precedence over your personal views and communication style.

3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain how to achieve a tone that is conversational but business- like, explain the value of using plain language, and define active and passive voice.

Most business messages aim for a conversational style that is warm but businesslike.

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● Avoid preaching and bragging. Readers tend to get irritated by know-it-alls who like to preach or brag. However, if you need to remind your audience of something that should be obvious, try to work in the information casually, perhaps in the middle of a paragraph, where it will sound like a secondary comment rather than a major revelation.

● Be careful with intimacy. Business messages should generally avoid intimacy, such as sharing personal details or adopting a casual, unprofessional tone. However, when you have a close relationship with audience members, such as among the members of a close-knit team, a more intimate tone is sometimes appropriate and even expected.

● Be careful with humor. Humor can easily backfire and divert attention from your message. If you don’t know your audience well or you’re not skilled at using humor in a business setting, don’t use it at all. Avoid humor in formal messages and when you’re communicating across cultural boundaries.

uSing PLain Language

An important aspect of creating a conversational tone is using plain language (or plain English specifically when English is involved). Plain language presents information in a

simple, unadorned style that allows your audience to eas- ily grasp your meaning—language that recipients “can read, understand and act upon the first time they read it.”8 You can see how this definition supports using the “you” atti- tude and shows respect for your audience (see Figure 4.3). In addition, plain language can make companies more pro- ductive and more profitable because people spend less time trying to figure out messages that are confusing or aren’t written to meet their needs.9

TABLE 4.2 formal, Conversational, and informal tones

Tone Example

Stuffy: too formal for today’s audiences

Dear Ms. Navarro:

Enclosed please find the information that was requested during our telephone communication of May 14. As was mentioned at that time, Midville Hospital has significantly more doctors of exceptional quality than any other health facility in the state.

As you were also informed, our organization has quite an impressive network of doctors and other health-care professionals with offices located throughout the state. In the event that you should need a specialist, our professionals will be able to make an appropriate recommendation.

In the event that you have questions or would like additional information, you may certainly contact me during regular business hours.

Most sincerely yours,

Samuel G. Berenz

Conversational: just right for most business communication

Dear Ms. Navarro:

Here’s the information you requested during our phone conversation on Friday. As I mentioned, Midville Hospital has the highest-rated doctors and more of them than any other hospital in the state.

In addition, we have a vast network of doctors and other health professionals with offices throughout the state. If you need a specialist, they can refer you to the right one.

If you would like more information, please call any time between 9:00 and 5:00, Monday through Friday.

Sincerely,

Samuel G. Berenz

Unprofessional: too casual for business communication

Here’s the 411 you requested. IMHO, we have more and better doctors than any other hospital in the state.

FYI, we also have a large group of doctors and other health professionals w/offices close to U at work/home. If U need a specialist, they’ll refer U to the right one

Any? just ring or msg.

L8R,

S

Audiences can understand and act on plain language without reading it over and over.

These seven tips can help you transform your business writing from merely ordinary to powerful and persuasive. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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SeLeCting aCtive or PaSSive voiCe

The choice of active or passive voice also affects the tone of your message. In a sentence writ- ten in the active voice, the subject performs the action and the object receives the action: “Jodi sent the email message.” In a sentence written in the passive voice, the subject receives the action: “The email message was sent by Jodi.” As you can see, the passive voice combines the helping verb to be with a form of the verb that is usually similar to the past tense.

Using the active voice often makes your writing more direct, livelier, and easier to read (see Table 4.3 on the next page). Passive voice is not wrong grammatically, but it can be cumbersome, lengthy, and vague. In most cases, the active voice is the better choice.10 Nevertheless, using the passive voice can help you demonstrate the “you” attitude in some situations:

● When you want to be diplomatic about pointing out a problem or an error ● When you want to point out what’s being done without taking or attributing either the

credit or the blame ● When you want to avoid personal pronouns (I and we) in order to create an objec-

tive tone

The second half of Table 4.3 illustrates several situations in which the passive voice helps you focus your message on your audience.

Composing Your Message: Choosing Powerful Words After you have decided how to adapt to your audience, you’re ready to begin composing your message. As you write your first draft, let your creativity flow. Don’t try to draft and edit at the same time, and don’t worry about getting everything perfect. Make up words if you can’t think of the right ones, draw pictures, or talk out loud—do whatever it takes to get the ideas out of your head and onto your computer screen or a piece of paper. If you’ve planned carefully, you’ll have time to revise and refine the material later. In fact, many

Figure 4.3 Plain Language at Creative Commons Creative Commons uses this diagram and text to explain the differences among its three versions of content licenses. Source: Copyright © 2012 by Creative Commons. Reprinted with permission.

The notion of three layers is carried through the text and reinforced with the diagram.

The introductory sentence expresses the main idea, that the licenses are built in three layers (note that “use” would be a simpler alternative to “incorporate”).

The paragraph on the “human readable” version explains why it exists and whom it benefits.

The purpose and function of the “machine readable” version are less obvious than in the other two versions, so this paragraph offers a more extensive explanation.

Active sentences are usually stronger than passive ones.

Use passive sentences to soften bad news, to put yourself in the back- ground, or to create an impersonal tone when needed.

4 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe how to select words that are not only correct but also effective.

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writers find it helpful to establish a personal rule of never showing a first draft to anyone. By working in this “safe zone,” away from the critical eyes of others, your mind will stay free to think clearly and creatively.

You may find it helpful to hone your craft by viewing your writing at three levels: strong words, effective sentences, and coherent paragraphs. Starting at the word level, successful writers pay close attention to the correct use of words.11 If you make errors of grammar or usage, you lose credibility with your audience—even if your message is otherwise correct. Poor grammar suggests to readers that you lack professionalism, and they may choose not to trust you as an unprofessional source. Moreover, poor grammar may imply that you don’t respect your audience enough to get things right.

The rules of grammar and usage can be a source of worry for writers because some of these rules are complex and some evolve over time. Even professional editors and gram- marians occasionally have questions about correct usage, and they may disagree about the answers. For example, the word data is the plural form of datum, yet some experts now prefer to treat data as a singular noun when it’s used in nonscientific material to refer to a body of facts or figures.

With practice, you’ll become more skilled in making correct choices over time. If you have doubts about what is correct, you have many ways to find the answer. Check the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage at the end of this book, or consult the many special reference books and resources available in libraries, in bookstores, and on the Internet.

In addition to using words correctly, successful writers and speakers take care to use the most effective words and phrases. Selecting and using words effectively is often more challenging than using words correctly because doing so is a matter of judgment and expe- rience. Careful writers continue to work at their craft to find words that communicate with power (see Figure 4.4).

BaLanCing aBStraCt and ConCrete WordS

The nouns in your business messages can vary dramatically in their degree of abstraction or concreteness. An abstract word expresses a concept, quality, or characteristic. Abstrac-

tions are usually broad, encompassing a category of ideas, and are often intellectual, academic, or philosophical. Love, honor, progress, tradition, and beauty are abstractions, as are such im- portant business concepts as productivity, quality, and motiva- tion. In contrast, a concrete word stands for something you can touch, see, or visualize. Most concrete terms are anchored in the tangible, material world. Chair, green, two, database, and website are concrete words; they are direct, clear, and exact.

TABLE 4.3 Choosing active or Passive voice

In general, avoid passive voice to make your writing lively and direct.

Dull and Indirect in Passive Voice Lively and Direct in Active Voice

The new procedure was developed by the operations team. The operations team developed the new procedure.

Legal problems are created by this contract. This contract creates legal problems.

Reception preparations have been undertaken by our PR people for the new CEO’s arrival.

Our PR people have begun planning a reception for the new CEO.

However, passive voice is helpful when you need to be diplomatic or want to focus attention on problems or solutions rather than on people.

Accusatory or Self-Congratulatory in Active Voice More Diplomatic in Passive Voice

You lost the shipment. The shipment was lost.

I recruited seven engineers last month. Seven engineers were recruited last month.

We are investigating the high rate of failures on the final assembly line. The high rate of failures on the final assembly line is being investigated.

MOBILE APPS

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Correctness is the first consider- ation when choosing words.

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Effectiveness is the second consid- eration when choosing words.

The more abstract a word is, the more it is removed from the tan- gible, objective world of things that can be perceived with the senses.

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Of the two types, abstractions tend to cause more trouble because they are often “fuzzy” and can be interpreted differently, depending on the audience and the circumstances. The best way to minimize such problems is to balance abstract terms with concrete ones. State the concept, then pin it down with details expressed in more concrete terms. Save the ab- stractions for ideas that cannot be expressed any other way.

finding WordS that CoMMuniCate WeLL

When you compose business messages, look for the most powerful words for each situation (see Table 4.4 on the next page):

● Choose strong, precise words. Choose words that express your thoughts clearly, spe- cifically, and strongly. If you find yourself using many adjectives and adverbs, chances

Try to use words that are powerful and familiar.

Figure 4.4 Choosing Powerful Words Notice how careful word choices help this excerpt from a report published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants make a number of important points. The tone is formal, which is appropriate for a report with global, public readership. (GAAP refers to accounting standards currently used in the United States; IFRS refers to international standards.) Source: ©2013 AICPA used by permission.

Robust goes beyond simply strong to suggest resilient and comprehensive as well.

Gold standard (a term borrowed from economics) refers to something against which all similar entities are compared, an unsurpassed model of excellence.

Claim is a powerful word here because it suggests a strong element of doubt.

In the context of a survey significant means more than just important; it indicates a statistical observation that is large enough to be more than mere chance. Positive indicates the direction of the change and suggests affirmation and progress.

Carve out is much stronger than remove because it could suggest surgical precision if done well or perhaps violent destruction if not done with finesse. In this context, carve out is meant to express a concern about countries weakening the international financial standards by modifying them to meet their own needs.

The diplomatic use of passive voice keeps the focus on the issue at hand, rather than on the organizations that are involved.

In many cases, global is an absolute term and doesn’t benefit from a modifier such as truly. However, economic globalization is occurring in stages, so truly here suggests the point at which globalization is nearly complete.

Growing interest in the global acceptance of a single set of robust accounting standards comes from all participants in the capital markets. Many multinational companies and national regulators and users support it because they believe that the use of common standards in the preparation of public company financial statements will make it easier to compare the financial results of reporting entities from different countries. They believe it will help investors understand opportunities better. Large public companies with subsidiaries in multiple jurisdictions would be able to use one accounting language company-wide and present their financial statements in the same language as their competitors.

Another benefit some believe is that in a truly global economy, financial professionals including CPAs will be more mobile, and companies will more easily be able to respond to the human capital needs of their subsidiaries around the world.

Nevertheless, many people also believe that U.S. GAAP is the gold standard, and something will be lost with full acceptance of IFRS. However, recent SEC actions and global trends have increased awareness of the need to address possible adoption. According to a survey conducted in the first half of 2008 by Deloitte & Touche among chief financial officers and other financial professionals, U.S. companies have an interest in adopting IFRS and this interest is steadily growing. Thirty percent would consider adopting IFRS now, another 28 percent are unsure or do not have sufficient knowledge to decide, while 42 percent said they would not. Still, an AICPA survey conducted in Fall 2008 among its CPA members shows a significant and positive shift in the number of firms and companies that are starting to prepare for eventual adoption of IFRS. A 55 percent majority of CPAs at firms and companies nationwide said they are preparing in a variety of ways for IFRS adoption, an increase of 14 percentage points over the 41 percent who were preparing for change, according to an April 2008 AICPA survey.

Another concern is that worldwide many countries that claim to be converging to international standards may never get 100 percent compliance. Most reserve the right to carve out selectively or modify standards they do not consider in their national interest, an action that could lead to incompatibility—the very issue that IFRS seek to address.

Great strides have been made by the FASB and the IASB to converge the content of IFRS and U.S. GAAP. The goal is that by the time the SEC allows or mandates the use of IFRS for U.S. publicly traded companies, most or all of the key differences will have been resolved.

Because of these ongoing convergence projects, the extent of the specific differences between IFRS and U.S. GAAP is shrinking. Yet significant differences do remain. For example:

• IFRS does not permit Last In First Out (LIFO) as an inventory costing method.

• IFRS uses a single-step method for impairment write-downs rather than the two-step method used in U.S. GAAP, making write-downs more likely.

• IFRS has a different probability threshold and measurement objective for contingencies.

• IFRS does not permit curing debt covenant violations after year-end.

• IFRS guidance regarding revenue recognition is less extensive than GAAP and contains relatively little industry-specific instructions.

5

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 4.4’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

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TABLE 4.4 Selected examples of finding Powerful Words

Potentially Weak Words and Phrases Stronger Alternatives (effective usage depends on the situation)

Increase (as a verb) Accelerate, amplify, augment, enlarge, escalate, expand, extend, magnify, multiply, soar, swell

Decrease (as a verb) Curb, cut back, depreciate, dwindle, shrink, slacken

Large, small (use a specific number, such as $100 million)

Good Admirable, beneficial, desirable, flawless, pleasant, sound, superior, worthy

Bad Abysmal, corrupt, deficient, flawed, inadequate, inferior, poor, substandard, worthless

We are committed to providing . . . We provide . . .

It is in our best interest to . . . We should . . .

Unfamiliar Words Familiar Words

Ascertain Find out, learn

Consummate Close, bring about

Peruse Read, study

Circumvent Avoid

Unequivocal Certain

Clichés and Buzzwords Plain Language

An uphill battle A challenge

Writing on the wall Prediction

Call the shots Lead

Take by storm Attack

Costs an arm and a leg Expensive

A new ball game Fresh start

Fall through the cracks Be overlooked

Think outside the box Be creative

Run it up the flagpole Find out what people think about it

Eat our own dog food Use our own products

Mission-critical Vital

Disintermediate Get rid of

Green light (as a verb) Approve

Architect (as a verb) Design

Space (as in, “we compete in the XYZ space”) Market or industry

Blocking and tackling Basic skills

Trying to boil the ocean Working frantically but without focus

Human capital People, employees, workforce

Low-hanging fruit Tasks that are easy to complete or sales that are easy to close

Pushback Resistance

are you’re trying to compensate for weak nouns and verbs. Saying that sales plummeted is stronger and more efficient than saying sales dropped dramatically or sales experi- enced a dramatic drop.

● Choose familiar words. You’ll communicate best with words that are familiar to both you and your readers. Moreover, trying to use unfamiliar words can lead to embarrass- ing mistakes.

● Avoid clichés and use buzzwords carefully. Although familiar words are generally the best choice, avoid clichés—terms and phrases so common that they have lost some

Avoid clichés, be extremely careful with trendy buzzwords, and use jargon only when your audience is completely familiar with it.

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of their power to communicate. Buzzwords, newly coined terms often associated with technology, business, or cultural changes, are more difficult to handle than clichés be- cause in small doses and in the right situations, they can be useful. The careful use of a buzzword can signal that you’re an insider, someone in the know.12 However, buzz- words quickly become clichés, and using them too late in their “life cycle” can mark you as an outsider desperately trying to look like an insider.

● Use jargon carefully. Jargon, the specialized language of a particular profession or in- dustry, has a bad reputation, but it’s not always bad. Using jargon is usually an efficient way to communicate within the specific groups that understand these terms. After all, that’s how jargon develops in the first place, as people with similar interests develop ways to communicate complex ideas quickly.

If you need help finding the right words, try some of the visual dictionaries and thesau- ruses available online.

Composing Your Message: Creating Effective Sentences Arranging your carefully chosen words in effective sentences is the next step in creating successful messages. Start by selecting the best type of sentence to communicate each point you want to make.

ChooSing froM the four tYPeS of SentenCeS

Sentences come in four basic varieties: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. A simple sentence has one main clause (a single subject and a single predicate), although it may be expanded by nouns and pronouns serving as objects of the action and by modifying phrases. Consider this example (with the subject underlined once and the predicate verb un- derlined twice):

5 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDefine the four types of sentences, and explain how sentence style affects emphasis within a message.

MOBILE APPS

The Advanced English Dictionary and Thesaurus helps you find the right word by organizing words ac- cording to their relationship with other words.

A simple sentence has one main clause.

A compound sentence has two main clauses that express two or more independent but related thoughts of equal importance, usually joined by and, but, or or. In effect, a com- pound sentence is a merger of two or more simple sentences (independent clauses) that are related. For example:

Profits increased 35 percent in the past year.

Wages declined by 5 percent, and employee turnover has been higher than ever.

The independent clauses in a compound sentence are always separated by a comma or by a semicolon (in which case the conjunction—and, but, or or—is dropped).

A complex sentence expresses one main thought (the independent clause) and one or more subordinate thoughts (dependent clauses) related to it, often separated by a comma. The subordinate thought, which comes first in the following sentence, could not stand alone:

A compound sentence has two main clauses.

Although you may question Gerald’s conclusions, you must admit that his research is thorough.

A complex sentence has one main clause and one subordinate clause.

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A compound-complex sentence has two main clauses, at least one of which contains a subordinate clause:

A compound-complex sentence has two main clauses and at least one dependent clause.

Maintain some variety among the four sentence types to keep your writing from getting choppy (too many short, simple sentences) or exhausting (too many long sentences).

Emphasize specific parts of sentences by ● Devoting more words to them ● Putting them at the beginning

or at the end of the sentence ● Making them the subject of the

sentence

Strive for variety and balance using all four sentence types. If you use too many simple sentences, you won’t be able to properly express the relationships among your ideas, and your writing will sound choppy and abrupt. At the other extreme, a long series of com- pound, complex, or compound-complex sentences can be tiring to read.

uSing SentenCe StYLe to eMPhaSize KeY thoughtS

In every message, some ideas are more important than others. You can emphasize key ideas through your sentence style. One obvious technique is to give important points the most space. When you want to call attention to a thought, use extra words to describe it. Consider this sentence:

The chairperson called for a vote of the shareholders.

Having considerable experience in corporate takeover battles, the chairperson called for a vote of the shareholders.

The chairperson called for a vote of the shareholders. She has considerable experience in corporate takeover battles.

I can write letters much more quickly using a computer.

The computer enables me to write letters much more quickly.

To emphasize the importance of the chairperson, you might describe her more fully:

You can increase the emphasis even more by adding a separate, short sentence to aug- ment the first:

You can also call attention to a thought by making it the subject of the sentence. In the following example, the emphasis is on the person:

However, when you change the subject, the computer takes center stage:

Another way to emphasize an idea is to place it either at the beginning or at the end of a sentence:

Less emphatic: We are cutting the price to stimulate demand. More emphatic: To stimulate demand, we are cutting the price.

Profits increased 35 percent in the past year, so although the company faces long-term challenges, I agree that its short-term prospects look quite positive.

The Writer’s Handbook from the University of Wisconsin offers tips on writing clear, concise sentences. Go to http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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In complex sentences, the ideal placement of the dependent clause depends on the re- lationship between the ideas expressed. If you want to emphasize the idea expressed in the dependent clause, put that clause at the end of the sentence (the most emphatic position) or at the beginning (the second most emphatic position). If you want to downplay the idea, position the dependent clause within the sentence.

6 LEARNING OBJECTIVE Define the three key elements of a paragraph, and list five ways to develop coherent paragraphs.

Techniques such as these give you a great deal of control over the way your audience interprets what you have to say.

Composing Your Message: Crafting Coherent Paragraphs Paragraphs organize sentences related to the same general topic. Readers expect every para- graph to be unified—focusing on a single topic—and coherent—presenting ideas in a logi- cally connected way. By carefully arranging the elements of each paragraph, you help your readers grasp the main idea of your document and understand how the specific pieces of support material back up that idea.

Creating the eLeMentS of a ParagraPh

Paragraphs vary widely in length and form, but most contain three basic elements: a topic sentence, support sentences that develop the topic, and transitional words and phrases.

Topic Sentence

Most effective paragraphs deal with a single topic, and the sentence that introduces that topic is called the topic sentence (see Figure 4.5 on the next page). This sentence, usually the first one in the paragraph, gives readers a summary of the general idea that will be covered in the rest of the paragraph. The following examples show how a topic sentence can introduce the subject and suggest the way the subject will be developed:

The best placement of the depen- dent clause depends on the rela- tionship between the ideas in the sentence.

Most emphatic: The electronic parts are manufactured in Mexico, which has lower wage rates than the United States. Emphatic: Because wage rates are lower in Mexico than in the United States, the electronic parts are manufactured there. Least emphatic: Mexico, which has lower wage rates than the United States, was selected as the production site for the electronic parts.

MOBILE APPS

Pages is a full-featured word pro- cessing app for iOS devices.

Most paragraphs consist of ● A topic sentence that reveals the

subject of the paragraph ● Related sentences that support

and expand the topic ● Transitions that help readers

move between sentences and paragraphs

The medical products division has been troubled for many years by public relations problems. [In the rest of the paragraph, readers will learn the details of the problems.]

To get a refund, please supply us with the following information. [The details of the necessary information will be described in the rest of the paragraph.]

Support Sentences

In most paragraphs, the topic sentence needs to be explained, justified, or extended with one or more support sentences. These sentences must be related to the topic and provide examples, evidence, and clarification:

The medical products division has been troubled for many years by public relations prob- lems. Since 2014 the local newspaper has published 15 articles that portray the division in a negative light. We have been accused of everything from mistreating laboratory animals to polluting the local groundwater. Our facility has been described as a health hazard. Our scientists are referred to as “Frankensteins,” and our profits are considered “obscene.”

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Figure 4.5 Topic Sentences In this blog post, informative subheadings function as topic sentences for the paragraphs that follow. Source: Ignite Social Media.

The post title or headline serves as a “topic sentence” for the entire article.

The subheadings, which are actually complete sentences with the implied

subject “you,” convey the key message of each paragraph that follows.

Each paragraph expands on the topic expressed in its subheading, offering examples and more-detailed advice.

Notice how these support sentences are all more specific than the topic sentence. Each one provides another piece of evidence to demonstrate the general truth of the main thought. Also, each sentence is clearly related to the general idea being developed, which gives the paragraph its unity. A paragraph is well developed when it contains enough in- formation to make the topic sentence convincing and interesting and doesn’t contain any unneeded or unrelated sentences.

Transitions

Transitions connect ideas by showing how one thought is related to another. They also help alert the reader to what lies ahead so that shifts and changes don’t cause confusion. In addition to helping readers understand the connections you’re trying to make, transitions give your writing a smooth, even flow.

Depending on the specific need within a document, transitional elements can range in length from a single word to an entire paragraph or more. You can establish transitions in a variety of ways:

● Use connecting words. Use words such as and, but, or, nevertheless, however, and in addition.

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● Echo a word or phrase from a previous paragraph or sentence. “A system should be established for monitoring inventory levels. This system will provide . . .”

● Use a pronoun that refers to a noun used previously. “Ms. Arthur is the leading can- didate for the president’s position. She has excellent qualifications.”

● Use words that are frequently paired. “The machine has a minimum output of. . . Its maximum output is . . .”

Some transitions serve as mood changers, alerting the reader to a change in mood from the previous material. Some announce a total contrast with what’s gone on before, some announce a cause-and-effect relationship, and some signal a change in time. Here is a list of common transitions:

Transitional elements include ● Connecting words

(conjunctions) ● Repeated words or phrases ● Pronouns ● Words that are frequently paired

Five ways to develop paragraphs: ● Illustration ● Comparison or contrast ● Cause and effect ● Classification ● Problem and solution

7 LEARNING OBJECTIVEList five techniques for writing effective messages for mobile readers.

To write effectively for mobile devices ● Use a linear organization ● Prioritize information ● Write short, focused messages ● Use short subject lines and

headings ● Use short paragraphs

Additional detail: moreover, furthermore, in addition, besides, first, second, third, finally Cause-and-effect relationship: therefore, because, accordingly, thus, consequently, hence, as a result, so Comparison: similarly, here again, likewise, in comparison, still Contrast: yet, conversely, whereas, nevertheless, on the other hand, however, but, nonetheless Condition: although, if Illustration: for example, in particular, in this case, for instance Time sequence: formerly, after, when, meanwhile, sometimes Intensification: indeed, in fact, in any event Summary: in brief, in short, to sum up Repetition: that is, in other words, as I mentioned earlier

Consider using a transition whenever it might help the reader understand your ideas and follow you from point to point. You can use transitions inside paragraphs to tie together related points and between paragraphs to ease the shift from one distinct thought to an- other. In longer reports, a transition that links major sections or chapters is often a complete paragraph that serves as a summary of the ideas presented in the section just ending and/or as a mini-introduction to the next section.

deveLoPing ParagraPhS

You have a variety of options for developing paragraphs, each of which can convey a specific type of idea. Five of the most common approaches are illustration, comparison or contrast, cause and effect, classification, and problem and solution (see Table 4.5 on the next page).

Writing Messages for Mobile Devices One obvious adaptation to make for audiences using mobile devices is to modify the design and layout of your messages to fit smaller screen sizes and different user interface features (see Chapter 5). However, modifying your approach to writing is also important. Reading is more difficult on small screens, and consequently users’ ability to comprehend what they read on mobile devices is lower than it is on larger screens.13 Use these five techniques to make your mobile messages more effective:

● Use a linear organization. In a printed document or on a larger screen, readers can easily take in multiple elements on a page, such as preview or summary boxes, tables and other supporting visuals, and sidebars with related information. All these elements are in view at the same time, so readers can jump around the page to read various parts without feel- ing lost. However, with small mobile device screens, a complicated organization requires readers to zoom in and out and pan around to see all these elements at readable text sizes.

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TABLE 4.5 five techniques for developing Paragraphs

Technique Description Example

Illustration Giving examples that demonstrate the general idea

Some of our most popular products are available through local distributors. For example, Everett & Lemmings carries our frozen soups and entrees. The J. B. Green Company carries our complete line of seasonings, as well as the frozen soups. Wilmont Foods, also a major distributor, now carries our new line of frozen desserts.

Comparison or contrast

Using similarities or differences to develop the topic

When the company was small, the recruiting function could be handled informally. The need for new employees was limited, and each manager could comfortably screen and hire her or his own staff. However, our successful bid on the Owens contract means that we will be doubling our labor force over the next six months. To hire that many people without disrupting our ongoing activities, we will create a separate recruiting group within the hu- man resources department.

Cause and effect

Focusing on the reasons for something

The heavy-duty fabric of your Wanderer tent probably broke down for one of two reasons: (1) a sharp object punctured the fabric, and without reinforcement, the hole was enlarged by the stress of pitching the tent daily for a week or (2) the fibers gradually rotted because the tent was folded and stored while still wet.

Classification Showing how a general idea is broken into specific categories

Successful candidates for our supervisor trainee program generally come from one of several groups. The largest group by far consists of recent graduates of accredited business management programs. The next largest group comes from within our own company, as we try to promote promising staff workers to positions of greater respon- sibility. Finally, we occasionally accept candidates with outstanding supervisory experience in related industries.

Problem and solution

Presenting a problem and then discussing the solution

Selling handmade toys online is a challenge because consumers are accustomed to buying heavily advertised toys from major chain stores or well-known websites such as Amazon.com. However, if we develop an appeal- ing website, we can compete on the basis of product novelty and quality. In addition, we can provide unusual crafts at a competitive price: a rocking horse of birch, with a hand-knit tail and mane; a music box with the child’s name painted on the top; and a real teepee made by Native American artisans.

This makes reading slower and raises the odds that read- ers will get disoriented and lose the thread of the message because they can’t see the big picture. To simplify reading, organize with a linear flow from the top to the bottom of the message or article.

● Prioritize information. Small screens make it difficult for readers to scan the page to find the information they want most. Prioritize the information based on what you know about their needs and put that information first.14 Use the inverted pyramid style favored by journalists, in which you

Usability experts at Nielsen Norman Group offer dozens of research- based articles on effective communication using mobile devices and other technologies. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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reveal the most important information briefly at first and then provide successive lay- ers of detail that readers can consume if they want. Note that you may need to avoid using the indirect approach (see page 72) if your message is complicated, because it will be more difficult for readers to follow your chain of reasoning.

● Write shorter and more-focused messages and documents. Mobile users often lack the patience or opportunity to read lengthy messages or documents, so keep it short.15 In some cases, this could require you to write two documents, a shorter executive sum- mary (see page 280) for mobile use and a longer supporting document that readers can access with their PCs if they want more details.

● Use shorter subject lines and headings. Mobile devices, particularly phones, can’t display as many characters in a single line of text as the typical computer screen can. Depending on the app or website, email subject lines and page headings will be truncated or will wrap around to take up multiple lines. Both formats make reading more difficult. A good rule of thumb is to keep subject lines and headlines to around 25 characters.16 This doesn’t give you much text to work with, so make every word count and make sure you start with the key words so readers can instantly see what the subject line or heading is about.17

● Use shorter paragraphs. In addition to structuring a me ssage according to discrete blocks of information, paragraphs have a visual role in written communication as well. Shorter paragraphs are less intimidating and let readers take frequent “micro rests” as they move through a document. Because far less text is displayed at once on a mobile screen, keep paragraphs as short as possible so readers don’t have to swipe through screen after screen before getting to paragraph breaks.

Compare the two messages in Figure 4.6 to get a sense of how to write reader-friendly mobile content.

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Figure 4.6 Writing for Mobile Devices Messages and documents created for printed pages and full-sized screen can be difficult and frustrating on mobile devices (Figures 4.6a and 4.6b). For mobile audiences, rewrite with short headlines and concise, linear content—notice how much easier Figure 4.6c is to read.

The text from this conventional report page is too small to read on a phone screen.

However, zooming in to read forces the reader to lose context and repeatedly hunt around to find all the pieces of the page.

Optimizing for mobile includes writing short headlines that get right to the point.

This introduction conveys only the information readers need in order to grasp the scope of the article.

All the key points of the documents appear here on the first screen.

Readers who want more detail can swipe down for background information on the five points.

Figure 4.6a Figure 4.6b

Figure 4.6c

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100 Part 2 The Three-Step Writing Process

Learning Objectives: Check Your Progress

Objective 1: Identify the four aspects of being sensitive to audience needs when writing business messages. First, the “you” attitude refers to speaking and writing in terms of your audience’s wishes, interests, hopes, and preferences rather than your own. Writing with this attitude is essential to effective communication because it shows your audience that you have their needs in mind, not just your own. Second, good etiquette not only indicates respect for your audience but also helps foster a more successful environment for communication by minimizing nega- tive emotional reaction. Third, sensitive communicators under- stand the difference between delivering negative news and being negative. Without hiding the negative news, they look for ways to emphasize positive aspects. Fourth, being sensitive includes taking care to avoid biased language that unfairly and even unethically categorizes or stigmatizes people in ways related to gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, or other personal characteristics.

Objective 2: Explain how establishing your credibility and projecting your company’s image are vital aspects of building strong relationships with your audience. Successful communication relies on a positive relationship be- tween sender and receiver. The way audiences respond to your messages depends heavily on your credibility, which is a measure of your believability based on how reliable you are and how much trust you evoke in others. When you have established credibility with an audience, communication becomes much easier because you no longer have to spend time and energy convincing people that you are a trustworthy source of information and ideas. Proj- ect your company’s desired image when communicating with ex- ternal audiences. You represent your company and therefore play a vital role in helping the company build and maintain positive relationships with all stakeholders.

Objective 3: Explain how to achieve a tone that is conver- sational but businesslike, explain the value of using plain language, and define active and passive voice. To achieve a tone that is conversational but still businesslike, avoid obsolete and pompous language, avoid preaching and bragging, be careful with intimacy (sharing personal details or adopting an overly casual tone), and be careful with humor. Plain language is a way of presenting information in a simple, unadorned style so that your audience can easily grasp your meaning. By writing and speak- ing in plain terms, you demonstrate the “you” attitude and show re- spect for your audience. In the active voice, the subject performs the action and the object receives the action. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action. The passive voice combines the helping verb to be with a form of the verb that is usually in the past tense.

Objective 4: Describe how to select words that are not only correct but also effective. Selecting the correct and most effective words involves balanc- ing abstract and concrete words, choosing powerful and familiar

words, avoiding clichés, using buzzwords carefully, and using jar- gon carefully.

Objective 5: Define the four types of sentences, and explain how sentence style affects emphasis within a message. The four types of sentences are simple (one main clause), com- pound (two main clauses that express independent but related ideas of equal importance), complex (one main clause and one subordinate clause of lesser importance), and compound-complex (two main clauses, at least one of which contains a subordinate clause). Sentence style affects emphasis by playing up or playing down specific parts of a sentence. To emphasize a certain point, you can place it at the end of the sentence or make it the subject of the sentence. To deemphasize a point, put it in the middle of the sentence.

Objective 6: Define the three key elements of a paragraph, and list five ways to develop coherent paragraphs. The three key elements of a paragraph are a topic sentence that identifies the subject of the paragraph, support sentences that de- velop the topic and provide examples and evidence, and transi- tional words and phrases that help readers connect one thought to the next. Five ways to develop coherent paragraphs are illustra- tion, comparison or contrast, cause and effect, classification, and problem and solution.

Objective 7: List five techniques for writing effective messages for mobile readers. Five techniques for writing effective messages for mobile read- ers are using a linear organization so readers don’t have to jump around the screen to find important message elements; priori- tizing information and deliver the most important information first; writing short, focused messages; using short subject lines and headings; and using short paragraphs.

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com to complete the problems marked with this icon .

Chapter Review and Activities

Test Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 4-1. What is meant by the “you” attitude? [LO-1] 4-2. In what three situations should you consider using pas-

sive voice? [LO-3] 4-3. How does an abstract word differ from a concrete word?

[LO-4] 4-4. How can you use sentence style to emphasize key

thoughts? [LO-5] 4-5. What functions do transitions serve? [LO-6]

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4-22. You neglected to sign the enclosed contract. 4-23. You failed to enclose your instructions for your new will.

Bias-Free Language: Rewrite each of the following sentences to eliminate bias. [LO-1] 4-24. A pilot must have the ability to stay calm under pressure,

and then he must be trained to cope with any problem that arises.

4-25. Candidate Renata Parsons, married and the mother of a teenager, will attend the debate.

4-26. For as old as he is, Sam Nugent is still one of our most active sales reps.

Message Composition: Selecting Words: In the following sen- tences, replace vague phrases (underlined) with concrete phrases. Make up any details you might need. [LO-4] 4-27. We will be opening our new facility sometime this spring. 4-28. After the reception, we were surprised that such a large

number attended. 4-29. The new production line has been operating with

increased efficiency on every run. 4-30. Over the holiday, we hired a crew to expand the work area.

Message Composition: Selecting Words: In the following sentences, replace weak terms (in italics) with words that are stronger: [LO-4] 4-31. The two reporters (ran after) every lead

enthusiastically. 4-32. The (bright) colors in that ad are keeping

customers from seeing what we have to sell. 4-33. Health costs (suddenly rise) when manage-

ment forgets to emphasize safety issues. 4-34. Once we solved the zoning issue, new business construc-

tion (moved forward), and the district has been flourishing ever since.

Message Composition: Selecting Words: Rewrite these sentences to replace the clichés with fresh, personal expressions. [LO-4] 4-35. Being a jack-of-all-trades, Dave worked well in his new

selling job. 4-36. Moving Leslie into the accounting department, where she

was literally a fish out of water, was like putting a square peg into a round hole, if you get my drift.

4-37. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there in the rat race of the asphalt jungle.

Message Composition: Selecting Words: In the following sen- tences, replace long, complicated words with short, simple ones. [LO-4] 4-38. Management (inaugurated) the recycling

policy six months ago. 4-39. You can convey the same meaning without

(utilizing) the same words. 4-40. You’ll never be promoted unless you

( endeavor) to be more patient. 4-41. I have to wait until payday to (ascertain)

whether I got the raise. 4-42. John will send you a copy once he’s inserted all the

(alterations) you’ve requested.

