Rentz/Lentz, M: Business Communication, 3/e
Chapter 3
Communicating Effectively with Visuals
Critical Thinking Questions
1. For the past 20 years, Professor Clark Kupenheimer has required that his students include five
visuals in the long, formal report he assigns. Evaluate this requirement. LO1
2. Because it was easier to do, a report writer prepared each of the visuals on a full page. Some of
these visuals were extremely complex; some were very simple. Comment on this practice. LO1,
LO6
3. A report has five maps, four tables, one chart, one diagram, and one photograph. How would you
number these visuals? LO2
4. How would you number these visuals in a report: seven tables, six charts, nine maps? LO2
5. Discuss the techniques that may be used to show quantitative differences between areas on a
statistical map. LO4
6. Give examples of data that are suited for presentation in three dimensions. LO4
7. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using pictographs. LO4
8. Find a graph that uses scale breaks. Discuss the possible effects of its use on the reader. LO5
9. Find a visual with errors in format. Tell how you would correct the errors to present the chart’s
data more clearly to the reader. LO5
10. “I have placed every visual near the place I write about it. The reader can see the visual without
any additional help from me. It just doesn’t make sense to direct the reader’s attention to the
visuals with words.” Evaluate this comment. LO6
Skills Building Exercises
1. Construct a complete, concise title for a line chart representing employment placement rates for
graduates in your major at your school from 2010 to the present. LO2
2. The chart prepared in Exercise 1 requires an explanation for the years 2012 and 2013. In each of
those years, data were collected in January (mid-academic year) rather than June (end of the
academic year). Provide the necessary explanation. LO6
3. For each of the types of information described below, which form of visual would you use?
Explain your decision. LO1–4
a. Record of annual sales for Kenyon Company for the past 20 years.
b. Comparison of Kenyon Company sales, by product, for this year and last year.
c. Monthly production of the automobile industry in units.
Chapter 3: Communicating Effectively with Visuals
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Rentz/Lentz, M: Business Communication, 3/e
d. Breakdown of how the average middle-income family in your state (or province) disposes
of its income dollar.
e. How middle-income families spend their income dollar as compared with how lowincome families spend their income dollar.
f.
Comparison of sales for the past two years for each of B&B Company’s 14 sales districts.
The districts cover all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
g. National production of trucks from 1950 to present, broken down by manufacturer.
h. Relationship between list price and gas mileage of alternative and gasoline-fueled cars.
i.
Home purchases by home value, geographic region, and income.
4. For each of the following sets of facts, (a) determine the visual (or visuals) that would be best, (b)
defend your choice, and (c) construct the visual. LO1–5
a. Average (mean) amount of life insurance owned by Mutual Life Insurance Company
policyholders. Classification is by annual income.
Income
Under $30,000
$30,000–34,999
$35,000–39,999
$40,000–44,999
$45,000–49,999
$50,000 and over
Average Life Insurance
$ 40,000
97,500
112,500
129,000
142,500
225,000
b. Profits and losses for Whole Foods Stores, by store, 2010–2014, in dollars.
Year
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
Able City
234,210
229,110
238,430
226,730
230,080
Store
Baker
132,410
−11,730
−22,410
68,650
91,450
Charleston
97,660
218,470
216,060
235,510
254,820
Total
464,280
435,850
432,080
530,890
576,350
c. Share of real estate tax payments by ward for Bigg City, 2010 and 2014, in thousands of
dollars.
Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
City total
2010
17.1
10.2
19.5
7.8
54.6
2014
21.3
31.8
21.1
18.2
92.4
Chapter 3: Communicating Effectively with Visuals
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Rentz/Lentz, M: Business Communication, 3/e
d. Percentage change in sales by employee, 2013–2014, District IV, Abbott, Inc.
Employee
Joan Abraham
Helen Calmes
Edward Sanchez
Clifton Nevers
Wilson Platt
Clara Ruiz
David Schlimmer
Phil Wirks
Percentage Change
+7.3
+2.1
-7.5
+41.6
+7.4
+11.5
-4.8
3.6
5. Determine what percentage of each type of registered vehicle is owned in the U.S., including
hybrid vehicles as appropriate. Choose an appropriate visual type and create it to convey the data.
Consult the U.S. Department of Transportation for statistics. LO1–5
6. Through research, find the approximate milligrams of caffeine in the following items and create
an appropriate visual for Affiliated Food Products, Inc., to illustrate your findings. LO2–5
a. 5-oz. cup of coffee (drip brewed)
b. 7-oz. glass of iced tea
c. 6-oz. glass of soda with caffeine
d. 1-oz. dark chocolate, semisweet
7. Choose five or six types of exercise. In a visual, identify the activity as a type of (1)
cardiovascular training, (2) strength training, or (3) muscle stretching and toning. You can assume
that some forms of exercise will incorporate all three types. You work for the Parks and
Recreation Department of a city of your choosing. Provide an interpretation of your visual. LO1–
6
Chapter 3: Communicating Effectively with Visuals
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Chapter 3 Communicating Effectively with Visuals Critical Thinking