Business Communication: Process and Product

Writing Business
Phase II: Organizing
and Composing
Guffey text Ch 5-6 and Thill Bovee Ch 4-5
Know what I mean?
“I would hope you find the report helpful
in choosing the restaurant from which
your dinner will be ordered on a goingforward basis.”
- KimberlyArena, paralegal at New York City law firm, in a
memo responding to a boss’s request for an analysis of the
best area sushi restaurants (pulled from
Know what I mean? Take 2
“There are known knowns. These are
things we know that we know. There
are known unknowns. That is to say,
there are things that we know we don’t
know. But there are also unknown
unknowns. There are things we don’t
know we don’t know.”
- Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, clarifying U.S. policy on
the war on terror.
• In what ways is business writing
different from the academic writing
you do in your other classes?
• Why are short sentences and
paragraphs recommended for
business writing?
Audience Analysis
Determines Organization
If pleased
If mildly interested
Good News or
Main Idea
If neutral
Audience Analysis
Determines Organization
If displeased or
If unwilling or
Bad News or
Main Idea
If hostile
Direct Approach
• Opening – States main idea directly
• Body – Provides necessary details
• Close – Uses a cordial tone that
emphasizes good news or states a
desired action
Common Problems
• Taking too long to get to the point
• Including irrelevant material
• Lacking coherent train of thought
(unorganized, stream of
• Lacking logical support for ideas
• Leaving out necessary information
Drafting - Discussion
Communication Matters,
“The Write Stuff”
– Are you a “plunger” or an “outliner”?
– What are the pros/cons of each
Complete audience
Create an outline of
your message
Use outline to create
topic sentences, bullet
points, etc.
Address flow by
adding connecting
phrases in intro and at
end of paragraphs as
1. Complete audience
2. Get your thoughts
down on paper
3. Use your notes to
create an outline,
reorder thoughts,
delete unnecessary
details and tangents
4. Add topic sentences,
bullet lists,
connecting phrases
Effective Sentences
Effective Sentences Discussion
Communication Matters:
“Write Stuff” and “Word Crunching”
• What recommendations
are similar between the
two articles?
• What are the differences?
Creating Effective
1. Use short sentences.
2. Emphasize important ideas at
beginning or end.
3. Use the active voice
4. Use past/present/future tense
(avoid perfect tenses).
Effective Sentences
5. Use correct grammar,
punctuation, spelling.
6. Use plain English (6th grade level),
select clear, vigorous words
7. Avoid unnecessary words (that),
trite/wordy phrases (in which), and
prepositional phrases
8. Avoid intimacy and humor
Resources: BA324 Style Guide &
Common Mistakes Writers Make
Effective Paragraphs
Effective Paragraphs
Keep paragraphs short. Discuss
only one topic in each paragraph.
2. Use topic sentences.
3. Link ideas and use transitional
expressions to build coherence.
4. Use highlighting to improve
reader accessibility.
Effective Paragraphs
Linking Ideas to Build Coherence
• Repeat or rephrase main idea.
“Our philosophy holds that every
customer is really a guest. All new
employees to our theme parks are
trained to treat guests as VIPs.
These VIPs are never told what
they can or cannot do.”
Effective Paragraphs
Linking Ideas to Build Coherence
Use a pronoun with a noun for clarity
and coherence
“All new park employees receive a twoweek orientation. This training includes
how to maintain enthusiasm.”
“New hosts and hostesses learn about the
theme park and its facilities. These
facilities include telephones, food
services, bathrooms, and attractions.”
Effective Paragraphs
Linking Ideas to Build Coherence
• Dovetail sentences – connect the idea
at the end of one sentence with the
idea at the beginning of the next.
“Knowledge of administrative offices and
internal workings of the company ensures
that staffers will be able to serve guests
fully. Serving guests is our number one
priority, and we design all employee
training with this primary goal in mind.”
Effective Paragraphs
Using transitional expressions
for coherence
• additionally
• also
• as a result
• for example
• in other words
• therefore
Effective Paragraphs
Apply graphic highlighting
Letters, such as (a) and (b)
Numerals, like 1, 2, and 3
Bullets, like w
Headings and print options
font size
See Class Web Site:
• Assignment Instructions
• Memo/E-Mail
• Letter