Apply Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 4-6. When composing business messages, how can you com-

municate with an authentic voice and project your com- pany’s image at the same time? [LO-2]

4-7. Should you bother using transitions if the logical se- quence of your message is already obvious? Why or why not? [LO-6]

4-8. Why can it be difficult to use the indirect approach for a complex message that will be read on mobile devices? [LO-7]

Practice Your Skills Exercises for Perfecting Your Writing

To review chapter content related to each set of exercises, refer to the indicated Learning Objective.

The “You” Attitude: Rewrite the following sentences to reflect your audience’s viewpoint. [LO-1] 4-9. We request that you use the order form supplied in the

back of our catalog. 4-10. We insist that you always bring your credit card to the store. 4-11. We want to get rid of all our 25-inch monitors to make

room in our warehouse for the 30-inch screens. Thus we are offering a 25 percent discount on all sales this week.

4-12. As requested, we are sending the refund for $25.

Emphasizing the Positive: Revise these sentences to be positive rather than negative. [LO-1] 4-13. To avoid damage to your credit rating, please remit pay-

ment within 10 days. 4-14. We don’t make refunds on returned merchandise that is

soiled. 4-15. You should have realized that waterbeds will freeze in

unheated houses during winter. Therefore, our guarantee does not cover the valve damage and you must pay the $9.50 valve-replacement fee (plus postage).

Emphasizing the Positive: Revise the following sentences to re- place unflattering terms (in italics) with euphemisms. [LO-1] 4-16. The new boss is (stubborn) when it comes to

doing things by the book. 4-17. When you say we’ve doubled our profit level, you are

(wrong). 4-18. Just be careful not to make any (stupid)

choices this week. 4-19. Jim Riley is (incompetent) for that kind of

promotion.

Courteous Communication: Revise the following sentences to make them more courteous. [LO-1] 4-20. You claim that you mailed your check last Thursday, but

we have not received it. 4-21. It is not our policy to exchange sale items, especially after

they have been worn.

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a convention. You will make an in-person introduction at the time of the speech, but you decide to introduce him or her the day before on Twitter. Write four tweets: one that introduces the expert and three that cover three key sup- porting points that will enhance the speaker’s credibility in the minds of potential listeners. Make up any informa- tion you need to complete this assignment, then email the text of your proposed tweets to your instructor.

4-53. Writing: Creating a Businesslike Tone; Media Skills: Email [LO-3] Read the following email message and then (1) analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each sentence and (2) revise the message so that it follows this chapter’s guidelines. The message was written by the marketing manager of an online retailer of baby-related products in the hope of becoming a retail outlet for Inglesina strollers and high chairs. As a manufacturer of stylish, top-quality products, Inglesina (based in Italy) is extremely selective about the retail outlets through which it allows its prod- ucts to be sold.18

Our e-tailing company, Best Baby Gear, specializes in only the very best products for parents of newborns, infants, and toddlers. We constantly scour the world looking for prod- ucts that are good enough and well-built enough and classy enough—good enough that is to take their place alongside the hundreds of other carefully selected products that adorn the pages of our award-winning website, www.bestbabygear .com. We aim for the fences every time we select a product to join this portfolio; we don’t want to waste our time with onesey-twosey products that might sell a half dozen units per annum—no, we want every product to be a top-drawer success, selling at least one hundred units per specific model per year in order to justify our expense and hassle factor in adding it to the abovementioned portfolio. After careful con- sideration, we thusly concluded that your Inglesina lines meet our needs and would therefore like to add it.

4-54. Writing: Using Plain Language; Media Skills: Blogging [LO-3] Visit the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website and locate A Plain English Handbook. In one or two sentences, summarize what the SEC means by the phrase plain English. Next, download the document “Mu- tual Funds – A Guide for Investors” (also from the SEC website). Does this information follow the SEC’s plain English guidelines? Cite several examples that support your assessment. Post your analysis on your class blog.

4-55. Writing: Creating Effective Sentences; Media Skills: Social Networking [LO-4] If you are interested in busi- ness, chances are you’ve had an idea or two for starting a company. If you haven’t yet, go ahead and dream up an idea now. Make it something you are passionate about, something you could really throw yourself into. Now write a four-sentence summary that could appear on the Info tab on a Facebook profile. Make sure the first sen- tence is a solid topic sentence, and make sure the next three sentences offer relevant evidence and examples. Feel free to make up any details you need. Email your summary to your instructor or post it on your class blog.

4-56. Writing: Crafting Unified, Coherent Paragraphs; Media Skills: Email [LO-5] Suppose that end-of-term frustrations have produced this email message to Professor Anne Brewer

Message Composition: Selecting Words: Rewrite the following sentences, replacing obsolete phrases with up-to-date versions. Write none if you think there is no appropriate substitute. [LO-4] 4-43. I have completed the form and returned it to my insur-

ance company, as per your instructions. 4-44. Attached herewith is a copy of our new contract for your

records. 4-45. Please be advised that your account with National Bank

has been compromised, and we advise you to close it as soon as possible.

Message Composition: Creating Sentences: Rewrite the follow- ing sentences so that they are active rather than passive. [LO-5] 4-46. The raw data are submitted to the data-processing divi-

sion by the sales representative each Friday. 4-47. High profits are publicized by management. 4-48. Our computers are serviced by the Santee Company. 4-49. The employees were represented by Janet Hogan.

Message Organization: Transitions: Add transitions to the fol- lowing sentences to improve the flow of ideas. (Note: You may need to eliminate or add some words to smooth out the sen- tences.) [LO-6] 4-50. Facing some of the toughest competitors in the world,

Harley-Davidson had to make some changes. The com- pany introduced new products. Harley’s management team set out to rebuild the company’s production process. New products were coming to market and the company was turning a profit. Harley’s quality standards were not on par with those of its foreign competitors. Harley’s costs were still among the highest in the industry. Harley made a U-turn and restructured the company’s organizational structure. Harley’s efforts have paid off.

4-51. Whether you’re indulging in a doughnut in New York or California, Krispy Kreme wants you to enjoy the same delicious taste with every bite. The company maintains consistent product quality by carefully controlling every step of the production process. Krispy Kreme tests all raw ingredients against established quality standards. Every delivery of wheat flour is sampled and measured for its moisture content and protein levels. Krispy Kreme blends the ingredients. Krispy Kreme tests the doughnut mix for quality. Krispy Kreme delivers the mix to its stores. Krispy Kreme knows that it takes more than a quality mix to produce perfect doughnuts all the time. The company supplies its stores with everything they need to produce premium doughnuts—mix, icings, fillings, equipment— you name it.

Activities

Each activity is labeled according to the primary skill or skills you will need to use. To review relevant chapter content, you can refer to the indicated Learning Objective. In some instances, support- ing information will be found in another chapter, as indicated. 4-52. Writing: Establishing Your Credibility; Microblogging

Skills [LO-2], Chapter 6 Search LinkedIn for the profile of an expert in any industry or profession. Now imagine that you are going to introduce this person as a speaker at

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Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage You can download the text of this assignment from http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7; click on Student Assignments and then click on Chapter 4. Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage.

Level 1: Self-Assessment—Adjectives

Review Section 1.4 in the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage and then complete the following items.

For the following items, indicate the appropriate form of the adjective that appears in parentheses. 4-58. Of the two products, this one has the (great)

potential. 4-59. The (perfect) solution is d. 4-60. Here is the (interesting) of all the ideas I

have heard so far. 4-61. Our service is (good) than theirs. 4-62. The (hard) part of my job is firing people.

For the following items, insert hyphens where required. 4-63. A highly placed source revealed Dotson’s last ditch efforts

to cover up the mistake. 4-64. Please send an extra large dust cover for my photocopier. 4-65. A top secret document was taken from the president’s of-

fice last night. 4-66. A 30 year old person should know better. 4-67. If I write a large scale report, I want to know that it will be

read by upper level management. For the following items, insert required commas, where

needed, between adjectives. 4-68. The two companies are engaged in an all-out no- holds-

barred struggle for dominance. 4-69. A tiny metal shaving is responsible for the problem. 4-70. She came to the office with a bruised swollen knee. 4-71. A chipped cracked sheet of glass is useless to us. 4-72. You’ll receive our usual cheerful prompt service.

Level 2: Workplace Applications

The following items may contain errors in grammar, capitaliza- tion, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. Rewrite each sentence, correcting all errors. If a sen- tence has no errors, write “Correct” for that number. 4-73. Its time that you learned the skills one needs to work with

suppliers and vendors to get what you want and need. 4-74. Easy flexible wireless calling plans start for as little as

$19 dollars a month. 4-75. There’s several criteria used to select customer’s to receive

this offer. 4-76. PetFood Warehouse officially became PETsMART, Jim

left the co. due to health reasons. 4-77. First quarter sales gains are evident in both the grocery

store sector (up 1.03%) and the restaurant sector (up 3.17 per cent) according to Food Institute estimates.

4-78. Whatever your challenge, learning stronger “negotiating” tactics and strategies will improve the way people work and the results that comes from their efforts.

from a student who believes he should have received a B in his accounting class. If this message were recast into three or four clear sentences, the teacher might be more receptive to the student’s argument. Rewrite the message to show how you would improve it:

I think that I was unfairly awarded a C in your accounting class this term, and I am asking you to change the grade to a B. It was a difficult term. I don’t get any money from home, and I have to work mornings at the Pancake House (as a cook), so I had to rush to make your class, and those two times that I missed class were because they wouldn’t let me off work because of special events at the Pancake House (unlike some other students who just take off when they choose). On the midterm examination, I originally got a 75 percent, but you said in class that there were two differ- ent ways to answer the third question and that you would change the grades of students who used the “optimal cost” method and had been counted off 6 points for doing this. I don’t think that you took this into account, because I got 80 percent on the final, which is clearly a B. Anyway, whatever you decide, I just want to tell you that I really en- joyed this class, and I thank you for making accounting so interesting.

4-57. Media Skills: Writing for Mobile Devices [LO-7] Find an interesting website article on any business topic. Write a three-paragraph summary that would be easy to read on a phone screen.

Expand Your Skills Critique the Professionals

Locate an example of professional communication from a repu- table online source. Choose a paragraph that has at least three sentences. Evaluate the effectiveness of this paragraph at three levels, starting with the paragraph structure. Is the paragraph unified and cohesive? Does it have a clear topic sentence and sufficient support to clarify and expand on that topic? Second, evaluate each sentence. Are the sentences easy to read and easy to understand? Did the writer vary the types and lengths of sen- tences used to produce a smooth flow and rhythm? Is the most important idea presented prominently in each sentence? Third, evaluate at least six word choices. Did the writer use these words correctly and effectively? Using whatever medium your instruc- tor requests, write a brief analysis of the piece (no more than one page), citing specific elements from the piece and support from the chapter.

Sharpen Your Career Skills Online

Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Web Search, at http://websearch.businesscommunicationnetwork.com, is a unique research tool designed specifically for business com- munication research. Use the Web Search function to find a website, video, PDF document, podcast, or presentation that offers advice on adapting to your audience or composing busi- ness messages. Write a brief email message to your instruc- tor or a post for your class blog, describing the item that you found and summarizing the career skills information you learned from it.

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chapter. Concentrate on using the “you” attitude, emphasizing the positive, being polite, and using bias-free language as you im- prove this message. As your instructor indicates, photocopy this page and correct all errors using standard proofreading marks (see Appendix C) or download the document and make the cor- rections in your word-processing software.19

Welcome! Here is your new card for your Health Savings Account (HSA)

Using your prepaid card makes HSAs: Fast 1 Easy 1 Automatic!!

Step 1 Activate and Sign Your Card(s)

• You CANNOT use your card until you perfom these fol- lowing steps: to activate, go to the websight listed on the back of your Card(s). You can also just following the instructons written on the sticker which should be attached to the front of your card.

• Your member ID No. could be one of two things: your Social Security Number or the ID number assigned by your Health Plan

• Sign the back of your card and have the other person on the account, if any, sign the other card (you should’ve received two cards with this letter, by the way)

Step 2 Use Your Card as You Need

However, DO NOT ATTEMPT to use yoru card for anything expenses other than current year medical expenses— qualified only!—for you or your dependents if you have any

The things your Card can be used for include but are not limited to such as:

• Prescriptions, but only those covered by your health plan—obviously

• Dental

• Vision and eyewear

• OTC items if covered

Step 3 Save All Receipts!! So you can use them when you do your taxes

4-79. To meet the increasing demand for Penta bottled- drinking-water, production capacity is being expanded by Bio- Hydration Research Lab by 80 percent.

4-80. Seminars begin at 9 A.M. and wrap up at 4:00 P.M. 4-81. Temple, Texas-based McLane Co. a subsidiary of Walmart

has bought a facility in Northfield, Minn that it will use to distribute products to customers such as convenience stores, stores that sell items at a discount, and mass merchants.

4-82. The British Retail Consortium are releasing the 3rd edi- tion of its Technical Standards on Apr. 22, reported The New York Times.

4-83. The reason SkillPath is the fastest growing training company in the world is because of our commitment to providing clients with the highest-quality learning expe- riences possible.

4-84. According to professor Charles Noussair of the econom- ics department of Purdue University, opinion surveys “Capture the respondent in the role of a voter, not in the role of a consumer”.

4-85. The Study found that people, exposed to Purina ban- ner ads, were almost 50 percent more likely to volun- teer Purina as the first Dog Food brand that came to mind.

4-86. In a consent decree with the food and drug administra- tion, E’Ola International a dietary supplement maker agreed not to sell any more products containing the drug, ephedrine.

4-87. Dennis Dickson is looking for a company both to make and distribute plaidberries under an exclusive license, plaidberries is blackberries that are mixed with extracts and they are used as a filling.

Level 3: Document Critique

The following document may contain errors in grammar, capital- ization, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. You will also find errors related to topics in this

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com for Auto-graded writing questions as well as the following Assisted-graded writing questions:

4-88. How can you demonstrate the “you” attitude if you don’t know your audience personally? [LO-1]

4-89. What steps can you take to make abstract concepts such as opportunity feel more concrete in your messages? [LO-4]

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11. Portions of this section are adapted from Courtland L. Bovée, Techniques of Writing Business Letters, Memos, and Reports (Sherman Oaks, Calif.: Banner Books International, 1978), 13–90. 12. Catherine Quinn, “Lose the Office Jargon; It May Sunset Your Career,” The Age (Australia), 1 September 2007, www.theage.com.au. 13. Jakob Nielsen, “Mobile Content Is Twice as Difficult,” NN/g, 28 February 2011, www.nngroup.com. 14. “Mobile Web Best Practices,” W3C website, accessed 12 March 2014, www.w3.org. 15. “Mobile Message Mayhem.” 16. “Mobile Message Mayhem.” 17. Marieke McCloskey, “Writing Hyperlinks: Salient, Descriptive, Start with Keyword,” NN/g, 9 March 2014, www.nngroup.com. 18. Inspired by Inglesina website, accessed 14 March 2008, www .inglesina.com and BestBabyGear website, accessed 14 March 2008, www.bestbabygear.com. (The text contained in the sample message does not appear on either website.) 19. Adapted from a mailer received from Evolution Benefits, 10 January 2008. (None of the errors shown in this exercise exist in the original.)

Endnotes 1. “Mobile Message Mayhem,” Verne Ordman & Associates, accessed 12 March 2014, www.businesswriting.biz. 2. Annette N. Shelby and N. Lamar Reinsch, Jr., “Positive Emphasis and You Attitude: An Empirical Study,” Journal of Business Communication 32, no. 4 (1995): 303–322. 3. Sherryl Kleinman, “Why Sexist Language Matters,” Qualitative Sociology 25, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 299–304. 4. Judy E. Pickens, “Terms of Equality: A Guide to Bias-Free Language,” Personnel Journal, August 1985, 24. 5. Xerox website, accessed 12 March 2014, www.xerox.com; ADM website, accessed 12 March 2014, www.adm.com. 6. Lisa Taylor, “Communicating About People with Disabilities: Does the Language We Use Make a Difference?” Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication 53, no. 3 (September 1990): 65–67. 7. Susan Benjamin, Words at Work (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1997), 136–137. 8. Plain English Campaign website, accessed 28 June 2010, www .plainenglish.co.uk. 9. Plain Language website; Etzkorn, “Amazingly Simple Stuff.” 10. Susan Jaderstrom and Joanne Miller, “Active Writing,” Office Pro, November/December 2003, 29.

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Communication Matters . . . “The message from recruitment agencies, employer surveys, and the like is familiar, loud, and clear: You must be an outstanding communicator if you want to get to the top of your profession.” —Martin Shovel, writer, speechwriter, illustrator, and cofounder of CreativityWorks

As a multitalented communication specialist who has succeeded at everything from advertising to professional illustration to script- writing, Martin Shovel has had numerous opportunities to see effective communication in action. He knows that the top profes- sionals in every field have worked hard to hone their communica- tion skills, and his years of experience have taught him what it takes to communicate in an engaging and persuasive manner. His number one rule: Keep it simple.1 The secret to simplicity is careful revision—transforming a rambling, unfocused message into a lively, direct one that gets attention and spurs action.

Discuss the value of careful revision, and describe the tasks involved in evaluating your first drafts and the work of other writers

List four techniques you can use to improve the readability of your messages

Describe the steps you can take to improve the clarity of your writing, and give four tips on making your writing more concise

List four principles of effective design, and explain the role of major design elements in document readability

Explain the importance of proofreading, and give six tips for successful proofreading

Discuss the most important issues to consider when distributing your messages

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

Completing Business Messages5

1

2

3

4

5

MyBCommLab® Improve Your Grade! Over 10 million students

improved their results using Pearson MyLabs. Visit mybcommlab.com for simulations, tutorials, and end-of- chapter problems.

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6

The versatile communication specialist Martin Shovel knows that careful revision is key to the simplicity and clarity that are the hallmarks of effective messages.

M ar

tin S

ho ve

l/C re

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ity W

or ks

L td

.

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Revising Your Message: Evaluating the First Draft This chapter covers the tasks in the third step of the three-step writing process: revising your message to achieve optimum quality and then producing, proofreading, and distributing it. After you complete your first draft, you may be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief, send the message on its way, and move on to the next project. Resist that temptation. Successful com- municators recognize that the first draft is rarely as tight, clear, and compelling as it needs to be. Careful revision improves the effectiveness of your messages and sends a strong signal to your readers that you respect their time and care about their opinions.2

The scope of the revision task can vary somewhat, depending on the medium and the nature of your message. For informal messages to internal audiences, particularly when using short-message tools such as IM and email, the revision process is often as simple as quickly looking over your message to correct any mistakes before sending or posting it.

However, don’t fall into the common trap of thinking you don’t need to worry about grammar, spelling, clarity, and other fundamentals of good writing when you use digital formats. These qualities can be especially important with digital, particularly if these mes- sages are the only contact your audience has with you. First, poor-quality messages create an impression of poor-quality thinking, and even minor errors can cause confusion, frus- tration, and costly delays. Second, assume that anything you write for digital channels will be stored forever and could be distributed far beyond your original audience. Don’t join the business professionals who have seen ill-considered or poorly written messages wind up in the news media or as evidence in lawsuits or criminal cases.

Particularly with important messages, try to plan your work schedule so that you can put your first draft aside for a day or two before you begin the revision process. Doing so will allow you to approach the material with a fresh eye. Then start with the “big picture,” making sure that the document accomplishes your overall goals, before moving to finer points such as readability, clarity, and conciseness. Compare the before and after versions of the letter in Figures 5.1 and 5.2 on the following pages for examples of how careful revision makes a message more effective and easier to read.

Evaluating Your ContEnt, organization, and tonE

When you begin the revision process, focus on content, organization, and tone. Today’s time-pressed readers want messages that convey important content clearly and quickly.3 To evaluate the content of your message, make sure it is accurate, relevant to the audience’s needs, and complete.

When you are satisfied with the basic content of your message, review its organization by asking yourself these questions:

● Are all your points covered in the most logical and convincing order? ● Do the most important ideas receive the most space and greatest emphasis? ● Are any points repeated unnecessarily? ● Are details grouped together logically, or are some still scattered through the document?

Next, consider whether you have achieved the right tone for your audience. Is your writ- ing formal enough to meet the audience’s expectations without being too formal or academic? Is it too casual for a serious subject? Finally, spend a few extra moments on the beginning and end of your message; these sections usually have the greatest impact on the audience.

Evaluating, Editing, and rEvising thE Work of othEr WritErs

At many points in your career, you will be asked to evaluate, edit, or revise the work of others. Before you dive into someone else’s work, recognize the dual responsibility that you have. First, unless you’ve specifically been asked to rewrite something in your own style, keep in mind that your job is to help the other writer succeed at his or her task, not to impose your writing style. Second, make sure you understand the writer’s intent before

1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDiscuss the value of careful revision, and describe the tasks involved in evaluating your first drafts and the work of other writers.

For important messages, schedule time to put your draft aside for a day or two before you begin the revision process.

When you evaluate, edit, or revise someone else’s work, remember that your job is to help that person succeed, not to impose your own style.

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Figure 5.1 Improving a Customer Letter Through Careful Revision Careful revision makes this draft shorter, clearer, and more focused. The proofreading symbols you see here are still widely used whenever printed documents are edited and revised; you can find a complete list of symbols in Appendix C. Note that many business documents are now “marked up” using such technological tools as revi- sion marks in Microsoft Word and comments in Adobe Acrobat. No matter what the medium, however, careful revision is key to more effective messages.

important

your piano’s

dealer

We

Sincerely,

Owner

tjr

.

adjustment

strikethrough Delete text

Delete individual character or a circled block of text

Insert text (text to insert is written above)

Insert period

Insert comma

Start new line

Start new paragraph

Capitalize

Common Proofreading Symbols (see page 421 for more)

Delauny Music 56 Commerce Circle Davenport, IA 52806 (563) 555-4001 delaunymusic.net

Need 7 blank lines here

The two circled sentences say essentially the same thing, so this edit combines them into one sentence.

Replacing its with your piano’s avoids any confusion about which noun that it is supposed to replace.

The simple complimentary close replaces a close that was stylistically over the top.

The phrase you can bet is too informal for this message.

The sentence beginning with “Much to the contrary . . . ” is awkward and unnecessary.

This edit inserts a missing word (dealer).

This group of edits removes unnecessary words in several places.

Changing adjusting to adjustment makes it parallel with evaluation.

June 21, 2015

Ms. Claudia Banks 122 River Heights Drive Bettendorf, IA 52722

Dear Ms. Banks:

On behalf of everyone at Delauny Music, it is my pleasure to thank you for your

recent purchase of a Yamaha CG1 grand piano. The Cg1 carries more than a century

of Yamaha’s heritage in design and production of world-class musical instruments

and you can bet it will give you many years of playing and listening pleasure. Our

commitment to your satisfaction doesn’t stop with your purchase, however. Much to

the contrary, it continues for as long as you own your piano, which we hope, of

course, is for as long as you live. As a vital first step, please remember to call us

your local Yamaha dealer, sometime within three to eight months after your piano

was delivered to take advantage of the free Yamaha ServicebondSM Assurance

Program. This free service program includes a thorough evaluation and adjusting of

the instrument after you’ve had some time to play your piano and your piano has

had time to adapt to its environment.

In addition to this vital service appointment, a regular program of tuning is

absolutely essential to ensure its impeccable performance. Our piano specialists

recommend four tunings during the first year and two tunings every year thereafter

that. As your local Yamaha we are ideally positioned to provide you with optimum

service for both regular tuning and any maintenance or repair needs you may have

over the years.

All of us at Delauny Music thank you for your recent purchase and wish you many

many, years of satisfaction with your new Yamaha CG1 grand piano.

Respectfully yours in beautiful music,

Madeline Delauny

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Figure 5.2 Professional Business Letter Here is the revised and finished version of the edited letter from Figure 5.1. Note that the block format used here is just one of several layout options; Appendix A also describes the modified block format and the simplified format.

Delauny Music 56 Commerce Circle Davenport, IA 52806 (563) 555-4001 delaunymusic.net

June 21, 2015

Ms. Claudia Banks 122 River Heights Drive Bettendorf, IA 52722

Dear Ms. Banks:

Thank you for your recent purchase. We wish you many years of satisfaction with your new Yamaha CG1 grand piano. The CG1 carries more than a century of Yamaha’s heritage in design and production of world-class musical instruments and will give you many years of playing and listening pleasure.

Our commitment to your satisfaction doesn’t stop with your purchase, however. As a vital first step, please remember to call us sometime within three to eight months after your piano was delivered to take advantage of the Yamaha ServicebondSM Assurance Program. This free service program includes a thorough evaluation and adjustment of the instrument after you’ve had some time to play your piano and your piano has had time to adapt to its environment.

In addition to this important service appointment, a regular program of tuning is essential to ensure your piano’s impeccable performance. Our piano specialists recommend four tunings during the first year and two tunings every year thereafter. As your local Yamaha dealer, we are ideally positioned to provide you with optimum service for both regular tuning and any maintenance or repair needs you may have.

Sincerely,

tjr

The letter is now properly formatted.

The content is now organized in three coherent paragraphs, each with a distinct message.

The tone is friendly and engaging without being flowery.

Madeline Delauny Owner

you begin suggesting or making changes. With those thoughts in mind, ask yourself the following questions as you evaluate someone else’s writing:

● What is the purpose of this document or message? ● Who is the target audience? ● What information does the audience need? ● Are there any special circumstances or sensitive issues that the writer had to consider

(or should have considered)? ● Does the document provide this information in a well-organized way? ● Does the writing demonstrate the “you” attitude toward the audience? ● Is the tone of the writing appropriate for the audience and the situation? ● Can the readability be improved? ● Is the writing clear? If not, how can it be improved? ● Is the writing as concise as it could be? ● Does the page or screen design support the intended message?

You can read more about using these skills in the context of wiki writing in Chapter 6.

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 5.2’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

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Revising to Improve Readability After confirming the content, organization, and tone of your message, make a second pass to improve readability. Most professionals are inundated with more reading material than they can ever hope to consume, and they’ll appreciate your efforts to make your documents easier to read—and easier to skim for the highlights when they don’t have time to read in depth. You’ll benefit from this effort, too: If you earn a reputation for creating well-crafted documents that respect the audience’s time, people will pay more attention to your work.

Four powerful techniques for improving readability are varying sentence length, us- ing shorter paragraphs, replacing narrative with lists, and adding effective headings and subheadings.

varYing sEntEnCE lEngth

Varying sentence length is a good way to maintain reader interest and control the emphasis given to major and minor points. Look for ways to combine a mixture of sentences that are short (up to 15 words or so), medium (15–25 words), and long (more than 25 words). Each sentence length has advantages. Short sentences can be processed quickly and are easier for nonnative speakers and translators to interpret. Medium-length sentences are useful for showing the relationships among ideas. Long sentences are often the best way to convey complex ideas, to list a number of related points, or to summarize or preview information.

Of course, each sentence length has disadvantages as well. Too many short sentences in a row can make your writing feel choppy and disconnected. Medium sentences can lack the punch of short sentences and the informative power of longer sentences. Long sentences are usually harder to understand than short sentences because they are packed with informa- tion; they also harder to skim when readers are just looking for key points in a hurry.

kEEPing Your ParagraPhs short

Large blocks of text can be visually daunting, particularly on screen, so keep your para- graphs as short as possible. Unless you break up your thoughts somehow, you’ll end up with lengthy paragraphs that will intimidate even the most dedicated reader. Short paragraphs, roughly 100 words or fewer (this paragraph has 78 words), are easier to read than long ones, and they make your writing look inviting. You can also emphasize ideas by isolating them in short, forceful paragraphs.

However, don’t go overboard with short paragraphs at the expense of maintaining a smooth and clear flow of information. In particular, use one-sentence paragraphs only oc- casionally and only for emphasis. Also, if you need to divide a subject into several pieces in order to keep paragraphs short, use transitions to help your readers keep the ideas connected.

using lists and BullEts to ClarifY and EmPhasizE

In some instances, a list can be more effective than conventional sentences and paragraphs. Lists can show the sequence of your ideas, heighten their impact visually, and increase the likelihood that readers will find your key points. In addition, lists help simplify complex sub- jects, highlight the main points, enable skimming, and give readers a visual break. Compare these two approaches to the same information:

Narrative List

Owning your own business has many potential advantages. One is the opportunity to pursue your own personal passion. Another advantage is the satisfaction of working for yourself. As a sole proprietor, you also have the advantage of privacy because you do not have to reveal your financial information or plans to anyone.

Owning your own business has three advantages: ● Opportunity to pursue personal

passion ● Satisfaction of working for yourself ● Financial privacy

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEList four techniques you can use to improve the readability of your messages.

To keep readers’ interest, look for ways to combine a variety of short, medium, and long sentences.

Short paragraphs have the major advantage of being easy to read.

Lists are effective tools for high- lighting and simplifying material.

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When creating a list, you can separate items with numbers, letters, or bullets (any kind of graphical element that precedes each item). Bullets are generally preferred over numbers, unless the list is in some logical sequence or ranking or specific list items will be referred to later. Make your lists easy to read by making all the items parallel (see “Impose parallelism” bullet below) and keeping individual items as short as possible.4 Also, be sure to introduce your lists clearly so that people know what they’re about to read.

adding hEadings and suBhEadings

A heading is a brief title that tells readers about the content of the section that follows. Subheadings indicate subsections within a major section; complex documents may have several levels of subheadings. Headings and subheadings help in three important ways: They show readers at a glance how the material is organized, they call attention to impor- tant points, and they highlight connections and transitions between ideas.

Descriptive headings, such as “Cost Considerations,” simply identify a topic without suggesting anything more. Informative headings, such as “Redesigning Material Flow to Cut Production Costs,” give the reader some context and may point toward any conclusions or recommendations that you offer in the section. Well-written informative headings are self-contained, which means readers can skim just the headings and subheadings and un- derstand them without reading the rest of the document. Whatever types of headings you choose, keep them brief and grammatically parallel.

Editing for Clarity and Conciseness After you’ve reviewed and revised your message for readability, your next step is to make sure your message is as clear and as concise as possible.

Editing for ClaritY

Make sure that every sentence conveys the meaning you intend and that readers can ex- tract your intended meaning without needing to read the sentence more than once. To ensure clarity, look closely at your paragraph organization, sentence structure, and word choices. Can readers make sense of the related sentences in a paragraph? Is the meaning of each sentence easy to grasp? Is every word clear and unambiguous (meaning it doesn’t have any risk of being interpreted in more than one way)? See Table 5.1 for examples of the following tips:

● Break up overly long sentences. If you find yourself stuck in a long sentence, you’re probably trying to make the sentence do more than it can reasonably do, such as ex- pressing two dissimilar thoughts or peppering the reader with too many pieces of sup- porting evidence at once. (Did you notice how difficult this long sentence was to read?)

● Rewrite hedging sentences. Hedging means pulling back from making an absolutely certain, definitive statement about a topic. Granted, sometimes you have to write may or seems to avoid stating a judgment as a fact. However, when you hedge too often or without good reason, you come across as being unsure of what you’re saying.

● Impose parallelism. Making your writing parallel means expressing two or more simi- lar ideas using the same grammatical structure. Doing so helps your audience under- stand that the ideas are related, are of similar importance, and are on the same level of generality. Parallel patterns are also easier to read. You can impose parallelism by repeating a pattern in words, phrases, clauses, or entire sentences.

● Correct dangling modifiers. Sometimes a modifier is not just an adjective or an ad- verb but an entire phrase modifying a noun or a verb. Be careful not to leave this type of modifier dangling, with no connection to the subject of the sentence.

● Reword long noun sequences. When multiple nouns are strung together as modifiers, the resulting sentence can be hard to read. See if a single well-chosen word will do the

Use headings to grab the reader’s attention and organize material into short sections.

Informative headings are generally more helpful than descriptive ones.

3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the steps you can take to improve the clarity of your writing, and give four tips on making your writing more concise.

Clarity is essential to getting your message across accurately and efficiently.

Hedging is appropriate when you can’t be absolutely sure of a statement, but excessive hedging undermines your authority.

When you use parallel grammati- cal patterns to express two or more ideas, you show that they are comparable thoughts.

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job. If the nouns are all necessary, consider moving one or more to a modifying phrase, as shown in Table 5.1.

● Replace camouflaged verbs. Watch for words that end in ion, tion, ing, ment, ant, ent, ence, ance, and ency. These endings often change verbs into nouns and adjectives, requiring you to add a verb to get your point across.

● Clarify sentence structure. Keep the subject and predicate of a sentence as close to- gether as possible. Similarly, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases usually make the most sense when they’re placed as close as possible to the words they modify.

● Clarify awkward references. Try to avoid vague references such as the above-mentioned, as mentioned above, the aforementioned, the former, the latter, and respectively. Use a specific pointer such as “as described in the second paragraph on page 22.”

Subject and predicate should be placed as close together as possible, as should modifiers and the words they modify.

TABLE 5.1 revising for Clarity

Issues to Review Ineffective Effective

Overly Long Sentences

Taking compound sentences too far The magazine will be published January 1, and I’d better meet the deadline if I want my article included because we want the article to appear before the trade show.

The magazine will be published January 1. I’d better meet the deadline because we want the article to appear before the trade show.

Hedging Sentences

Overqualifying sentences I believe that Mr. Johnson’s employment record seems to show that he may be capable of handling the position.

Mr. Johnson’s employment record shows that he is capable of handling the position.

Unparallel Sentences

Using dissimilar construction for similar ideas Mr. Simms had been drenched with rain, bombarded with telephone calls, and his boss shouted at him.

To waste time and missing deadlines are bad habits.

Mr. Sims had been drenched with rain, bom- barded with telephone calls, and shouted at by his boss.

Wasting time and missing deadlines are bad habits.

Dangling Modifiers

Placing modifiers close to the wrong nouns and verbs

Walking to the office, a red sports car passed her. [suggests that the car was walking to the office]

Reduced by 25 percent, Europe had its lowest semiconductor output in a decade. [suggests that Europe shrank by 25 percent]

A red sports car passed her while she was walking to the office.

Europe reduced semiconductor output by 25 percent, its lowest output in a decade.

Long Noun Sequences

Stringing too many nouns together The window sash installation company will give us an estimate on Friday.

The company that installs window sashes will give us an estimate on Friday.

Camouflaged Verbs

Changing verbs into nouns The manager undertook implementation of the rules.

Verification of the shipments occurs weekly.

reach a conclusion about

give consideration to

The manager implemented the rules.

We verify shipments weekly.

conclude

consider

Sentence Structure

Separating subject and predicate A 10% decline in market share, which resulted from quality problems and an aggressive sales campaign by Armitage, the market leader in the Northeast, was the major problem in 2010.

The major problem in 2010 was a 10% loss of market share, which resulted from quality problems and an aggressive sales campaign by Armitage, the market leader in the Northeast.

Separating adjectives, adverbs, or preposi- tional phrases from the words they modify

Our antique desk lends an air of strength and s ubstance with thick legs and large drawers.

With its thick legs and large drawers, our antique desk lends an air of strength and substance.

Awkward References The Law Office and the Accounting Office distribute computer supplies for legal secretaries and begin- ning accountants, respectively.

The Law Office distributes computer supplies for legal secretaries; the Accounting Office distributes those for beginning accountants.

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Editing for ConCisEnEss

Many of the changes you make to improve clarity also shorten your message by removing unnecessary words. The next step is to examine the text with the specific goal of reduc- ing the number of words. Readers appreciate conciseness and are more likely to read your documents if you have a reputation for efficient writing. See Table 5.2 for examples of the following tips:

● Delete unnecessary words and phrases. To test whether a word or phrase is essential, try the sentence without it. If the meaning doesn’t change, leave it out.

