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CMN279 Notes 2,3,4.doc

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Ryerson University
CMN 279
Sarah Kriger

CMN279 Notes: Chapter 2 – Getting Started Planning and Writing Business Messages Steps in the Writing Process Prewriting – assessing the purpose, audience, and most appropriate channel for the communication Organizing and Outlining – mapping out the most strategic and logical arrangement of ideas and details Drafting – composing the actual message by choosing the precise wording and the style of organization that delivers information most strategically Revising and Editing – evaluating your draft from the point of view of your readers to check for completeness, coherence, accuracy, consistency, conciseness and appropriateness of language, and organization. Revising and editing represent a last chance for improvement.  Helps simplify communication tasks and reduce the time it takes to complete them.  Effective writing involves the making of informed decisions Message Planning  Planning and Preparation are forms of risk prevention  these steps ensure that your communication achieves its intended purpose and meets the needs of its audience while conveying information clearly, accurately, and concisely. Purpose-driven – effective business communication is carried out for a reason – to fulfill a specific purpose – whether it be to convey information or to solve a problem. Audience – focus – profile your audience and shape each message according to the needs, interests, and knowledge of a particular individual or group. They know that relevance can depend on looking at information or a problem from the audience's perspective rather than their own. Concise – practice and understand that making a document or presentation longer will not necessarily improve it. Should consist of only the number of words needed to present ideas clearly and courteously. Prewriting Prewriting – the process of gathering ideas and establishing the purpose, audience, and channel for a message.  Thinking a message through is the best thing you can do to simplify the communication process.  Thinking critically about your subject, the reason for your communication, and its intended audience brings the greatest benefits to written correspondence and reports, and oral presentations. Take a few seconds to analyze the context in which your message will be received by performing the following actions:  Identify the primary purpose of the document  Estimate the scope of the subject you must cover  Determine your receiver's needs  Select the channel that is most appropriate for your message  Collect the information you plan to change. Purpose  for every message you write you must first understand your reason for sending it and what it is meant to achieve.  Forgetting the reason for writing increases the chance that a message will fail.  Most business communication has only one of two purposes;  to inform, common purpose  to persuade  Also consider what you want your receiver to know and believe when they have read the document or heard you speak.  Particular result you, as a sender, are looking for – a general response, specific action, approval for an initiative, or a decision. Scope Scope – the breath or limitation of a document's coverage. Depth of detail in a document relative to the subject that must be covered.  Helps you know exactly what you are talking about.  Make sure you have just enough detail  Before you start writing, consider how detailed or technical it must be to achieve its purpose, answer readers' questions and concerns, and enable them to act on your message.  Carefully follow through on instructions and e mindful of corporate and industry standards while taking into account the receiver’s expectations about length, format, and visual elements Audience Profile  It is useful to focus you message by thinking about the members of your audience beforehand and evaluating their needs within context of their organizational culture and cultural environment.  Audience analysis – the process of assessing the needs and knowledge of readers and listeners and adapting messages accordingly.  Ask yourself these questions:  What are the receiver's responsibilities and position? – Can help you determine how the information you give them will be used. Can also help you select the appropriate level of formality and cultivate a tone that balances deference and authority.  What are the receiver’s attitudes, interests, and questions? – the level of importance it is to the receiver. Lack of interest may require you to emphasize on key points of the subject or by making the action the receiver is suppose to take much easier.  What is your experience with the receiver? Can predict possible areas of need or conflict that you should take into account when shaping your message. If the receiver has a negative impression of you or your company, it may require extra effort on your part.  How much does the receiver know about the subject? Level of knowledge will determine the amount and type of detail included in the message. Refrain from using vocabulary related to your area of business. Build on the knowledge the receiver may already have by linking it with new facts.  