BUS 3700 Business and Administrative Communication
Business Communication • Communication is an essential part of life, but where business is concerned, it is critical to success. ~sixsigmaonline.org
Business Writing “DON'T LET YOUR WRITING HOLD YOU BACK. When you're fumbling for words and pressed for time, you might be tempted to dismiss good business writing as a nicety. But it's a skill you must cultivate to succeed: You'll lose time, money, and influence if your e-mails, proposals, and other important documents fail to win people over.” ~Harvard Business Review, 2013
Effective Communication • Communication helps organizations and the people in them achieve their goals. • The ability to write and speak well becomes increasingly important as you rise in an organization.
What’s in it for me? • Career Advancement • Share Complex Ideas • Enhance Entrepreneurial Endeavors • Become an Effective Leader
What’s in it for my company? • Influence Perceptions • Public perception – customers, suppliers • Internal – staff • Increase Productivity • Improve Employee Satisfaction • Improve Decisions
Be An Effective Communicator • Provide Useful Information • Give Facts and Evidence • Be Concise • Be Clear • Explain Benefits
Types of Communication • Nonverbal • Computer graphics • Company logos • Smiles • Size of an office • Location of meetings • Location of people at meetings • Verbal • Face-to-face • Phone conversations • Informal meetings • Presentations • E-mail messages • Letters • Memos • Text messages
Communication Purposes • All business communication has three basic purposes • To inform (explain or tell an audience something) • To request or persuade (want the audience to act) • To build goodwill (make good image—the kind of image that makes people want to do business with you. ) • Most messages have more than one purpose • Example: When you write an e-mail to co-workers asking a question, you inform them about your situation, persuade them to help you, and try to build a good image of yourself as someone who wants to resolve an issue.
Audiences • Internal • Messages go to people insidethe organization • Memo to subordinates, superiors, peers • External • Messages go to people outsidethe organization • Letter to customers, suppliers, others
Benefits & Costs • Effective writing • Saves time • Increases one’s productivity • Communicates points more clearly • Builds goodwill • Poor writing • Wastes time • Wastes effort • Loses goodwill • Stiff, legal language • Selfish tone • Buried main point • Vague requests • Misused words
Criteria for Effective Messages • Good business writing meets five basic criteria: • Clear:The meaning the audience gets is the meaning the communicator intended. • Complete: All of the audience’s questions are answered • Correct: All of the information in the message is accurate • Saves Time:The style, organization, and visual or aural impact of the message help the receivers read, understand, and act on the information as quickly as possible • Builds Goodwill: The message presents a positive image of the communicator and his or her organization
Criteria for Effective Messages • To evaluate a specific document… we must know the interactions among… • the writer • the reader(s) • the purposes of the message • and the situation. • No single set of words will work for all readers in all situations.
Conventions • Conventions - widely accepted practices you routinely encounter • Vary by organizational setting • Help people… • recognize, produce, and interpret communications • Need to fit rhetorical situation: • audience, context, and purpose
Analyze Situations • Ask these questions… • What’s at stake? • To whom should you send a message? • What channel should you use? • What should you say? • How should you say it?
Create Effective Messages The following process helps create effective messages: • Answer the six questions for analysis • Organize your information to fit your audiences, your purposes, and the situation. • Make your document visually inviting. • Revise your draft to create a friendly, businesslike, positive style. • Edit your draft for standard English; double-check names and numbers. • Use the response you get to plan future messages.
1. Answer the following six questions for analysis • Who are your audiences? • What are your purposes? • What information must you include? • How can you support your position? • What audience objections do you expect? • What part of context may affect audience reaction?
2. Organize to Fit Audience, Purpose, Situation • Put good news first • Put the main point/question first -or- • Persuade a reluctant audience by delaying the main point/question
3. Make Message Look Inviting • Use subject line to orient reader • Use headings to group related ideas • Use lists for emphasis • Number items if order matters • Use short paragraphs—six lines max.
4. Create Positive Style • Emphasize positive information • Give it more space • Use indented list to set it off • Omit negative words, if you can • Focus on possibilities, not limitations
5. Edit Your Draft • Check… • Spelling • Grammar • Punctuation • Double-check… • Reader’s name • Numbers • First and last ¶ • Alwaysalwaysalways proofread before sending
6. Use Response to Plan Next Message • Evaluate feedback you get • If message fails, find out why • If message succeeds, find out why • Success = • results you want, • when you want them
Aspects of Business Communication • All of these aspects are present in any business communication • …but some might be more emphasized or obvious in certain typed of communication. • These aspects are also highly interdependent, • …but we separate them for clarification, discussion, and grading.
Aspects of Business Communication 1. Task/Context: • “Context” can be defined as… • the “time, place, and situation” or • the “big picture” for communication. • Successful business communicators know that messages never occur in vacuums… • but are viewed within the larger situations that surround them.
Aspects of Business Communication 2. Audience: • the recipient(s) of the message… • whether that be an individual, • a group, • a market, • or a public. • “Audience” discussions include… • analysis (what’s important about the audience) • adaptation (how that affects the message) • approaches to particular types of audiences
Aspects of Business Communication 3. Channel Choice: • A key consideration, given the proliferation of media and how different they are. • Effective communicators make wise choices, recognizing the need for… • documentation, • speed, • direct contact, • opportunities for interaction, etc.
Aspects of Business Communication 4. Organization: • Smart communicators ask themselves… • “What goes where?” • and the related question “What follows what?” • When they do, they worry about… • the order of elements they are working with • the relationships among those elements (e.g. visual coherence or transitions).
Aspects of Business Communication 5. Content: • In business, “content” covers • what is said (or written)… • what is omitted • how much of it to include about each point • Many business communicators forget to consider the importance of amount for small and large areas.
Aspects of Business Communication 6. Self-expression: • awareness of the “self” you’re presenting is critical for any business student. • The presenter’s • credibility, • confidence, • reputation, • appearance, • attention to details • …are all parts of self expression. • “Selves” here are not just individuals, • Departments • Organizations • (A communicator often represents the “face” of an organization.)
Aspects of Business Communication 7. Visual Impression/Format: • “Organization” refers to the ordering of content, • “Visual Impression/Format” treat its • placement, • depiction, • proportions on a page (paper, PowerPoint slide, Web page, etc.). • These considerations include conventions for formats like where the date is placed on a page (often specific to organizations), as well as aesthetic and functional design decisions.
Aspects of Business Communication 8. Mechanics/Language use: • Two discrete (though often blurred) aspects are at work here… conventions & style. • “Conventions” (spelling, punctuation, grammar) • are matters of “right and wrong” which can be corrected. • “Style” (word choice and sentence structure) • treats matters of effectiveness and • is often more difficult to define.
BUS 3700 Business and Administrative Communication