● Replace long words and phrases. Short words and phrases are generally more vivid and easier to read than long ones.

● Eliminate redundancies. In some word combinations, the words say the same thing. For instance, “visible to the eye” is redundant because visible is enough without further clarification; “to the eye” adds nothing.

● Recast “It is/There are” starters. If you start a sentence with an indefinite pronoun such as it or there, odds are the sentence could be shorter and more active. For instance, “We believe . . .” is a stronger opening than “It is believed that. . . .”

As you make all these improvements, concentrate on how each word contributes to an effective sentence and on how each sentence helps to develop a coherent paragraph.

Producing Your Message Now it’s time to put your hard work on display. The production quality of your message— the total effect of page or screen design, graphical elements, typography, and so on—plays an important role in its effectiveness. A polished, inviting design not only makes your docu- ment easier to read but also conveys a sense of professionalism and importance.5

dEsigning for rEadaBilitY

Design affects readability in two important ways. First, depending on how they are used, design elements can increase or decrease the effectiveness of your message. Thoughtful, reader-focused design makes messages easier to read, whereas poorly chosen design ele- ments can act as barriers that impede communication. Second, the visual design sends a nonverbal message to your readers, influencing their perceptions of the communication before they read a single word (see Figure 5.3 on page 116).

To achieve an effective design, pay careful attention to the following design elements:

● Consistency. Throughout each message, be consistent in your use of margins, typeface, type size, spacing, color, lines, and position. In most cases, you’ll want to be consistent from message to message as well; that way, audiences who receive multiple messages from you recognize your documents and know what to expect. Style sheets and themes can be a big help here.

● Balance. Balance is an important but sometimes subjective design issue. One docu- ment may have a formal, rigid design in which the various elements are placed in a grid pattern, whereas another may have a less formal design in which elements flow more freely across the page—and both could be in balance. Like the tone of your language, visual balance can be too formal, just right, or too informal for a given message.

● Restraint. Strive for simplicity. Don’t clutter your message with too many design elements, too many colors, or too many decorative touches.

● Detail. Pay attention to details that affect your design and thus your message. For in- stance, extremely wide columns of text can be difficult to read; in many cases a better solution is to split the text into two narrower columns.

Even without special training in graphic design, you can make your printed messages more effective by understanding the use of some key design elements: white space, margins and line justification, typefaces, and type styles.

The quality of your document de- sign, both on paper and on screen, affects readability and audience perceptions.

4 LEARNING OBJECTIVEList four principles of effec- tive design, and explain the role of major design elements in document readability.

Make your documents tighter by removing unnecessary words, phrases, and sentences.

Good design enhances the readability of your material.

MOBILE APPS

Genius Scan lets you scan documents with your phone and create PDFs on the go.

For effective design, pay attention to ● Consistency ● Balance ● Restraint ● Detail

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TABLE 5.2 revising for Conciseness

Issues to Review Ineffective Effective

Unnecessary Words and Phrases

Using wordy phrases        

 

for the sum of

in the event that

prior to the start of

in the near future

at this point in time

due to the fact that

in view of the fact that

until such time as

with reference to

 

for

if

before

soon

now

because

because

when

about

Using too many relative pronouns

 

 

Cars that are sold after January will not have a six-month warranty.

Employees who are driving to work should park in the underground garage.

 

Cars sold after January will not have a six-month warranty.

Employees driving to work should park in the underground garage.

OR

Employees should park in the underground garage.

Using too few relative pronouns The project manager told the engineers last week the specifications were changed.

The project manager told the engineers last week that the specifications were changed.

The project manager told the engineers that last week the specifications were changed.

Long Words and Phrases

Using overly long words

 

  

 

During the preceding year, the company accelerated productive operations.

The action was predicated on the assumption that the company was operating at a financial deficit.

 

Last year the company sped up operations.

The action was based on the belief that the company was losing money.

Using wordy phrases rather than infinitives If you want success as a writer, you must work hard.

He went to the library for the purpose of studying.

The employer increased salaries so that she could improve morale.

To succeed as a writer, you must work hard.

He went to the library to study.

The employer increased salaries to improve morale.

Redundancies

Repeating meanings

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

absolutely complete

basic fundamentals

follows after

free and clear

refer back

repeat again

collect together

future plans

return back

important essentials

end result

actual truth

final outcome

uniquely unusual

surrounded on all sides

 

complete

fundamentals

follows

free

refer

repeat

collect

plans

return

essentials

result

truth

outcome

unique

surrounded

Using double modifiers modern, up-to-date equipment modern equipment

It Is/There Are Starters

Starting sentences with It or There

It would be appreciated if you would sign the lease today.

There are five employees in this division who were late to work today.

Please sign the lease today.

Five employees in this division were late to work today.

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White space separates elements in a document and helps guide the reader’s eye.

White Space

Any space free of text or artwork is considered white space. (Note that “white space” isn’t necessarily white.) These unused areas provide visual contrast and important resting points for your readers. White space includes the open area surrounding headings, margins, para- graph indents, space around images, vertical space between columns, and horizontal space between paragraphs or lines of text. To increase the chance that readers will read your mes- sages, be generous with white space; it makes pages and screens feel less intimidating and easier to read.6

Margins and Justification

Margins define the space around text and between text columns. In addition to their width, the look and feel of margins are influenced by the way you arrange lines of text, which can be set (1) justified (which means they are flush, or aligned vertically, on both the left and the right), (2) flush left with a ragged-right margin, (3) flush right with a ragged-left margin, or (4) centered. This paragraph is justified, whereas the paragraphs in Figure 5.2 on page 110 are flush left with a ragged-right margin.

Figure 5.3 Designing for Readability The website of the web development firm Iron to Iron is a model of elegant design that promotes easy reading. Source: Iron to Iron, LLC.

The layout is statically balanced, with equal visual weight on either side of the vertical centerline.

The picture of the anvil (a device used by blacksmiths to shape pieces of iron) plays off the company name and provides visual interest without overwhelming the page.

These three concise labels are the “subheadings” of the website, directing readers to each of the major sections of content.

These introductory paragraphs offer succinct summaries of the three content areas. The centered paragraphs promote the look of calm balance, and in these small sections the centered text is easy to read.

When a reader clicks on any of the three sections above, this area presents the next level of detail.

Readers can “drill down” through layers of information without getting overwhelmed by large amounts of text or distracting visual elements.

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 5.3’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

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Magazines, newspapers, and books often use justified type because it can accommodate more text in a given space. However, justified type needs to be used with care and is not a good choice for most routine business documents. First, it cre- ates a denser look because the uniform line lengths decrease the amount of white space along the right margin. Second, it produces a more formal look that isn’t appropriate for all situations. Third, unless it is formatted with skill and atten- tion, justified type can be more difficult to read because it can produce large gaps between words and excessive hyphenation at the ends of lines. Publishing specialists have the time and skill needed to carefully adjust character and word spacing to eliminate these problems. (In some cases, sentences are even rewritten to improve the appearance of the printed page.) Because most business communi- cators don’t have that time or skill, it’s best to avoid justified type in most business documents.

In contrast to justified type, flush-left, ragged-right type creates a more open appear- ance on the page, producing a less formal and more contemporary look. Spacing between words is consistent, and only long words that fall at the ends of lines are hyphenated.

Centered type is rarely used for text paragraphs but is commonly used for headings and subheadings. Flush-right, ragged-left type is rarely used.

Typefaces

Typeface refers to the physical design of letters, numbers, and other text characters. (Font and typeface are often used interchangeably, although strictly speaking, a font is a set of characters in a given typeface.) Typeface influences the tone of your message, making it look authoritative or friendly, businesslike or casual, classic or modern, and so on (see Table 5.3). Be sure to choose fonts that are appropriate for your message; many of the fonts on your computer are not appropriate for business use.

Serif typefaces have small crosslines (called serifs) at the ends of each letter stroke. Sans serif typefaces, in contrast, lack these serifs. For years, the conventional wisdom in typography was that serif faces were easier to read in long blocks of text, because the serifs made it easier for the eye to pick out individual letters. Accordingly, the standard advice was to use serif faces for the body of a document and sans serif for headings and subheadings.

However, the research behind the conventional wisdom is not as conclusive as once thought.7 In fact, many sans serif typefaces work as well or better for body text than some serif typefaces. This seems to be particularly true on screens, which often have lower resolution than printed text. Many contemporary documents and webpages now use sans serif for body text.

For most documents, you shouldn’t need more than two typefaces, although if you want to make captions or other text elements stand out, you can use another font.8 Using more typefaces can clutter a document and produce an amateurish look.

Type Styles

Type style refers to any modification that lends contrast or emphasis to type, including boldface, italic, underlining, and color. For example, you can boldface individual words

Most business documents use a flush-left margin and a ragged- right margin.

The classic style of document design uses a sans serif typeface for headings and a serif typeface for regular paragraph text; however, many contemporary documents and webpages now use all sans serif.

TABLE 5.3 typeface Personalities: serious to Casual to Playful

Serif Typefaces

Sans Serif Typefaces

Specialty Typefaces (Rarely Used for Routine Business Communication)

Bookman Old Style Arial Bauhaus

Century Schoolbook Calibri Spring LP

Courier Eras Bold EdwardianScript

Garamond Franklin Gothic Book Lucida Handwriting

Georgia Gill Sans Old English

Times New Roman Verdana STENCIL

Knowing the basics of type usage will help you create more effective page and screen layouts. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/ bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Improve your document designs by learning the fundamentals of typography

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or phrases to draw more attention to them. Italic type has specific uses as well, such as highlighting quotations and in- dicating foreign words, irony, humor, book and movie titles, and unconventional usage. Use any type style in moderation. For instance, underlining or using all-uppercase letters can interfere with the reader’s ability to recognize the shapes of words, improperly placed boldface or italicized type can slow down your reader, and shadowed or outlined type can seri- ously hinder legibility.

For most printed business messages, use a type size of 10 to 12 points for regular text and 12 to 18 points for headings and subheadings. (A point is approximately 1/72 inch.) Resist the temptation to reduce the type size to squeeze in text or to enlarge it to fill up space. Type that is too small is hard to read, whereas extra-large type often looks unprofessional.

dEsigning mEssagEs for moBilE dEviCEs

In addition to making your content mobile-friendly using the writing tips in Chapter 4 (see pages 97–99), you can follow these steps to format that content for mobile devices:

● Think in small chunks. Remember that mobile users consume information one screen at a time, so try to divide your message into independent, easy-to-consume bites. If readers have to scroll through a dozen screens to piece together your message, they might miss your point or just give up entirely.

● Make generous use of white space. White space is always helpful, but it’s critical on small screens because readers are trying to get the point of every message as quickly as possible. Keep your paragraphs short (4–6 lines) and separate them with blank lines so the reader’s eyes can easily jump from one point to the next.9

● Format simply. Avoid anything that is likely to get in the way of fast, easy reading, including busy typefaces, complex graphics, and complicated layouts.

● Consider horizontal and vertical layouts. Most phones and tablets can automatically rotate their screen content from horizontal to vertical as the user rotates the device. A layout that doesn’t work well with the narrow vertical perspective might be accept- able at the wider horizontal perspective.

Compare the two messages in Figure 5.4; notice how much more difficult the screen in Figure 5.4a is to read.

Proofreading Your Message Proofreading is the quality inspection stage for your documents. It is your last chance to make sure your document is ready to carry your message—and your reputation—to the in- tended audience. Even a small mistake can doom your efforts, so take proofreading seriously.

Look for two types of problems: (1) undetected mistakes from the writing, design, and layout stages and (2) mistakes that crept in during production. For the first category, you can review format and layout guidelines in Appendix A (including standard formats for letters and memos) and brush up on writing basics with the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage at the end of the book. The second category can include anything from computer glitches such as missing fonts to broken web links to problems with the ink used in print- ing. Be particularly vigilant with complex documents and production processes that involve teams of people and multiple computers. Strange things can happen as files move from com- puter to computer, especially when lots of separate media elements are involved.

To be most effective, proofreading should be a methodical procedure in which you look for specific problems. Here is some advice from the pros:

● Make multiple passes. Go through the document several times, focusing on a different aspect each time. For instance, look for content errors the first time and layout errors the second time.

5 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain the importance of proofreading, and give six tips for successful proofreading.

Your credibility is affected by your attention to the details of mechanics and form.

MOBILE APPS

NounPlus puts a grammar checker, spell checker, and pronunciation guide on your phone, so you’re never without tips and advice.

The types of details to look for when proofreading include lan- guage errors, missing material, design errors, and typographical errors.

Type design is a fascinating and dynamic field; this portfolio shows dozens of innovative new typefaces. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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See the newest designs from some of the brightest minds in typography

Avoid using any type style that inhibits your audience’s ability to read your messages.

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● Use perceptual tricks. To keep from missing errors that are “in plain sight,” try reading pages backward, placing your finger under each word and reading it silently, cov- ering everything but the line you’re currently reading, or reading the document aloud.

● Focus on high-priority items. Double-check names, titles, dates, addresses, and any number that could cause grief if incorrect.

● Get some distance. If possible, don’t proofread immediately after finishing the docu- ment. Let your brain wander off to new topics and then come back fresh later.

● Stay focused and vigilant. Block out distractions and focus as completely as possible on your proofreading. Avoid reading large amounts of material in one sitting and try not to proofread when you’re tired.

● Take your time. Quick proofreading is not careful proofreading.

Table 5.4 offers some handy tips to improve your proofreading efforts.

Distributing Your Message With the production finished, you’re ready to distribute your message. You don’t always have a choice of which distribution method to use, but if you do, consider the following factors:

● Cost. Cost isn’t a concern for most messages, but for multiple copies of lengthy reports or multimedia productions, it might well be. Weigh the cost and the benefits before you decide. Be sure to consider the nonverbal message you send regarding cost as well. Overnight delivery of a printed report could look responsive in one instance and waste- ful in another, for example.

This advice for class assignments will help you on the job, too. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Tips for proofing your papers

Figure 5.4 Designing for Mobile Devices Even simple changes such as revising with shorter paragraphs, choosing cleaner typefaces, and making generous use of white space in and around the text can dramatically improve readability on mobile screens.

Figure 5.4a Figure 5.4b

White space between the heading and the body text helps readers perceive the heading as a single block of text.

Generous margins reduce the visual clutter on screen.

The sans serif typeface (right) is easier to read than the serif typeface (left).

Shorter paragraphs simplify reading and allow for more white space breaks between paragraphs.

Consider cost, convenience, time, security, and privacy when choosing a distribution method.

6 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDiscuss the most important issues to consider when distributing your messages.

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● Convenience. Make sure your audience can conveniently access the material you send. For instance, sending huge files may be fine on a fast office network, but receiving such files can be a major headache for remote colleagues trying to download them over slower wireless networks.

● Time. How soon does the message need to reach the audience? Don’t waste money on overnight delivery if the recipient won’t read a report for a week.

● Security and privacy. The convenience offered by digital communication needs to be weighed against security and privacy concerns. For the most sensitive messages, your company will probably have restrictions on distribution (including who is allowed to receive certain messages and the channels you can use to distribute them). In addi- tion, most computer users are wary of opening attachments these days, particularly word processor files (which are vulnerable to macro viruses and other risks). As an alternative, you can convert your documents to PDF files using Adobe Acrobat or an equivalent product.

MOBILE APPS

SignEasy solves the problem of signing digital documents such as contracts; you can sign right on your phone screen.

Learning Objectives: Check Your Progress

Objective 1: Discuss the value of careful revision, and describe the tasks involved in evaluating your first drafts and the work of other writers. Revision is an essential aspect of completing messages because it can nearly always make your first drafts tighter, clearer, and more compelling. Revision consists of three main tasks: (1) evaluating content, organization, and tone; (2) reviewing for readability; and (3) editing for clarity and conciseness. After you revise your mes- sage, complete it by using design elements effectively, proofread- ing to ensure quality, and distributing it to your audience.

When asked to evaluate, edit, or revise someone else’s work, recognize the dual responsibility that doing so entails: Remember that your job is to help the other writer succeed at his or her task, and make sure you understand the writer’s intent.

Objective 2: List four techniques you can use to improve the readability of your messages. Four techniques that improve readability are varying sentence length, keeping paragraphs short, using lists and bullets, and adding headings and subheadings. Varying sentence length helps make your writing more dynamic while emphasizing the most important points. Paragraphs are usually best kept short to make it easier for readers to consume information in manage- able chunks. Lists and bullets are effective devices for delineating

Chapter Review and Activities

TABLE 5.4 Proofreading tips

Look for Writing and Typing Errors

✓ Typographical mistakes ✓ Misspelled words ✓ Grammatical errors ✓ Punctuation mistakes

Look for Design and Layout Errors

✓ Violation of company standards ✓ Page or screen layout errors (such as incorrect margins and column formatting) ✓ Clumsy page breaks or line breaks ✓ Inconsistent font usage (such as with headings and subheadings) ✓ Alignment problems (columns, headers, footers, and graphics) ✓ Missing or incorrect page and section numbers ✓ Missing or incorrect page headers or footers ✓ Missing or incorrect URLs, email addresses, or other contact information ✓ Missing or incorrect photos and other graphical elements ✓ Missing or incorrect source notes, copyright notices, or other reference items

Look for Production Errors

✓ Printing problems ✓ Browser compatibility problems ✓ Screen size or resolution issues for mobile devices ✓ Incorrect or missing tags on blog posts

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sets of items, steps, or other collections of related information. Headings and subheadings organize your message, call attention to important information, and help readers make connections between related pieces of information.

Objective 3: Describe the steps you can take to improve the clarity of your writing, and give four tips on making your writing more concise. As you work to clarify your messages, (1) break up overly long sentences, (2) rewrite hedging sentences, (3) impose parallelism, (4) correct dangling modifiers, (5) reword long noun sequences, (6) replace camouflaged verbs, (7) clarify sentence structure, and (8) clarify awkward references. To make messages more concise, include only necessary material and write uncluttered sentences by (1) deleting unnecessary words and phrases, (2) shortening overly long words and phrases, (3) eliminating redundancies, and (4) recasting sentences that begin with “It is” and “There are.”

Objective 4: List four principles of effective design, and explain the role of major design elements in document readability. Four key principles of effective design are consistency, balance, restraint, and detail. Major design elements for documents in- clude white space, margins and justification, typefaces, and type styles. White space provides contrast and balance. Margins define the space around the text and contribute to the amount of white space. Typefaces influence the tone of the message. Type styles— boldface, italics, and underlining—provide contrast or empha- sis. When selecting and applying design elements, be consistent throughout your document; balance text, art, and white space; show restraint in the number of elements you use; and pay atten- tion to every detail.

Objective 5: Explain the importance of proofreading, and give six tips for successful proofreading. Proofreading is the quality inspection stage for your documents. It is your last chance to make sure your document is ready to carry your message—and your reputation—to the intended audi- ence. Even a small mistake can doom your efforts, so take proof- reading seriously. Six tips for effective proofreading are (1) make multiple passes looking for specific problems each time, (2) use perceptual tricks such as reading backwards or reading aloud, (3) focus on high-priority items, (4) try not to proofread immedi- ately after completing a document, (5) stay focused and vigilant, and (6) take your time.

Objective 6: Discuss the most important issues to consider when distributing your messages. Consider cost, convenience, time, security, and privacy when choosing the method to distribute your messages. Always con- sider security and privacy issues before distributing messages that contain sensitive or confidential information.

Test Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 5-1. What are the four main tasks involved in completing a

business message? [LO-1] 5-2. What are your responsibilities when you review and edit

the work of others? [LO-1] 5-3. What is parallel construction, and why is it important? [LO-2] 5-4. Why is proofreading an important part of the writing

process? [LO-5] 5-5. What factors should you consider when choosing a

method for distributing a message (other than for sys- tems where you don’t have a choice)? [LO-6]

Apply Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 5-6. Why is it essential to understand the writer’s intent before

suggesting or making changes to another person’s docu- ment? [LO-1]

5-7. What are the ethical implications of murky, complex writing in a document whose goal is to explain how cus- tomers can appeal the result of a decision made in the company’s favor during a dispute? [LO-3]

5-8. How does white space help with readability on mobile screens? [LO-4]

5-9. What nonverbal signals can you send by your choice of distribution methods? [LO-6]

Practice Your Skills Exercises for Perfecting Your Writing

To review chapter content related to each set of exercises, refer to the indicated Learning Objective.

Revising Messages: Clarity: Break the following sentences into shorter ones; revise as necessary to maintain sense and smooth flow. [LO-3] 5-10. The next time you write something, check your average

sentence length in a 100-word passage, and if your sen- tences average more than 16 to 20 words, see whether you can break up some of the sentences.

5-11. Don’t do what the village blacksmith did when he in- structed his apprentice as follows: “When I take the shoe out of the fire, I’ll lay it on the anvil, and when I nod my head, you hit it with the hammer.” The apprentice did just as he was told, and now he’s the village blacksmith.

5-12. Unfortunately, no gadget will produce excellent writing, but using spell checkers and grammar checkers can help by catching common spelling errors and raising gram- matical points that writers might want to reconsider, such as suspect sentence structure and problems with noun– verb agreement.

5-13. Know the flexibility of the written word and its power to convey an idea, and know how to make your words behave so that your readers will understand.

MyBCommLab® Go to mybcommlab.com to complete the problems marked with this icon .

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Revising Messages: Conciseness: Eliminate unnecessary words in the following sentences. [LO-3] 5-14. The board cannot act without a consensus of opinion. 5-15. To surpass our competitors, we need new innovations

both in products and in company operations. 5-16. George McClannahan has wanted to be head of engineer-

ing a long period of time, and now he has finally gotten the promotion.

5-17. Don’t pay more than you have to; you can get our new fragrance for a price of just $50.

Revising Messages: Conciseness: Revise the following sentences, using shorter, simpler words. [LO-3] 5-18. The antiquated calculator is ineffectual for solving

sophisticated problems. 5-19. It is imperative that the pay increments be terminated

before an inordinate deficit is accumulated. 5-20. There was unanimity among the executives that

Ms. Jackson’s idiosyncrasies were cause for a mandatory meeting with the company’s personnel director.

5-21. The impending liquidation of the company’s assets was cause for jubilation among the company’s competitors.

Revising Messages: Conciseness: Use infinitives as substitutes for the overly long phrases in the following sentences. [LO-3] 5-22. For living, I require money. 5-23. They did not find sufficient evidence for believing in the

future. 5-24. Bringing about the destruction of a dream is tragic.

Revising Messages: Conciseness: Condense the following sen- tences to as few words as possible; revise as needed to maintain clarity and sense. [LO-3] 5-25. We are of the conviction that writing is important. 5-26. In all probability, we’re likely to have a price increase. 5-27. Our goals include making a determination about that in

the near future. 5-28. When all is said and done at the conclusion of this experi-

ment, I’d like to summarize the final windup.

Revising Messages: Modifiers: Remove all the unnecessary modifiers from the following sentences. [LO-3] 5-29. Tremendously high pay increases were given to the

extraordinarily skilled and extremely conscientious employees.

5-30. The union’s proposals were highly inflationary, extremely demanding, and exceptionally bold.

Revising Messages: Hedging: Rewrite the following sentences so that they no longer contain any hedging. [LO-3] 5-31. It would appear that someone apparently entered illegally. 5-32. It may be possible that sometime in the near future the

situation is likely to improve. 5-33. Your report seems to suggest that we might be losing

money. 5-34. I believe Nancy apparently has somewhat greater influ-

ence over employees in the new-accounts department.

Revising Messages: Indefinite Starters: Rewrite the following sentences to eliminate the indefinite starters (forms of There are or It is). [LO-3] 5-35. There are several examples here to show that Elaine can’t

hold a position very long. 5-36. It would be greatly appreciated if every employee would

make a generous contribution to Mildred Cook’s retire- ment party.

5-37. It has been learned in Washington today from generally reliable sources that an important announcement will be made shortly by the White House.

5-38. There is a rule that states that we cannot work overtime without permission.

Revising Messages: Parallelism: Revise the following sentences to fix the parallelism problems. [LO-3] 5-39. Mr. Hill is expected to lecture three days a week, to coun-

sel two days a week, and must write for publication in his spare time.

5-40. She knows not only accounting, but she also reads Latin. 5-41. Both applicants had families, college degrees, and were

in their thirties, with considerable accounting experience but few social connections.

5-42. This book was exciting, well written, and held my interest.

Revising Messages: Awkward References: Revise the following sentences to delete the awkward references. [LO-3] 5-43. The vice president in charge of sales and the production

manager are responsible for funding the demo unit pro- gram and the loaner unit program, respectively.

5-44. The demo unit program and the loaner unit program are funded from different budgets, with the former the re- sponsibility of the vice president in charge of sales and the latter the responsibility of the production manager.

5-45. The budgets for the demo unit program and the loaner unit program were increased this year, with the aforemen- tioned budgets being increased 10 percent in both cases.

5-46. A laser printer and an inkjet printer were delivered to John and Megan, respectively.

Revising Messages: Dangling Modifiers: Rewrite the following sentences to clarify the dangling modifiers. [LO-3] 5-47. Running down the railroad tracks in a cloud of smoke, we

watched the countryside glide by. 5-48. Lying on the shelf, Ruby saw the seashell. 5-49. In need of a major equipment upgrade, I think the factory

would be a bad investment. 5-50. Being cluttered and filthy, Sandy took the whole after-

noon to clean up her desk.

Revising Messages: Noun Sequences: Rewrite the following sentences to eliminate the long strings of nouns. [LO-3] 5-51. The focus of the meeting was a discussion of the bank

interest rate deregulation issue. 5-52. Following the government task force report recommen-

dations, we are revising our job applicant evaluation procedures.

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5-53. The production department quality assurance program components include employee training, supplier coop- eration, and computerized detection equipment.

5-54. The supermarket warehouse inventory reduction plan will be implemented next month.

Revising Messages: Sentence Structure: Rearrange each of the following sentences to bring the subjects closer to their verbs. [LO-3] 5-55. Trudy, when she first saw the bull pawing the ground, ran. 5-56. It was Terri who, according to Ted, who is probably the

worst gossip in the office (Tom excepted), mailed the wrong order.

5-57. William Oberstreet, in his book Investment Capital Reconsidered, writes of the mistakes that bankers through the decades have made.

5-58. Judy Schimmel, after passing up several sensible in- vestment opportunities, despite the warnings of her friends and family, invested her inheritance in a jojoba plantation.

Revising Messages: Camouflaged Verbs: Rewrite each of the following sentences so that the verbs are no longer camouflaged. [LO-3] 5-59. Adaptation to the new rules was performed easily by the

employees. 5-60. The assessor will make a determination of the tax due. 5-61. Verification of the identity of the employees must be

made daily. 5-62. The board of directors made a recommendation that

Mr. Ronson be assigned to a new division.

Activities

Active links for all websites in this chapter can be found on MyBCommLab; see your User Guide for instructions on access- ing the content for this chapter. Each activity is labeled accord- ing to the primary skill or skills you will need to use. To review relevant chapter content, you can refer to the indicated Learn- ing Objective. In some instances, supporting information will be found in another chapter, as indicated. 5-63. Collaboration: Evaluating the Work of Other Writers

[LO-1] Visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7, click on Student Assignments, then select Chapter 5, Activity 1. Download and open the document using word-processing software that can accommodate Microsoft Word docu- ments and offers revision tracking and commenting fea- tures. Using your knowledge of effective writing and the tips on page 105 for evaluating the work of other writers, evaluate this message. Using the revision tracking feature, make any necessary corrections. Insert comments, as needed, to explain your changes to the author.

5-64. Completing: Evaluating Content, Organization, and Tone; Collaboration: Using Collaboration Technolo- gies [LO-1], Chapter 2 Visit http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7, click on Student Assignments, and then select Chapter 5, Activity 2. Copy the text of this assignment and use it to start a document in Zoho (free for personal use) or a comparable collaboration system. In a team of three or four students, evaluate the content, organization,

and tone of this message. After you reach agreement on the problems in the message, use the system’s tools to re- write and revise the text.

5-65. Communication Ethics: Making Ethical Choices; Media Skills: Blogging [LO-3] The time and energy required for careful revision can often benefit you or your company directly. For example, reader-friendly product descriptions will increase the probability that website visitors will buy your products. But what about situations in which the quality of your writing and revision work really doesn’t stand to benefit you directly? For instance, assume that you are putting a notice on your website, informing the local community about some upcoming construction to your manufacturing plant. The work will disrupt traffic for nearly a year and generate a significant amount of noise and air pollution, but knowing the spe- cific dates and times of various construction activities will allow people to adjust their commutes and other activities to minimize the negative impact on their daily lives. However, your company does not sell products in the local area, so the people affected by all this are not potential customers. Moreover, providing accurate infor- mation to the surrounding community and updating it as the project progresses will take time away from your other job responsibilities. Do you have an ethical obliga- tion to keep the local community informed with accurate, up-to-date information? Why or why not? In a post on your class blog, explain your position on this question.

5-66. Completing: Revising for Readability [LO-2] Rewrite the following paragraph to vary the length of the sentences and to shorten the paragraph so it looks more inviting to readers:

Although major league baseball remains popular, more people are attending minor league baseball games because they can spend less on admission, snacks, and parking and still enjoy the excitement of America’s pastime. Connecticut, for ex- ample, has three AA minor league teams, including the New Haven Ravens, who are affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals; the Norwich Navigators, who are affiliated with the New York Yankees; and the New Britain Rock Cats, who are affiliated with the Minnesota Twins. These teams play in relatively small stadiums, so fans are close enough to see and hear every- thing, from the swing of the bat connecting with the ball to the thud of the ball landing in the outfielder’s glove. Best of all, the cost of a family outing to see rising stars play in a local minor league game is just a fraction of what the family would spend to attend a major league game in a much larger, more crowded stadium.

5-67. Completing: Designing for Readability; Media Skills: Blogging [LO-5] Compare the home pages of Bloomberg and MarketWatch, two websites that cover financial mar- kets. What are your first impressions of these two sites? How do their overall designs compare in terms of in- formation delivery and overall user experience? Choose three pieces of information that a visitor to these sites would be likely to look for, such as a current stock price, news from international markets, and commentary from market experts. Which site makes it easier to find this in- formation? Why? Present your analysis in a post for your class blog.

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5-68. Completing: Designing for Readability [LO-5] Visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7, click on Student Assignments, and then select Chapter 5 Designing for Readability Activity. Download and open the document in word-processing software capable of handling Micro- soft Word files. Using the various page, paragraph, and font formatting options available in your word processor, modify the formatting of the document so that its visual tone matches the tone of the message.

Expand Your Skills Critique the Professionals

Identify a company website that in your opinion violates one or more of the principles of good design discussed on page 114. Using whatever medium your instructor requests, write a brief analysis of the site (no more than one page), citing specific ele- ments from the piece and support from the chapter. Sharpen Your Career Skills Online

Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Web Search, at http:// websearch.businesscommunicationnetwork.com, is a unique research tool designed specifically for business communication research. Use the Web Search function to find a website, video, PDF document, podcast, or presentation that offers advice on any aspect of revising, designing, producing, or proofreading busi- ness messages. Write a brief email message to your instructor or a post for your class blog, describing the item that you found and summarizing the career skills information you learned from it.

Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage You can download the text of this assignment from http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7; click on Student Assignments and then click on Chapter 5. Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage.

Level 1: Self-Assessment—Adverbs

Review Section 1.5 in the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage and then complete the following 15 items.

For the following items, indicate the correct adjective or adverb provided in parentheses. 5-69. Their performance has been (good, well). 5-70. I (sure, surely) do not know how to help you. 5-71. He feels (sick, sickly) again today. 5-72. Customs dogs are chosen because they smell (good, well). 5-73. The redecorated offices look (good, well).

For the following items, provide the correct form of the adverb in parentheses. 5-74. Which of the two programs computes (fast)? 5-75. Kate has held five jobs over 13 years, and she was

(recently) employed by Graphicon. 5-76. Could they be (happily) employed than they

are now?

5-77. Of the two we have in stock, this model is the (well) designed.

5-78. Of all the arguments I’ve ever heard, yours is the (logically) reasoned.

For the following items, rewrite the sentences to correct dou- ble negatives. 5-79. He doesn’t seem to have none. 5-80. That machine is scarcely never used. 5-81. They can’t get no replacement parts until Thursday. 5-82. It wasn’t no different from the first event we promoted. 5-83. We’ve looked for it, and it doesn’t seem to be nowhere.

Level 2: Workplace Applications

The following items may contain errors in grammar, capitaliza- tion, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. Rewrite each sentence, correcting all errors. If a sen- tence has no errors, write “Correct” for that number. 5-84. All too often, whomever leaves the most out of his cost

estimate is the one who wins the bid—if you can call it winning.

5-85. Carol Bartz CEO for fourteen years guided Autodesk; from a small company, to it’s preeminent position in the computer aided design (cad) software market.

5-86. Shoppers were disinterested in the world-wide Web ini- tially because many hyped services, offered no real cost or convenience advantages over offline stores.

5-87. Different jobs and different customers call for different pricing, estimating, and negotiating strategies.

5-88. Get to know the customer and their expectations, get the customer to talk about their primary use for you’re product.

5-89. To homeowners, who feel they have found a competent contractor who has they’re best interest’s at heart, price will not matter nearly as much.

5-90. If I was you, I would of avoided investing in large con- glomerates in light of the collapse of energy trader, Enron Corp., over accounting irregularities.

5-91. Outdoor goods retailer REI has had significant, success with in-store kiosks that let customers choose between several types of merchandise.

5-92. To people in some areas of cyberspace “Advertising” is a four letter word but “Marketing” is perfectly acceptable.

5-93. In any business effort, making money requires planning. Strategic marketing, a good product, good customer ser- vice, considerable shrewdness—and much hard work.

5-94. Investors must decide weather to put their capitol into bonds or CDs.

5-95. Running at full capacity, millions of Nike shoes are being produced by manufacturing plants every day.

5-96. Metropolis’ stationary has a picture of the Empire state building on it.

5-97. Starbucks are planning to add fruit drinks to their menu in states throughout the south.

5-98. Credit ratings ain’t what they used to be. Level 3: Document Critique

The following document may contain errors in grammar, punctu- ation, capitalization, abbreviation, number style, vocabulary, and

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spelling. You will also find errors related to topics in this chapter. For example, look for ways to improve long words and phrases, re- dundancies, dangling modifiers, camouflaged verbs, and problems with parallelism as you improve this memo. As your instructor in- dicates, photocopy this page and correct all errors using standard proofreading marks (see Appendix C) or download the document and make the corrections in your word-processing software.

Memorandum

TO: Metro Power Employees FROM: Susannah Beech, HR Administrator SUBJECT: Ways to improve your response to technology failures Date: 22 September 2015 Dear Metro Employees:

There is always a chance of racing toward a deadline and suddenly having equipment fall. The following includes a few proposed suggestions to help you stave off, and cope with, technical equipment and system failures:

• Stay cool. There are many technical failures so they are commonplace in business; and it is likely that your bosses and co-workers will understand that you’re having a prolbem and why.

• Practice preventive maintenance: Use cleaning cloths and sprays regularly, liquids and foods should be kept away from keyboards and printers; and you should make sure systems are shut down when you leave at night.

• It is important for faster repair asistance to promptly report computer failures to Bart Stone assistant director of information services ext. 2238, who will get to your poblem as soon as it is humanly possible for him to do so but you must keep in mind that there are many people demanding his focused attention at any given time.

• If you suspect that a problem may be developing, don’t wait until the crucial last moment to call for assistance.

• When a last-minute technical failure of equipment threatens to disrupt your composure you might want to consider taking a walk to calm down.