What is the receiver's likely response? Anticipate the reader's reaction/response to your message – neutral, receptive, or resistant. Be prepared with persuasive strategies.  What words define your relationship with the receiver? Be deliberate in your choice of pronouns (I, you, we), these words can define or change your relationship with the receiver. Can also make difference in your tone.  Is there more than one receiver? Primary audience – the intended receiver of a message – the person or persons who will use or act on a message's information. Secondary audience – anyone, other than the primary audience, who will read a document and be affected by the action or decision it calls for.Anyone else who may, indirectly, happen to read or listen to your message.  Do you need to adapt your message for an international receiver? Take into account the background, environment, and beliefs of your receiver.  Does the receiver have particular expectations? May intend to use the document in a particular way, which will influence her expectations about the document's length and form.  This analysis can help you define reader benefits for informative and persuasive messages by uncovering facts that will motivate readers.  Reader benefits – the advantages the reader gains by complying with what the writer proposes in buying products, following policies or endorsing ideas. Medium or Channel  Medium or Channel – the physical means by which an oral or written message is transmitted.  Accuracy of transmission required – eg. Cellphone reception, clear?  Speed of transmission required – need information sent quickly?  Cost of the channel – eg. Shipping costs? (Express vs economy)  Need for a permanent record – instructions, policies, and legal binding agreements archived for future references.  Detail of the message – highly detailed? Written communication is better.  Importance of the message – formal business letters may communicate professionalism better.  Privacy required – confidential or private information is unsuitable with emails.  Size and location of the audience – emails, video conferencing can help people in large parties or separated geographically.  Level of formality required – formal business letter vs phone. Depends on the relationship.  Immediacy of the feedback required – immediate feedback?  Level of control over how the message is composed – if you must word your message carefully, best channel: letter, email, and voice mail. If over the phone, must be quick at responding.  Richness of the channel – Richness – the different types of cues – verbal, visual – from which meaning can be inferred. Rich medium is better for building rapport. If you have to deliver bad news, use face-to-face, tone of voice and facial expression convey empathy and sensitivity.  Preferences of your organization Content Generation  Brainstorming – a method of generating content by listing ideas as they come to mind. Help stimulate the mind to creative thinking, unlocking ideas, and revealing hidden connections.  Mapping or Clustering – a method of generating content by visualizing the main topic and its subcategories. Useful for defining the relationship between ideas.  Asking questions – Journalistic questions – the essential questions (5 W's) that frame journalist's inquires as they focus and prepare their stories. Organizing and Outlining  the process of arranging information for clarity and impact.  Sequential method of development – a method of organization describing the arrangement of steps in a process  Chronological method of development – a method of organization that describes events in order in which they occur.  General to specific method of development  Cause-and-effect method of development – a method of organization that links events with the reasons for them.  Outline – a framework for a document, showing its divisions and elements. Recommended for important, complex documents. Can help you detect errors in logic and coherence.  Once you begin to write, the work of deciding how to organize your document will have already been done, leaving you to concentrate on tone, word choice, sentence structure, and the accuracy of your content.  Primary research  Direct observations  interviews  Surveys and questionnaires  Secondary research (classification)  Books, article, and reports  Web documents  E-mail discussions  Research strategies (sequential)  Conducting library and online searches  Evaluating resources  Taking notes Drafting – the preliminary writing of a document Overcoming Writer's Block Writer's block – a psychological state of being unable to begin the process of composition out of fear or anxiety over the communication task.  Start early  Work on a computer  Talk it out – “what am I trying to say here?”  Skip around  Take a break  Practice free writing – free writing – a method of generating content based on unstructured writing and the recording of ideas as they come to mind.  Adapt a positive attitude to writing – ask for feedback Writing Under Pressure  Allocate your time – mental timetable to keep finish writing tasks.  