Module One: Building Effective Messages
January 16 2012
Why do we communicate?
- We communicate because of our innate need to make meaning.
- We communicate to identify and express ourselves, to get work done, to gain recognition, and to make our lives
- We communicate most successfully when:
o We take the time to consider consciously what results we want
o Adapt to our message content, tone and style to meet the needs of our audience, so we can achieve
How is Business Communication Different?
- Business Communication uses specific formatting and style conventions to get the job done.
- Time is money, your audience primary need is to get the message, clearly and completely, the first time.
An example of a typical business communication. - Demand is increasing for those workers who can understand the information generated by computer systems,
apply models to problems, deal effectively with customers and other members of a team, speak and write
clearly, and make informed and independent judgments.
- Author Daniel Pink claims that the global economy has moved us from the information age to the Conceptual
Age, wherein high-level communications skills such as conceptualizing, big picture thinking, and synthesizing are
What does Business Communication Accomplish?
- Business Communications (oral, nonverbal, and written) go to both internal and external audiences.
- Internal audiences other people in the same organization: subordinates, superiors and peers.
- External Audience people outside the organization: customers, suppliers, unions, stockholders, potential
employees, government agencies, the press & the public.
What Communication skills are integral to business success?
- Listening, reading, speaking, writing and working in groups are integral to doing business successfully.
- Networking with others (inside and outside) your workplace are crucial to develop positive relationships, and to
your personal and professional growth.
- Business, government & not-for-profit organizations depend on written messages.
- People in organizations produce written documents for the record, to inform, request or persuade.
How much will I really have to write?
- You will have to write a lot.
- Businesses today expect their junior engineers to manage projects and write reports.
- International literacy surveys constantly find a “clear link” between literacy and employement, with “Document
literacy” proficiency (the ability to read and write well) corresponding most strongly to higher employment rates
and higher salaries.
- Form letter prewritten fill-in-the-blanks letter designed to fit only routine situations. The greater your
professional responsibilities, the more frequently you’ll face situations that demand creative thinking and
Poor Writing is Costly
- Takes more time to read and interpret
- Requires more time for revision.
- Confuses and irritates the reader
- Delays action while the reader requests more information, or tries to figure out the meaning.
- Damages business relationships. How much does Correspondence cost?
- Business Correspondence is very expensive, and even more costly when it doesn’t work.
- Canadian communications expert and professional speaker Helen Wilkie maintains that written correspondence
– emails, letters, reports, memos is an “integral part of doing business.”
- When writing isn’t clear, complete, and correct, you and your organization pay in wasted time, wasted effort
and lost c