The last suggestion is perhaps the most important to keep your career on track. Lost tempers; taking out your feelings in violent outbursts, and rude language are threatening to co-workers and could result in a reprimand or other disciplinary action. By calling technical support lines for help, your equipment can stay in good working order and your temper will stay calm.

The timely implemention of repairs is important, so ask your supervisor for a list of support numbers to keep handy. Then, the next time you experience a technology giltch in your equipment or systems, there are going to be quite a few numbers handy for you to call to help you handle it as just another aspect of your business regeem.

Sincerely, Susannah Beech Human Resources Administrator

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com for Auto-graded writing questions as well as the following Assisted-graded writing questions:

5-99. Why should you let a first draft “age” for a while before you begin the revision process? [LO-1]

5-100. How do your typeface selections help determine the personality of your documents and messages? [LO-4]

Endnotes 1. Martin Shovel, “How to Be an Outstanding Communicator,” CreativityWorks blog, 16 May 2011, www.creativityworks.net; “About Us,” CreativityWorks, 16 May 2011, www.creativityworks.net. 2. “Revision in Business Writing,” Purdue OWL website, accessed 8 February 2008, http://owl.english.purdue.edu. 3. Holly Weeks, “The Best Memo You’ll Ever Write,” Harvard Management Communication Letter, Spring 2005, 3–5. 4. Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, “Best Practices for Bullet Points,” Business Writing blog, 17 December 2005, www.businesswritingblog.com. 5. Deborah Gunn, “Looking Good on Paper,” Office Pro, March 2004, 10–11.

6. Jacci Howard Bear, “Desktop Publishing Rules of Page Layout,” About.com, accessed 22 August 2005, www.about.com. 7. Kas Thomas, “The Serif Readability Myth,” assertTrue blog, 18 January 2013, asserttrue.blogspot.com; Ole Lund, “Knowledge Construction in Typography: The Case of Legibility Research and the Legibility of Sans Serif Typefaces,” doctoral dissertation, University of Reading, October 1999. 8. Jacci Howard Bear, “Desktop Publishing Rules for How Many Fonts to Use,” About.com, accessed 22 August 2005, www.about.com. 9. “Mobile Message Mayhem,” Verne Ordman & Associates, accessed 12 March 2014, www.businesswriting.biz.

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CHAPTER 6 Crafting Messages for Digital Channels CHAPTER 7 Writing Routine and Positive Messages CHAPTER 8 Writing Negative Messages CHAPTER 9 Writing Persuasive Messages

3 Brief Business Messages

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Crafting Messages for Digital Channels

Communication Matters . . . “We use Facebook to make sure the customer is happy.” —Donnie Steele, Director of New Media, SmartPak

As proof that no business is too specialized or too far out of the mainstream to benefit from social media, Facebook is now an essential communication platform for SmartPak, a company whose primary market niche is nutritional supplements for horses. More than 200,000 fans use SmartPak’s Facebook page to get updates on new products, post questions for a veterinarian, learn about the latest in animal care, and share the sense of community with other animal lovers. Steele says the company’s initial strategy with Facebook was marketing new products, and while the social network remains one of the top “revenue refer- rers” to the SmartPak website, it now has a much broader role in serving customers.1

Identify the major digital channels used for brief business messages, and describe the nine compositional modes needed for digital media

Describe the use of social networks in business communication

Explain how companies and business professionals can use information and content sharing websites

Describe the evolving role of email in business commu- nication, and explain how to adapt the three-step writing process to email messages

Describe the business benefits of instant messaging (IM), and identify guidelines for effective IM in the workplace

Describe the use of blogging and microblogging in business communication, and briefly explain how to adapt the three-step process to blogging

Explain how to adapt the three-step writing process for podcasts

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

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Many companies focus on brand-building and community-building efforts on Face- book, but SmartPak’s Donnie Steele emphasizes the customer service aspects that Facebook enables.

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Digital Channels for Business Communication SmartPak’s choice of Facebook for customer communication may seem like an obvious move, but the use of social media represents a fundamental shift in business communica- tion. The shift is still taking place, as more consumers adopt social and mobile media and as businesses experiment with the best ways to integrate these media and adapt them to their internal and external communication practices.

Social media such as Facebook are digital media/channel combinations that empower stakeholders as participants in the communication process by allowing them to share con- tent, revise content, respond to content, or contribute new content. For instance, many people now rely heavily on content sharing through social media tools to get information of personal and professional interest. Additionally, many consumers and professionals fre- quently engage in “content snacking,” consuming large numbers of small pieces of informa- tion and bypassing larger documents that might require more than a few minutes or even a few seconds to read.2 Moreover, the amount of content accessed from mobile devices (with the challenges they present in terms of screen size and input mechanisms) continues to rise.3 Faced with such behavior, communicators need to be more careful than ever to cre- ate audience-focused messages and to consider restructuring messages using more teasers, orientations, and summaries (see pages 131–133).

With all these changes taking place, the field of business communication is a lot more interesting—but also a lot more complicated—than it was just a few years ago. For exam- ple, newer and smaller firms have a better opportunity to compete against big companies with big communication budgets because the quality of the message and the credibility of the sender carry more weight in this new environment. Empowered stakeholders can use the reach of social media to help companies that appear to be acting in stakeholders’ best interests and harm companies that are not. Social media also have the potential to increase transparency, with more eyes and ears to monitor business activities and to use the crowd’s voice to demand accountability and change.

Although social media have reduced the amount of control businesses have over the content and process of communication,4 today’s smart companies are learning how to adapt their communication efforts to this new media landscape and to welcome customers’ partici- pation. Social media are also revolutionizing internal communication, breaking down tradi- tional barriers in the organizational hierarchy, promoting the flow of information and ideas, and enabling networks of individuals and organizations to collaborate on a global scale.5

Increasingly, employees expect the leaders in their organizations to be active in social media. In one recent study, more than 80 percent of U.S. employees agreed that “CEOs who engage in social media are better equipped than their peers to lead companies in a Web 2.0 world.” Moreover, roughly the same percentage are more likely to trust companies whose leadership teams engage with stakeholders via social media, and they would prefer to work for such companies as well.6

Media ChoiCes for Brief Messages

Social media are not the only options available for business communication, of course. Individuals and companies have a broad range of options for sending brief messages (from one or two sentences up to several pages long), including the following:

● Social networks ● Information and content sharing sites ● Email ● Instant messaging (IM) ● Text messaging ● Blogging and microblogging ● Podcasting

This chapter covers all of these media, and Chapters 10 and 11 explore two other key media, websites and wikis, which are used for longer messages and documents.

The range of options for short business messages continues to grow with innovations in digital and social media.

Social media reduce a communica- tor’s control over messages.

1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEIdentify the major digital channels used for brief business messages, and describe the nine compositional modes needed for digital media.

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As this list suggests, businesses use many of the same tools you use for personal communication. Generally speak- ing, companies are quick to jump on any communication platform where consumers are likely to congregate or that promise more-efficient internal or external communication.

Although most of your business communication is likely to be via digital means, don’t automatically dismiss the ben- efits of printed messages. Here are several situations in which you should use a printed message over digital alternatives:

● When you want to make a formal impression ● When you are legally required to provide information in printed form ● When you want to stand out from the flood of digital messages ● When you need a permanent, unchangeable, or secure record

Obviously, if you can’t reach a particular audience through digital channels, you’ll also need to use a printed message. Appendix A offers guidelines on formatting printed memos and letters.

CoMPositional Modes for digital Media

As you practice using digital media in this course, focus on the principles of social media communication and the fundamentals of planning, writing, and completing mes- sages, rather than on the specific details of any one medium or system.7 Fortunately, the basic communication skills required usually transfer from one system to another. You can succeed with written communication in virtually all digital media by using one of nine compositional modes:

● Conversations. IM is a great example of a written medium that mimics spoken con- versation. And just as you wouldn’t read a report to someone sitting in your office, you wouldn’t use conversational modes to exchange large volumes of information or to communicate with more than a few people at once.

● Comments and critiques. One of the most powerful aspects of social media is the opportunity for interested parties to express opinions and provide feedback, whether it’s leaving comments on a blog post or reviewing products on an e-commerce site. Sharing helpful tips and insightful commentary is also a great way to build your per- sonal brand. To be an effective commenter, focus on short chunks of information that a broad spectrum of other site visitors will find helpful. Rants, insults, jokes, and blatant self-promotion are usually of little benefit to other visitors.

● Orientations. The ability to help people find their way through an unfamiliar system or subject is a valuable writing skill and a talent that readers greatly appreciate. Unlike summaries (see next item), orientations don’t give away the key points in the collec- tion of information, but rather tell readers where to find those points. Writing effective orientations can be a delicate balancing act because you need to know the material well enough to guide others through it while being able to step back and view it from the inexperienced perspective of a “newbie.”

● Summaries. At the beginning of an article or webpage, a summary functions as a miniature version of the document, giving readers all the key points while skip- ping over details. At the end of an article or webpage, a summary functions as a review, reminding readers of the key points they’ve just read. A series of key points extracted from an article or webpage can also serve as a summary (see the discussion of tweetables below).

● Reference materials. One of the greatest benefits of the Internet is the access it can provide to vast quantities of reference materials—numerical or textual information that people typically don’t read in a linear way but rather search through to find particular data points, trends, or other details. One of the challenges of writing reference material is that you can’t always know how readers will want to access it. Making the informa- tion accessible via search engines is an important step. However, readers don’t always

These tips will help you make the best choice in various business situations. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Should you email, text, or pick up the phone?

Even with the widespread use of digital formats, printed memos and letters still play an important role in business communication.

Communicating successfully with digital media requires a wide range of writing approaches.

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know which search terms will yield the best results, so consider an orientation and organize the material in logi- cal ways with clear headings that promote skimming.

● Narratives. The storytelling techniques covered in Chapter 3 (see page 74) can be effective in a wide vari- ety of situations, from company histories to product re- views and demonstrations. Narratives work best when they have an intriguing beginning that piques readers’

Figure 6.1 Writing Teasers for Social Media The global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte uses Twitter to announce and promote a variety of topics and resources. Rather than relying on the 140-character tweets to convey the entire message, the company’s tweets instead serve as teasers, encouraging readers to click through for more detailed information. Source: Deloitte Global Services Twitter page. Copyright © 2012 Deloitte Global Services Limited. Reprinted with permission.

Retweets an item from another Deloitte business unit that links to a downloadable report. Note use of hashtags.

Links to a “landing page” with multiple resources on this topic.

Links to a signup page for an online seminar.

Links to a Deloitte presentation on SlideShare.

Links to an article by a well-known newspaper columnist.

Storytelling is an effective business communication strategy, and social media can be the idea platform for it. Go to http:// real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Telling compelling stories on social media

With Twitter and other super- short messaging systems, the ability to write a compelling teaser is an important skill.

curiosity, a middle section that moves quickly through the challenges that an indi- vidual or company faced, and an inspiring or instructive ending that gives readers information they can apply in their own lives and jobs.

● Teasers. Teasers intentionally withhold key pieces of information as a way to pull read- ers or listeners into a story or other document. Teasers are widely used in marketing and sales messages, such as a bit of copy on the outside of an envelope that promises important information on the inside. In digital media, the space limitations and URL linking capabilities of Twitter and other microblogging systems make them a natural tool for the teaser approach (see Figure 6.1). Be sure that the payoff, the information a teaser links to, is valuable and legitimate. You’ll quickly lose credibility if readers think they are being tricked into clicking through to information they don’t really want. (Tweetables are Twitter-ready bites of information extracted from a blog post or other messages. They often serve as teasers, although a series of them can make an effective summary as well.)

● Status updates and announcements. If you use social media frequently, much of your writing will involve status updates and announcements. However, don’t post trivial

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information that only you are likely to find interesting. Post only those updates that readers will find useful, and include only the information they need.

● Tutorials. Given the community nature of social media, the purpose of many messages is to share how-to advice. Becoming known as a reliable expert is a great way to build customer loyalty for your company while enhancing your own personal value.

Creating Content for soCial Media

No matter what media or compositional mode you are using for a particular message, writ- ing for social media requires a different approach than for traditional media. Whether you’re writing a blog or posting a product demonstration video to YouTube, consider these tips for creating successful content for social media:8

● Remember that it’s a conversation, not a lecture or a sales pitch. One of the great appeals of social media is the feeling of conversation, of people talking with one another instead of one person talking at everyone else. As more and more people gain a voice in the marketplace, companies that try to maintain the old “we talk, you listen” mindset are likely to be ignored in the social media landscape.

● Write informally but not carelessly. Write as a human being with a unique, personal voice. However, don’t take this as a license to get sloppy; no one wants to slog through misspelled words and half-baked sentences to find your message.

● Create concise, specific, and informative headlines. Given the importance of head- lines in the face of content snacking and information overload, headlines are extremely important in social media. Avoid the temptation to engage in clever wordplay when writing headlines and teasers. This advice applies to all forms of business communica- tion, of course, but it is essential for social media. Readers don’t want to spend time figuring out what your witty headlines mean. Search engines won’t know what they mean either, so fewer people will find your content.

● Get involved and stay involved. Social media make some businesspeople nervous be- cause they don’t permit a high level of control over messages. However, don’t hide from criti- cism. Take the opportunity to correct misinformation or explain how mistakes will be fixed.

● Be transparent and honest. Honesty is always essential, of course, but the social media environment is unforgiving. Attempts to twist the truth, withhold information, or hide behind a virtual barricade only invite attack in the “public square” of social media.

● Think before you post! Because of careless messages, individuals and companies have been sued because of Twitter updates, employees have been fired for Facebook wall postings, vital company secrets have been leaked, and business and personal relation- ships have been strained. Remember that you share the responsibility of keeping your company’s and your customers’ data private and secure. Assume that every message you send in any digital medium will be stored forever and might be read by people far beyond your original audience. Ask yourself two questions: First, “Would I say this to my audience face to face?” And second, “Am I comfortable with this message becoming a permanent part of my personal and professional communication history?”

oPtiMizing Content for MoBile deviCes

Chapters 4 and 5 offer tips on writing and formatting messages for mobile devices. While keeping the limitations of small screens and alternative input methods in mind, look for opportunities to take advantage of mobile-specific capabilities via apps and mobile-friendly websites. Mobile expands your options as a content creator, and it gives your audience members a wider range of more-engaging ways to consume your content:

● Location-based services. Location-based social networking links the virtual world of online social networking with the physical world of retail stores and other locations. As mobile web use in general continues to grow, location-based networking promises to become an important business communication medium because mobile consumers are a significant economic force—through the purchases they make directly and through their ability to influence other consumers.9

Writing for social media requires a different approach than writing for traditional media.

A momentary lapse of concentra- tion or judgment while using social media can cause tremen- dous career or company damage.

Mobile offers a range of exciting ways to enhance the audience experience.

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● Gamification. The addition of game-playing aspects to apps and web services, known as gamification, can increase audience engagement and encourage repeat use. Examples include Foursquare’s “check-in” competitions and Bunchball’s Nitro competitions for sales teams.10

● Augmented reality. Superimposing data on live camera images can help mobile consumers learn about companies and services in the immediate vicinity, for exam- ple. Another potential business use is on-the-job training, in which training content is provided as workers are learning or performing various tasks.

● Wearable technology. From virtual-reality goggles to smartwatches to body-movement sensors, wearable technology pushes the radical connectivity of mobile to the next level. Some of these work as auxiliary screens and controls for other mobile devices, but others are meant for independent use. One of the key promises of wearable tech- nology is simplifying and enhancing everyday tasks for consumers and employees alike (see Figure 6.2).11

● Mobile blogging. Smartphones and tablets are idea for mobile blogs, sometimes referred to as moblogs. The mobile capability is great for workers whose jobs keep them on the move and for special-event coverage such as live-blogging trade shows and industry conventions.

● Mobile podcasting. Similarly, smartphone-based podcasting tools make it easy to record audio on the go and post finished podcasts to your blog or website.

● Cloud-based services. Mobile communication is ideal for cloud-based services— digital services that rely on resources stored in the cloud.

Social Networks Social networks—online services that help people and organizations form connections and share information—have become a major force in both internal and external business com- munication in recent years. In addition to Facebook, a variety of public and private social net- works are used by businesses and professionals. They can be grouped into three categories:

● Public, general-purpose networks. Facebook is the largest such network, although Google+ is rapidly gaining ground and is attracting many companies and brands.

Figure 6.2 Wearable Technology Smartwatches and other wearable technologies can simplify and enhance everyday tasks such as note taking and brainstorming. Source: Alissa Holland/Moment Mobile/Getty Images.

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Mobile Podcaster lets you record audio podcasts on your mobile devices and instantly post them on your WordPress blog.

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the use of social networks in business communication.

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Additionally, regionally focused networks have significant user bases in some coun- tries, such as China’s Renren and Kaixin001.12

● Public, specialized networks. Whereas Facebook and Google+ serve a wide variety of personal and professional needs, other networks focus on a particular function or a particular audience. The most widely known of these is LinkedIn, with its emphasis on career- and sales-related networking. Other networks address the needs of entre- preneurs, small-business owners, specific professions, product enthusiasts, and other narrower audiences.

● Private networks. Some companies have built private social networks for internal use. For example, the defense contractor Lockheed Martin created its Unity network, com- plete with a variety of social media applications, to meet the expectations of younger employees accustomed to social media and to capture the expert knowledge of older employees nearing retirement.13

Regardless of the purpose and audience, social networks are most beneficial when all participants give and receive information, advice, support, and introductions—just as in offline social interaction. The following two sections describe how social networks are used in business communication and offer advice on using these platforms successfully.

BUsiness CoMMUniCation Uses of soCial networks

With their ability to reach virtually unlimited numbers of people through a variety of digital formats, social networks are a great fit for many business communication needs. Here are some of the key applications of social networks for internal and external business communication:

● Integrating company workforces. Just as public networks can bring friends and fam- ily together, internal social networks can help companies grow closer, including helping new employees navigate their way through the organization, finding experts, mentors, and other important contacts; encouraging workforces to “jell” after reorganizations or mergers; and overcoming structural barriers in communication channels, bypassing the formal communication system to deliver information where it is needed in a timely fashion.

● Fostering collaboration. Networks can play a major role in collaboration by identify- ing the best people, both inside the company and in other companies, to collaborate on projects; finding pockets of knowledge and expertise within the organization; giving meeting or seminar participants a way to meet before an event and to maintain rela- tionships after an event; accelerating the development of teams by helping members get to know one another and to identify individual areas of expertise; and sharing informa- tion throughout the organization.

● Building communities. Social networks are a natural tool for bringing together com- munities of practice, people who engage in similar work, and communities of interest, people who share enthusiasm for a particular product or activity. Large and geographi- cally dispersed companies can benefit greatly from communities of practice that con- nect experts who may work in different divisions or different countries. Communities of interest that form around a specific product are sometimes called brand communities, and nurturing these communities can be a vital business communication task. A major- ity of consumers now trust their peers more than any other source of product informa- tion, so formal and informal brand communities are becoming an essential information source in consumer buying decisions.14

● Socializing brands and companies. According to one recent survey of company executives, socialization now accounts for more than half of a company or brand’s global reputation.15 Brand socialization is a measure of how effectively a company engages with its various online stakeholders in a mutually beneficial exchange of information.

● Understanding target markets. With hundreds of millions of people expressing them- selves via social media, you can be sure that smart companies are listening. When asked about the value of having millions of Facebook fans, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent replied, “The value is you can talk with them. They tell you things that are important

Business communicators make use of a wide range of specialized and private social networks, in addition to public networks such as Facebook and Google+.

Socializing a brand is becoming an increasingly important element of marketing and public relations strategies.

Social networks are vital tools for distributing information as well as gathering information about the business environment.

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for your business and brands.”16 In addition, a number of tools now exist to gather mar- ket intelligence from social media more or less automatically. For example, sentiment analysis is an intriguing research technique in which companies track social networks and other media with automated language-analysis software that tries to take the pulse of public opinion and identify influential opinion makers.17

● Recruiting employees and business partners. Companies use social networks to find potential employees, short-term contractors, subject-matter experts, product and ser- vice suppliers, and business partners. A key advantage here is that these introductions are made via trusted connections in a professional network. On LinkedIn, for example, members can recommend each other based on current or past business relationships, which helps remove the uncertainty of initiating business relationships with complete strangers.

● Connecting with sales prospects. Salespeople on networks such as LinkedIn can use their network connections to identify potential buyers and then to ask for introduc- tions through those shared connections. Sales networking can reduce cold calling, tele- phoning potential customers out of the blue—a practice that few people on either end of the conversation find pleasant.

● Supporting customers. Customer service is another one of the fundamental areas of business communication that have been revolutionized by social media. Social customer service involves using social networks and other social media tools to give customers a more convenient way to get help from the company and to help each other.

● Extending the organization. Social networking is also fueling the growth of networked organizations, sometimes known as virtual organizations, where companies supple- ment the talents of their employees with services from one or more external partners, such as a design lab, a manufacturing firm, or a sales and distribution company.

strategies for BUsiness CoMMUniCation on soCial networks

Social networks offer lots of business communication potential, but with those opportuni- ties comes a certain degree of complexity. Moreover, the norms and practices of business social networking continue to evolve. Follow these guidelines to make the most of social networks for both personal branding and company communication:18

● Choose the best compositional mode for each message, purpose, and network. As you visit various social networks, take some time to observe the variety of message types you see in different parts of each website. For example, the informal status update mode works well for Facebook Wall posts but would be less effective for company over- views and mission statements.

● Offer valuable content to members of your online communities. People don’t join social networks to be sales targets, of course. They join looking for connections and information. Content marketing is the practice of providing free information that is valuable to community members but that also helps a company build closer ties with current and potential customers.19

● Join existing conversations. Search for online conversations that are already taking place. Answer questions, solve problems, and respond to rumors and misinformation.

● Anchor your online presence in your hub. Although it’s important to join those con- versations and be visible where your stakeholders are active, it’s equally important to anchor your presence at your own central hub—a web presence you own and control. This can be a combination of a conventional website, a blog, and a company-sponsored online community, for example.20 Use the hub to connect the various pieces of your online “self ” (as an individual or a company) to make it easier for people to find and follow you. For example, you can link to your blog from your LinkedIn profile or auto- matically post your blog entries into the Notes tab on your Facebook page.

● Facilitate community building. Make it easy for customers and other audiences to con- nect with the company and with each other. For example, you can use the group feature on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks to create and foster special-interest

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The social media management app Social Oomph lets you monitor multiple social media sites, schedule updates, and perform other time- saving tasks.

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groups within your networks. Groups are a great way to connect people who are inter- ested in specific topics, such as owners of a particular product.

● Restrict conventional promotional efforts to the right time and right place. Persuasive communication efforts are still valid for specific communication tasks, such as regular advertising and the product information pages on a website, but efforts to inject blatant “salespeak” into social networking conversations will usually be rejected by the audience.

● Maintain a consistent personality. Each social network is a unique environment with particular norms of communication.21 For example, as a strictly business-oriented network, LinkedIn has a more formal “vibe” than Facebook and Google+, which cater to both consumers and businesses. However, while adapting to the expectations of each network, be sure to maintain a consistent personality across all the networks in which you are active.22

See “Writing Promotional Messages for Social Media” in Chapter 9 (pages 224–225) for more tips on writing messages for social networks and other social media.

Information and Media Sharing Sites Social networks allow members to share information and media items as part of the networking experience, but a variety of systems have been designed specifically for sharing content. The field is diverse and still evolving, but the possibilities can be divided into user- generated content sites, content curation sites, and community Q&A sites.

User-generated Content sites

YouTube, Flickr, Yelp, and other user-generated content (UGC) sites, in which users rather than website owners contribute most or all of the content, have become serious business tools. On YouTube, for example, companies post everything from product demonstrations and TV commercials to company profiles and technical support explanations.

As with other social media, the keys to effective user-generated content are making it valuable and making it easy. First, provide content that people want to see and share with colleagues. A video clip that explains how to use a product more effectively will be more popular than a clip that talks about how amazing the company behind the product is. Also, keep videos short, generally no longer than three to five minutes, if possible.23

Second, make material easy to find, consume, and share. For example, a branded channel on YouTube lets a company organize all its videos in one place, making it easy for visitors to browse the selection or subscribe to get automatic updates of future videos. Sharing features let fans share videos through email or their accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms.

Content CUration sites

Newsfeeds from blogs and other online publishers can be a great way to stay on top of de- velopments in any field. However, anyone who has signed up for more than a few RSS feeds has probably experienced the “firehose effect” of getting so many feeds so quickly that it becomes impossible to stay on top of them. Moreover, when a highly active publisher feeds every new article, from the essential to the trivial, the reader is left to sort it all out every day.

An intriguing alternative to newsfeeds is content curation, in which someone with expertise or interest in a particular field collects and republishes material on a particular topic. The authors’ Business Communication Headline News (http://bchn .businesscommunicationnetwork.com), for instance, was one of the earliest examples of content curation in the field of business communication.

New curation tools, including Pinterest and Scoop.it, make it easy to assemble attrac- tive online magazines or portfolios on specific topics. Although it raises important issues regarding content ownership and message control,24 curation has the potential to bring the power of community and shared expertise to a lot of different fields; ultimately, it could reshape audience behavior and therefore the practice of business communication.

Product promotion can be done on social networks, but it needs to be done in a low-key, indirect way.

3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain how companies and business professionals can use information and content sharing websites.

YouTube and other user-generated content sites are now important business communication channels.

Content curation is the process of collecting and presenting informa- tion on a particular topic in a way that makes it convenient for target readers.

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138

User-Generated Content

Many companies now encourage user-generated content as a way to engage their stakeholders and provide additional value through shared expertise. The online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos, for example, invites customers to create and upload videos that communicate their experiences with Zappos and its products. Source: Copyright © 2012 by Zappos IP, Inc. Used by permission.

Specialized Social Networks

A number of companies now host their own social networking sites, where product enthusiasts interact by sharing personal stories, offering advice, and commenting on products and company news—all brief-message functions that replace more traditional media options. For example, Specialized, a major bicycle manufacturer based in Morgan Hill, California, hosts the Specialized Riders Club, where customers can interact with each other and the professional riders the company sponsors. Similarly, the Segway Social network connects owners of these unique personal vehicles, including helping teams organize for Segway polo matches and other events. Source: Segway Inc.

General-Purpose Social Networks

Most everyone is familiar with Facebook and Google+, and thousands of companies are active on these popular social networks. In addition, a number of social networks exist just for businesses and business professionals, includ- ing LinkedIn, the largest of the business networks. Kelly Financial Resources, part of the Kelly Services staffing company, maintains a profile on LinkedIn, as do several hundred of its employees. Source: Screenshot courtesy of Kelly Services company LinkedIn page. Copyright 2013 by Kelly Services, Inc. Used by Permission.

Companies in virtually every industry use social media and continue to experiment with new ways to connect with customers and other stakeholders. From offering helpful tips on using products to helping customers meet each other, these companies show the enormous range of possibilities that new media continue to bring to business communication.25

Business Communicators Innovating with Social Media

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Value-Added Content via Blogging

One of the best ways to become a valued member of a network is to provide content that is useful to others in the network. The Quizzle personal finance blog offers a steady stream of articles and advice that help people manage their finances. Source: Copyright © 2013 by Quizzle. Used by permission.

Value-Added Content via Online Video

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks of Warren, Maine, uses its YouTube channel to offer valuable information on choosing and using premium woodworking tools. By providing sought-after information for both current and potential custom- ers free of charge, these videos help Lie-Nielsen foster relationships with the worldwide woodworking community and solidify its position as one of the leaders in this market. Animal Planet, Best Western, and Taco Bell are among the many other companies that make effective use of branded channels on YouTube. Source: Copyright © 2013 by Lie-Nielson Toolworks, Inc. Used by permission.

Employee Recruiting

General Electric (GE) is one of many companies that now use Twitter to recruit new employees. GE uses its Twitter recruiting account (@GEConnections) to post job openings, talk about working at GE, and provide application advice to job seekers. Source: Copyright © 2012 by General Electric. Used by permission.

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CoMMUnity Q&a sites

Community Q&A sites, on which visitors answer questions posted by other visitors, are a contemporary twist on the early ethos of computer networking, which was people help- ing each other. (Groups of like-minded people connected online long before the World Wide Web was even created.) Community Q&A sites include dedicated customer support communities such as those hosted on Get Satisfaction and public sites such as Quora and Yahoo! Answers.

Responding to questions on Q&A sites can be a great way to build your personal brand, demonstrate your company’s commitment to customer service, and counter misinforma- tion about your company and its products. Keep in mind that when you respond to an individual query on a community Q&A site, you are also “responding in advance” to every person in the future who comes to the site with the same question. In other words, you are writing a type of reference material in addition to corresponding with the original ques- tioner, so keep the long time frame and wider audience in mind.

Email Email has been an important communication tool for many companies for several decades, and in the beginning it offered a huge advantage in speed and efficiency over the media it usually replaced (printed and faxed messages). Over the years, email began to be used for many communication tasks simply because it was the only widely available digi- tal format for written messages and millions of users were comfortable with it. However, newer tools—such as instant messaging, blogs, microblogs, social networks, and shared workspaces—are taking over specific tasks for which they are better suited.26 For example, email is not usually the best choice for conversational communication (IM is better) or project management discussions and updates (blogs, wikis, and various purpose-built sys- tems are often preferable).

In addition to the widespread availability of better alternatives for many communica- tion purposes, the indiscriminate use of email has lowered its appeal in the eyes of many professionals. In a sense, email is too easy to use—with a couple of mouse clicks you can send low-value messages to multiple recipients or trigger long message chains that become impossible to follow as people chime in along the way. In fact, frustration with email is so high in some companies that managers are making changes to reduce or even eliminate its use for internal communication.27

However, email still has compelling advantages that will keep it in steady use in many companies. First, email is universal. Anybody with an email address can reach anybody else with an email address, no matter which systems the senders and receivers are on. Second, email is still the best medium for many private, short- to medium-length messages, particularly when the exchange is limited to two people. Unlike with microblogs or IM, for instance, midsize messages are easy to compose and easy to read on email. Third, email’s noninstantaneous nature is an advantage when used properly. Email lets senders compose substantial messages in private and on their own schedule, and it lets recipients read those messages at their leisure.

Planning eMail Messages

The solution to email overload starts in the planning step, by making sure every message has a useful, business-related purpose. Also, be aware that many companies now have for- mal email policies that specify how employees can use email, including restrictions against using company email service for personal messages, sending confidential information, or sending material that might be deemed objectionable. In addition, many employers now monitor email, either automatically with software programmed to look for sensitive con- tent or manually via security staff actually reading selected email messages. Regardless of formal policies, though, every email user has a responsibility to avoid actions that

Community Q&A sites offer great opportunities for building your personal brand.

Email remains a primary format for companies, but better alterna- tives now exist for many types of communication.

Email can seem a bit “old school” in comparison to social networks and other technologies, but it is still one of the more important business communication media.

Do your part to stem the flood of email by making sure you don’t send unnecessary messages or cc people who don’t really need to see particular messages.

4 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the evolving role of email in business communica- tion, and explain how to adapt the three-step writing process to email messages.

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could cause trouble, from opening virus-infected attachments to sending inappropriate photographs.

Even with fairly short messages, spend a moment or two on the message-planning tasks described in Chapter 3: analyzing the situation, gathering necessary information for your readers, and organizing your message. You’ll save time in the long run because you will craft a more effective message on the first attempt. Your readers will get the information they need and won’t have to generate follow-up messages asking for clarification or additional information.

writing eMail Messages

When you approach email writing on the job, recognize that business email is a more formal medium than you are probably accustomed to with email for personal communication (see Figure 6.3). The expectations of writing quality for business email are higher than for personal email, and the consequences of bad writing or poor judgment can be much more serious. For example, email messages and other digital documents have the same legal weight as printed documents, and they are often used as evidence in lawsuits and criminal investigations.28

The email subject line might seem like a small detail, but it is actually one of the most important parts of an email message because it helps recipients decide which messages to read and when to read them. To capture your audience’s attention, make your sub- ject lines informative and compelling. Go beyond simply describing or classifying your

Business email messages are more formal than the email messages you send to family and friends.

Figure 6.3 Email for Business Communication In this response to an email query from a colleague, Elaine Burgman takes advantage of her email system’s features to create an efficient and effective message. Source: Microsoft Outlook 2013, Microsoft Corporation.

She opens with an informal salutation appropriate for communication between colleagues.

She includes the URL of the website she wants Williams to visit, so all he needs to do is click on the link.

The warm complimentary close expresses her appreciation for his efforts.Her email signature

includes alternative contact information, making it easy for the recipient to reach her.

By itemizing the steps she wants Williams to follow, she makes it easy for him to respond and helps ensure that the work will be done correctly.

Burgman includes enough of the original message to remind Williams why she is writing—but doesn’t clutter the screen with the entire original message.

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 6.3’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

A poorly written subject line could lead to a message being deleted or ignored.

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message; use the opportunity to build interest with keywords, quotations, directions, or questions.29 For example, “July sales results” accurately describes the content of the mes- sage, but “July sales results: good news and bad news” is more intriguing. Readers will want to know why some news is good and some is bad.

In addition, many email programs display the first few words or lines of incoming messages, even before the recipient opens them. In the words of social media public rela- tions expert Steve Rubel, you can “tweetify” the opening lines of your email messages to make them stand out. In other words, choose the first few words carefully to grab your reader’s attention.30 Think of the first sentence as an extension of your subject line.

As a lean medium (see page 70), email can present challenges when you need to ex- press particular emotional nuances, whether positive or negative. For years, users of email (as well as IM and text messaging) have used a variety of emoticons to express emotions in casual communication. For example, to express sympathy as a way to take some of the sting out of negative news, one might use a “frowny face,” either the :( character string or a graphical emoticon such as L or one of the colorful and sometimes animated characters available in some systems.

In the past, the use of emoticons was widely regarded as unprofessional and therefore advised against in business communication. Recently, though, an increasing number of professionals seem to be using them, particularly for communication with close colleagues, even as other professionals continue to view them as evidence of lazy or immature writ- ing.31 In the face of these conflicting perspectives, the best advice is to use caution. Avoid emoticons for all types of external communication and for formal internal communication, and avoid those bright yellow graphical emoticons (and particularly animated emoticons) in all business communication.

CoMPleting eMail Messages

Particularly for important messages, taking a few moments to revise and proofread might save you hours of headaches and damage control. Also, favor simplicity when it comes to producing your email messages. A clean, easily readable font, in black on a white back- ground, is sufficient for nearly all email messages. Take advantage of your email system’s ability to include an email signature, a small file that automatically includes such items as your full name, title, company, and contact information at the end of your messages.

When you’re ready to distribute your message, pause to verify what you’re doing before you click Send. Make sure you’ve included everyone necessary—and no one else. Did you click Reply All when you meant to click only Reply? The difference could be embarrassing or even career threatening. Don’t include people in the cc (courtesy copy) or bcc (blind courtesy copy) fields unless you know how these features work. (Everyone who receives the message can see who is on the cc line but not who is on the bcc line.) Also, don’t set the mes- sage priority to “high” or “urgent” unless your message is truly urgent. And if you intend to include an attachment, be sure that it is indeed attached.

Table 6.1 offers a number of helpful tips for effective email; for the latest information on using email in business, visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7 and click on Chapter 6.

Instant Messaging and Text Messaging Computer-based instant messaging (IM), in which users’ messages appear on each other’s screens instantly, is used extensively for internal and external communication. IM is avail- able in both stand-alone systems and as a function embedded in online meeting systems, collaboration systems, social networks, and other platforms. For conversational exchanges, it’s hard to top the advantages of IM, and the technology is replacing both email and voice- mail in many situations.32 Business-grade IM systems offer a range of capabilities, including basic chat, presence awareness (the ability to quickly see which people are at their desks and available to IM), remote display of documents, video capabilities, remote control of other computers, automated newsfeeds from blogs and websites, and automated bot (derived from the word robot) capabilities in which a computer can carry on simple conversations.33

Attitudes about emoticons in busi- ness communication are changing; you’ll have to use your best judg- ment in every case.