Keep distractions to a minimum  Get the most from word processing software  Take a few seconds to plan the structure  Remember your reader  Go with the flow  Leave refinements for revision Revising and Editing  Revising or Revision – the process of reviewing and making changes in a draft document – adding, deleting, reorganizing, or substituting – to transform it into a finished document  Editing – the process of checking a writing draft to ensure it conforms to standards of good English style, and accepted business-writing practice. Accuracy – must be able to verify the accuracy of the information you present. Free from distortion. Conciseness Completeness – achieves purpose, meets reader's needs.Adequate information, no information overload. Structure and coherence – organized logically to the purpose you want to achieve. Related ideas linked with appropriate transitional devices. Sentence and paragraph construction – any awkwardness in sentences? Give impact and directness into writing by using active voice. Consistency and format – use of language, style of visuals, and overall design should be consistent. Readability, word choice, and ethics – level of difficulty appropriate for readers? Use specific and familiar words. Keep the reader/receiver in mind. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation –can undermine professionalism and readability of your document. Typographical errors – inadvertent errors, misplaced punctuation. Collaborative Writing – the process of writers working together to create finished reports, proposals, and other important documents.  Practice active listening – be open-minded, make sure you understand what is being said before you respond.  Designate a team coordinator – keeps track of process on the document and consolidates draft segments of the document to a master copy.  Do up-front planning – meet to discuss the document before anyone begins to write. Brainstorm...etc. Schedule to accommodate the meetings  Agree on writing-style standards – help diminish difference in individual writing styles  Use technology to overcome constraints of physical location – instant messaging...etc.  Determine who is responsible for each segment of the document – Equalize. Put strengths with strengths or where they will learn as much as possible.  Foster a spirit of co-operation – allow everyone to be heard  Harmonize writing styles – exchange and review writing segments while remaining diplomatic in your criticism of others. Person with the best writing should edit, if possible.  Final copy should read in one voice, have continuous style, and not look as though sections have simply been pasted together. Make sure it is error-free. Chapter 3 – Business Style: Word Choice, Conciseness, and Tone  Good writing is a matter of how well you reach your readers and how well you get your message across in the way you intend.  Good business style, involves thinking about how words “sound” and how your readers are affected by the words you use. Plain style or plain language – a style of writing that places value on simplicity, directness, and clarity.  One of the aims is to banish dead and empty words and replace them with more lively and expressive ones that readers connect with immediately and remember easily.  Saves time  puts readers first  makes ideas and information meaningful  international plain-language movement, dedicated to presenting information so it makes sense to most people and can be acted upon after a single reading.  Use common, everyday words, except for necessary technical terms  Use reasonable sentence lengths  Use active-voice verbs and phrasal verbs – show who or what performs an action. Voice – a term that describes a verb's ability to show whether the subject of a sentence acts or is acted upon. Phrasal verb – a verb that combines with one or more prepositions to deliver its meaning.  Use personal pronouns: I, you and we. Except in formal reports. Gives you a fluency to say what you need to say with as little awkwardness as possible. Pronoun – words that replace or refer to nouns.  Use unambiguous language – Ambiguity – a term that describes an obscure or inexact meaning. Open to interpretation. Try your best to prevent ambiguity from creeping into your writing.  Place the subject as close as possible to the verb – meaning of a sentence relies on the clear relationship of its subject and verb. Tangled sentences result when long modifying phrases separate these all-important elements. Use Familiar Words  Curb your use of words ending in -ize and -ization – can lead to an inflated, heavy-handed style that grinds comprehension to a frustrating halt.  Use words derived from French sparingly – when overused, it can sound contrived and affected when compared with simpler english alternatives.  Avoid foreign words and phrases – eg. Ad hoc (for a particular purpose), and pro bono (for free) use in legal documents and formal writings.  Use only job-related jargon – Jargon – a term that describes (1) the specialized terminology of a technical field or (2) outdated, unnecessary words used in a business context. Size your audience first and define any special terms you may have used.  Bypass buzzwords – Buzzwords – fashionable, technical, or computer jargon. Use Language that is Fresh and Current  Replace clichés – Clichés – overused tired expressions that have lost their ability to communicate effectively.  Retire outdated business expressions  Eliminate slang – Slang – coine
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