Think twice before hitting Send. A simple mistake in your content or distribution can cause major headaches.

IM is taking the place of email and voicemail for routine commu- nication in many companies.

5 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the business benefits of instant messaging (IM), and identify guidelines for effective IM in the workplace.

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Text messaging has a number of applications in business as well, including marketing (alerting customers about new sale prices, for example), customer service (such as airline flight status, package tracking, and appointment reminders), security (for example, authen- ticating mobile banking transactions), crisis management (such as updating all employ- ees working at a disaster scene), and process monitoring (alerting computer technicians to system failures, for example).34 As it becomes more tightly integrated with other commu- nication media, text messaging is likely to find even more widespread use in business com- munication. For instance, texting is now integrated into systems such as Facebook Messages and Gmail, and branded “StarStar numbers” can deliver web-based content such as videos, software apps, and digital coupons to mobile phones.35

The following sections focus on IM, but many of the benefits, risks, and guidelines pertain to text messaging as well.

Understanding the Benefits and risks of iM

The benefits of IM include its capability for rapid response to urgent messages, lower cost than phone calls and email, ability to mimic conversation more closely than email, and availability on a wide range of devices.36 In addition, because it more closely resembles one- on-one conversation, IM doesn’t get misused as a one-to-many broadcast method as often as email does.37

Phone-based text messaging is being integrated into a variety of digital communication systems.

TABLE 6.1 tips for effective email Messages

Tip Why It’s Important

When you request information or action, make it clear what you’re asking for, why it’s important, and how soon you need it; don’t make your reader write back for details.

People will be tempted to ignore your messages if they’re not clear about what you want or how soon you want it.

When responding to a request, either paraphrase the request or include enough of the original message to remind the reader what you’re replying to.

Some businesspeople get hundreds of email messages a day and may need reminding what your specific response is about.

If possible, avoid sending long, complex messages via email. Long messages are easier to read as attached reports or web content.

Adjust the level of formality to the message and the audience. Overly formal messages to colleagues can be perceived as stuffy and distant; overly informal messages to customers or top executives can be perceived as disrespectful.

Activate a signature file, which automatically pastes your contact information into every message you create.

A signature saves you the trouble of retyping vital information and ensures that recipients know how to reach you through other means.

Don’t let unread messages pile up in your in-basket. You’ll miss important information and create the impression that you’re ignoring other people.

Never type in all caps. ALL CAPS ARE INTERPRETED AS SCREAMING.

Don’t overformat your messages with background colors, multicolored type, unusual fonts, and so on.

Such messages can be difficult and annoying to read on screen.

Remember that messages can be forwarded anywhere and saved forever.

Don’t let a moment of anger or poor judgment haunt you for the rest of your career.

Use the “return receipt requested” feature only for the most critical messages.

This feature triggers a message back to you whenever someone receives or opens your message; some consider this an invasion of privacy.

Make sure your computer has up-to-date virus protection. One of the worst breaches of “netiquette” is infecting other computers because you haven’t bothered to protect your own system.

Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and capitalization. Some people don’t think email needs formal rules, but careless messages make you look unprofessional and can annoy readers.

Use acronyms sparingly. Shorthand such as IMHO (in my humble opinion) and LOL (laughing out loud) can be useful in informal correspondence with colleagues, but avoid using them in more formal messages.

Be careful with the use of emoticons. Many people view the use of these symbols as unprofessional.

Assume that recipients may read your messages on small mobile screens.

Email is more difficult to read on small screens, so don’t burden recipients with long, complicated messages.

IM offers many benefits: ● Rapid response ● Low cost ● Ability to mimic conversation ● Wide availability

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The potential drawbacks of IM include security problems (computer viruses, network infiltration, and the possibility that sensitive messages might be intercepted by outsiders), the need for user authentication (making sure that online corre- spondents are really who they appear to be), the challenge of logging messages for later review and archiving (a legal require- ment in some industries), incompatibility between competing IM systems, and spim (unsolicited commercial messages, simi-

lar to email spam). Fortunately, with the growth of enterprise instant messaging (EIM), or IM systems designed for large-scale corporate use, many of these problems are being overcome.

adaPting the three-steP ProCess for sUCCessfUl iM

Although instant messages are often conceived, written, and sent within a matter of sec- onds, the principles of the three-step process still apply, particularly when communicating with customers and other important audiences:

● Planning instant messages. Except for simple exchanges, take a moment to plan IM “conversations” in much the same way you would plan an important oral conversation. A few seconds of planning can help you deliver information in a coherent, complete way that minimizes the number of individual messages required.

● Writing instant messages. As with email, the appropriate writing style for business IM is more formal than the style you may be accustomed to with personal IM or text mes- saging (see Figure 6.4). Your company might discourage the use of IM acronyms (such as FWIW for “for what it’s worth” or HTH for “hope that helps”), particularly for IM with external audiences.

● Completing instant messages. The only task in the completing stage is to send your message. Just quickly scan it before sending, to make sure you don’t have any missing or misspelled words and verify that your message is clear and complete.

To use IM effectively, keep in mind some important behavioral issues when relying on this medium: the potential for constant interruptions, the ease of accidentally mixing personal and business messages, the risk of being out of the loop (if a hot discussion or an impromptu meeting flares up when you’re away from your PC or other IM device), and the frustration of being at the mercy of other people’s typing abilities.38

Although you don’t plan individual instant messages the same way you do longer messages, view important IM exchanges as conversations with specific goals in mind.

Figure 6.4 Instant Messaging for Business Communication Instant messaging is widely used in business, but you should not use the same informal style of communication you probably use for IM with your friends and family. Source: Pearson Education, Inc.

Lopes ask if DeLong is available for a chat, rather than launching right into his discussion on the assumption that she can chat this minute.

He makes his request clearly and succinctly.

He completes his request by provide a deadline. Note how he phrases it as a question, which is less jarring than a demand.

Eduardo Lopes – Hi Marcy, do you have a second?

Marcy DeLong – You bet. What’s up?

Eduardo Lopes – I have a favor to ask, and I’m afraid I’m on a tight deadline. We need to cut the Qualcomm bid by 5%. Can we reduce the consulting time by 80 or 100 hrs?

Marcy DeLong – That’s a big chunk! I’m not sure we can cut that much, but I’ll give it a try.

Eduardo Lopes – I really appreciate it. Any chance you can get to it by noon my time?

Marcy DeLong – No problem. I’ll send you a revised bid sheet in an hour. Wish me luck...

DeLong expresses skepticism, which helps to set the expectations for what she can deliver. Note how her tone remains positive, however.

She concludes with a positive response while gently reiterating the difficulty of the task.

MyBCommLab Apply Figure 6.4’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

As a lean medium, IM is particularly vulnerable to misunderstandings; learn how to avoid them. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

real-tiMe UPdates

LEARN MORE By READING THIS ARTICLE

Etiquette guidelines for instant messaging

When using IM, be aware of the potential for constant interrup- tions and wasted time.

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Regardless of the system you’re using, you can make IM more efficient and effective by heeding these tips:39

● Be courteous; if you don’t need an answer instantly, you can avoid interrupting some- one by sending an email or other type of message instead.

● Unless a meeting is scheduled or you’re expected to be available for other reasons, make yourself unavailable when you need to focus on other work.

● If you’re not on a secure system, don’t send confidential information using IM. ● Be extremely careful about sending personal messages—they have a tendency to pop

up on other people’s computers at embarrassing moments. ● Don’t use IM for important but impromptu meetings if you can’t verify that everyone

concerned will be available. ● Don’t use IM for lengthy, complex messages. ● Try to avoid carrying on multiple IM conversations at one time, to minimize the chance

of sending messages to the wrong people or making one person wait while you tend to another conversation.

● Follow all security guidelines designed to keep your company’s information and systems safe from attack.

For the latest information on using IM in business, visit http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7 and click on Chapter 6.

Blogging and Microblogging Blogs, online journals that are easier to personalize and update than conventional websites, have become a major force in business communication. Millions of business-oriented blogs are now in operation, and blogs have become an important source of information for con- sumers and professionals alike.40 Good business blogs and microblogs pay close attention to several important elements:

● Communicating with personal style and an authentic voice. Most business mes- sages designed for large audiences are carefully scripted and written in a “corporate voice” that is impersonal and objective. In contrast, successful business blogs are written by individuals and exhibit their personal style. Audiences relate to this fresh approach and often build closer emotional bonds with the blogger’s organization as a result.

● Delivering new information quickly. Blogging tools let you post new material as soon as you create it or find it. This feature not only allows you to respond quickly when needed—such as during a corporate crisis—but also lets your audiences know that active communication is taking place. Blogs that don’t offer a continuous stream of new and interesting content are quickly ignored in today’s online environment.

● Choosing topics of peak interest to audiences. Successful blogs cover topics that readers care about.

● Encouraging audiences to join the conversation. Not all blogs invite comments, although most do, and many bloggers consider comments to be an essential feature. Blog comments can be a valuable source of news, information, and insights. In addi- tion, the informal nature of blogging seems to make it easier for companies to let their guard down and converse with their audiences. To pro- tect against comments that are not helpful or appropri- ate, many bloggers review all comments and post only the most helpful or interesting ones.

Understanding the BUsiness aPPliCations of Blogging

Blogs are a potential solution whenever you have a continuing stream of information to share with an online audience—and

Understand the guidelines for successful business IM before you begin to use it.

Writing in a personal, authentic voice is key to attracting and keeping blog readers.

6 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe the use of blogging and microblogging in business com- munication, and briefly explain how to adapt the three-step process to blogging.

Mainstream business blogging had been around for about a decade; is it still a good way to connect with audiences? Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

real-tiMe UPdates

LEARN MORE By READING THIS ARTICLE

Ten years later, are business blogs still a good investment?

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particularly when you want the audience to have the opportunity to respond. Here are some of the many ways businesses are using blogs for internal and external communication:41

● Anchoring the social media presence. As noted on page 136, the multiple threads of any social media program should be anchored in a central hub the company or indi- vidual owns and controls. Blogs make an ideal social media hub.

● Project management and team communication. Using blogs is a good way to keep project teams up to date, particularly when team members are geographically dis- persed. For instance, the trip reports that employees file after visiting customers or other external parties can be enhanced vividly with mobile blogs.

● Company news. Companies can use blogs to keep employees informed about general business matters, from facility news to benefit updates. Blogs also serve as online com- munity forums, giving everyone in the company a chance to raise questions and voice concerns.

● Customer support. Customer support blogs answer questions, offer tips and advice, and inform customers about new products. Also, many companies monitor the blogo- sphere (and Twittersphere), looking for complaints and responding with offers to help dissatisfied customers.42

● Public relations and media relations. Many company employees and executives now share company news with both the general public and journalists via their blogs.

● Recruiting. Using a blog is a great way to let potential employees know more about your company, the people who work there, and the nature of the company culture. In the other direction, employers often find and evaluate the blogs and microblogs of pro- spective employees, making blogging is a great way to build a name for yourself within your industry or profession.

● Policy and issue discussions. Executive blogs in particular provide a public forum for discussing legislation, regulations, and other broad issues of interest to an organization.

● Crisis communication. Using blogs is a convenient way to provide up-to-the-minute information during emergencies, correct misinformation, or respond to rumors.

● Market research. Blogs can be a clever mechanism for soliciting feedback from cus- tomers and experts in the marketplace. In addition to using their own blogs to solicit feedback, today’s companies should monitor blogs that are likely to discuss them, their executives, and their products.

● Brainstorming. Online brainstorming via blogs offers a way for people to toss around ideas and build on each other’s contributions.

● Employee engagement. Blogs can enhance communication across all levels of a company, giving lower-level employees a voice that they might not otherwise have and giving senior executives better access to timely information.

● Customer education. Blogs are a great way to help current and potential customers understand and use your products and services. This function can improve sales and support productivity as well, by reducing the need for one-on-one communication.

● Word-of-mouth marketing. Bloggers often make a point of providing links to other blogs and websites that interest them, giving marketers a great opportunity to have their messages spread by enthusiasts. (Online word-of mouth marketing is often called viral marketing in reference to the way biological viruses are transmitted from person to person. However, viral marketing is not really an accurate metaphor. As author Brian Solis puts it, “There is no such thing as viral marketing.”43 Real viruses spread from host to host on their own, whereas word-of-mouth marketing spreads voluntarily from person to person. The distinction is critical, because you need to give people a good reason—good content, in other words—to pass along your message.)

● Influencing traditional media news coverage. According to social media consultant Tamar Weinberg, “the more prolific bloggers who provide valuable and consistent con- tent are often considered experts in their subject matter” and are often called upon when journalists need insights into various topics.44

● Community building. Blogging is a great way to connect people with similar inter- ests, and popular bloggers often attract a community of readers who connect with one another through the commenting function.

The business applications of blogs include a wide range of internal and external communication tasks.

Blogs are an ideal medium for word-of-mouth marketing, the spread of promotional messages from one audience member to another.

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The uses of blogs are limited only by your creativity, so be on the lookout for new ways you can use them to foster positive relationships with colleagues, customers, and other important audiences (see Figure 6.5).

adaPting the three-steP ProCess for sUCCessfUl Blogging

The three-step writing process is easy to adapt to blogging tasks. The planning step is particularly important when you’re launching a blog because you’re planning an entire communication channel, not just a single message. Pay close attention to your audience, your purpose, and your scope:

● Audience. Except with team blogs and other efforts that have an obvious and well- defined audience, defining the target audience for a blog can be challenging. You want an audience large enough to justify the time you’ll be investing but narrow enough that you can provide a clear focus for the blog. For instance, if you work for a firm that develops computer games, would you focus your blog on “hardcore” players, the types who spend thousands of dollars on super-fast PCs optimized for video games, or would you broaden the reach to include all video gamers? The decision often comes down to business strategy.

● Purpose. A business blog needs to have a business-related purpose that is important to your company and to your chosen audience. Moreover, the purpose has to “have legs”—that is, it needs to be something that can drive the blog’s content for months or years—rather than focus on a single event or an issue of only temporary interest. For instance, if you’re a technical expert, you might create a blog to give the audience tips and techniques for using your company’s products more effectively—a never-ending subject that’s important to both you and your audience. This would be the general purpose of your blog; each posting would have a specific purpose within the context of that general purpose. Finally, if you are not writing an official company blog but rather blogging as an individual employee, make sure you understand your employer’s

Figure 6.5 Business Applications of Blogging This Xerox blog illustrates the content, writing style, and features that make an effective, reader-friendly company blog. Source: Courtesy of Xerox Corp.

Prominent search box makes it easy to find posts on a particular topic.

Email and RSS options let visitors sign up for automated delivery of future posts.

Provides quick links to other Xerox blogs.

A color photo and a compelling headline invite readers into the post.

The writing style is “business casual,” hitting the balance between formal and informal.

Visitors can explore the most popular, most recent, and most-discussed posts on the blog.

An embedded video entices visitors to learn more about the subject.

Before you launch a blog, make sure you have a clear understand- ing of your target audience, the purpose of your blog, and the scope of subjects you plan to cover.

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blogging guidelines. IBM, for example, gives its employees 12 specific social comput- ing guidelines, such as identifying their role as IBM employees if they are discussing matters related to the company and respecting intellectual property laws.45

● Scope. Defining the scope of your blog can be a bit tricky. You want to cover a sub- ject area that is broad enough to offer discussion possibilities for months or years but narrow enough to have an identifiable focus.

After you begin writing your blog, careful planning needs to continue with each message. Unless you’re posting to a restricted-access blog, such as an internal blog on a company intranet, you can never be sure who might see your posts. Other bloggers might link to them months or years later.

Use a comfortable, personal writing style. Blog audiences don’t want to hear from your company; they want to hear from you. Bear in mind, though, that comfortable does not mean careless. Sloppy writing damages your credibility. Successful blog content also needs to be interesting, valuable to readers, and as brief as possible.46 In addition, although audi- ences expect you to be knowledgeable in the subject area your blog covers, you don’t need to know everything about a topic. If you don’t have all the information yourself, provide links to other blogs and websites that supply relevant information. In fact, content curation (see page 137) is one of the most valuable aspects of blogging. Just be sure the content you share is relevant to your readers and compatible with your communication goals.

Completing messages for your blog is usually quite easy. Evaluate the content and read- ability of your message, proofread to correct any errors, and post using your blogging sys- tem’s tools. If you’re using any contemporary blogging system, it should offer a newsfeed option so that your audience can automatically receive headlines and summaries of new blog posts. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is the most common type of newsfeed.

Finally, make your material easier to find by tagging it with descriptive words. Your readers can then click on these “content labels” to find additional posts on those topics. Tags are usually displayed with each post, and they can also be groups in a tag cloud display, which shows all the tags in use on your blog.

Table 6.2 summarizes a number of suggestions for successful blogging. For the latest information on using blogs in business, visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7 and click on Chapter 6.

MiCroBlogging

A microblog is a variation on blogging in which messages are sharply restricted to specific character counts. Twitter is the best known of these systems, but many others exist. Some companies have private microblogging systems for internal use only; these systems are sometimes referred to as enterprise microblogging or internal micromessaging.47

Many of the concepts of regular blogging apply to microblogging as well, although the severe length limitations call for a different approach to composition. Microblog mes- sages often involve short summaries or teasers that provide links to more information. In addition, microblogs tend to have a stronger social aspect that makes it easier for writ- ers and readers to forward messages and for communities to form around individual writers.48

Like regular blogging, microblogging quickly caught on with business users and is now a mainstream business medium. Microblogs are used for virtually all of the blog applications mentioned on pages 145–147. In addition, microblogs are often used for providing company updates, offering coupons and notice of sales, presenting tips on

product usage, sharing relevant and interesting information from experts, announcing headlines of new blog posts, and serving as the backchannel in meetings and presentations (see page 329). By following top names in your field, you can customize Twitter as your own real-time news source.49 Customer service is becoming a popular use for Twitter as well, thanks to its ease, speed, and the option of switching between public tweets and private direct messages as the

Write blog postings in a comfortable—but not careless—style.

MOBILE APPS

The mobile app for Twitter helps you stay connected with your followers and the accounts you follow.

The business communication uses of microblogging extend beyond the publication of brief updates.

An experienced user shares tips for getting the most from Twitter. Go to http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

real-tiMe UPdates

LEARN MORE By READING THIS ARTICLE

Twitter tips for beginners

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situation warrants.50 The social networking aspect of Twitter and other microblogs also makes them good for crowdsourcing research questions, asking ones’ followers for input or advice.51 Finally, the ease of retweeting, the practice of forwarding messages from other Twitter users, is the microblogging equivalent of sharing other content from other blog- gers via content curation.

In addition to its usefulness as a stand-alone system, Twitter is also integrated with other social media systems and a variety of publishing and reading tools and services. Many of these system use the informal Twitter feature known as the hashtag (the # symbol fol- lowed by a word or phrase), which makes it easy for people to label and search for topics of interest and to monitor ongoing Twitter conversations about particular topics.

Although microblogs are designed to encourage spontaneous communication, when you’re using the medium for business communication, don’t just tweet out whatever pops into your head. Make sure messages are part of your overall communication strategy. Twitter followers consider tweets that are entertaining, surprising, informative, or engaging (such as asking followers for advice) as the most valuable. In contrast, the least-valuable tweets tend to be complaints, conversations between the Twitter account owner and a spe- cific follower, and relatively pointless messages such as saying “good morning.”52

Don’t let the speed and simplic- ity of microblogging lull you into making careless mistakes; every message should support your busi- ness communication objectives.

TABLE 6.2 tips for effective Business Blogging

Tip Why It’s Important

Don’t blog without a clear plan. Without a clear plan, your blog is likely to wander from topic to topic and fail to build a sense of community with your audience.

Post frequently; the whole point of a blog is fresh material.

If you won’t have a constant supply of new information or new links, create a traditional website instead.

Make it about your audience and the issues important to them.

Readers want to know how your blog will help them, entertain them, or give them a chance to communicate with others who have similar interests.

Write in an authentic voice; never create an artificial character who supposedly writes a blog.

Flogs, or fake blogs, violate the spirit of blogging, show disrespect for your audience, and will turn audiences against you as soon as they uncover the truth. Fake blogs used to promote products are now illegal in some countries.

Link generously—but carefully. Providing interesting links to other blogs and websites is a fundamental aspect of blogging, but make sure the links will be of value to your readers and don’t point to inappropriate material.

Keep it brief. Most online readers don’t have the patience to read lengthy reports. Rather than writing long, report-style posts, you can write brief posts that link to in-depth reports.

Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want the entire world to see.

Future employers, government regulators, competitors, journalists, and community critics are just a few of the people who might eventually see what you’ve written.

Minimize marketing and sales messages. Readers want information about them and their needs.

Take time to write compelling, specific headlines for your postings.

Readers usually decide within a couple of seconds whether to read your postings; boring or vague headlines will turn them away instantly.

Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and mechanics. No matter how smart or experienced you are, poor-quality writing undermines your credibility with intelligent audiences.

Respond to criticism openly and honestly. Hiding sends the message that you don’t have a valid response to the criticism. If your critics are wrong, patiently explain why you think they’re wrong. If they are right, explain how you’ll fix the situation.

Listen and learn. If you don’t take the time to analyze the comments people leave on your blog or the comments other bloggers make about you, you’re missing out on one of the most valuable aspects of blogging.

Respect intellectual property. Improperly using material you don’t own is not only unethical but can be illegal as well.

Be scrupulously honest and careful with facts. Honesty is an absolute requirement for every ethical business communicator, of course, but you need to be extra careful online because inaccuracies (both intentional and unintentional) are likely to be discovered quickly and shared widely.

If you review products on your blog, disclose any beneficial relationships you have with the companies that make those products.

Bloggers who receive free products or other compensation from companies whose products they write about are now required to disclose the nature of these relationships.

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Podcasting Podcasting is the process of recording audio or video files and distributing them online via RSS subscriptions, in the same way that blog posts are automatically fed to subscribers. Podcasting combines the media richness of voice or visual communication with the convenience of porta- bility. Audiences can listen or watch podcasts on a blog or website, or they can download them to phones or portable music players to consume on the go. Particularly with audio podcasts, the hands-off, eyes-off aspect makes them great for listening to while driving or exercising.

The most obvious use of podcasting is to replace existing audio and video messages, such as one-way teleconferences in which a speaker provides information without expect- ing to engage in conversation with the listeners. Training is another good use of podcasting; you may have already taken a college course via podcasts. Podcasting is also a great way to offer free previews of seminars and training classes.53 Many business writers and consul- tants use podcasting to build their personal brands and to enhance their other product and service offerings. You can find a wide selection on iTunes, many of which are free (go to the Podcasting section and select the Business category).

Although it might not seem obvious at first, the three-step writing process adapts quite nicely to podcasting. First, focus the planning step on analyzing the situation, gathering the information you’ll need, and organizing your material. One vital planning step depends on whether you intend to create podcasts for limited use and distribution (such as a weekly audio update to your virtual team) or to create a podcasting channel with regular record- ings on a consistent theme, designed for a wider public audience. As with planning a blog, if you intend to create a podcasting channel, be sure to think through the range of topics you want to address over time to verify that you have a sustainable purpose. If you bounce from one theme to another, you risk losing your audience.54 Maintaining a consistent schedule is also important; listeners will stop paying attention if they can’t count on regular updates.55

As you organize the content for a podcast, pay close attention to previews, transitions, and reviews. These steering devices are especially vital in audio recordings because audio lacks the “street signs” (such as headings) that audiences rely on in print media. Moreover, scanning back and forth to find specific parts of an audio or video message is much more difficult than with textual messages, so you need to do everything possible to make sure your audience successfully receives and interprets your message on the first try.

One of the attractions of podcasting is the conversational, person-to-person feel of the recordings, so unless you need to capture exact wording, speaking from an outline and notes rather than a prepared script is often the best choice. However, no one wants to lis- ten to rambling podcasts that take several minutes to get to the topic or struggle to make a point, so don’t try to make up your content on the fly. Effective podcasts, like effective stories, have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

The completing step is where podcasting differs most dramatically from written com- munication, for the obvious reason that you are recording and distributing audio or video files. Particularly for more formal podcasts, start by revising your script or thinking through your speaking notes before you begin to record. The closer you can get to recording your podcasts in one take, the more productive you’ll be.

Most personal computers, smartphones, and other devices now have basic audio re- cording capability, including built-in microphones, and free editing software such as Au- dacity is available online. These tools can be sufficient for creating informal podcasts for internal use, but to achieve the higher production quality expected in formal or public podcasts, you’ll need additional pieces of hardware and software. These can include an audio processor (to filter out extraneous noise and otherwise improve the audio signal), a mixer (to combine multiple audio or video signals), a better microphone, more sophisti- cated recording and editing software, and perhaps some physical changes in your recording location to improve the acoustics.

Podcasts can be distributed in several ways, including through media stores such as iTunes, by dedicated podcast hosting services, or on a blog with content that supports the podcast channel. If you distribute your podcast on a blog, you can provide additional informa- tion and use the commenting feature of the blog to encourage feedback from your audience.56

For the latest information on using podcasts in business, visit http://real-timeupdates .com/bce7 and click on Chapter 6.

Podcasting can be used to deliver a wide range of audio and video messages.

The three-step process adapts quite well to podcasting.

Steering devices such as transi- tions, previews, and reviews are vital in podcasts.

Plan your podcast content carefully; editing is more difficult with podcasts than with textual messages.

For basic podcasts, your com- puter and perhaps even your smartphone might have most of the hardware you already need, and you can download recording software.

7 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain how to adapt the three-step writing process for podcasts.

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Learning Objectives: Check Your Progress

Objective 1: Identify the major digital channels used for brief business messages, and describe the nine compositional modes needed for digital media. Digital media for short business messages include social net- works, information and content sharing websites, email, instant messaging (IM), text messaging, blogging and microblogging, and podcasting. The nine compositional modes are conversa- tions, comments and critiques, orientations, summaries, reference materials, narratives, teasers, status updates and announcements, and tutorials.

Objective 2: Describe the use of social networks in business communication. Businesses now use a variety of social networks, including well- known public networks such as Facebook and business-oriented networks such as LinkedIn, as well as specialized networks, single-company networks for customers, and internal employee- only networks. The business communication applications of social networks are important and diverse; major uses include collaborating, gathering market intelligence, recruiting employ- ees, connecting with business partners, marketing, and fostering brand communities.

Objective 3: Explain how companies and business pro fessionals can use information and media sharing websites. User-generated content sites such as YouTube allow companies to host media items (such as videos) that customers and other stake- holders can view, comment on, and share. Content curation sites allow professionals and consumers with expertise or interest in a particular field to collect and republish material on a particular topic. Community Q&A sites give individuals the opportunity to build their personal brands by providing expertise, and they give companies the chance to address customer complaints and cor- rect misinformation.

Objective 4: Describe the evolving role of email in business communication, and explain how to adapt the three-step writing process to email messages. As the earliest widely available digital channel, email was ap- plied to a broad range of communication tasks—some it was well suited for and some it wasn’t. Over time, newer media such as instant messaging, blogs, and social networks have been taking over some of these tasks, but email remains a vital medium that is optimum for many private, short- to medium-length messages.

The three-step process adapts easily to email communica- tion. One of the most important planning decisions in crafting email messages is making sure every message has a valuable pur- pose. Any key planning decision is to follow the chain of com- mand in your organization; emailing over your boss’s head is a good way to stir up resentment. When writing email messages, bear in mind that the expectations of writing quality and formal- ity are higher in business email. Also, pay close attention to the

wording of an email message’s subject line; it often determines whether and when recipients open and read the message. Effec- tive subject lines are both informative (concisely identifying what the message is about) and compelling (giving readers a reason to read the message). Completing email messages is straightfor- ward. Proof and revise messages (particularly important ones), stick with a clean design, make use of the email signature feature, and make sure you distribute the message to the right people.

Objective 5: Describe the business benefits of instant messaging (IM), and identify guidelines for effective IM in the workplace. The benefits of IM include its capability for rapid response to urgent messages, lower cost than phone calls and email, ability to mimic conversation more closely than email, and availability on a wide range of devices.

As with email, business IM needs to be treated as a profes- sional medium to ensure safe and effective communication. Be courteous in your use of IM to avoid interrupting others un- necessarily. Make yourself unavailable when you need to focus on other work, refrain from sending confidential information if you’re not on a secure system, refrain from sending personal mes- sages at work, avoid using IM for lengthy and complex messages, avoid carrying on multiple IM conversations at once, avoid IM slang with anyone other than close colleagues, and follow security guidelines.

Objective 6: Describe the use of blogging and microblogging in business communication, and briefly explain how to adapt the three-step process to blogging. Blogs are used in numerous ways in business today, such as for project management and team communication, company news, customer support, public relations and media relations, em- ployee recruiting, policy and issue discussions, crisis communi- cation, market research, brainstorming, employee engagement, viral marketing, influencing traditional media news coverage, and community building. Microblogs such as Twitter are used for many of the same purposes as conventional blogging, along with digital coupons, sale announcements, one-on-one cus- tomer service queries, and customized news channels created by following experts of interest. Microblogs can also serve as the backchannel during meetings and presentations.

The three-step process adapts readily to blogging. In plan- ning, pay particular care to defining your audience, identifying the overall purpose of your blog and specific purposes of each post, and establishing a scope that is narrow enough to be focused but broad enough to afford a steady supply of topics. In writing, be sure to write in a personal, authentic style, without slipping into overly familiar or careless writing. Completing involves the usual tasks of proofing and revising, along with the particular tasks needed to distribute your posts via newsfeeds.

Objective 7: Explain how to adapt the three-step writing process for podcasts. Although you record audio or video when creating podcasts rather than write messages, using the three-step process is an effective way to develop podcasts as well. Focus the planning step

Chapter Review and Activities

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are shocked to read a letter in a local newspaper from a disgruntled passenger, complaining about the service and entertainment on a recent cruise. You will have to respond to these publicized criticisms in some way.

What audiences will you need to consider in your response? For each of these audiences, which medium (or media) should you use to send your message?

6-10. Media Skills: Blogging [LO-6] The members of the project team of which you are the leader have enthusias- tically embraced blogging as a communication medium. Unfortunately, as emotions heat up during the project, some of the blog postings are getting too casual, too personal, and even sloppy. Because your boss and other managers around the company also read this project blog, you don’t want the team to look unprofessional in anyone’s eyes. Revise the following blog posting so that it communicates in a more businesslike manner while retaining the informal, conversational tone of a blog (be sure to correct any spelling and punctuation mistakes you find as well).

Well, to the profound surprise of absolutely nobody, we are not going to be able meet the June 1 commitment to ship 100 operating tables to Southeast Surgical Supply. (For those of you who have been living in a cave the past six month, we have been fighting to get our hands on enough high-grade chromium steel to meet our production schedule.) Sure enough, we got news, this morning that we will only get enough for 30 tables. Yes, we look lik fools for not being able to follow through on promises we made to the customer, but no, this didn’t have to happpen. Six month’s ago, purchasing warned us about shrink- ing supplies and suggested we advance-buy as much as we would need for the next 12 months, or so. We naturally tried to followed their advice, but just as naturally were shot down by the bean counters at corporate who trotted out the policy about never buying more than three months worth of materials in advance. Of course, it’ll be us–not the bean counters who’ll take the flak when everybody starts asking why revenues are down next quarter and why Southeast is talking to our friends at Crighton Manuf!!! Maybe, some day this company will get its head out of the sand and realize that we need to have some financial flexibility in order to compete.

Collaboration: Working in Teams; Planning: Selecting Media Chapter 2; [LO-1] Working with at least two other students, identify the best medium to use for each of the following messages. For each of these message needs, choose a medium that you think would work effectively and explain your choice. (More than one medium could work in some cases; just be able to support your particular choice.) 6-11. A technical support service for people trying to use their

digital music players 6-12. A message of condolence to the family of an employee

who passed away recently 6-13. A collection of infographics from a variety of sources on

the state of the consumer electronics industry 6-14. A series of observations on the state of the industry 6-15. A series of messages, questions, and answers surrounding

the work of a project team

on analyzing the situation, gathering the information you’ll need, and organizing your material. If you plan to create an ongoing pod- cast channel on a given theme, make sure you’ve identified a range of topics extensive enough to keep you going over time. As you organize and begin to think about the words or images you’ll use as content, pay close attention to previews, transitions, and reviews so that audiences don’t get lost while listening or watching. Finally, consider the necessary level of production quality; good-quality podcasts usually require some specialized hardware and software.

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com to complete the problems marked with this icon .

Test Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 6-1. What are the situations in which a printed memo or letter

might be preferable to a digital message? [LO-1] 6-2. How do the compositional modes of orientations,

summaries, and teasers differ? [LO-2] 6-3. Does the three-step writing process apply to IM? Why or

why not? [LO-5]

Apply Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 6-4. Given the strict limits on length, should all your microblog-

ging messages function as teasers that link to more detailed information on a blog or website? Why or why not? [LO-1]

6-5. Can your company stay in control of it messages if its stay off social media? Why or why not? [LO-2]

6-6. Is leveraging your connections on social networks for business purposes ethical? Why or why not? [LO-3]

6-7. If one of the benefits of blogging is the personal, intimate style of writing, is it a good idea to limit your creativity by adhering to conventional rules of grammar, spelling, and mechanics? Why or why not? [LO-6]

6-8. What are some ways the president of a hiking equipment company could use Twitter to engage potential customers without being overtly promotional? [LO-6]

Practice Your Skills Exercises for Perfecting Your Writing

To review chapter content related to each set of exercises, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 6-9. Planning: Creating an Audience Profile, Selecting

Media [LO-1], Chapter 3 You are in charge of public re- lations for a cruise line that operates out of Miami. You

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6-20. Media Skills: Instant Messaging [LO-5] Review the following IM exchange and explain how the customer service agent could have handled the situation more effectively. AGENT: Thanks for contacting Home Exercise

Equipment. What’s up?

CUSTOMER: I’m having trouble assembling my home gym.

AGENT: I hear that a lot! LOL

CUSTOMER: So is it me or the gym?

AGENT: Well, let’s see <g>. Where are you stuck?

CUSTOMER: The crossbar that connects the vertical pillars doesn’t fit.

AGENT: What do you mean doesn’t fit?

CUSTOMER: It doesn’t fit. It’s not long enough to reach across the pillars.

AGENT: Maybe you assembled the pillars in the wrong place. Or maybe we sent the wrong crossbar.

CUSTOMER: How do I tell?

AGENT: The parts aren’t labeled so could be tough. Do you have a measuring tape? Tell me how long your crossbar is.

6-21. Media Skills: Blogging [LO-6] Read the following blog post and (a) analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each sentence and (b) revise it so that it follows the guidelines in this chapter.

[headline]

We’re DOOMED!!!!!

[post]

I was at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford yesterday, just checking to see how things were going with the assembly line retrofit we did for them last year. I think I saw the future, and it ain’t pretty. They were demo’ing a prototype robot from Motoman that absolutely blows our stuff out of the water. They wouldn’t let me really see it, but based on the 10-second glimpse I got, it’s smaller, faster, and more maneuverable than any of our units. And when I asked about the price, the guy just grinned. And it wasn’t the sort of grin designed to make me feel good.

I’ve been saying for years that we need to pay more attention to size, speed, and maneuverability instead of just relying on our historical strengths of accuracy and payload capacity, and you’d have to be blind not to agree that this experience proves me right. If we can’t at least show a design for a better unit within two or three months, Motoman is going to lock up the market and leave us utterly in the dust.

Believe me, being able to say “I told you so” right now is not nearly as satisfying as you might think!!

6-22. Media Skills: Blogging [LO-5] From what you’ve learned about planning and writing business messages, you should be able to identify numerous errors made by the writer of the following blog posting. List them below and

Media Skills: Writing Email Subject Lines [LO-4] Using your imagination to make up whatever details you need, revise the following email subject lines to make them more informative: 6-16. New budget figures 6-17. Marketing brochure—your opinion 6-18. Production schedule Activities

Each activity is labeled according to the primary skill or skills you will need to use. To review relevant chapter content, you can refer to the indicated Learning Objective. In some instances, support- ing information will be found in another chapter, as indicated. 6-19. Media Skills: Email [LO-4] The following email message

contains numerous errors related to what you’ve learned about planning and writing business messages. First, list the flaws you find in this version. Then use the following steps to plan and write a better memo.

TO: Felicia August <[email protected]> SUBJECT: Compliance with new break procedure

Some of you may not like the rules about break times; however, we determined that keeping track of employees while they took breaks at times they determined rather than regular breaks at prescribed times was not working as well as we would have liked it to work. The new rules are not going to be an option. If you do not follow the new rules, you could be docked from your pay for hours when you turned up missing, since your direct supervisor will not be able to tell whether you were on a “break” or not and will assume that you have walked away from your job. We cannot be responsible for any errors that result from your inattentiveness to the new rules. I have already heard complaints from some of you and I hope this memo will end this issue once and for all. The decision has already been made.

Starting Monday, January 1, you will all be required to take a regular 15-minute break in the morning and again in the afternoon, and a regular thirty-minute lunch at the times specified by your supervisor, NOT when you think you need a break or when you “get around to it.”

There will be no exceptions to this new rule!

Felicia August Manager Billing and accounting

First, describe the flaws you discovered in this email mes- sage. Next, develop a plan for rewriting the message. Use the following steps to organize your efforts before you begin writing: • Determine the purpose. • Identify and analyze your audience. • Define the main idea. • Outline the major supporting points. • Choose between the direct and indirect approaches. Now rewrite the email message. Don’t forget to leave ample time for revision of your own work before you turn it in.

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So there I am, having lunch with Selma Gill, who just joined and took over the Northeast sales region from Jackson Stroud. In walks our beloved CEO with Selma’s old boss at Uni-Plex; turns out they were finalizing a deal to co-brand our products and theirs and to set up a joint distribution program in all four do- mestic regions. Pretty funny, huh? Selma left Uni-Plex because she wanted sell our products instead, and now she’s back sell- ing her old stuff, too. Anyway, try to chat with her when you can; she knows the biz inside and out and probably can offer insight into just about any sales challenge you might be running up against. We’ll post more info on the co-brand deal next week; should be a boost for all of us. Other than those two news items, the other big news this week is the change in commis- sion reporting. I’ll go into the details in minute, but when you log onto the intranet, you’ll now see your sales results split out by product line and industry sector. Hope this helps you see where you’re doing well and where you might beef things up a bit. Oh yeah, I almost forgot the most important bit. Speaking of our beloved CEO, Thomas is going to be our guest of honor, so to speak, at the quarterly sales meeting next week and wants an update on how petroleum prices are affecting customer behav- ior. Each district manager should be ready with a brief report. After I go through the commission reporting scheme, I’ll outline what you need to prepare.

6-25. Media Skills: Podcasting [LO-7] To access this podcast exercise, visit http://real-timeupdates.com/bce7, click on Student Assignments, and select Chapter 6, Activity  7, and listen to this podcast. Identify at least three ways in which the podcast could be improved, and draft a brief email message you could send to the podcaster with your suggestions for improvement.

Expand Your Skills Critique the Professionals

Locate the YouTube channel page of any company you find inter- esting and assess its social networking presence using the criteria for effective communication discussed in this chapter and your own experience using social media. What does this company do well with its YouTube channel? How might it improve? Using whatever medium your instructor requests, write a brief analysis of the company’s YouTube presence (no more than one page), cit- ing specific elements from the piece and support from the chapter.

Sharpen Your Career Skills Online

Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Web Search, at http:// websearch.businesscommunicationnetwork.com, is a unique research tool designed specifically for business communication research. Use the Web Search function to find a website, video, PDF document, podcast, or presentation that offers advice on us- ing social media in business. Write a brief email message to your instructor or a post for your class blog, describing the item that you found and summarizing the career skills information you learned from it.

then plan and write a better post, following the guidelines given.

[headline]

Get Ready!

[post]

We are hoping to be back at work soon, with everything running smoothly, same production schedule and no late proj- ects or missed deadlines. So you need to clean out your desk, put your stuff in boxes, and clean off the walls. You can put the items you had up on your walls in boxes, also.

We have provided boxes. The move will happen this weekend. We’ll be in our new offices when you arrive on Monday.

We will not be responsible for personal belongings during the≈move.

First, describe the flaws you discovered in this blog post. Next, develop a plan for rewriting the post. Use the fol- lowing steps to organize your efforts before you begin writing: • Determine the purpose. • Identify and analyze your audience. • Define the main idea. • Outline the major supporting points. • Choose between the direct and indirect approaches. Now rewrite the post. Don’t forget to leave ample time for revision of your own work before you turn it in.

6-23. Media Skills: Microblogging [LO-6] Busy knitters can go through a lot of yarn in a hurry, so most keep a sharp eye out for sales. You’re on the marketing staff of Knitting- Warehouse, and you like to keep your loyal shoppers up to date with the latest deals. Visit the Knitting-Warehouse website, select any on-sale product that catches your eye, and write a Twitter update that describes the product and the sale. Be sure to include a link back to the website so your Twitter followers can learn more. (Unless you are working on a private Twitter account that is accessible only by your instructor and your classmates, don’t actu- ally send this Twitter update. Email it to your instructor instead.)

6-24. Media Skills: Podcasting [LO-7] You’ve recently begun re- cording a weekly podcast to share information with your large and far-flung staff. After a month, you ask for feedback from several of your subordinates, and you’re disappointed to learn that some people stopped listening to the podcast after the first couple weeks. Someone eventually admits that many staffers feel that the recordings are too long and rambling and that the information they contain isn’t valu- able enough to justify the time it takes to listen. You aren’t pleased, but you want to improve. An assistant transcribes the introduction to last week’s podcast so you can review it. You immediately see two problems. Revise the introduction based on what you’ve learned in this chapter.

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Cases

Website links for selected companies mentioned in cases can be found in the Student Assignments section at http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SKILLS

6-26. Media Skills: Social Networking; Media Skills: Micro- blogging [LO-2] [LO-6] Foursquare is one of the leading pro- viders of location-based social networking services. Millions of people use Foursquare for social engagement and friendly com- petition, and many business owners are starting to recognize the marketing potential of having people who are on the move in local areas broadcasting their locations and sharing information about stores, restaurants, clubs, and other merchants. Your task: Review the information on Foursquare’s Merchant Platform. Now write four brief messages, no more than 140 char- acters long (including spaces). The first should summarize the benefits to stores, restaurants, and other “brick and mortar” busi- nesses of participating in Foursquare, and the next three messages should convey three compelling points that support that overall benefit statement. If your class is set up with private Twitter ac- counts, use your private account to send your messages. Other- wise, email your four messages to your instructor or post them on your class blog, as your instructor directs.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SKILLS

6-27. Media Skills: Social Networking; Online Etiquette [LO-2], Chapter 2 Employees who take pride in their work are a practically priceless resource for any business. However, pride can sometimes manifest itself in negative ways when employees come under criticism—and public criticism is a fact of life in so- cial media. Imagine that your company has recently experienced a rash of product quality problems, and these problems have gen- erated some unpleasant and occasionally unfair criticism on a va- riety of social media sites. Someone even set up a Facebook page specifically to give customers a place to vent their frustrations.

You and your public relations team jumped into action, responding to complaints with offers to provide replacement products and help customers who have been affected by the qual- ity problems. Everything seemed to be going as well as could be expected, when you were checking a few industry blogs one eve- ning and discovered that two engineers in your company’s prod- uct design lab have been responding to complaints on their own. They identified themselves as company employees and defended their product design, blaming the company’s production depart- ment and even criticizing several customers for lacking the skills needed to use such a sophisticated product. Within a matter of minutes, you see their harsh comments being retweeted and re- posted on multiple sites, only fueling the fire of negative feedback against your firm. Needless to say, you are horrified. Your task: You manage to reach the engineers by private message and tell them to stop posting messages, but you realize you have a serious training issue on your hands. Write a post for the internal company blog that advises employees on how to

respond appropriately when they are representing the company online. Use your imagination to make up any details you need.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SKILLS

6-28. Media Skills: Social Networking [LO-2] Social media can be a great way to, well, socialize during your college years, but employers are increasingly checking up on the online activities of potential hires to avoid bringing in employees who may reflect poorly on the company. Your task: Team up with another student and review each other’s public presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogs, and any other website that an employer might check during the interview and recruiting process. Identify any photos, videos, messages, or other material that could raise a red flag when an employer is evaluating a job candidate. Write your teammate an email message that lists any risky material.

EMAIL SKILLS/PORTfOLIO BuILDER

6-29. Media Skills: Email [LO-4] One-quarter of all motor vehicle accidents that involve children under age 12 are side- impact crashes—and these crashes result in higher rates of inju- ries and fatalities than those with front or rear impacts. Your task: You work in the consumer information department at Britax, a leading manufacturer of car seats. Your manager has asked you to prepare an email message that can be sent out whenever parents request information about side-impact crashes and the safety features of Britax seats. Start by researching side- impact crashes on the Britax website. Write a three-paragraph message that explains the seriousness of side-impact crashes, describes how injuries and fatalities can be minimized in these crashes, and describes how Britax’s car seats are designed to help protect children in side-impact crashes.57

EMAIL SKILLS/MOBILE SKILLS

6-30. Media Skills: Email [LO-4] The size limitations of smartphone screens call for a different approach to writing (see page 97) and formatting (see page 118) documents. Your task: On the website of any company that interests you, find a news release (some companies refer to them as press releases) that announces the launch of a new product. Using Pages or any other writing app at your disposal, revise and format the material in a way that would be effective on smartphone screens.

IM SKILLS

6-31. Media Skills: IM; Compositional Modes: Tutorials [LO-1] [LO-5] High-definition television can be a joy to watch—but, oh, what a pain to buy. The field is cluttered with competing technologies and arcane terminology that is meaningless to most consumers. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to define one techni- cal term without invoking two or three others, leaving consum- ers swimming in an alphanumeric soup of confusion. As a sales

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MICROBLOGGING SKILLS

6-35. Media Skills: Microblogging; Compositional Modes: Teasers [LO-1] [LO-6] Twitter updates are a great way to alert people to helpful articles, videos, and other online resources. Your task: Find an online resource (it can be a website quiz, a YouTube video, a PowerPoint presentation, a newspaper article, or anything else appropriate) that offers some great tips to help college students prepare for job interviews. Write a teaser of no more than 120 characters that hints at the benefits other students can get from this resource. If your class is set up with private Twitter accounts, use your private account to send your message. Otherwise, email it to your instructor. Be sure to include the URL; if you’re using a Twitter account, the system should shorten it to 20 characters to keep you within the 140-character limit.

PODCASTING SKILLS/PORTfOLIO BuILDER

6-36. Media Skills: Podcasting [LO-7] While writing the many messages that are part of the job search process, you find yourself wishing you could just talk to some of these companies so your personality could shine through. Well, you’ve just got- ten that opportunity. One of the companies you’ve applied to has emailed you back, asking you to submit a two-minute podcast introducing yourself and explaining why you would be a good person to hire. Your task: Identify a company you’d like to work for after graduation and select a job that would be a good match for your skills and interests. Write a script for a two-minute podcast (two minutes represents roughly 250 words for most speakers). Introduce yourself and the position you’re applying for, describe your background, and explain why you think you’re a good candidate for the job. Make up any details you need. If your instructor asks you to do so, record the podcast and submit the audio file.

PODCASTING SKILLS

6-37. Media Skills: Podcasting [LO-7] Between this chapter and your own experience as a user of social media, you know enough about social media to offer some insights to other busi- ness communicators. Your task: Write a script for a two- to three-minute podcast (roughly 250 to 400 words) on any social media topic that you find compelling. Be sure to introduce your topic clearly in the introduction and provide helpful transitions along the way. If your instructor asks you to do so, record the podcast and submit the file electronically.

support manager for Crutchfield, a leading online retailer of audio and video systems, you understand the frustration buyers feel; your staff is deluged daily by their questions. Your task: To help your staff respond quickly to consumers who ask questions via Crutchfield’s online IM chat service, you are developing a set of “canned” responses to common questions. When a consumer asks one of these questions, a sales adviser can simply click on the ready-made answer. Research the “Research and DIY” section on the Crutchfield website, then write concise, consumer-friendly definitions of the following terms: 1080p, HDMI, 4K, and 3D TV.

BLOGGING SKILLS

6-32. Media Skills: Blogging; Compositional Modes: Tutorials [LO-6] Tumblr has become a popular “short-form” blogging platform by combining the simplicity of Twitter with the ability to share photos and other media easily. Your task: Write a 300- to 400-word post for your class blog that explains how to set up an account on Tumblr and get involved in the Tumblr community. The help pages on Tumblr are a good place to get more information about the service.

BLOGGING SKILLS

6-33. Media Skills: Blogging [LO-6] Credit card debt can be a crippling financial burden with myriad side effects, from higher insurance rates to more-expensive loans to difficulty getting a job or a promotion. Unfortunately, credit debt is also frighteningly easy to fall into, particularly for young people trying to get started in life with limited cash flow. Your task: Write a three- to five-paragraph blog post that warns college students about the dangers of credit card debt. Be sure to credit the sources you find in your research.

MICROBLOGGING SKILLS

6-34. Media Skills: Microblogging; Compositional Modes: Summaries [LO-1] [LO-6] A carefully constructed series of tweets can serve as a summary of a blog post, video, or other mes- sage or document. Your task: Find any article, podcast, video, or webpage on a business topic that interests you. Write four to six tweetables that summarize the content of the piece. Restrict the first tweetable to 120 characters to allow for a URL. Email the series to your instructor or publish them on Twitter if your instructor directs. If you quote phrases from the original directly, be sure to put them in quotation marks.

Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and usage You can download the text of this assignment from http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7; click on Student Assignments and then click on Chapter 6. Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage.

Level 1: Self-Assessment—Prepositions and Conjunctions

Review Sections 1.6.1 and 1.6.2 in the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage and then complete the following 15 items.

Rewrite the following items, deleting unnecessary words and prepositions and adding required prepositions: 6-38. Where was your argument leading to? 6-39. I wish he would get off of the phone.

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6-62. The signing of a Trade Pact between the european union and Chile, is being delayed by european negotia- tors who insist the deal includes an agreement requir- ing Chile to stop using the names Cognac, Champagne, and Burgundy.

6-63. Federal Trade commissioner, Mrs. Sheila F. Anthony called on the dietary supplement industry to institute better self regulation, and called on the media to refuse ads containing claims that are obviously false.

6-64. Founded in 1971, GSD&M has grown to become a nationally-acclaimed advertising agency with more than 500 employees and having billings of over $1 billion dollars.

6-65. Although marketing may seem to be the easier place to cut costs during a downturn its actually the last place you should look to make strategic cuts.

6-66. After closing their plant in Mecosta county, Green Mountain will have less than 200 employees.

6-67. The purchasing needs of professional’s differ from blue collar workers.

Level 3: Document Critique

The following document may contain errors in grammar, capital- ization, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. As your instructor indicates, photocopy this page and correct all errors using standard proofreading marks (see Appendix C) or download the document and make the correc- tions in your word-processing software.

TO: George Kimball <[email protected]> SUBJECT: My trip back East

Dear George:

I went back to New York for apresentation the 15th of this month and I found it very informative. The sponsor of my visat was Vern Grouper. Vern is the Manager of IS at headquarters; that is, their centralized information systems operation. They’ve got quite a bit of power out there. And they do encourage us to utilize their capibilities, there services, and experiences to whatever extent will be beneficial to us. However, you could say it would be my observation that although they have a tremendous amount of computing capability that capability is directed toward a business dimension very different than ours and unlike anything we have. However, their are certain services that might be performed in our behalf by headquarters. For example, we could utilize people such as Vern to come and address our IS advisory group since I am planning on convening that group on a monthly basis.

By the way, I need to talk to you about the IS advicory group when you get a chance. I have 1 or 2 thoughts about some new approaches we can take with it I’d like to run by you if you don’t mind. Its not too complicated just some simple ideas.

Let me know what you think of this idea about Vern coming here. If you like it than I will go ahead and set things in motion with Vern.

Sincerely, John

6-40. This is a project into which you can sink your teeth. 6-41. U.S. Mercantile must become aware and sensitive to its

customers’ concerns. 6-42. We are responsible for aircraft safety in the air, the

hangars, and the runways. In the following items, provide the missing preposition: 6-43. Dr. Namaguchi will be talking the marketing class, but

she has no time for questions. 6-44. Matters like this are decided after thorough discussion all

seven department managers. 6-45. We can’t wait their decision much longer. 6-46. Their computer is similar ours. 6-47. This model is different the one we ordered. In the following items, rewrite the sentences to make phrases parallel: 6-48. She is active in not only a civic group but also in an

athletic organization. 6-49. That is either a mistake or was an intentional omission. 6-50. The question is whether to set up a booth at the conven-

tion or be hosting a hospitality suite. 6-51. We are doing better in both overall sales and in profits. 6-52. She had neither the preferred educational background,

nor did she have suitable experience.

Level 2: Workplace Applications

The following items may contain errors in grammar, capitaliza- tion, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. Rewrite each sentence, correcting all errors. If a sen- tence has no errors, write “Correct” for that number. 6-53. Peabody Energys commitment to environmental ex-

cellence is driven by the companies’ mission statement which states that when mining is complete, the company will leave the land in a condition equal or better than it was before mining.

6-54. In 1998, Blockbuster opened a state of the art distribution center in McKinney, Texas, just North of the company’s Dallas Headquarters.

6-55. Miss Tucci was responsible for developing Terraspring’s business plan, establishing the brand, and for launching the company.

6-56. The principle goals of the new venture will be to offer tailored financial products and meeting the needs of the community.

6-57. Nestle Waters North America are the number one bottled water company in the U.S. and Canada.

6-58. The reason egg prices dropped sharply is because of a Post Easter reduction in demand.

6-59. Joining bank officials during the announcement of the program were U.S. congressman Luis V. Guitierrez, Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, General Consul of Mexico in the Midwest, and “Don Francisco”, the leading hispanic enter- tainment figure in the United States and Latin America.

6-60. The summer advertising campaign is the most unique in 7-Eleven’s history.

6-61. Upon introducing it’s new Quadruple Fudge flavor, consumers are expected to flock to Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlors.

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MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com for Auto-graded writing questions as well as the following Assisted-graded writing questions:

6-68. How can businesses make use of social networks such as Facebook for business communication? [LO-2]

6-69. Why does a personal style of writing help blogs build stronger relationships with audiences? [LO-6]

Endnotes 1. SmartPak website, accessed 3 April 2014, www.smartpakequine .com; SmartPak Facebook page, accessed 3 April 2014, www.facebook .com/SmartPakEquine; “20 Best Company Facebook Pages,” Inc., accessed 29 May 2012, www.inc.com. 2. Angelo Fernando, “Content Snacking—and What You Can Do About It,” Communication World, January–February 2011, 8–10. 3. Jennifer Van Grove, “Social Networking on Mobile Devices Skyrockets,” Mashable, 20 October 2011, http://mashable.com. 4. Angelo Fernando, “Social Media Change the Rules,” Communica- tion World, January–February 2007, 9–10; Geoff Livingston and Brian Solis, Now Is Gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives and Entre- preneurs (Laurel, Md.: Bartleby Press, 2007), 60. 5. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, Wikinomics, How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (London: Portfolio, 2006), 216–217; Dan Schawbel, “Why Social Media Makes It Possible for Gen-Y to Succeed,” Personal Branding Blog, 12 December 2007, http:// personalbrandingblog.wordpress.com. 6. 2012 CEO, Social Media & Leadership Survey, Brandfog, www .brandfog.com. 7. Richard Edelman, “Teaching Social Media: What Skills Do Com- municators Need?” in “Engaging the New Influencers; Third Annual Social Media Academic Summit” (white paper), accessed 7 June 2010, www.newmediaacademicsummit.com. 8. Catherine Toole, “My 7 Deadly Sins of Writing for Social Media— Am I Right?” Econsultancy blog, 19 June 2007, www.econsultancy .com; Muhammad Saleem, “How to Write a Social Media Press Re- lease,” Copyblogger, accessed 16 September 2008, www.copyblogger .com; Melanie McBride, “5 Tips for (Better) Social Media Writing,” Melanie McBride Online, 11 June 2008, http://melaniemcbride.net. 9. Samantha Murphy, “Why Mobile Commerce Is on the Rise,” Mashable, 7 March 2012, http://mashable.com. 10. Christopher Swan, “Gamification: A New Way to Shape Behavior,” Communication World, May–June 2012, 13–14. 11. “Wearables,” AllThingsCK, accessed 6 April 2014, allthingsck.com. 12. Jon Russell, “Why ‘Going Global’ Makes No Sense for China’s Social Networks—for Now,” The Next Web, 14 May 2012, http:// thenextweb.com. 13. Todd Henneman, “At Lockheed Martin, Social Networking Fills Key Workforce Needs While Improving Efficiency and Lowering Costs,” Workforce Management, March 2010, www.workforce.com. 14. Patrick Hanlon and Josh Hawkins, “Expand Your Brand Commu- nity Online,” Advertising Age, 7 January 2008, 14–15. 15. Todd Wasserman, “What Drives Brand Socialability?” Mashable, 12 October 2011. 16. Coca-Cola Facebook page, accessed 4 April 2014, www.facebook .com/cocacola; “Shaking Things Up at Coca-Cola,” Harvard Business Review, October 2011, 94–99.

17. Alex Wright, “Mining the Web for Feelings, Not Facts,” New York Times, 23 August 2009, www.nytimes.com. 18. Christian Pieter Hoffmann, “Holding Sway,” Communication World, November–December 2011, 26–29; Josh Bernoff, “Social Strategy for Exciting (and Not So Exciting) Brands,” Marketing News, 15 May 2009, 18; Larry Weber, Marketing to the Social Web (Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2007), 12–14; David Meerman Scott, The New Rules of Marketing and PR (Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2007), 62. 19. Sonia Simone, “What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting?” Copyblogger, accessed 4 June 2012, www.copyblogger.com. 20. Matt Rhodes, “Build Your Own Community or Go Where People Are? Do Both,” FreshNetworks blog, 12 May 2009, www.freshnetworks.com. 21. Brian Solis, Engage! (Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2010), 13. 22. Zachary Sniderman, “5 Ways to Clean Up Your Social Media Identity,” 7 July 2010, Mashable, http://mashable.com. 23. Tamar Weinberg, The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web (Sebastapol, Calif.: O’Reilly Media, 2009), 288. 24. Rohit Bhargava, “How Curation Could Save the Internet (and Your Brand),” Communication World, January–February 2012, 20–23. 25. Samantha Murphy, “Why Mobile Commerce Is on the Rise,” Mashable, 7 March 2012, http://mashable.com. 26. Reid Goldborough, “More Trends for 2009: What to Expect with Personal Technology,” Public Relations Tactics, February 2009, 9. 27. Michelle V. Rafter, “If Tim Fry Has His Way, He’ll Eradicate Email for Good,” Workforce Management, 24 April 2012, www .workforce.com. 28. Hilary Potkewitz and Rachel Brown, “Spread of Email Has Altered Communication Habits at Work,” Los Angeles Business Journal, 18 April 2005, www.findarticles.com; Nancy Flynn, Instant Messaging Rules (New York: AMACOM, 2004), 47–54. 29. Mary Munter, Priscilla S. Rogers, and Jone Rymer, “Business Email: Guidelines for Users,” Business Communication Quarterly, March 2003, 26+; Renee B. Horowitz and Marian G. Barchilon, “Stylistic Guidelines for Email,” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 37, no. 4 (December 1994): 207–212. 30. Steve Rubel, “Tip: Tweetify the Lead of Your Emails,” The Steve Rubel Stream blog, 20 July 2010, www.steverubel.com. 31. Judith Newman, “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Must I Know, Too?” New York Times, 21 October 2011, www.nytimes.com. 32. Michal Lev-Ram, “IBM: Instant Messaging Has Replaced Voicemail,” CNNMoney, 31 May 2011, http://tech.fortune.cnn.com; Robert J. Holland, “Connected—More or Less,” Richmond.com, 8 August 2006, www.richmond.com. 33. Vayusphere website, accessed 22 January 2006, www.vayusphere .com; Christa C. Ayer, “Presence Awareness: Instant Messaging’s

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41. Marcus Sheridan, “5 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging,” Social Media Examiner, 2 December 2011, www.socialmediaexaminer .com; Stephen Baker, “The Inside Story on Company Blogs,” BusinessWeek, 14 February 2006, www.businessweek.com; Jeremy Wright, Blog Marketing (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006), 45–56; Paul Chaney, “Blogs: Beyond the Hype!” 26 May 2005, http:// radiantmarketinggroup.com. 42. Solis, Engage!, 314. 43. Solis, Engage!, 86. 44. Weinberg, “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web,” 89. 45. “IBM Social Computing Guidelines,” IBM website, accessed 5 June 2012, www.ibm.com. 46. Joel Falconer, “Six Rules for Writing Great Web Content,” Blog News Watch, 9 November 2007, www.blognewswatch.com. 47. Dion Hinchcliffe, “Twitter on Your Intranet: 17 Microblogging Tools for Business,” ZDNet, 1 June 2009, www.zdnet.com. 48. Hinchcliffe, “Twitter on Your Intranet: 17 Microblogging Tools for Business.” 49. B.L. Ochman, “Why Twitter Is a Better Brand Platform Than Facebook,” Ad Age, 1 June 2012, http://adage.com. 50. Leon Widrich, “4 Ways to Use Twitter for Customer Service and Support,” Social Media Examiner, 12 April 2012, www .socialmediaexaminer.com. 51. Paul André, Michael Bernstein, and Kurt Luther, “What Makes a Great Tweet,” Harvard Business Review, May 2012, 36–37. 52. André et al., “What Makes a Great Tweet.” 53. Interview with Cliff Ravenscraft in Michael Stelzner, “Podcasting for Business: What You Need to Know,” Social Media Examiner, 23 December 2011, www.socialmediaexaminer.com. 54. “Set Up Your Podcast for Success,” FeedForAll website, accessed 4 October 2006, www.feedforall.com. 55. Nathan Hangen, “4 Steps to Podcasting Success,” Social Media Examiner, 14 February 2011, www.socialmediaexaminer.com. 56. Shel Holtz, “Ten Guidelines for B2B Podcasts,” Webpronews.com, 12 October 2005, www.webpronews.com. 57. “Side Impact Protection Revealed,” Britax website, accessed 6 June 2012, www.britaxusa.com.

Killer App,” Mobile Business Advisor, 1 July 2004, www.highbeam .com; Jefferson Graham, “Instant Messaging Programs Are No Longer Just for Messages,” USA Today, 20 October 2003, 5D; Todd R. Weiss, “Microsoft Targets Corporate Instant Messaging Customers,” Com- puterworld, 18 November 2002, 12; “Banks Adopt Instant Messaging to Create a Global Business Network,” Computer Weekly, 25 April 2002, 40; Michael D. Osterman, “Instant Messaging in the Enterprise,” Business Communications Review, January 2003, 59–62; John Pallato, “Instant Messaging Unites Work Groups and Inspires Collaboration,” Internet World, December 2002, 14. 34. Paul Mah, “Using Text Messaging in Business,” Mobile Enterprise blog, 4 February 2008, http://blogs.techrepublic.com/wireless; Paul Kedrosky, “Why We Don’t Get the (Text) Message,” Business 2.0, 2 October 2006, www.business2.com; Dave Carpenter, “Companies Discover Marketing Power of Text Messaging,” Seattle Times, 25 September 2006, www.seattletimes.com. 35. “About StarStar,” Zoove website, accessed 6 June 2012, www.zoove.com. 36. Mark Gibbs, “Racing to Instant Messaging,” NetworkWorld, 17 February 2003, 74. 37. “Email Is So Five Minutes Ago,” BusinessWeek, 28 November 2005, www.businessweek.com. 38. Clint Boulton, “IDC: IM Use Is Booming in Business,” Instant- MessagingPlanet.com, 5 October 2005, www.instantmessagingplanet .com; Jenny Goodbody, “Critical Success Factors for Global Virtual Teams,” Strategic Communication Management, February/March 2005, 18–21; Ann Majchrzak, Arvind Malhotra, Jeffrey Stamps, and Jessica Lipnack, “Can Absence Make a Team Grow Stronger?” Harvard Business Review, May 2004, 131–137; Christine Y. Chen, “The IM Invasion,” Fortune, 26 May 2003, 135–138; Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, “A Swarm of Little Notes,” Time, 16 September 2002, A3–A8; Mark Bruno, “Taming the Wild Frontiers of Instant Messaging,” Bank Technology News, December 2002, 30–31; Richard Grigonis, “ Enterprise-Strength Instant Messaging,” Convergence.com, 10–15, accessed 15 March 2003, www.convergence.com. 39. Leo Babauta, “17 Tips to Be Productive with Instant Messaging,” Web Worker Daily, 14 November 2007, http://webworkerdaily.com; Pallato, “Instant Messaging Unites Work Groups and Inspires Collaboration.” 40. “State of the Blogosphere 2011,” Technorati, 4 November 2011, http://technorati.com.

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Writing Routine and Positive Messages

Communication Matters . . . “To succeed, I don’t need to be Shakespeare; I must, though, have a sincere desire to inform.” —Warren Buffett, legendary investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett’s financial acumen has made him and many of his shareholders wealthy, but he is recognized almost as widely for his communication skills. His letters, essays, and annual reports communicate complex financial topics in simple language his readers can easily understand. His approach is simple: Even for a document that will be read by thousands of people, he visual- izes a single person (often one of his sisters) as his audience. He treats this audience member as an intelligent human being, but as someone who doesn’t have the same level of experience with the subject matter he has. From there, he proceeds to organize and write his messages in a way that clarifies all the essential information and doesn’t try to impress or obscure with compli- cated language.1 Whether you’re posting a status update on a team blog or producing a report for an audience of thousands, Buffett’s approach is a great example to follow.

Outline an effective strategy for writing routine business requests

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

7

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Describe three common types of routine requests

Outline an effective strategy for writing routine replies and positive messages

Describe six common types of routine replies and positive messages

MyBCommLab® Improve Your Grade! Over 10 million students

improved their results using Pearson MyLabs. Visit mybcommlab.com for simulations, tutorials, and end-of- chapter problems.

Warren Buffett often deals with complex financial issues in his line of business, but he has cultivated the ability to express even complicated subjects in clear, simple language that seeks to inform rather than to impress.

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Strategy for Routine Requests Much of your daily business communication will involve routine and positive messages, including routine requests for information or action, replies on routine business matters, and positive messages such as good-news announcements and goodwill messages, from product operation hints and technical support to refunds and ordering glitches. These mes- sages are the focus of this chapter. Chapter 8 covers messages in which you convey negative information, and Chapter 9 addresses persuasive messages.

Making requests is a routine part of business. In most cases, your audience will be pre- pared to comply, as long as you’re not being unreasonable or asking people to do something they would expect you to do yourself. By applying a clear strategy and tailoring your ap- proach to each situation, you’ll be able to generate effective requests quickly.

Like all other business messages, routine requests have three parts: an opening, a body, and a close. Using the direct approach, open with your main idea, which is a clear statement of your request. Use the body to give details and justify your request, then close by request- ing specific action.

Stating Your requeSt uP Front

With routine requests, you can make your request at the beginning of the message. Of course, getting right to the point should not be interpreted as license to be abrupt or tactless:

● Pay attention to tone. Instead of demanding action (“Send me the latest version of the budget spreadsheet”), show respect by using words such as please and I would appreciate.

● Assume that your audience will comply. Because the request is routine, you can gen- erally assume that your readers will comply when they clearly understand the reason for your request.

● Be specific. State precisely what you want. For example, if you request the latest market data from your research department, be sure to say whether you want a 1-page sum- mary or 100 pages of raw data.

exPlaining and JuStiFYing Your requeSt

Use the body of your message to explain your request, as needed. Make the explanation a smooth and logical outgrowth of your opening remarks. If complying with the request could benefit the reader, be sure to mention that. If you have multiple requests or questions, ask the most important questions first and deal with only one topic per question. If you have an unusual or complex request, break it down into specific, individual questions so that the reader can address each one separately. This consideration not only shows respect for your audience’s time but also gets you a more accurate answer in less time.

requeSting SPeciFic action in a courteouS cloSe

Close your message with three important elements: (1) a specific request that includes any relevant deadlines, (2) information about how you can be reached (if it isn’t obvious), and (3) an expression of appreciation or goodwill; for example: “Please send the figures by April 5 so that I can return first-quarter results to you before the April 15 board meeting. I appreciate your help.” Conclude your message with a sincere thanks. However, don’t thank the reader “in advance” for cooperating; many people find that presumptuous.

Common Examples of Routine Requests The most common types of routine messages are asking for information or action, asking for recommendations, and making claims and requesting adjustments.

For routine requests and positive messages, ● State the request or main idea ● Give necessary details ● Close with a cordial request for

specific action

Take care that your direct ap- proach doesn’t come across as abrupt or tactless.

If you have multiple requests or questions, start with the most important one.

Close request messages with ● A request for some specific

action ● Information about how you can

be reached ● An expression of appreciation

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe three common types of routine requests.

1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEOutline an effective strategy for writing routine business requests.

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aSking For inFormation or action

Routine requests can have up to three basic elements:

● What you want to know or what you want your readers to do ● Why you’re making the request (not required in all cases) ● Why it may be in your readers’ interest to help you (not applicable in all cases)

For simple requests, using the direct approach gets the job done with a minimum of fuss. In more complex situations, you may need to provide more extensive reasons and jus- tification for your request. If applicable, point out any benefits to the reader of complying with your request. Naturally, be sure to adapt your request to your audience and the situa- tion (see Figure 7.1 on the next page).

aSking For recommendationS

The need to inquire about people arises often in business. For example, before extending credit or awarding contracts, jobs, promotions, or scholarships, companies often ask ap- plicants to supply references. Companies ask applicants to list references who can vouch for their ability, skills, integrity, character, and fitness for the job. Before you volunteer some- one’s name as a reference, ask permission to do so. Some people don’t want you to use their names, perhaps because they don’t know enough about you to feel comfortable writing a letter or because they or their employers have a policy of not providing recommendations.

Requests for recommendations and references are routine, so you can organize your inquiry using the direct approach. Open your message by clearly stating why the recom- mendation is required (if it’s not for a job, be sure to explain its purpose) and that you would like your reader to write the letter. If you haven’t had contact with the person for some time, use the opening to trigger the reader’s memory of the relationship you had, the dates of as- sociation, and any special events or accomplishments that might bring a clear and favorable picture of you to mind.

Use the body of the request to list all the information the recipient would need to write the recommendation, including the full name and address or email address of the person to whom the recommendation should be sent. Consider including an updated résumé if you’ve had significant career advancement since your last contact.

Close your message with an expression of appreciation. When asking for an immediate recommendation, you should also mention the deadline. If you are requesting a printed letter, always be sure to enclose a stamped, preaddressed envelope as a convenience to the other party. Figure 7.2 on page 165 provides an example of a request that follows these guidelines.

making claimS and requeSting adJuStmentS

If you’re dissatisfied with a company’s product or service, you can opt to make a claim (a formal complaint) or request an adjustment (a settlement of a claim). In either case, it’s important to maintain a professional tone in all your communication, no matter how angry or frustrated you are. Keeping your cool will help you get the situation resolved sooner.

Open with a clear and calm statement of the problem along with your request. In the body, give a complete, specific explanation of the details. Provide any information the recip- ient needs to verify your complaint. In your close, politely request specific action or convey a sincere desire to find a solution. And, if appropriate, suggest that the business relation- ship will continue if the problem is solved satisfactorily. Be prepared to back up your claim with invoices, sales receipts, canceled checks, dated correspondence, and any other relevant documents. Send copies and keep the originals for your files.

If the remedy is obvious, tell your reader exactly what you expect from the company, such as exchanging incorrectly shipped merchandise for the right item or issuing a refund

Routine requests can be handled with simple, straightforward messages, but more complicated requests can require additional justification and explanation.

Always ask for permission before using someone as a reference.

Refresh the memory of any poten- tial reference you haven’t been in touch with for a while.

Follow LinkedIn’s advice for requesting a recommendation. Go to http:// real-timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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Asking for recommendations on LinkedIn

When writing a claim or request- ing an adjustment ● Explain the problem and give

details ● Provide backup information ● Request specific action

Be prepared to document any claims you make with a company. Send copies and keep the original documents.

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Figure 7.1 Routine Message Requesting Action In this email request to district managers across the country, Helene Clausen asks them to fill out an attached information collection form. Although the request is not unusual and responding to it is part of the managers’ responsibility, Clausen asks for their help in a courteous manner and points out the benefits of responding. Source: Microsoft Outlook 2013, Microsoft Corporation.

Plan Write Complete1 2 3

Analyze the Situation Verify that the purpose is to request information from company managers.

Gather Information Gather accurate, complete information about local competitive threats.

Organize the Information Clarify that the main idea is collecting information that will lead to a better competitive strategy, which will in turn help the various district managers.

Adapt to Your Audience Show sensitivity to audience needs with a “you” attitude, politeness, positive emphasis, and bias-free language. The writer already has credibility, as manager of the department.

Compose the Message Maintain a style that is conversational but still businesslike, using plain English and appropriate voice.

Revise the Message Evaluate content and review readability; avoid unnecessary details.

Produce the Message Simple email format is all the design this message needs.

Proofread the Message Review for errors in layout, spelling, and mechanics.

Distribute the Message Deliver the message via the company’s email system.

Choose Medium and Channel Email is effective for this nternal message, and it allows the attachment of a Word document to collect the information.

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Figure 7.2 Effective Request for a Recommendation This writer uses a direct approach when asking for a recommendation from a former professor. Note how she takes care to refresh the professor’s memory because she took the class a year and a half ago. She also indicates the date by which the letter is needed and points to the enclosure of a stamped, preaddressed envelope.

The opening states the purpose of the letter and makes the request, assuming the reader will want to comply with the request.Tucker includes

information near the opening to refresh her pro- fessor’s memory.

She provides a deadline for response and includes information about the person who is expecting the recommendation.

The body refers to the enclosed résumé and mentions experience that could set the applicant apart from other candidates— information the professor could use in writing the recommendation.

The close mentions the preaddressed, stamped envelope to encourage a timely response.

1181 Ashport Drive Tate Springs, TN 38101 March 14, 2015

Professor Lyndon Kenton School of Business University of Tennessee, Knoxville Knoxville, TN 37916

Dear Professor Kenton:

I recently interviewed with Strategic Investments and have been called for a second interview for their Analyst Training Program (ATP). They have requested at least one recommendation from a professor, and I immediately thought of you. May I have a letter of recommendation from you?

As you may recall, I took BUS 485, Financial Analysis, from you in the fall of 2013. I enjoyed the class and finished the term with an “A.” Professor Kenton, your comments on assertiveness and cold-calling impressed me beyond the scope of the actual course material. In fact, taking your course helped me decide on a future as a financial analyst.

My enclosed résumé includes all my relevant work experience and volunteer activities. I would also like to add that I’ve handled the financial planning for our family since my father passed away several years ago. Although I initially learned by trial and error, I have increasingly applied my business training in deciding what stocks or bonds to trade. This, I believe, has given me a practical edge over others who may be applying for the same job.

If possible, Ms. Blackmon in Human Resources needs to receive your letter by March 30. For your convenience, I’ve enclosed a preaddressed, stamped envelope.

I appreciate your time and effort in writing this letter of recommendation for me. It will be great to put my education to work, and I’ll keep you informed of my progress. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,

Joanne Tucker

Enclosure

Plan Write Complete1 2 3

Analyze the Situation Verify that the purpose is to request a recommendation letter from a college professor.

Gather Information Gather information on classes and dates to help the reader recall you and to clarify the position you seek.

Organize the Information Messages like this are common and expected, so a direct approach is fine.

Adapt to Your Audience Show sensitivity to audience needs with a “you” attitude, politeness, positive emphasis, and bias-free language.

Compose the Message Style is respectful and businesslike, while still using plain English and appropriate voice.

Revise the Message Evaluate content and review readability; avoid unnecessary details.

Produce the Message Simple letter format is all the design this message needs.

Proofread the Message Review for errors in layout, spelling, and mechanics.

Distribute the Message Deliver the message via postal mail or email if you have the professor’s email address.

Choose Medium and Channel The letter format gives this message an appropriate level of formality, although many professors prefer to be contacted by email.

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MOBILE APPS

If your email service doesn’t allow huge file attachments, Hightail lets you post the file on its servers and send your recipients a link instead.

Use a direct approach for routine replies and positive messages.

With the direct approach, open with a clear and concise expression of the main idea or good news.

3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEOutline an effective strategy for writing routine replies and positive messages.

if the item is out of stock. In some cases, you might ask the recipient to resolve a problem. However, if you’re uncertain about the precise nature of the trouble, you could ask the company to make an assessment and then advise you on how the situation could be fixed. Supply your contact information so that the company can discuss the situation with you, if necessary. Compare the poor and improved versions in Figure 7.3.

Strategy for Routine Replies and Positive Messages Just as you’ll make numerous requests for information and action throughout your career, you’ll also respond to similar requests from other people. When you are responding posi- tively to a request, sending routine announcements, or sending a positive or goodwill mes- sage, you have several goals: to communicate the information or the good news, answer all questions, provide all required details, and leave your reader with a good impression of you and your firm.

Readers receiving routine replies and positive messages will generally be interested in what you have to say, so use the direct approach. Place your main idea (the positive reply or the good news) in the opening. Use the body to explain all the relevant details, and close cordially, perhaps highlighting a benefit to your reader.

Starting with the main idea

By opening with the main idea or good news, you prepare your audience for the details that follow. Make your opening clear and concise. Although the following introductory state- ments make the same point, one is cluttered with unnecessary information that buries the purpose, whereas the other is brief and to the point:

Instead of This Write This

I am pleased to inform you that after careful consideration of a diverse and talented pool of applicants, each of whom did a thorough job of analyzing Trask Horton Pharmaceuticals’s training needs, we have selected your bid.

Trask Horton Pharmaceuticals has accepted your bid to provide public speaking and presentation training to the sales staff.

The best way to write a clear opening is to have a clear idea of what you want to say. Before you begin, ask yourself, “What is the single most important message I have for the audience?”

Providing neceSSarY detailS and exPlanation

Use the body to expand on the opening message so that readers get all the information they need. As you provide the details, maintain the supportive tone established in the opening. This tone is easy to continue when your message is entirely positive, as in this example:

Your educational background and internship have impressed us, and we believe you would be a valuable addition to Green Valley Properties. As discussed during your interview, your salary will be $4,300 per month, plus benefits. In that regard, you will meet with our benefits manager, Paula Sanchez, at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 21. She will assist you with all the paperwork necessary to tailor our benefit package to your family situation. She will also arrange various orientation activities to help you accli- mate to our company.

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Figure 7.3 Poor and Improved Versions of a Claim Note the difference in both tone and information content in these two versions. The poor version is emotional and unprofessional, whereas the improved version communicates calmly and clearly. Source: Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft Corporation.

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Poo r

Impr oved

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MyBCommLab Apply Figure 7.3’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

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However, if your routine message is mixed and must convey mildly disappointing in- formation, put the negative portion of your message into as favorable a context as possible:

Instead of This Write This

No, we no longer carry the Sportsgirl line of sweaters.

The new Olympic line has replaced the Sportsgirl sweaters you asked about. Olympic features a wider range of colors and sizes and more contemporary styling.

The more complete description is less negative and emphasizes how the audience can benefit from the change. However, if the negative news is likely to be a shock or particularly unpleasant for the reader, you’ll want to use the indirect approach (discussed in Chapter 8).

ending with a courteouS cloSe

The close of routine replies and positive messages is usually short and simple, because you’re leaving things on a neutral or positive note and not usually asking for the reader to do any- thing. Often, a simple thank you is all you need. However, if follow-up action is required or expected, use the close to identify who will do what and when that action will take place.

Common Examples of Routine Replies and Positive Messages Most routine and positive messages fall into six categories: answers to routine requests, grants of claims and requests for adjustment, recommendations, routine informational messages, good-news announcements, and goodwill messages.

anSwering requeStS For inFormation or action

Every professional answers requests for information or action from time to time. If the response is straightforward, the direct approach is appropriate. A prompt, gracious, and thorough response will positively influence how people think about you and the organiza- tion you represent. When you’re answering requests from a potential customer or other decision maker, look for subtle and respectful ways to encourage a decision in your favor.

granting claimS and requeStS For adJuStment

Even the best-run companies make mistakes, and each of these events represents a turning point in your relationship with your customer. If you handle the situation well, your cus- tomer is likely to be even more loyal than before because you’ve proven that you’re serious about customer satisfaction. However, if a customer believes that you mishandled a com- plaint, you’ll make the situation even worse. Dissatisfied customers often take their busi- ness elsewhere without notice and tell numerous friends and colleagues about the negative experience. A transaction that might be worth only a few dollars by itself could cost you many times that amount in lost business. In other words, every mistake is an opportunity to improve a relationship.

Your specific response to a customer complaint depends on your company’s policies for resolving such issues and your assessment of whether the company, the customer, or some third party is at fault. In general, take the following steps:

● Acknowledge receipt of the customer’s claim or complaint. ● Sympathize with the customer’s inconvenience or frustration. ● Take (or assign) personal responsibility for setting matters straight. ● Explain precisely how you have resolved, or plan to resolve, the situation. ● Take steps to repair the relationship. ● Follow up to verify that your response was correct.

In the close, make sure audience members understand what to do next and how that action will ben- efit them (if applicable).

Responding to mistakes in a courteous, reader-focused way helps repair important business relationships.

4 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDescribe six common types of routine replies and positive messages.

Try to embed any negative infor- mation in a positive context.

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In addition to taking these positive steps, maintain a professional demeanor. Don’t blame colleagues by name; don’t make exaggerated, insincere apologies; don’t imply that the customer is at fault; and don’t promise more than you can deliver.

Communication about a claim is a delicate matter when the customer is clearly at fault. If you choose to grant the claim, open with that good news. However, the body needs spe- cial attention because you want to discourage similar claims in the future. Close in a courte- ous manner that expresses your appreciation for the customer’s business (see Figure 7.4 on the next page).

Providing recommendationS and reFerenceS

People who need endorsements from employers or colleagues (when applying for a job, for example) often request letters of recommendation. These messages used to be a fairly routine matter, but employment recommendations and references have raised some complex legal is- sues in recent years. Employees have sued employers and individual managers for providing negative information or refusing to provide letters of recommendation, and employers have sued other employers for failing to disclose negative information about job candidates. Before you write a letter of recommendation for a former employee or provide information in re- sponse to another employer’s background check, make sure you understand your company’s policies. Your company may refuse to provide anything more than dates of employment and other basic details, for example.2

If you decide to write a letter of recommendation or re- spond to a request for information about a job candidate, your goal is to convince readers that the person being recom- mended has the characteristics necessary for the job, assign- ment, or other objective the person is seeking. A successful recommendation letter contains a number of relevant details (see Figure 7.5 on page 171):

● The candidate’s full name ● The position or other objective the candidate is seeking ● The nature of your relationship with the candidate ● Facts and evidence relevant to the candidate and the opportunity ● A comparison of this candidate’s potential with that of peers, if available (for example,

“Ms. Jonasson consistently ranked in the top 10 percent of our national salesforce.”) ● Your overall evaluation of the candidate’s suitability for the opportunity

Sharing routine inFormation

Many messages involve sharing routine information, such as project updates and order sta- tus notifications. Use the opening of these routine messages to state the purpose and briefly mention the nature of the information you are providing. Provide the necessary details in the body and end your message with a courteous close.

Most routine communications are neutral, so you don’t have to take special steps in anticipation of emotional reactions from readers. However, some routine informative mes- sages may require additional care. For instance, policy statements or procedural changes may be good news for a company, perhaps by saving money. However, it may not be obvious to employees that such savings may make additional employee resources available or even lead to pay raises. In instances in which the reader may not initially view the information positively, use the body of the message to highlight the potential benefits from the reader’s perspective. (For situations in which negative news will have a profound effect on the re- cipients, consider the indirect techniques discussed in Chapter 8.)

announcing good newS

To develop and maintain good relationships, smart companies recognize that it’s good business to spread the word about positive developments. Such developments can in- clude opening new facilities, hiring a top executive, introducing new products or services,

To grant a claim when the cus- tomer is at fault, try to discourage future mistakes without insulting the customer.

Recommendation letters are vul- nerable to legal complications, so consult your company’s legal de- partment before writing one.

When sharing routine information ● State the purpose at the begin-

ning and briefly mention the nature of the information you are providing

● Provide the necessary details ● End with a courteous close

Find helpful advice on employment recommendations, academic recommendations, and character references. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

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LEARN MORE By VISITING ThIS WEBSITE

Get expert tips on writing (or requesting) a letter of recommendation

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Figure 7.4 Responding to a Claim When the Buyer Is at Fault Responding to a claim when the buyer is at fault is a positive gesture, so the content and tone of the message need to reflect that. After all, there’s no point in fostering a positive relationship through actions but then under- mining that through negative communication. Notice how the poor version sounds like a crabby parent who gives in to a child’s demand but sends a mixed message by being highly critical anyway. The improved version is much more subtle, letting the customer know how to take care of his skates, without blaming or insulting him. Source: Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft Corporation.

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170

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MyBCommLab Apply Figure 7.5’s key concepts by going to mybcommlab.com

Figure 7.5 Effective Recommendation Letter This letter clearly states the nature of the writer’s relationship to the candidate and provides specific examples to support the writer’s endorsements.

The opening clearly states candidate’s full name and the main point of the letter.LeClerc specifies

the duration and nature of their relationship in the body to give weight to the evaluation.

She closes by inviting reader to discuss the candidate further.

The close begins by summarizing the supportive evaluation.

November 14, 2015

Ms. Clarice Gailey Director of Operations McNally and Associates, Inc. 8688 Southgate Ave. Augusta, GA 30906

Dear Ms. Gailey:

I am pleased to recommend Talvin Biswas for the marketing position at McNally and Associates. Mr. Biswas has worked with Point1 Promotions as an intern for the past two summers while working toward his degree in marketing and advertising. His duties included customer correspondence, web content updates, and direct-mail campaign planning.

As his supervisor, in addition to knowing his work here, I also know that Mr. Biswas has served as secretary for the International Business Association at the University of Michigan. He tutored other international students in the university’s writing center. His fluency in three languages (English, French, and Hindi) and thorough knowledge of other cultures will make him an immediate contributor to your international operations.

Mr. Biswas is a thoughtful and careful professional who will not hesitate to contribute ideas when invited to do so. In addition, because Mr. Biswas learns quickly, he will learn your company’s routine with ease.

Mr. Biswas will make an excellent addition to your staff at McNally and Associates. If I can provide any additional information, please call or fax me at the numbers above. If you prefer to communicate by e-mail, my address is [email protected]

Sincerely,

Angela LeClerc Vice President, Marketing

Pointers for Writing Recommendation Letters • Take great care to avoid a lawsuit (either for including too much negative information or for omitting negative information).

• Follow your company’s policies in all details; verify only the dates of employment and job titles if that is all the information your company allows to be released.

• Release information only to people who have written authorization from the former employee.

• Consider collaborating with the former employee so that the contents of the letter meet both of your needs.

• If you are unable or unwilling to represent your company in a professional capacity, offer to be a personal reference instead.

• Comment only on your direct experience working with the former employee.

• Limit your remarks to provable facts; avoid hyperbole.

• Ask your human resource department to review the letter before you send it.

105 E. Madison Ann Arbor, MI 48103

tel: 800-747-9786 e-mail: [email protected]

www.point1promo.net

or sponsoring community events. Because good news is always welcome, use the direct approach.

External good-news announcements are often communicated in a news release, also known as a press release, a specialized document used to share relevant information with the news media. (News releases are also used to announce negative news, such as plant closings.) In most companies, news releases are usually prepared or at least supervised by specially trained writers in the public relations department. The content follows the cus- tomary pattern for a positive message: good news followed by details and a positive close. However, traditional news releases have a critical difference: You’re not writing directly to the ultimate audience (such as the readers of a newspaper); you’re trying to interest an edi- tor or a reporter in a story, and that person will then write the material that is eventually read by the larger audience.

A news release or press release is a message (usually routine, but not always) designed to share infor- mation with the news media, al- though many are now written with customers and other stakeholders in mind as well.

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Until recently, news releases were crafted in a way to provide information to report- ers, who would then write their own articles if the subject matter was interesting to their readers. Thanks to the Internet and social media, however, the nature of the news release is changing. Many companies now view it as a general-purpose tool for communicating directly with customers and other audiences, creating direct-to-consumer news releases.3 Many of these are considered social media releases, because they include social networking links, “Tweetables” (Twitter-ready statements that can be shared on Twitter at the click of a button), and other sharable content.

FoStering goodwill

All business messages should be written with an eye toward fostering positive relationships with audiences, but some messages are written specifically to build goodwill. You can use these messages to enhance your relationships with customers, colleagues, and other busi- nesspeople by sending friendly, even unexpected, notes with no direct business purpose. Whether you’re thanking an employee for a job well done or congratulating a colleague for a personal or professional achievement, the small effort to send a goodwill message can have a positive and lasting effect on the people around you.

In addition to creating messages for a specific goodwill reason, you can craft almost any routine message in a way to build goodwill. Two ways to do so are by providing information that your readers might find helpful and by maintaining a positive tone throughout your message.

Sending Congratulations

One prime opportunity for sending goodwill messages is to congratulate individuals or companies for significant business achievements—perhaps for being promoted or for at- taining product sales milestones (see Figure 7.6). Other reasons for sending congratulations

The social media release includes share-ready content that is easy to reuse in blog posts, tweets, and other social media formats.

Goodwill is the positive feeling that encourages people to maintain a business relationship.

Many routine messages can be adapted to foster goodwill, either by sharing helpful informa- tion or providing an element of entertainment.

Taking note of significant events in someone’s personal life helps foster the business relationship.

Figure 7.6 Goodwill Messages Goodwill messages serve a variety of business functions. In this email message, investor Roger DeCairn con- gratulates an entrepreneur who had previously sought start-up capital from his firm but later secured funding from another firm. The message may ultimately benefit DeCairn and his company by building goodwill, but it doesn’t serve an immediate business purpose.

The opening offers a positive and sincere expression of congratulations.

The body reminds the recipient of their previous meeting and offers specific points about the recipient’s worthiness in a way that compliments without exaggerating.

The close maintains the upbeat tone and keeps the focus on the recipient.

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include highlights in people’s personal lives, such as weddings, births, graduations, and success in nonbusiness competi- tions. You may congratulate business acquaintances on their own achievements or on the accomplishments of a spouse or child. You may also take note of personal events, even if you don’t know the reader well. If you’re already friendly with the reader, a more personal tone is appropriate.

Sending Messages of Appreciation

An important leadership quality is the ability to recognize the contributions of employees, colleagues, suppliers, and other associates. Your praise does more than just make the person feel good; it encourages further excellence. A message of appreciation may also become an important part of someone’s personnel file, so provide specific information wherever pos- sible, as in this example:

MOBILE APPS

Looking for the special touch of a printer letter but have only your phone? Lettr converts your digital message to print and puts it in the mail for you.

An effective message of appre- ciation documents a person’s contributions.

The primary purpose of con- dolence messages is to let the audience know that you and the organization you represent care about the person’s loss.

Thank you and everyone on your team for the heroic efforts you took to bring our servers back up after last Friday’s flood. We were able to restore business right on schedule first thing Monday morning. You went far beyond the level of contractual service in restoring our data center within 16 hours. I would especially like to highlight the contribution of networking specialist Julienne Marks, who worked for 12 straight hours to reconnect our Internet service. If I can serve as a reference in your future sales activities, please do not hesitate to ask.

Hearing a sincere thank you can do wonders for morale.4 Moreover, in today’s digital communication media environment, a handwritten thank-you note can be a particularly welcome acknowledgment.5

Offering Condolences

Condolence letters are brief personal messages written to comfort someone after the death of a loved one. You may have occasion to offer condolences to employees or other business associates (when the person has lost a family member) or to the family of an employee or business associate (when that person has died).

These messages can feel intimidating to write, but they don’t need to be. Follow these three principles: short, simple, and sincere. You don’t need to produce a work of literary art; the fact that you are writing sends a message that is as meaningful as anything you can say.

Timing and media choice are important considerations with condolence letters. The sooner your message is received, the more comforting it will be, so don’t delay. And unless circumstances absolutely leave you no choice, do not use digital formats. A brief, handwrit- ten note on quality stationery is the way to go.

Open a condolence message with a simple expression of sympathy, such as “I am deeply sorry to hear of your loss” or “I am sorry for your loss.” How you continue from there depends on the circumstances and your relationships with the deceased and the person to whom you are writing. For example, if you are writing to the husband of a colleague who recently died and you have never met him, you might continue with “Having worked with Janice for more than a decade, I know what a kind and caring person she was.” Such a statement accomplishes two goals: explaining why you in par- ticular are writing and letting the recipient know that his loved one was appreciated in the workplace.

Conversely, if you are writing to a colleague who recently lost a loved one, you might continue with “After meeting Warren at last year’s company picnic and hearing your stories about his involvement with your son’s soccer league and the many other ways he contrib- uted to his community, I know what a special person he was.” Sharing brief and positive memories like this adds meaning and depth to your expression of sympathy.

These tips are easy to adapt to any business or social occasions in which you need to express appreciation. Go to http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7. Under “Students,” click on “Learn More.”

real-time uPdateS

LEARN MORE By REAdING ThIS ARTICLE

Simple rules for writing effective thank-you notes

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You can conclude with a simple statement such as “My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.” If appropriate for the situation and your relationship, you might also include an offer of assistance. “Please call if there is anything I do for you.”

As you decide what to include in the message, keep two points in mind. First, make it a personal expression of sympathy, but don’t make the whole message about you and your sense of loss. You might be grieving as well, but unless you, the deceased, and the reader were all personally close, don’t say things like “I was so devastated to hear the news about Mollie.”

Second, don’t offer “life advice,” and don’t include trite sayings that you may have heard or read. At this point, soon after the loss, the recipient doesn’t want your advice, only your sympathy. Also, don’t bring religion into the discussion unless you have a close personal relationship with the recipient and religion is already a part of your relationship. Otherwise, you risk offending with unwelcome or inappropriate sentiments.

Condolence letters are the most personal business messages you may ever have to write, so they require the utmost in care and respect for your reader. By keeping the mes- sages simple, short, and sincere, you will be able to achieve the right tone.

For the latest information on writing routine and positive messages, visit http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7 and click on Chapter 7.

Keep your condolence message fo- cused on the recipient, not on your own emotions, and don’t offer “life advice” or trite sayings.

Learning Objectives: Check Your Progress

Objective 1: Outline an effective strategy for writing routine business requests. When writing a routine request, open by stating your specific request. Use the body to justify your request and explain its im- portance. Close routine requests by asking for specific action (including a deadline, if appropriate) and expressing goodwill. A courteous close contains three important elements: (1) a spe- cific request, (2) information about how you can be reached (if it isn’t obvious), and (3) an expression of appreciation or goodwill.

Objective 2: Describe three common types of routine requests. The most common types of routine requests are asking for in- formation or action, asking for recommendations, and making claims and requesting adjustments. Requests for information or action should explain what you want to know or what you want readers to do, why you’re making the request, and why it may be in your readers’ interest to help you (if applicable). Requests for recommendations should open by stating your request. The body should list all the information the recipient would need to write the recommendation (refer to an attached résumé, if applicable). The close should contain an expression of appre- ciation and a deadline, if applicable. To make a claim (a formal complaint about a product or service) or request an adjustment (a settlement of a claim), open with a straightforward statement of the problem, use the body to give a complete explanation of the situation, and close with a polite request to resolve the situation.

Objective 3: Outline an effective strategy for writing routine replies and positive messages. The direct approach works well for routine replies and positive messages because recipients will generally be interested in what you have to say. Place your main idea (the positive reply or the good news) in the opening. Use the body to explain all the relevant details, and close cordially, perhaps highlighting a benefit to your reader.

Objective 4: Describe six common types of routine replies and positive messages. Most routine and positive messages fall into six categories: an- swers to requests for information and action, grants of claims and requests for adjustment, recommendations, routine in- formational messages, good-news announcements, and good- will messages. Answering requests for information or action is a simple task, often assisted with form responses that can be customized as needed. Granting claims and requests for adjust- ments is more complicated, and the right response depends on whether the company, the customer, or a third party was at fault. Recommendations also require a careful approach to avoid legal complications; some companies prohibit managers from writ- ing recommendation letters or providing anything beyond basic employment history. Routine informational messages are often simple and straightforward, but some require extra care if the in- formation affects recipients in a significant way. Good-news an- nouncements are often handled by news releases, which used to be sent exclusively to members of the news media but are now usually made available to the public as well. Social media releases enable easy sharing with blog- and Twitter-friendly bites of in- formation. Finally, goodwill messages, meant to foster positive

Chapter Review and Activities

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7-9. I’m contacting you about your recent order for a High Country backpack. You didn’t tell us which backpack you wanted, and you know we make a lot of different ones. We have the canvas models with the plastic frames and vinyl trim, and we have the canvas models with leather trim, and we have the ones that have more pockets than the other ones. Plus they come in lots of different colors. Also they make the ones that are large for a big-boned person and the smaller versions for little women or kids.

7-10. Thank you for contacting us about the difficulty you had collecting your luggage at the Denver airport. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. Traveling can create problems of this sort regardless of how careful the airline personnel might be. To receive compensation, please send us a detailed list of the items that you lost and complete the following questionnaire. You can email it back to us.

7-11. Sorry it took us so long to get back to you. We were flooded with résumés. Anyway, your résumé made the final 10, and after meeting three hours yesterday, we’ve decided we’d like to meet with you. What is your schedule like for next week? Can you come in for an interview on June 15 at 3:00 p.m.? Please get back to us by the end of this work week and let us know if you will be able to at- tend. As you can imagine, this is our busy season.

Revising Messages: Direct Approach: Rewrite the following sentences so that they are direct and concise. 7-12. We wanted to invite you to our special 40 percent off

by-invitation-only sale. The sale is taking place on November 9.

7-13. We wanted to let you know that we are giving an MP3 player with every $100 donation you make to our radio station.

7-14. The director planned to go to the meeting that will be held on Monday at a little before 11:00 a.m.

7-15. In today’s meeting, we were happy to have the opportu- nity to welcome Paul Eccelson. He reviewed some of the newest types of order forms. If you have any questions about these new forms, feel free to call him at his office.

Teamwork: With another student, conduct an audience analy- sis of the following message topic: A notice to all employees announcing that to avoid layoffs, the company will institute a 10 percent salary reduction for the next six months. 7-16. If the company is small and all employees work in the

same location, which medium would you recommend for communicating this message?

7-17. If the company is large and employees work in a variety of locations around the world, which medium would you recommend for communicating this message?

7-18. How is the audience likely to respond to this message? 7-19. Based on this audience analysis, would you use the direct

or the indirect approach for this message? Explain your reasoning.

Revising Messages: Closing Paragraphs: Rewrite each of the fol- lowing closing paragraphs to be concise, courteous, and specific. 7-20. I need your response sometime soon so I can order the

parts in time for your service appointment. Otherwise

business relationships, include congratulations, thank-you mes- sages, and messages of condolence.

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com to complete the problems marked with this icon .

Test Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 7-1. What are three guidelines for asking a series of questions

in a routine request? [LO-1] 7-2. Should you use the direct or indirect approach for most

routine messages? Why? [LO-1] 7-3. If a message contains both positive and negative infor-

mation, what is the best way to present the negative in- formation? [LO-3]

7-4. How can you avoid sounding insincere when writing a goodwill message? [LO-4]

7-5. What are three principles to follow for writing condo- lence messages? [LO-4]

Apply Your Knowledge To review chapter content related to each question, refer to the indicated Learning Objective. 7-6. Every time you send a routine request to Ted Jackson, he

fails to comply. His lack of response is beginning to affect your job performance. Should you send Jackson an email message to ask what’s wrong? Complain to your super- visor about Jackson’s uncooperative attitude? Arrange a face-to-face meeting with Jackson? Bring up the problem at the next staff meeting? Explain. [LO-2]

7-7. Your company’s error cost an important business cus- tomer a new client; you know it, and your customer knows it. Do you apologize, or do you refer to the inci- dent in a positive light without admitting any responsibil- ity? Briefly explain. [LO-4]

7-8. You’ve been asked to write a letter of recommendation for an employee who worked for you some years ago. You re- call that the employee did an admirable job, but you can’t remember any specific information at this point. How should you handle the situation? [LO-4]

Practice Your Skills Exercises for Perfecting Your Writing

To review chapter content related to each set of exercises, refer to the indicated Learning Objective.

Revising Messages: Direct Approach: Revise the following short email messages so that they are more direct and concise; develop a subject line for each revised message.

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head of HR, I have access to performance reviews for all of the Sony employees in the United States. This means, of course, that I would be the person best qualified to answer your request for information on Nick Oshinski.

In your letter of the 15th, you asked about Nick Oshinski’s em- ployment record with us because he has applied to work for your company. Mr. Oshinski was employed with us from January 5, 2004, until March 1, 2014. During that time, Mr. Oshinski re- ceived ratings ranging from 2.5 up to 9.6, with 10 being the top score. As you can see, he must have done better reporting to some managers than to others. In addition, he took all vacation days, which is a bit unusual. Although I did not know Mr. Oshin- ski personally, I know that our best workers seldom use all the vacation time they earn. I do not know if that applies in this case.

In summary, Nick Oshinski performed his tasks well depending on who managed him.

7-26. Message Strategies: Writing Routine Replies; Com- pleting: Evaluating Content, Organization, and Tone [LO-4], Chapter 5 Analyze the strengths and weak- nesses of this message and then revise it so that it follows this chapter’s guidelines for responding to requests for adjustments:

We read your letter, requesting your deposit refund. We couldn’t figure out why you hadn’t received it, so we talked to our main- tenance engineer, as you suggested. He said you had left one of the doors off the hinges in your apartment in order to get a large sofa through the door. He also confirmed that you had paid him $5.00 to replace the door since you had to turn in the U-Haul trailer and were in a big hurry.

This entire situation really was caused by a lack of communica- tion between our housekeeping inspector and the maintenance engineer. All we knew was that the door was off the hinges when it was inspected by Sally Tarnley. You know that our policy states that if anything is wrong with the apartment, we keep the deposit. We had no way of knowing that George just hadn’t gotten around to replacing the door.

But we have good news. We approved the deposit refund, which will be mailed to you from our home office in Teaneck, New Jersey. I’m not sure how long that will take, however. If you don’t receive the check by the end of next month, give me a call.

Next time, it’s really a good idea to stay with your apartment until it’s inspected, as stipulated in your lease agreement. That way, you’ll be sure to receive your refund when you expect it. Hope you have a good summer.

7-27. Message Strategies: Writing Positive Messages; Media Skills: Microblogging [LO-4], Chapter 6 Locate an on- line announcement for a new product you find interesting or useful. Read enough about the product to be able to de- scribe it to someone else in your own words and then write four Twitter tweets: one to introduce the product to your followers and three follow-on tweets that describe three particularly compelling features or benefits of the product.

7-28. Message Strategies: Writing Condolence Messages [LO-4] You’ve been working two years as administrative assistant to Ron Glover, vice president of global work- force diversity at IBM’s Learning Center in Armonk,

your air-conditioning system may not be in tip-top con- dition for the start of the summer season.

7-21. Thank you in advance for sending me as much informa- tion as you can about your products. I look forward to receiving your package in the very near future.

7-22. To schedule an appointment with one of our knowledge- able mortgage specialists in your area, you can always call our hotline at 1-800-555-8765. This is also the number to call if you have more questions about mortgage rates, closing procedures, or any other aspect of the mortgage process. Remember, we’re here to make the home-buying experience as painless as possible.

Activities

Each activity is labeled according to the primary skill or skills you will need to use. To review relevant chapter content, you can refer to the indicated Learning Objective. In some instances, support- ing information will be found in another chapter, as indicated. 7-23. Message Strategies: Making Routine Requests; Com-

pleting: Evaluating Content, Organization, and Tone [LO-2], Chapter 5 Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this message and then revise it so that it follows this chapter’s guidelines for routine requests for information:

I’m fed up with the mistakes that our current accounting firm makes. I run a small construction company, and I don’t have time to double-check every bookkeeping entry and call the ac- countants a dozen times when they won’t return my messages. Please explain how your firm would do a better job than my current accountants. You have a good reputation among home- builders, but before I consider hiring you to take over my ac- counting, I need to know that you care about quality work and good customer service.

7-24. Message Strategies: Making Routine Requests; Com- pleting: Evaluating Content, Organization, and Tone [LO-2], Chapter 5 Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this message and then revise it so that it follows this chapter’s guidelines for routine requests for information:

I’m contacting you about your recent email request for techni- cal support on your cable Internet service. Part of the problem we have in tech support is trying to figure out exactly what each customer’s specific problem is so that we can troubleshoot quickly and get you back in business as quickly as possible. You may have noticed that in the online support request form, there are a number of fields to enter your type of computer, operating system, memory, and so on. While you did tell us you were expe- riencing slow download speeds during certain times of the day, you didn’t tell us which times specifically, nor did you complete all the fields telling us about your computer. Please return to our support website and resubmit your request, being sure to pro- vide all the necessary information; then we’ll be able to help you.

7-25. Message Strategies: Writing Routine Replies; Com- pleting: Evaluating Content, Organization, and Tone [LO-4], Chapter 5 Analyze the strengths and weak- nesses of this message and then revise it so that it follows this chapter’s guidelines for responding to requests for recommendations:

Your letter to Kunitake Ando, president of Sony, was forwarded to me because I am the human resources director. In my job as

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2. Say that you are thinking of her during this dif- ficult period and invite her to call if you or the company can assist her in any way.

3. Explain that you don’t understand her religious beliefs and aren’t sure what’s appropriate to say at this time.

4. Any of the above. d. In the following list, identify all the phrases you

should avoid as you write: 1. Life is for the living 2. I am sorry for your loss 3. Karma 4. Unbearable pain

Now write the condolence letter in your own words, us- ing the advice from the chapter.

Expand Your Skills Critique the Professionals

Locate an online example of a news release in which a company announces good news, such as a new product, a notable executive hire, an expansion, strong financial results, or an industry award. Analyze the release using the guidance provided in the chapter. In what ways did the writer excel? What aspects of the release could be improved? Does the release provide social media-friendly content and features? Using whatever medium your instructor requests, write a brief analysis of the piece (no more than one page), citing specific elements from the piece and support from the chapter. Sharpen Your Career Skills Online

Bovée and Thill’s Business Communication Web Search, at http://websearch.businesscommunicationnetwork.com, is a unique research tool designed specifically for business commu- nication research. Use the Web Search function to find a web- site, video, PDF document, podcast, or presentation that offers advice on writing goodwill messages such as thank-you notes or congratulatory letters. Write a brief email message to your in- structor or a post for your class blog, describing the item that you found and summarizing the career skills information you learned from it.

New York. After listening to many of his speeches on maintaining multicultural sensitivity in the workplace, you know you’re facing a sensitive situation right now.

The husband of your coworker Chana Panich- papiboon was killed in a bus accident yesterday, along with 19 others. The bus skidded on icy pavement into a deep ravine, tipping over and crushing the occupants be- fore rescue workers could get to them.

You met her husband, Surin, last year at a company banquet. You can still picture his warm smile and the easy way he joked with you and others, even though you were complete strangers to him. He was only 32 years old, and he left Chana with two children, a 12-year-old boy, Arsa, and a 10-year-old girl, Veera.

Use the following questions to help you think through your choices before you begin writing:

a. Which of the following sentences would make the best opening? 1. I am sorry for your loss. 2. What a terrible tragedy you have suffered. 3. I was crushed by the horrible news about your

husband. 4. You and your children must be so upset, and who

could blame you? b. In the body of the letter, you want to express some-

thing meaningful, but you are not familiar with Chana’s religious beliefs, and you’re not sure what’s safe. Choose the best idea from the following: 1. You could include a poetic quotation that doesn’t

mention any particular religion. 2. You could express your deep sorrow for Chana’s

children. 3. You could mention something positive about Su-

rin you learned during your brief meeting. 4. You could ask her close friends at work about

her religious preferences and then do some research to come up with something appropriate to say.

c. For your closing paragraph, which of these ideas is best? 1. Take a moment to express your thoughts about

death and the hereafter.

Cases

Website links for selected companies mentioned in cases can be found in the Student Assignments section at http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7.

BLOGGING SKILLS

7-29. Message Strategies: Requesting Information [LO-2], Chapter 6 You are writing a book about the advantages and potential pitfalls of using online collaboration systems for virtual team projects. You would like to include several dozen real-life examples from people in a variety of industries. Fortunately, you

publish a highly respected blog on the subject, with several thou- sand regular readers. Your task: Write a post for your blog that asks readers to submit brief descriptions of their experiences using collaboration tools for team projects. Ask them to email stories of how well a specific system or approach worked for them. Explain that they will receive an autographed copy of the book as thanks, but they will need to sign a release form if their stories are used. In addition, emphasize that you would like to use real names—of people, companies, and software—but you can keep the anecdotes

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game controller that has a built-in webcam to allow networked gamers to see and hear each other while they play. Your com- pany also makes game controllers, and you’re worried that your customers will flock to this new controller-cam. You need to know how much “buzz” is circulating around the show: Have people seen it? What are they saying about it? Are they excited about it? Your task: Compose a text message to your colleagues at the show, alerting them to the new controller-cam and asking them to listen for any buzz that it might be generating among the attendees at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the several surrounding hotels where the show takes place. Your text messaging service limits messages to 160 characters, including spaces and punctuation, so keep your message within that limit.

EMAIL SKILLS

7-33. Message Strategies: Granting Claims [LO-4] Your company sells flower arrangements and gift baskets. Holidays are always a rush, and the overworked staff makes an occasional mistake. Last week, somebody made a big one. As a furious email message from a customer named Anders Ellison explains, he or- dered a Valentine’s Day bouquet for his wife, but the company sent a bereavement arrangement instead. Your task: Respond to Ellison’s email message, apologizing for the error, promising to refund all costs that Ellison incurred, informing him that the correct arrangement will arrive tomorrow (and he won’t be charged anything for it), and offering Ellison his choice of any floral arrangement or gift basket for free on his wife’s birthday.

EMAIL SKILLS

7-34. Message Strategies: Granting Claims [LO-4] Like many of the staff at Razer, you are an avid game player. You can therefore sympathize with a customer who got so excited during a hotly contested game that he slammed his Razer Anansi key- board against his chair in celebration. Razer products are built for serious action, but no keyboard can withstand a blow like that. However, in the interest of building goodwill among the online gaming community, your manager has approved a free replace- ment. This sort of damage is rare enough that the company isn’t worried about unleashing a flood of similar requests. Your task: Respond to Louis Hapsberg’s email request for a replacement, in which he admitted to inflicting some abuse on this keyboard. Explain, tongue in cheek, that the company is “rewarding” him with a free keyboard in honor of his massive gaming win, but gently remind him that even the most robust electronic equipment needs to be used with care.

POdCASTING SKILLS

7-35. Message Strategies: Writing Routine Messages [LO-4], Chapter 6 As a training specialist in the human resources de- partment at Winnebago Industries, you’re always on the look- out for new ways to help employees learn vital job skills. While watching a production worker page through a training manual, learning how to assemble a new recreational vehicle, you get what seems to be a great idea: Record the assembly instructions as au- dio files that workers can listen to while performing the necessary

anonymous if readers require. To stay on schedule, you need to have these stories by May 20.

EMAIL SKILLS

7-30. Message Strategies: Requesting a Recommendation [LO-2] One of your colleagues, Katina Vander, was recently promoted to department manager and now serves on the com- pany’s strategic planning committee. At its monthly meeting next week, the committee will choose an employee to lead an impor- tant market research project that will help define the company’s product portfolio for the next five years.

You worked side by side with Vander for five years, so she knows your abilities well and has complimented your business insights on many occasions. You know that because she has only recently been promoted to manager, she needs to build credibility among her peers and will therefore be cautious about making such an important recommendation. On the other hand, making a stel- lar recommendation for such an important project would show that she has a good eye for talent—an essential leadership trait. Your task: Write an email message to Vander, telling her that you are definitely interested in leading the project and asking her to put in a good word for you with the committee. Mention four attributes that you believe would serve you well in the role: a dozen years of experience in the industry, an engineering degree that helps you understand the technologies involved in product design, a consistent record of excellent or exceptional ratings in annual employee evaluations, and the three years you spent working in the company’s customer support group, which gave you a firsthand look at customer satisfaction and quality issues. Make up any additional details you need to write the message.

IM SKILLS

7-31. Message Strategies: Requesting Information [LO-2] Many companies now provide presales and postsales customer support through some form of instant messaging or online chat function. As a consumer looking for information, you’ll get better service if you can frame your requests clearly and succinctly. Your task: Imagine that you need to replace your old laptop computer, but you’re not sure whether to go with another laptop or switch to a tablet or perhaps one of the new tablet/ laptop hybrids. Think through the various ways you will use this new device, from researching and note-taking during class to watching movies and interacting with friends on social media. Now imagine you’re in a chat session with a sales representative from a computer company, and this person has asked how he or she can help you. Draft a message (no more than 100 words) that summarizes your computing and media requirements and asks the representative to recommend the right type of device for you.

TExT MESSAGING SKILLS

7-32. Message Strategies: Making Routine Requests [LO-2] The vast Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the premier pro- motional event in the electronics industry. More than 150,000 industry insiders from all over the world come to see the excit- ing new products on display from 3,000 companies—everything from video game gadgets to Internet-enabled refrigerators with built-in computer screens.6 You’ve just stumbled on a video

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(see page 137). One of the ways a company can use Scoop.it is to find and present content of interest to its customers. Your task: Choose any company that interests you and imagine that you are in charge of its public communication efforts. Write a post for the company’s internal blog, announcing that the company is now on Scoop.it. Briefly describe Scoop. it and explain how it will help the company connect with its customers. Visit the Scoop.it website to learn more about it. Feel free to make up any information you need to complete your post.

LETTER WRITING SKILLS/TEAM SKILLS

7-39. Message Strategies: Writing Positive Messages; Col- laboration: Team Projects [LO-4], Chapter 2 As a project manager at Orbitz, one of the largest online travel services in the world, you’ve seen plenty of college interns in action. However, few have impressed you as much as Maxine “Max” Chenault. For one thing, she learned how to navigate the company’s content management system virtually overnight and always used it prop- erly, whereas other interns sometimes left things in a hopeless mess. She asked lots of intelligent questions about the business. You’ve been teaching her blogging and website design principles, and she’s picked them up rapidly. Moreover, she has always been on time, professional, and eager to assist, and she doesn’t com- plain about doing mundane tasks.

On the down side, Chenault is a popular student. Early on, you often found her busy on the phone planning her many social activities when you needed her help. However, after you had a brief talk with her, this problem vanished.

You’ll be sorry to see Chenault leave when she returns to school in the fall, but you’re pleased to respond when she asks you for a letter of recommendation. She’s not sure where she’ll apply for work after graduation or what career path she’ll choose, so she asks you to keep the letter fairly general. Your task: Working with a team assigned by your instructor, discuss what should and should not be in the letter. Prepare an outline based on your discussion and then draft the letter.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SKILLS

7-40. Message Strategies: Writing Routine Informative Messages; Composition Modes: Summarizing [LO-4] As energy costs trend ever upward and more people become attuned to the environmental and geopolitical complexities of petroleum- based energy, interest in solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources continues to grow. In locations with high insolation, a measure of cumulative sunlight, solar panels can be cost-effective solutions over the long term. However, the up-front costs are still daunting for most homeowners. To help lower the entry bar- rier, the firm SolarCity, based in Foster City, California, now lets homeowners lease solar panels for monthly payments that are less than their current electricity bills.8

Your task: Visit the Solar City website, click on Residential, and then click SolarLease to read about the leasing program. Next, study SolarCity’s presence on Facebook to get a feel for how the company presents itself in a social networking environment. Now assume that you have been assigned the task of writing a brief summary of the SolarLease program that will appear on the

steps. With audio instructions, they wouldn’t need to keep shift- ing their eyes between the product and the manual—and con- stantly losing their place. They could focus on the product and listen for each instruction. Plus, the new system wouldn’t cost much at all; any computer can record the audio files, and you’d simply make them available on an intranet site for download onto iPods or other digital music players. Your task: You immediately run your new idea past your boss, who has heard about podcasting but isn’t sure it is appropriate for business training. He asks you to prove the viability of the idea by recording a demonstration. Choose a process that you engage in yourself—anything from replacing the strings on a guitar to sewing a quilt to changing the oil in a car—and write a brief (one page or less) description of the process that could be recorded as an audio file. Think carefully about the limitations of the audio format as a replacement for printed text (for instance, do you need to tell people to pause the audio while they perform each task?). If your instructor directs, record your podcast and submit the audio file.

BLOGGING SKILLS

7-36. Message Strategies: Writing Routine Informational Messages [LO-4] You are normally an easygoing manager who gives employees a lot of leeway in using their own personal communication styles. However, the weekly staff meeting this morning pushed you over the edge. People were interrupting one another, asking questions that had already been answered, send- ing text messages during presentations, and exhibiting just about every other poor listening habit imaginable. Your task: Review the advice in Chapter 2 on good listening skills, then write a post for the internal company blog. Emphasize the importance of effective listening and list at least five steps your employees can take to become better listeners.

MICROBLOGGING SKILLS

7-37. Message Strategies: Routine Announcements [LO-4] As a way to give back to the communities in which it does busi- ness, your company supports the efforts of the United Way, a global organization that works to improve lives through educa- tion, income stability, and healthy living choices.7 Each year, your company runs a fundraising campaign in which employees are encouraged to donate money to their local United Way agencies, and it also grants employees up to three paid days off to volunteer their time for the United Way. This year, you are in charge of the company’s campaign. Your task: Compose a four-message sequence to be posted on the company’s internal microblogging system (a private version of Twitter, essentially). The messages are limited to 200 characters, including spaces and punctuation. The first message will announce the company’s annual United Way volunteering and fundraising campaign (make up any details you need), and the other three messages will explain the United Way’s efforts in the areas of education, income stability, and healthy living. Visit the United Way website to learn more about these three areas.

BLOGGING SKILLS

7-38. Message Strategies: Routine Announcements [LO-4] Scoop.it is one of the most popular platforms for content curation

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but fewer know what the Webby award is all about. Sponsored by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the Webbys shine a spotlight on the best in website design, interactive media, and online film and video.10

Your task: Visit the Webby Awards website, click on Winners, and choose one of the companies listed as a winner in the Websites or Interactive Advertising categories. Now imagine you are the chief online strategist for this company, and you’ve just been informed your company won a Webby. Winning this award is a nice validation of the work your team has put in during the last year, and you want to share their success with the entire company. Write a brief post for the internal company blog, describing what the Webby awards are, explaining why they are a significant measure of accomplishment in the online industry, and congratulating the employees in your department who contributed to the successful web effort.

LETTER WRITING SKILLS

7-43. Message Strategies: Goodwill Messages [LO-4] Shari Willison worked as a geologist in your civil engineer firm for 20 years before succumbing to leukemia. With only a few dozen employees, the company has always been a tight-knit group, and you feel like you’ve lost a good friend in addition to a valued employee. Your task: Write a letter of condolence to Willison’s husband, Arthur, and the couple’s teenaged children, Jordan and Amy. You have known all three socially through a variety of company holiday parties and events over the years. Make up any details you need.

Notes tab of SolarCity’s Facebook page. In your own language and in 200 words or less, write an introduction to the SolarLease program and email it to your instructor.

BLOGGING SKILLS

7-41. Message Strategies: Good News Messages [LO-4] Amateur and professional golfers in search of lower scores want to find clubs that are optimized for their individual swings. This process of club fitting has gone decidedly high tech in recent years, with fitters using Doppler radar, motion-capture video, and other tools to evaluate golfers’ swings and ball flight characteris- tics. Hot Stix Golf is a leader in this industry, having fitted more than 200 professionals and thousands of amateurs.9

Your task: Imagine that you are the communications director at the Indian Wells Golf Resort in Indian Wells, California. Your operation has just signed a deal with Hot Stix to open a fitting center on site. Write a three-paragraph message that could be posted on the resort blog. The first paragraph should announce the news that the Hot Stix center will open in six months, the second should summarize the benefits of club fitting, and the third should offer a brief overview of the services that will be available at the Indian Wells Hot Stix Center. Information on club fitting can be found on the Hot Stix website; make up any additional information you need to complete the post.

BLOGGING SKILLS/PORTfOLIO BuILdER

7-42. Message Strategies: Good-News Messages [LO-4] Most people have heard of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards for television, music, movies, and theater performances,

Improve Your Grammar, Mechanics, and usage You can download the text of this assignment from http://real- timeupdates.com/bce7; click on Student Assignments and then click on Chapter 7.

Level 1: Self-Assessment—Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points

Review Sections 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 in the Handbook of Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage, and then complete the following 15 items. For the following items, add periods, question marks, and excla- mation points wherever they are appropriate. 7-44. Dr Eleanor H Hutton has requested information on Task-

Masters, Inc. 7-45. That qualifies us as a rapidly growing new company, don’t

you think 7-46. Our president, Daniel Gruber, is a CPA On your behalf, I

asked him why he started the company 7-47. In the past three years, we have experienced phenomenal

growth of 800 percent 7-48. Contact me at 1358 N Parsons Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74204 7-49. Jack asked, “Why does he want to know Maybe he plans

to become a competitor”

7-50. The debt load fluctuates with the movement of the US prime rate

7-51. I can’t believe we could have missed such a promising opportunity

7-52. Is consumer loyalty extinct Yes and No 7-53. Johnson and Kane, Inc, has gone out of business What a

surprise 7-54. Will you please send us a check today so that we can settle

your account 7-55. Mr James R Capp will be our new CEO, beginning

January 20, 2014 7-56. The rag doll originally sold for $1098, but we have

lowered the price to a mere $599 7-57. Will you be able to make the presentation at the confer-

ence, or should we find someone else 7-58. So I ask you, “When will we admit defeat” Never

Level 2: Workplace Applications

The following items may contain errors in grammar, capitaliza- tion, punctuation, abbreviation, number style, word division, and vocabulary. Rewrite each sentence, correcting all errors. If a sen- tence has no errors, write “Correct” for that number. 7-59. Attached to both the Train Station and the Marriott ho-

tel, one doesnt even need to step outside the convention center to go from train to meeting room.

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Level 3: Document Critique

The following email message (an initial inquiry to a firm that designs and builds corporate websites) may contain errors in grammar, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, number style, vocabulary, and spelling. You will also find errors related to topics in this chapter. For example, consider the organization and relevance of material as you improve this routine request for information. As your instructor indicates, photocopy this page and correct all errors using standard proofreading marks (see Appendix C), or download the document and make the correc- tions in your word-processing software.

TO: [email protected] FROM: [email protected] SUBJECT: New website!

To Whom it may concern.

We need a new website. One that offers all the whizzy new social media apabilities plus ful e/commerce ordering & retailing function.

I am seeing your name in the fine print of a few nice looking sights. So I wanted to get more info on you people and find out about costs, schedules, info needs from us, etc., etc., etc. What it will take to get this new thing up and running, inother words. We also need to know what you plan to do about our “visual” appearance on the website—as in—how will you design a site that screams “good values found here” without looking cheap and shoddy like some discount/retail webbsites are . . .

My name is Gloria MacPherson, and I am in charge of Marketing and sales department here at Midwest Liquidators. I’ve been with the Company since 2003; before that I was with Costco; before that I was with Sears.

Part of my analysis of outsiders like you will depend on how fast you respond to this query, just to let you know.

Sincerely. Gloria

7-60. According to Federal statistics, 61 percent of the nations employers have less than 5 workers.

7-61. “The problem”, said Business Owner Mike Millorn, “Was getting vendor’s of raw materials to take my endeavor serious.”

7-62. After pouring over trade journals, quizzing industry ex- perts, and talks with other snack makers, the Harpers’ decided to go in the pita chip business.

7-63. Some argue that a Mac with half as much RAM and a slower processor is as fast or faster than a PC.

7-64. The couple has done relatively little advertising, instead they give away samples in person at trade shows, cooking demonstrations, and in grocery stores.

7-65. CME Information Services started by videotaping doc- tor’s conventions, and selling the recorded presentations to nonattending physicians that wanted to keep track of the latest developments.

7-66. For many companies, the two biggest challenges to us- ing intranets are: getting people to use it and content freshness.

7-67. Company meetings including ‘lunch and learn’ sessions are held online often.

7-68. Most Children’s Orchard franchisees, are men and women between the ages of 30–50; first time business owners with a wide range of computer skills.

7-69. Joining the company in 1993, she had watched it expand and grow from a single small office to a entire floor of a skyscraper.

7-70. One issue that effected practically everyone was that they needed to train interns.

7-71. The website includes information on subjects as mun- dane as the filling out of a federal express form, and as complex as researching a policy issue.

7-72. “Some management theories are good, but how many people actually implement them the right way?”, says Jack Hartnett President of D. L. Rogers Corp.

7-73. Taking orders through car windows, customers are served by roller-skating carhops at Sonic restaurants.

MyBCommLab Go to mybcommlab.com for Auto-graded writing questions as well as the following Assisted-graded writing questions:

7-74. Why is it good practice to explain, when applicable, how replying to a request could benefit the reader? [LO-1]

7-75. You have a complaint against one of your suppliers, but you have no documenta- tion to back it up. Should you request an adjustment anyway? Why or why not? [LO-2]

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Endnotes 1. Warren E. Buffett, Preface to A Plain English Handbook, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website, accessed 4 July 2010, www.sec.gov. 2. “How to Write Reference Letters,” National Association of Colleges and Employers website, accessed 5 July 2010, www.naceweb.org; “Five (or More) Ways You Can Be Sued for Writing (or Not Writing) Reference Letters,” Fair Employment Practices Guidelines, July 2006, 1, 3. 3. David Meerman Scott, The New Rules of Marketing and PR ( Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2007), 62. 4. Pat Cataldo, “Op-Ed: Saying ‘Thank You’ Can Open More Doors Than You Think,” Penn State University Smeal College of Business website, accessed 19 February 2008, www.smeal.psu.edu.

5. Jackie Huba, “Five Must-Haves for Thank-You Notes,” Church of the Customer Blog, 16 November 2007, www.churchofthecustomer .com. 6. CES website, accessed 11 June 2012, www.cesweb.org; Darren Murph, “CES 2012 Sets All-Time Records for Attendance, Exhibitors and Claimed Floor Space,” Engadget, 13 January 2012, www.engadget .com. 7. United Way website, accessed 30 January 2013, www.unitedway.org. 8. SolarCity website, accessed 11 June 2012, www.solarcity.com. 9. Hot Stix Golf website, accessed 11 June 2012, www.hotstixgolf.com. 10. The Webby Awards website, accessed 30 January 2013, www .webbyawards.com.

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Writing Negative Messages

Communication Matters . . . “You know what [consumers] hate most? A cover-up. They un- derstand that we all goof-up now and then, but they expect us to fess-up immediately and do right by those who may have been misled or injured as a result of the error.”1

—W. T. “Bill” McKibben, senior counsel, The Great Lakes Group

From network hacker attacks to product safety failures, business leaders must sometimes face the need to communi- cate unwelcome information to consumers and other interested parties. As communication ethics advisor Bill McKibben empha- sizes, playing it straight with those who have been affected is essential to repairing business relationships. Sharing unwelcome news is never pleasant, but learning how to do it with sensitivity and honesty will make the task easier for you as a writer and the experience less traumatic for the recipients of your messages.

Apply the three-step writing process to negative messages

LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to

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Explain how to use the direct approach effectively when conveying negative news

Explain how to use the indirect approach effectively when conveying negative news, and explain how to avoid ethical problems when using this approach

Describe successful strategies for sending negative messages on routine business matters

Describe successful strategies for sending negative employment-related messages

6

7

List the important points to consider when conveying negative organizational news

Describe an effective strategy for responding to negative information in a social media environment

MyBCommLab® Improve Your Grade! Over 10 million students

improved their results using Pearson MyLabs. Visit mybcommlab.com for simulations, tutorials, and end-of- chapter problems.

According to communication ethics specialist Bill McKibben, consumers demand ethical responses from companies that make mistakes, and that commitment to ethics must be reflected in external communication efforts. General Motors (GM), for example, was criticized for not dis- closing long-running safety issues with ignition switches until an outsider investigator uncovered the problem.

Li nd

a P

ar to

n/ A

la m

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Using the Three-Step Writing Process for Negative Messages Delivering negative information is never enjoyable, but with some helpful guidelines, you can craft messages that minimize negative reactions. When you need to deliver bad news, you have five goals: (1) to convey the bad news, (2) to gain acceptance for it, (3) to maintain as much goodwill as possible with your audience, (4) to maintain a good image for your organization, and (5) if appropriate, to reduce or eliminate the need for future correspon- dence on the matter. Accomplishing all five goals requires careful attention to planning, writing, and completing your message.

SteP 1: Planning negative MeSSageS

When you need to convey negative news, you can’t avoid the fact that your audience does not want to hear what you have to say. To minimize the damage to business relationships and to encourage the acceptance of your message, plan carefully. With a clear purpose and your audience’s needs in mind, gather the information your audience will need in order to understand and accept your message.

Selecting the right combination of medium and channel is critical. For instance, experts advise that bad news for employees be delivered in person whenever possible, both to show respect for the employees and to give them an opportunity to ask questions. How- ever, and an increasing number of managers appear to be using email and other digital media to convey negative messages to employees.2

Finally, the organization of a negative message requires particular care. One of the most critical planning decisions is choosing whether to use the direct or indirect approach (see  Figure 8.1). A negative message using the direct approach opens with the bad news, pro- ceeds to the reasons for the situation or decision, offers any additional information that may

Five goals of negative messages: ● Give the bad news ● Encourage its acceptance ● Maintain the reader’s goodwill ● Maintain the organization’s

good image ● Manage the volume of future

correspondence on the matter

Careful planning is necessary to avoid alienating your readers.

Choose the medium with care when preparing negative messages.

The appropriate message organi- zation helps readers accept your negative news.

1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEApply the three-step writing process to negative messages.

Figure 8.1 Comparing the Direct and Indirect Approaches for Negative Messages The direct and indirect approaches differ in two important ways: the position of the bad news within the se- quence of message points and the use of a buffer in the indirect approach. (“Using the Indirect Approach for Negative Messages” on page 187 explains the use of a buffer.) Both these messages deal with changes made in response to negative financial developments, but the second example represents a much higher emotional impact for readers, so the indirect approach is called for in that case. Figure 8.2 explains how to choose the right approach for each situation.

High Emotional Involvement Indirect Approach

Specific purpose: To inform employees that the Triton project, one of the new products currently in development, is being canceled

Remind employees of the company’s strategy of periodically reviewing cost and revenue projections for every new product under development

Describe recent increases in material costs that will affect the manufacturing costs of all the company’s products

Describe the recent entry into the market of a new competitor whose prices significantly undercut the projected retail price of the Triton product

Explain that between these forces, the Triton project no longer looks like a profitable product for the company to pursue

Announce that the project is being cancelled, effective immediately

Explain that management is currently deciding where to redeploy the Triton staff; their jobs are safe

Thank all the employees on the Triton team for their commitment and effort; emphasize the strong prospects for the company’s other new products

The bad news

Reasoning

Additional info

Positive angle

Additional info

Respectful close

Respectful close

The bad news

Reasoning

Buffer

Positive angle

Reasoning

Low Emotional Involvement Direct Approach

Specific purpose: To inform employees that the free coffee stations on each floor are being removed to save money

I. Announce that the coffee stations are being removed

II. Explain that the change is part of an effort to help the company avoid temporary salary reductions during the slow economy

III. Explain that coffee and fruit will be available for purchase throughout the day in the employee cafeteria on the first floor

IV. Mention—in an upbeat way—that the walk up and down the stairs will help employees re-energize when they need a break

V. Explain that the management team will review profit levels quarter by quarter to see if the coffee stations can be put back

VI. Thank everyone for their continued efforts to boost sales and cut costs; with our combined efforts we will get through this slow period and return to solid growth as soon as possible

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VII.

VI.

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help the audience, and ends with a positive statement aimed at maintaining a good relation- ship with the audience. In contrast, the indirect approach opens with a buffer (see page 187), then builds up the reasons behind the bad news before presenting the bad news itself.

To help decide which approach to take in a particular situation, ask yourself the follow- ing questions:

● Do you need to get the reader’s attention immediately? If the situation is an emer- gency, or if someone has ignored repeated messages, the direct approach can help you get attention quickly.

● Does the recipient prefer a direct style of communication? Some recipients prefer the direct approach no matter what, so if you know this, go with direct.

● How important is this news to the reader? For minor or routine scenarios, the direct approach is nearly always best. However, if the reader has an emotional investment in the situation or the consequences to the reader are considerable, the indirect approach is often better, particularly if the bad news is unexpected.

● Will the bad news come as a shock? The direct approach is fine for many business situ- ations in which people understand the possibility of receiving bad news. However, if the bad news might come as a shock to readers, use the indirect approach to help them prepare for it.

Figure 8.2 offers a convenient decision tree to help you decide which approach to use.

SteP 2: Writing negative MeSSageS

By writing clearly and sensitively, you can take some of the sting out of bad news and help your reader accept the decision and move on. If your credibility hasn’t already been

Use the direct approach when your negative answer or informa- tion will have minimal personal impact; consider the indirect ap- proach for more serious matters.

Figure 8.2 Choosing the Direct or Indirect Approach Following this decision tree will help you decide whether the direct or indirect approach is better in a given situation. Of course, use your best judgment as well. Your relationship with the audience could affect your choice of approaches, for example.

Analyze the situation and the message you have to deliver.

Is this an emergency, or do you need to get

someone’s attention?

Use the Direct Approach

1. Open with the negative news.

2. Give reasons for the situation or decision.

3. Offer any additional information that will help the audience.

4. Close on a respectful note.

How important is this issue to the

audience?

Will the news come as a shock?

Do you know that the audience always prefers the direct

approach?

No

Yes

Yes

No

Medium

Low

No

High

Yes

Use the Indirect Approach

1. Open with a buffer.

2. Build up the reasons for the situation or decision.

3. Present the negative news.

4. Offer any additional information that will help the audience.

5. Close on a respectful note.

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established with an audience, clarify your qualifications so recipients won’t question your authority or ability.

When you use language that conveys respect and avoids an accusing tone, you protect your audience’s pride. This kind of communication etiquette is always important, but it de- mands special care with negative messages. Moreover, you can ease the sense of disappoint- ment by using positive words rather than negative, counterproductive ones (see Table 8.1).

SteP 3: CoMPleting negative MeSSageS

The need for careful attention to detail continues as you complete your message. Revise your content to make sure everything is clear, complete, and concise—bearing in mind that even small flaws are likely to be magnified in readers’ minds as they react to the neg- ative news. Produce clean, professional documents and proofread carefully to eliminate mistakes. Finally, be sure to deliver messages promptly; withholding or delaying bad news can be unethical, even illegal.

Using the Direct Approach for Negative Messages A negative message using the direct approach opens with the bad news, proceeds to the reasons for the situation or decision, and ends with a positive statement aimed at main- taining a good relationship with the audience. Depending on the circumstances, the mes- sage may also offer alternatives or a plan of action to fix the situation under discussion. Stating the bad news at the beginning can have two advantages: (1) It makes a shorter message possible, and (2) it allows the audience to reach the main idea of the message in less time.

oPening With a Clear StateMent of the Bad neWS

If you’ve chosen the direct approach to convey bad news, use the introductory paragraph of your message to share that information. To avoid being overly blunt, you can open with a neutral or positive statement that establishes common ground with the reader, then transi- tion into the news. If necessary, remind the reader why you’re writing.

Providing reaSonS and additional inforMation

In most cases, follow the direct opening with an explanation of why the news is negative. The extent of your explanation depends on the nature of the news and your relationship with the reader. For example, if you want to preserve a long-standing relationship with an important customer, a detailed explanation could well be worth the extra effort such a message would require.

The amount of detail you provide depends on your relationship with the audience.

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain how to use the direct approach effectively when conveying negative news.

TABLE 8.1 Choosing Positive Words

Examples of Negative Phrasings Positive Alternatives

Your request doesn’t make any sense. Please clarify your request.

The damage won’t be fixed for a week. The item will be repaired next week.

Although it wasn’t our fault, there will be an unavoidable delay in your order.

We will process your order as soon as we receive an aluminum shipment from our supplier, which we expect within 10 days.

You are clearly dissatisfied. I recognize that the product did not live up to your expectations.

I was shocked to learn that you’re unhappy. Thank you for sharing your concerns about your shopping experience.

The enclosed statement is wrong. Please verify the enclosed statement and provide a correct copy.

Choose your language carefully; it is possible to deliver negative news without being negative.

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The decision whether to apologize depends on a number of factors; if you do apologize, be sincere.

However, you will encounter some situations in which explaining negative news is neither appropriate nor helpful, such as when the reasons are confidential, excessively com- plicated, or irrelevant to the reader.

Should you apologize when delivering bad news? The answer isn’t quite as simple as one might think, partly because the notion of apology is hard to pin down. To some people, it simply means an expression of sympathy that something negative has happened to another person. At the other extreme, it means admitting fault and taking responsibility for specific compensations or corrections to atone for the mistake.

Some experts contend that a company should never apologize, even when it knows it has made a mistake, as the apology might be taken as a confession of guilt that could be used against the company in a lawsuit. However, several states have laws that specifically prevent expressions of sympathy from being used as evidence of legal liability. In fact, judges, juries, and plaintiffs tend to be more forgiving of companies that express sympathy for wronged parties; moreover, an apology can help repair a company’s reputation. Recently, some pros- ecutors have begun pressing executives to publicly admit guilt and apologize as part of the settlement of criminal cases—unlike the common tactic of paying fines but refusing to admit any wrongdoing.3

The best general advice in the event of a mistake or accident is to express sympathy immediately and sincerely and offer help, if appropriate, without admitting guilt; then seek the advice of your company’s lawyers before elaborating. A straightforward, sincere apology can go a long way toward healing wounds and rebuilding relationships. As one report on the issue concluded, “The risks of making an apology are low, and the potential reward is high.”4

If you do apologize, make it a real apology. Don’t say “I’m sorry if anyone was of- fended” by what you did—this statement implies that you’re not sorry at all and that it’s the other party’s fault for being offended.5 For example, when Target’s information systems were infiltrated in a hacking attack that exposed the personal data of tens of millions of customers, the CEO’s apology to customers included the statement, “I know this breach has had a real impact on you, creating a great deal of confusion and frustration.”6 Note that he did not say, “if this breach caused you any confusion or frustration.”

Recognize that you can express sympathy with some- one’s plight without suggesting that you are to blame. For example, if a business customer damaged a product through misuse and suffered a financial loss as a result of not being able to use the product, you can say something along the lines of “I’m sorry to hear of your difficulties.” This demonstrates sensitivity without accepting blame.

CloSing on a reSPeCtful note

After you’ve explained the negative news, close the message in a manner that respects the impact the negative news is likely to have on the recipient. If appropriate, consider offering your readers an alternative solution if you can and if doing so is a good use of your time. Look for opportunities to include positive statements, but avoid creating false hopes or writ- ing in a way that seems to suggest that something negative didn’t happen to the recipient. Ending on a false positive can leave readers feeling “disrespected, disregarded, or deceived.”7

Using the Indirect Approach for Negative Messages As noted earlier, the indirect approach helps readers prepare for the bad news by outlining the reasons for the situation before presenting the bad news itself. However, the indirect approach is not meant to obscure bad news, delay it, or limit your responsibility. The

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Close your message on a respectful note, being as positive as you can be without being insincere.

3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain how to use the indirect approach effectively when conveying negative news, and explain how to avoid ethical problems when using this approach.

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Dissecting the apology letter from Target’s CEO

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purpose of this approach is to ease the blow and help readers accept the news. When done poorly, the indirect approach can be disrespectful and even unethical. But when done well, it is a good example of audience-oriented communication crafted with attention to both ethics and etiquette. Showing consideration for the feelings of others is never dishonest.

oPening With a Buffer

Messages using the indirect approach open with a buffer, a neutral, noncontroversial state- ment that is closely related to the point of the message but doesn’t convey the bad news. Depending on the circumstances, a good buffer can express your appreciation for being considered, assure the reader of your attention to the request, indicate your understanding of the reader’s needs, introduce the general subject matter, or simply establish common ground with your reader. A good buffer also needs to be relevant and sincere. In contrast, a poorly written buffer might trivialize the reader’s concerns, divert attention from the prob- lem with insincere flattery or irrelevant material, or mislead the reader into thinking your message actually contains good news.

Consider these possible responses to a manager of the order-fulfillment department who requested some temporary staffing help from your department (a request you won’t be able to fulfill):

A buffer gives you the opportunity to start the communication pro- cess without jumping immediately into the bad news.

Poorly written buffers mislead or insult the reader.

TABLE 8.2 types of Buffers

Buffer Type Strategy Example

Agreement Find a point on which you and the reader share similar views.

We both know how hard it is to make a profit in this industry.

Appreciation Express sincere thanks for receiving something. Your check for $127.17 arrived yesterday. Thank you.

Cooperation Convey your willingness to help in any way you realistically can.

Employee Services is here to assist all associates with their health insurance, retirement planning, and continuing education needs.

Fairness Assure the reader that you’ve closely examined and carefully considered the problem, or mention an appropriate action that has already been taken.

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Good news Start with the part of your message that is favorable. We have credited your account in the amount of $14.95 to cover the cost of return shipping.